T Nation

Fat Friend

I have a friend that is 5’9" and 250lbs at 37.5 percent body fat. He is also taking karate. My question is we walk a mile and then do stairs at lunch time. We been doing this for about 4 weeks.
He would like to start working out with me. His main goal is to lose weight and
get strong for his karate. I want to start him off with basic compound workout for about 3 day a week.
What are your suggestions,or feedback .

Chances are that with those “stats”, damn near anything you start him on will help him achieve both of those goals. My suggestion? Make it fun for him, getting him to start and like lifting is a great accomplishment, and he’ll make good progress just given his stats as of now. Let him have fun, learn the compound movements, and try to avoid any major imbalances. Beyond that, don’t push to hard. Let him lose 20 pounds and get excited, then he’ll be like putty in your hands :slight_smile: Best of luck. J.

Hey, there, t-dude. All I might add to Sexy’s good advice is to get some basics in place re your friend’s diet. Take a look at Berardi’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs” and T-Dawg 2.0, of course.

It’s all about focusing on the basics, be it diet or resistance training.

Good luck to you and your friend!

Good advice so far, but I say proceed with caution. We all know it is equally important for him to begin working out and changing his diet, but for many out of shape people new to the world of fitness it can be hard and shocking for them to change to much at one time.

Just like you are starting out slow with his work outs, maybe you can try to slowly change his diet. Perhaps take JB’s “7 Habits…” and start out by focusing on one habit for 2 weeks. Then while continuing to adhere to that habit, incorporate another one.

Just remember, chances are that he is out of shape because of his lifestyle, or previous lifestyle; if you change too much too soon you could burn him out quickly. Be patient, this is all new to him.

Good luck and congratulations for trying to improve the quality of someone’s life.


Gradually change his diet and tell him everything you are doing and why you are doing it. For the gym just teaching him the techniques with the change in diet will do him a world of good. Monitor his progress and communicate with him how he is doing and get feedback from him. Most importantly teach him to teach himself. Good luck.

I guess if he has already taken karate and the preparatory stuff with you then there might not be too much of an issue with this but a health screen (including resting B.P. and heart rate) couldn’t hurt. He has to be fit for it.

Peace of mind for you as well as him.

I’ve found with clients that concentrating on a couple of compound movements and then finishing with say 20 mins cardio works best as they seem to accept this plan more easily? by the time they become bored of lifting they get to go and row/cycle etc. Plus they don’t want to be in all the time.

As pointed out earlier, interest drops off suddenly then when the see the flab disappearing they get right back into it and you don’t have to do a dam thing except answers endless enthusiastic questions…

You’re definitely on the right path. My suggestions go along with everyone else’s pretty much. Start slow, maybe one warmup and one working set for the first 3-4 workouts and see how he’s feeling. Then add a set to each for 3-4 workouts and progress from there. Don’t push too hard too fast as it’s not a race. The worst thing that could happen is that he gets discouraged early on and gives up. If he misses a day, no big deal as long as it doesn’t become the norm.
I made the mistake once in college, when I was young and stupid (as opposed to old and stupid now) with bringing a friend along to the gym and putting him through my workout, only with light weights (but way too many sets and isolations). The result was that he was so sore for 3 days that he never wanted to go back. If you take it slow, he will still make impressive gains and leave the gym feeling refreshed and excited for the next workout. After a month, his body will need the workout, like a drug. Good luck.

what about starting the nutrition thing with a food log? At first just have him write down everything he eats in a day and not worry too much about calories / prot / fat or whatever. Just have him write down the name on the wrapper. Once he gets in the habbit start monitoring calories / prot / fat. I say this because I’ve seen people get shocked by their intake and either do something drastic or get discouraged too soon. Perhaps your friend is ready for the shot to the face but only you / him can judge that.

I’m in a similar situation and one thing I found to be helpful was to get a scale with a body fat monitor and to log weight and body fat daily. Before I started lifting I was just dieting, and by tracking the moving average of the weights I knew if I was making progress (google “hacker’s diet” for details).

However, once I got encouraged and decided to add some resistance training, the scale didn’t work so great by itself anymore. I was busting my nuts and eating far too little without realizing I was actually gaining some LBM.

It might not seem like a big deal to somebody with more experience and faith in their technique, but when you’re starting out every bit of positive feedback is a big deal.