T Nation

Diet/Training Help For a Huge Friend


So i was in the lunchroom the other day at college and a guy came up and asked me how i ate so much and stayed so lean (i had 10 eggs, chicken, peas, green beans, and a penut butter sandwhich with turkey on it with a bannana..) (im 5 11 171 with 7percent body fat trying to bulk....) he is around probably um, 5 8 and about 290. You could tell he was depressed and sad witthe way he looked so i offered to take him under my wing.

Since he eats all 3 meals at the cafateria i am goingto have to give him a GENERAL outline for what to eat cause u never know what they are going to have.. Please see if what im going to send him makes sence to yall.

Breakfast: Cup of oatmeal with some eggs
Snack: (cottage cheese if possible)
Lunch: A lean meat (Turkey, baked chicken, lean ground beef, tuna, and egg whites) along with some veggies and water. I told him to eat just barley a few carbs for lunch.
snack cottage cheese
Dinner: Once again Eat lean meat with vegies cept this time almost no carbs and some good fats, almonds, flax seed oil, or something like that.

I would give him a specific calorie rang, um prolly 2800 cause hes eat alot more than that now but with cafateria food its almost impossible to track.

For cardio i was thinking about A. at first just getting him moving... he does NOOOO cardio EVER. so get him on a treadmill for 20 minutes at first and then 30 in a week or 2 and then maybe move to some light sprints later down the road.

For weight training i was thinking about just basic movement for starters... remember this kid has never touched a weight or ran in his life. Like bench, squat (prolly just under his own body weight at first) curls extensions and some back workout...

Please let me know what yall think, and if im steering him in the right direction... iv helped people out before but never someone in this condition. Thanks fellas


careful acura guy, i noticed your grammatical errors. i am suprised nobody wrote you snivveling about your poor grammar. back on topic....

good job taking the fatty under your wing. that is very nice of you. i am sure he probably has low self esteem so don't be disappointed if he tries to give up. posative reinforcement, along with dedication to him as your friend, and some serious dieting tip's from your own expierences should do the trick nicely.



First of all, I think its absolutely great what you are doing. I can relate on a very personal level to your situation, because a year ago I was 5'7" at 290 pounds, and I now stand at 5'7" 175lbs.

I didnt start with someone helping me out, I just kind of did it on my own. Looking back, I think I have something to offer given my unique perspective.

I think your diet is great. Perhaps instead of giving him a specific diet, give him some guidelines.

1) Choose a decent portion of lean meat, just like you said.
2) Eat freely of vegetables.
3) Leave the starchy carbs for morning, and after excercise.

When someone is really big, they are used to eating LOTS of food. When I started, I would eat a normal portion of protein, and eat a TON of veggies. This way, I was still eating till I was full, and not doing much damage calorically.

For a while, he may need this. People "our" size (formerly), dont differentiate between satieted and "full". So, initially he will need to get the same feeling of being full, otherwise here comes the snack machine on the way home from MicroBiology.

You may want to give him a list of "acceptable" foods. This way, when you arent there and he goes to the line, he will have a mental list of whats ok to eat if something you said to eat isnt at the bar.

I started on a LOW carb style diet. Looking back, Im glad I did, because even though it wasnt the most healthy thing (lots of sat fat in my case) it helped me lose weight, which led to it being easier for me to cut out bad foods because of the reward.

As far as training, I started with full body workouts of 3x10, and lots of isolation movements. I lifted in highschool, so I was more comfortable around the gym. I took 2 years off after graduating from working out, and gained 60 pounds. When I started back, I used machines for a long time. I had to get a feel for what I could do, and when my body was about to reach failure.

I cant say much about the excercise program, but as Im sure you know, almost anything he does is going to make a vast difference. Start with ideal and work back to whats possible. I wasnt comfortable squatting out of a smith machine for a long time till I got my weight down.

As far as cardio, thats a conundrum for a hefty fella. I could run much faster than my body could handle, meaning my legs where still going,but my heart was about to beat out of my chest. Looking back, I wish I had done more biking and swimming instead of running. Easier on the joints.

Regardless, its so commendable that you are doing this. When I started, the worst thing was going to the gym and being the fat kid. Your support and encouragement with him will make all the difference in his progress. As long as he feels he has you in his corner, he will be so motivated. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!



p.s. i noticed that your diet selection may be a little hardcore for somebody who has no experiance with self control in regards to food intake. think of like any habit a person could have that they have had for thier entire life. it will be pretty hard for the big guy to quite "cold turkey", no pun intended.

you may want to ease the diet thing on him. too many changes at once will be very hard to conform to. you may be throwing to much at him at once. let him focus on the muscle building aspect first, build some nice full muscle under all those layers of "insulation". then he can work on melting the fat away to expose a beautiful spring butterfly(yea right). just my opinion.

it took me quite a while, and i'm am not completely confident as of yet, to determine my daily intake. he will have to make the changes as he gains more knowledge.


Preciate the support. I guess ijust have a soft spot for people who just dont know what to do to help themselves and have gotten so far past coming back to "normal size" that they gave up u know? I agree about the cardio... i just dont think he would EVER get in a pool with other people. but i will put him on a sationary bike for first cause thats a good point about his joints im sure they are going to freaking grind down if i make him run. Once again preciate the support.


as a member of the eat 3 tonnes and I still never got fat without excercise crew...here's my few random tips...

First of all, nevermind the treadmill just walking a bit round the block is excellent, far better then jogging (which is quite harsh on heavyweight joints...) and in general just shoving more fruit and veg down your gob...

All together great job mate


In all sincerity, I hope this has a happy ending. Good luck and let's hear progress reports.



Mazilla, I mean what I am about say with all due respect to you, don?t take offense. Do you want to know why no one wrote about my grammatical errors, because this is a Freaking Bodybuilding website. I am sure there is a website for Reading Rainbow that people can go and critique peoples writing on, but as u can tell by other people?s responses, no one here cares. I am not trying to sound mean but I mean some things are just unnecessary. Don?t we all agree that this is a bodybuilding forum?

This forum is so awesome and I tell every person who is into working out about it because of all the mature people on the site with true knowledge to the subjects at hand. If I did make some mistakes I am sorry. Now Thank you for your reasonable input but as even u said "back on topic.... " tHnask laot. .....

I appreciate everyone helping me out, and I am sure my friend will appreciate it as well. This is going much further than I have gone before with training someone, so everything is helping. Keep the ideas flowing.


acuratlman789, sorry about the IM buisness...my computer went a bit crazy


Dude, off topic, but thanks a LOT. I just spit coffee all over my laptop laughing my ass off after reading that.



Here is another idea from a ffb about the diet. For the next few weeks have him track his diet with a food log. He probably doesn't realize how poor his diet is. He will be more willing to follow a strict diet when he sees how much crap he puts into his body.

I would caution you on the amount of cardio. Big boys and treadmills do not mix. Soar knees and shin splints will be his reward if he overdoes it on the running. Try using a glider or bike. You might want to get more cardio in the lifting by supersetting or using more olympic lifts.


Well after yall bringing up those points im going to can the cardio plan i had laid out.. Instead i think im going to get him to do stationary bike. Thanks fellas, i really appreciate it.


I was wrong about the weight, he is actually 5 6 250... I guess I thought he was a little taller so i added a little more weight, it was a blind guess.

ANYWAY today i walked up on him while he was eating lunch and he had gotten 4 egg whites a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, broccoli. And he did this without supervision?.I think that he might be catching on.

Now I have to convince him 2 meals a day isn?t enough?.. oh well over all so far so good, tomorrow is first cardio day. 15 minutes on the stationary bike. Hopefully he wont die on me.


i too am a ffb... one thing i think to bear in mind is wrt cardio: you can't underestimate how much harder cardio is for someone who is really overweight. so he's goan break a mean sweat and get into a fat loss HR really easily, probably walking on an incline treadmill, running or doing high intensity stuff when really fat is infinatly harder than when thin (i now often pass out after short ergs, and it is less bad than even medium intensity when i was fat)

Also, build on the positives, what he can be proud of, so maybe he'll turn out to be a beast on the bench for eg, or with any weights (big guys often are) make that the focus, and make him feel that he is good at a sport, you can't underestimate the help in motivation that will provide. enthusiasm for cardio and nutrition will quickly follow.


Yall think 15 minutes on a Stationary bike is pushing it. I mean i was going just to get him to walk but im sure it doesnt feel good for him to walk as 15 minutes of walking might start hurting his joints. so i was thinking more along the lines of zero impact. Well let me know, im meting him at the gym at 530 to show him how to use the cardio equipment. Thanks


whoaa, i must have missed the target big time on that one. i was trying to take advantage of being the first to respond to let you know f* those guy's. i have gotten more shit about my "grammar" than anyone i have seen yet. i am with you 100%. this IS i a body building site, not an english forum. it's just chat, THEY need to take it easy. sorry for the confusion acura. grammatical errors forever!!