T Nation

Fiancée Needs Direction


#1

Greetings,
I'm writing this trying to find something to help my fiance out. She is fed up with my ideas on how to help her get into better shape. Her overall goal is to drop her bodyfat percentage to the point where she doesn't have that extra fat that bugs her when she sits down or has an awkward picture taken. She would like to just become more lean overall and add some definition. Nothing drastic but she wants that "looks like I workout" look. She doesn't have much to lose, but no matter what I tell her she won't relax about it and its getting really frustrating listening to her complain about my advice.

I told her to lose that extra fat she should only be doing cardio a couple times a week and not for more than 30 minutes. I think she should shoot for about a 200 calorie deficit and obviously lifting would help her confidence and physique. I'm looking for a base plan that I can show her to get going. She has been lifting 3 to 4 times a week but its very unstructured. She doesn't mind lifting but refuses to lift with me as I follow a more hybrid bodybuidling/powerlifting program and she hates all the sets and different rep ranges.

I'm looking on advice on how to help her. What diet specifics and workouts have worked well for you in the past. She is about 5'4 and weighs around 130 body fat percentage is around 23 giver or take. Let me know if you would like any additional information, I just want some advice because she says everything I've given her to do has made her "fatter" I have seen literally no changes but as i've learned in life, "its always my fault" haha Help me!


#2

Can’t help much with the routine for her but man you’ve learnt an important lesson there! It’ll always be your fault and you’ll always be wrong! Understanding this leads to a peaceful life man, enjoy :slight_smile:


#3

Haha only took 3 years to figure it out!


#4

[quote]kb4391 wrote:
Haha only took 3 years to figure it out! [/quote]

Your doing well man, took me 20 years and 3 marriages! lol


#5

This honestly seems more like a relationship problem than a fitness advice one. It tends to stem from the fact that, by you offering her advice, you are putting yourself in a position of authority over her, whereas in a relationship you are “supposed to” be equals.

Is she coming to you for advice, or are you giving her advice? If it’s the latter, I would just quit. Sometimes, we complain about things that we have the power to fix, but it’s more fun to complain about it. If it’s the former, there really isn’t anything special out there. Most people don’t eat enough leafy greens, and tend to have too many carbohydrate sources, so that’s one of the easiest things to change.


#6

Is she worried about “getting too bulky?” She might feel better doing more of a Crossfit-type of workout, rather than a traditional bodybuilding/powerbuilding type of routine. Something like this: https://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/3-complexes-for-rapid-female-fat-loss or one of Thib’s athletically focused programs. Or just send her to a Crossfit gym with a female-only class.

In any case, you’re learning a valuable lessons. SOs should never try to teach each other any kind of skill. It always results in drama!


#7

When she complains about being fat, you bite your tongue and reassure her. Then just shake your head at the tomfoolery that happens afterwards, in a nice private place. We call it a shed where I’m from.

If she asks you for help, the answer always starts with “i had a problem with that and one thing that worked for me was…”

Basically, listen to this man:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
This honestly seems more like a relationship problem than a fitness advice one. It tends to stem from the fact that, by you offering her advice, you are putting yourself in a position of authority over her, whereas in a relationship you are “supposed to” be equals.

Is she coming to you for advice, or are you giving her advice? If it’s the latter, I would just quit. Sometimes, we complain about things that we have the power to fix, but it’s more fun to complain about it. If it’s the former, there really isn’t anything special out there. Most people don’t eat enough leafy greens, and tend to have too many carbohydrate sources, so that’s one of the easiest things to change.[/quote]

You can be right or you can be happy… Your choice.


#8

[quote]tsantos wrote:
If she asks you for help, the answer always starts with “i had a problem with that and one thing that worked for me was…”

[/quote]

This is HUGE. “You” statements put people on the defensive.

“You need to eat more veggies”
“You need to lift weights”
“You need to count calories”

Etc. This asserts a judgment on the listener, basically telling them that they are flawed and have done something wrong. Even if it’s sound advice, it’s going to cause the defense mechanisms to go up, and nothing constructive will get accomplished.

Using “I” statements is big, and a really good combination is “I feel”. You can argue facts, but it’s really hard to argue emotions.

Example.

“I feel like eating more leafy greens would be helpful”

Goes over much better than

“You need to eat more leafy greens”


#9

get her to hire a trainer. Much safer for you


#10

[quote]Yogi wrote:
get her to hire a trainer. Much safer for you[/quote]

This.

And everything everyone else has said.

Do you remember the best teachers/trainers/coaches you’ve ever worked with? I bet you hated every single one of them at the time, I know I did. Its because they got me to do stuff their way. Usually difficult stuff. I think this is probably not the kind of relationship you want with your fiancee.


#11

The abundance of wisdom here never ceases to amaze me. To get everyone a better idea, she actually is the one who came to me for advice, and does so quite often. I’ve tried to stay out of this with her for as long as I can remember because I know that like many of you have said, it just causes drama when she feels like I’m telling her what to do and how to do it.

I’ve went with the approach of saying things like “I feel like we both should work on eating more vegatables and lean meats” and “we would both get the results we’re after if we skipped out on the junk food snacking and cheat meals” I think its less offensive/demeaning if I make it clear to her that we both can get better at things, not just pointing fingers.

This approach works great at the time, but then as soon as she reaches for an oreo I have no way of helping. She has told me in the past that I need to “make her” stop doing this. I’ve explained that there is literally no way for me to correct her eating in front of other people without coming off as a controlling asshole, which is true and I refuse to do that. Self-control is as stated “self” controlled, and I’m not a babysitter.

I think I convinced her last night to atleast start tracking everything she eats so she can have peace of mind when it comes to caloric intake and macro count so I think thats a good start. I might very well consider pointing her in the direction of a trainer, but she finds this as a waste because I work part time as a trainer.

That’s why I’m more or less looking for a program she can follow on her own that provides a workout and atleast gives a macro count for her to shoot for. My ideas for her have been simple but effective when she chooses to follow them. I told her what has worked best for me in the past, a slight caloric deficit created by working out, lots of veggies/lean meat and clean carb sources.

We have a vacation planned her in about a month so I told her to set a goal for herself to only allow herself x amount of cheat meals and to make herself be as consistent as she can be. I feel like a month is plenty of time to atleast make a good attempt at behavioral/dietary changes, especially when what she is doing now isn’t all that bad.

From my experience and scientific exploratory research ( google), it looks like following a macro split of around 40% carb 30% protein and 30% fat would be a decent goal for her to try for every day. How big of a caloric deficit is too much?

I looked at her tracking yesterday and after all the cardio and lifting she did, she was around 800 calories below her maintenance amount of 1200, she ate around 1100 and added an additional 700 burned through working out. This seems like far to little for her to be eating? Any thoughts on this? Trying to tell a girl who is trying to lose weight to eat more is a fun challenge in itself haha TIA!


#12

It sounds like you’re doing all you can to help her. I take the same approach. When things don’t work, suggest different methods to achieve the same goal. She’ll be more motivated once she sees progress so make sure to record weekly progress and don’t get too caught up in daily fluctuations.

A general trend over weeks and months is much more important. Shooting for around 1 lb/week (500 cals/day) of weight loss is a good number since higher rates may be difficult to sustain and it’s enough to see noticeable progress on the scale.

For nutrition, quantity and quality are both important. Sticking to exact macro splits can get tedious. I usually only change carbs based on weight goals. Try to keep it simple but help her reinforce good habits since diet is going to produce most of the results.

Doing both cardio and strength training will be beneficial for her. Making performance goals for both can increase motivation. Training different energy systems is effective because you get less return on your investment the more you put into each one. You can also go out and do things together like going out for walks, ride bikes, hike, etc. Support and promote any hobbies she has that involve physical activities. This will help reinforce a lifestyle change.

Motivation is the biggest driver for lasting change so figure out ways for her to develop her own self-motivation.


#13

Stuff like this is wimmenz friendly…

make sure to liberally use the words functional, core and metabolic! :wink:


#14

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Stuff like this is wimmenz friendly…
https://www.T-Nation.com/training/screw-cardio-four-complexes-for-a-shredded-physique[/quote]

It’s true. If she’s scared of getting “bulky” these are a great way to learn some basic lifts while getting that cardio burn.