T Nation

5 Months To Look Good

I have a little job on my hands . A friend called me yesterday and asked me to give her a Diet and Workout program which will make her look “good” for her wedding in 5 months. Little bit o’ background- 22yo, 5’8, prob 200+lbs, no history of training. So I figure I’ll see what we can push her to become (hopefully wonderful results). Shes getting a Y membership so she’ll have availability for swimming and running, but I dont believe that running or jumping will be good for her b/c shes very top heavy and already has thought of reduction surgery. Anyhow anyone want to throw out some thoughts?

My first thoughts were Fat Fast and 3x10 with compounds 4x/wk for first month, as truely keeping LBM is not of primary importance but rather shredding fat is. Then rethink and adjust accordingly. Anyone think something else might work better?

Have you looked at Don Alessi’s Meltdown I, II, and III yet?

Take a look:
Meltdown I

Meltdown II


Meltdown III

IMO, diet is even more important than the workouts, so make sure she specifically focuses on it.

I’d also have her do cardio from the start. Start out with speedwalking and light stuff if she’s out of shape. If she’s too heavy to run, there’s awlways skipping rope, biking, swimming, etc.

Does anyone do this?

You meet a woman who would be attractive but she is overweight: 10, 15, 20, 30 pounds.

While you are being introduced, you are thinking of the workout program and diet you would put her on, knowing how well she would thrive with your guidence.

I do the whole thing in my head, I can even see the final results (like Etreme MAkeover of the mind.)

I do this constantly. IF you are a personal trainer this tendancy must be even stronger.

Ha! Poor fat girls with good genetics. All the workout guys wanting to make them skinny!

Although Meltdown probably work well, I would suggest going with your first impulse. You have to get her used to proper exercise form, so starting out with a program as aggressive as Meltdown training may not be appropriate. Weight training alone is usually enough to see some benefits in terms of BF loss and muscle gain. As her recovery habits get better you might want to let her swim a couple times a week as it is a low impact activity that doesnt usually cause trouble in most overweight people the way running would.

As for Fat Fast, it is a fairly radical diet. I would recommend T-Dawg 2.0, which would obviously require some discipline on her part and then maybe Fat Fast approaching maybe a month up to the wedding. It just seems to extreme to do for 5 months. Just some thoughts

Meltdown training would probably be too much for someone with no training background

Dude, with no training history I think fat fast and 4 x a week compound lifting will cause burn out or worse.

Why dont you give this girl some knowledge she can use? After all- teaching her to drop fat for her wedding day is all well and good.

But- educating her on a healthy lifestyle for life is so much more.

At 200+ pounds she will react well to any consist training- why not let her enjoy it too?

Give her “7 habits of effective nutritional programs” by berardi. Get her to take a food diary. Possibly in stages- you know, write the food down first. then write down the macros if the 1st stage is happening on a daily basis.

Get her on something like the beginners blast off program or a very simple 3 day split. Dont put too many difficult exercises in. Remember that she is likely to be self concious squatting etc. when carrying extra fat- try to formulate a program that does not draw attention to her in the gym- and lets be honest, a bona fide T-Man/Woman plan WILL draw attention.

5 months is more than long enough to drop all her extra fat. Let her add in some swimming etc. if she enjoys it- its all good!

Bottom line- just get her eating cleanish, doing some sort of weight training, some sort of cardio and the weight will drop off.

DO NOT make her feel self concious when lifting. DO NOT make her feel like a loser for having the occasional cheat meal. DO NOT confuse her with massive compound lifts.

If she has no previous exercise history she will react amazingly well. There is no need to pull fat fast out of the bag. Look at how many people fall off the wagon- look at how little it actually teaches you.

4 x week training is a lot for a newbie especially if you are going to crank up the compounds.

Most women who havent trained cannot crank out real pressups let alone anything more complex.

I hope this helps- i dont mean any of it to be critical but in your enthusiasm you run the risk of swamping her with info and losing her to boredom, fear etc.

What I am trying to say is that just stopping the habits that got her to 200lbs will cause her to drop fat…introduce her to training nicely and she’ll stay :slight_smile:


Yeah, I’d echo what others are saying. The sad fact is that you can’t educate and enable someone to follow “advanced” protocols overnight.

Get the seven habits going.

Get the P+C and P+F and totals down.

Get some cardio or machines going.

Introduce one new lift a week perhaps.

I don’t know, perhaps people can progress faster than I give them credit for. If the desire and discipline is there I’m sure that will help.

Anyhow, seems to me that some time around the beginning of month two you can start to get a bit more serious if she hasn’t simply given up on exercise and turned to fad diets.

You know the saying you have to run before you can walk?

Brock the hardened weight trainer that he is, fell farily well short of his goals in fat fast. Probably getting her off the buffet line would be good enough. Clean up her diet so she can making sensible food choices… Then introduce her to a more advanced diet with controlled portions, ratios, logging etc. But I’d be suprised in any overweigh person could go on fat fast with the introduction of a workout plan for more than a week. 3 days and they’d probably cry as the soreness really kicks in with the ketosis.

Good choice on the exercise selection. I’d get her to understand how to do certain exercises. Move her upto a more strangth oriented program and then when shes in better shape stick her on a meltdown or something like that.

[quote]oc_tiger wrote:

Meltdown training would probably be too much for someone with no training background[/quote]

Valid point. Perhaps towards the middle to the end of the 5 months, or do you think that’s still too early for a new lifter?

My wife’s able to do it, but then she has a couple of years in the game, so my view may be skewed toward her abilities.


Lots of good advice so far. My only suggestion would be to keep the routine as simple as possible for her, so that the transition from a totally sedentary lifestyle to a more active one isn’t too rough. It seems to me that too many people start out at full throttle, then get burned out after the first week or two.

Atkins style diet, frequent low-intensity cardio, simple full body lifting workout 3x week.

I’d spend the first few weeks just cleaning up her diet and getting her into the gym. Full body workouts and start her on some form of low intensity cardio every morning (I’m a fan of incline walking). Start her off slow, maybe 20minutes the first week or two, 40 the next two, then 60 the rest of the time. Not that walking takes time to build up to, but just the habit of getting it done. That should be an everyday thing. Three times a week full body work well. She can start with one set, two the next week, then three after that. Then work on increasing weights. Diet of course is the most important. Again, just clean it up, have her be consistent, then after a month to 6 weeks, maybe a tkd like T-dawg would work for her. If she’s consistant, somewhere in the last two or three months through in a short fat fast cycle. Length should be determined by how long you and she think she can stay on it. Extra cardio is of course optional. But don’t have her do the fat fast up to the wedding because she’ll binge that night and pass out, making the groom start second guessing his choice.

Why do fat fast when you hve 5 months? Try the Don’t Diet Diet or any T-Dawg, Metoblic, or Anabolic Diet.

No Fat Fast. No Meltdown. She’s no candidate for anything remotely hardcore. She needs to learn how to eat right. That means eating the right foods, and eating every meal - not skipping meals and starving herself.

She needs to get off her butt and do something - ANYTHING - active. Light resistance, even body weight exercises are as advanced as she needs to go to begin with. The last thing she needs is to start something that is over her head and get burned out.

Proper diet. Proper exercise. Plenty of positive encouragement.

Nice suggestions in this thread.
Fat Fast…have you ever been around a woman with a harshly restricted diet. Ain’t nothing to smile at. Fat Fast also has the fall back…once you touch carbs you retain A LOT of water. I did the diet back when androsol and nandrosol were the big rage at T-mag. It is to hard to sustain in my opinion.

If she doesn’t have a history of dieting, I wouldn’t give her t-dawg or fat fast. I’m with the don’t diet berardi style crowd.
Workouts, take your pick. It is a MUST to first assess her posture and kinetic chain. These workouts are prime choice here, but can be more harm than good if she is not assessed. Check around for articles on this if you don’t know how to do it.Make sure to have cardio added in. In my experience WOMAN NEED CARDIO. Swimming is an excellent choice.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
She needs to get off her butt and do something - ANYTHING - active. Light resistance, even body weight exercises are as advanced as she needs to go to begin with. The last thing she needs is to start something that is over her head and get burned out.

Would you recomend a GPP workout to start then, rainjack?


[quote]Matthew9v9 wrote:
Would you recomend a GPP workout to start then, rainjack?


For starters - has she had a physical? If she’s 5’8" and 200+ - she needs one. You don’t want her keeling over in the first week.

Secondly - She’s never trained before. Instead of enrolling her in GPP, TBT, or anything that requires an acronym, I would set very small goals. Can she walk 1 lap around the track? Can she press a 5lb DB over her head? Can she eat 5-6 healthy meals a day?

I’m no expert in personal training, but we’ve had several of my wife’s friends want to do what we’re doing because of the dramatic changes we’ve made in our physiques. The ladies would come for a week or two and then quit. We were doing Meltdown and walking a couple of miles, and it was way too much for them. And these women would hardly be considered fat.

My point is, you’ve got to start this girl out by making changes in her head. If she thinks she can do it, is excited to put on her sweats every day, and actually wants to eat - and eat right, then the battle is practically won.

Start her out doing very simple movements - over head press, bodyweight squats, bodyweight lunges - there’s a whole plethera of simple exercises that can be done.

As for GPP, or cardio - hell just go outside and walk for 20 minutes. Swing your arms in an exagerated motion. Do things she can do now.

Five months is a long time - especially if you can get her to see the big picture. But trying to start out on advanced programs will most likely frustrate her.

For nutrition, i chime in with the majority. For exercise, after you show her all the good compound movements, maybe a new one each day. The first month or month and a half, just do two days a week, a split with each muscle once a week, or two days of a full body workout with 2 or 3 sets in the 10 to 12 range. Kinda like vroom’s suggestion, teach her a new exercise each day she works out. After that month or month and a half, she should have made most nueral adaptations, and you could try CW’s TBT, or if that’s intense, change it to a 2 day variation of TBT, assuming that each week is a microcycle of the program, and extend each microcycle to a week and a half (day 3 would be done your first day of week 2, day 4 second day, then days 5 and 6 on week 3, etc.). For cardio, while doing two days of weights, you could have her do a lil bit of walking on her workout days, walk on two of the off days more than she would on her weight days (around twice as much, say she walks 20 min a day on her weight days, have her walk 45 min on two off days). On another two off days, have her do some more intense cardio, running if she can handle it, swimming or biking if she can’t. If she gets to 3 days of week on weights, have her walk on those weights days (a lil more than she’d walk on her weight days in the two day split, say if 20 min for two days a week of weights, make it 30 min here instead). On two off days, have the more intense cardio again, and like with the walking, have maybe an extra 5 or 10 min than if she lifted two days a week. This means that she’d have one day completely off on two days a week of weights, but two of the walking days would be so light she’d have plenty of recovery time, and if doing weights 3 days a week, she’d have two whole days off to make up for the higher intenstity compared to the 2 day setup. That’s what i’d have her do anyway.

Rainjack is right…she’s a cow and needs to start with realistic goals. With 5 months to go, she’s not going to look like her favorite actress. I would venture to bet her best best is to not look quite as puffy as she has been for the past MANY years of bad habits.

I’m not picking on her, just pointing out facts based on my experience as a FormerFatBastard (FFB)

Good job for helping her out.

DO NOT do anything too extreme. If she has no training experience she will not be able to handle it. It would be the equivalent of me starting to work out with Dave Tate 4 days a week. Ouch!

Also get her on some sort of weight training program. I think TBT twice a week for the first 6 weeks would be ideal for a newbie.

Diet is the most important so put together something high in protein and low in refined carbs.

Make sure you compare measurements using calipers rather than the scale. Bodyweight isn’t everything and she needs to understand that.