T Nation

Breaking Dad in

Hello T-nation. I have a little situation. I have always been athletic and played lots of sports through high school and college. I was introduced to serious weight training by one of my former co-workers. We have been training together for 2 years. I’m pretty good with the nutrition and have learned a hell of alot from reading T-mag. My dad has taken notice. He went and got a physical the other day and his doc told him he needs to lose 20lbs and cut his cholestrol. Gave him some bogus diet to follow. Well, he saw his little girl w/ a tank top on one day and thought - hum, maybe I should train with my daughter. My question is this - any suggestions on how I should break him in slowly without scaring him away? He’s so busy - runs a contracting business - and I’m not sure if he’ll even stay with it. Yet due to the present health concerns, I liked to help him get his body back in order. And I’d like to see him make some serious lifestyle changes so that he’ll continue to keep his exercise and nutrtrion regime going even when I’m not around. Any suggestions?

My Dad just started lifting as well, and he is 67!! I printed out “Save Your Parents!” article for him. I let him use my copy of Arnolds Encyclopedia and designed a whole body circuit he does 3 days a week. He is really enjoying the work outs now and watches everything he eats. I can post his work out for you later if you like, got to get his permission first. I also found that it works better for us if I act more of a consultant than work out partner. I go over proper lifting form, look at his workout and food logs, tweak it here and there, and then let him go with it. Hope some of this helps.

I have similar concerns as you, so I would love to see others’ experiences with this. My father has an extremely healthy diet and does some cardio, but I can’t convince him to lift weights yet. The only help I can provide is an article here with some basic info: www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/238par.jsp

First article to read would be Dawg School: Beginners Blast Off Program.

THEN, find out what it is your dad has interest in trying. Is it weight training? Maybe not. Bicycling? Hiking? Weight training is great, no doubt about it, but it ain't the only way to get fit anymore. You can try bodyweight exercises - show your dad that this stuff is fun. By making it creative. And don't begin with a "balls to the walls" training routine of 5-6 days a week (of course). Maybe two days a week to begin with.

Little things, like parking the car further away from the grocery store or office, using stairs instead of a elevator, cycling to the office occasionally or using public transportation - can make a difference. Oh, and have you read this article: www.testosterone.net/articles/172food.html

It's a great, simple way of outlining good nutrition - even for someone as busy as your dad. And remember for people like your dad, it's getting out of the "comfort zone" that'll be difficult in the beginning. And the possibility that he doesn't want to look "stupid" in front of his "kid". You're going to have to be willing to do some different things, too - and if you're willing to think/do things outside of your box, it might help him, too. Changing a lifestyle is not a overnight thing or even can be done within a week. It'll take patience on both you and your dad's side.

But that doesn't mean it can't be a fun thing for either of you. Hell, you may even learn some new things for you to do, too. Question: Was your dad active before? And if so, what type of sports was he involved with?

Break you dad in baby steps

Alot of times you can turn someone off training by trying to teach them too many things too fast, or simply showing them stuff that they think they wont be able to do for an extended period of time.

Remember, it took most of us to accept a long time to see past the nutritional and training myths, so dont expect to hit someone with all this information that goes against their beleifs overnight and expect them to believe it.

In other words, if you dont want to lose you dad DONT start by giving him Fat Fast or T-dawg diet, instead introduce a simpler approach like JB’s Massive Eating diet [obviously the one intended for fat loss]… trust me, just eating the types of food JMB recommends will be challenging enough for someone who isnt gung-ho on training. IF he successfully follows that diet, then you can think about mentioning T-dawg in the futur.

As far as training, again use baby steps. Begin with simple exercises NOT performed ANYWHERE near failure. When people enjoy what they do, they themselves will eventually seek out improvement. If you insist he train hard immediately, he might only assume training with discomfort.

Either way, best of luck!


I just read my post. I apologize for all the grammar and spelling mistakes! :slight_smile: I at least hope you were able to understand the basic message I was trying to convey. :slight_smile:

Again, best of luck to you and your dad. :wink:

First things first - thanks to everyone for you advice. I had an idea of where to start but I wasn’t quite sure. To tell you the honest truth - just getting my dad to come to the gym - that’s been the hardest part. But we’re meeting on Friday for sure this time. So I’m going to sit down and get a workout together. I figured to start w/ a two day plan - total body. I would be interested in seeing that suggested workout plan…

Ok - well thanks again and I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out…


I had the same problem with my parents and everything I tried was a waste of time… then I realized that I was getting too advance on them. Someone on the forum at the time suggested Body For Life simply because it appeals to the “normal people” who just want to get fit and is apparently fairly motivating for people who are unsure of what to do. I may get some harsh flames over this, but it has helped them out quite a bit and all I can say is that someone at least putting in a solid effort is better than the couch potato dreaming about it… no matter what program they’re on. Die Nadel said baby steps and he’s right… remember they don’t want to get crazy in there like most of us here at t-mag.

I think that the first step to bring any civilian into “our world” is to set (and keep!) a regular time for exercise.

The biggest obstacle to getting fit is getting into the habit itself. Once this is done, you can start playing with different types of exercise, programs and so on. But first the person has to BE THERE.

I don’t know why my post didn’t post last night… But I agree w/ GaryE. Buy the Bill Phillips book Body For Life book. Its a great start to lifting weights but not a end. Its only a beginning. so if this posts twice sorry…