T Nation

Guy Worse Off Than Me- 42 & 280 Lbs.

Gents:

I’ve spent the last year or so trying to whip myself back into shape and while I have a ways to go, a buddy of mine is much worse and asked me for my advice, thinking I know a thing or two. (I don’t.) I started with a whole lecture about lifting, since he does zero. Then I thought better of it, and figured I would consult you good people.

This guy is married with four kids. He works in an office from 7AM until 7PM 5 days a week. He used to be a talented rugby player until around 28 or so. Back then he was around 210-215. He ballooned up after quitting and got up to about 275 by the time his second son was born. Disgusted, he began running and ended up slimming down to 195 and ran the NY marathon.

He stopped running around 4 years ago and ballooned up again. He’s now about 285 pounds and given his age is really worried. He told me he just needed to go out and start running again. I told him he was begging for an injury that would only sideline him for future workouts.

I told him he needs to get started rebuilding some muscle, which because of his age (and weight) is probably in great need. I was going to recommend the big compound lifts in general and specifically 5x5 program for him, but wanted to confer with guys who know better.

He’s from the generation when you only lifted to get strong as a competitive athlete. His position was “dude, I don’t want to bench 300, I want to lose 100.” I told him that he is misinformed and that lifting is going to be key in the process.

Obviously, diet and drinking are a problem too, but I am not his mother. I figure if I can share a good program with him, that’s at least making good on his request for advice. He’s a good guy and I’d hate to see him drop dead from a heart attack, and that is where he is headed.

Please post links and advice I can share. Thanks in advance…s

If he is married with four kids and has a job that keeps him at work for 12 hours a day five days a week, the biggest thing for him is going to be finding a time to consistently train.

It won’t matter what type of program he works with, the biggest thing for him is going to be consistency in the gym. Realistically, if he has three days a week to train he will be lucky (hour long-sessions).

Given his limited time available, I would stick to the basics and hit the compound lifts three times a week using full-body workouts. There are a lot of good full-body routines on the site.

Make sure he doesn’t fall into the “cardio” nightmare. Cardio has its place but he should start by focusing on lifting and cleaning up his diet.

He should really become a T-Nation member and start educating himself. It will provide a great deal of motivation.

^^^that’s the kind of stuff I’m looking for.

And that’s his excuse/explanation.

So, 3 times a week starting light doing say 5 sets of 6-8 reps of DLs, Squats, Flat Bench and Cleans?

Any good links to articles arguing that cardio in his condition is a bad idea? I feel like that is a general statement made on the forum, but I think an article would go a long way.

As for joining, I bet I can get him too, if he can get over his prejudice for weight training.

Thanks

I know there is an article detailing the dangers of running when you are not in good physical shape. I am sure others can provide the link (I cannot find it).

There are a number of good articles on the site concerning the benefits of weight training over more traditional “cardio” training. Cosgrove has a number of articles on this concept you might want to look up and pass along.

Make sure he reads up on Nutrition before anything else. Improving his diet will do more for him than any other activity.

[quote]Bas Chabal wrote:
Gents:

I’ve spent the last year or so trying to whip myself back into shape and while I have a ways to go, a buddy of mine is much worse and asked me for my advice, thinking I know a thing or two. (I don’t.) I started with a whole lecture about lifting, since he does zero. Then I thought better of it, and figured I would consult you good people.

This guy is married with four kids. He works in an office from 7AM until 7PM 5 days a week. He used to be a talented rugby player until around 28 or so. Back then he was around 210-215. He ballooned up after quitting and got up to about 275 by the time his second son was born. Disgusted, he began running and ended up slimming down to 195 and ran the NY marathon.

He stopped running around 4 years ago and ballooned up again. He’s now about 285 pounds and given his age is really worried. He told me he just needed to go out and start running again. I told him he was begging for an injury that would only sideline him for future workouts.

I told him he needs to get started rebuilding some muscle, which because of his age (and weight) is probably in great need. I was going to recommend the big compound lifts in general and specifically 5x5 program for him, but wanted to confer with guys who know better.

He’s from the generation when you only lifted to get strong as a competitive athlete. His position was “dude, I don’t want to bench 300, I want to lose 100.” I told him that he is misinformed and that lifting is going to be key in the process.

Obviously, diet and drinking are a problem too, but I am not his mother. I figure if I can share a good program with him, that’s at least making good on his request for advice. He’s a good guy and I’d hate to see him drop dead from a heart attack, and that is where he is headed.

Please post links and advice I can share. Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

Gotta lift to lose, or it’s gonna be a LONG row to hoe. Using a simple (heavy compound) 5x5, along with morning cardio would do the trick. Whether running is the appropriate cardio is debateable, but it certainly burns loads of calories.

In general, your friend needs to signicantly improve diet, and lower stress. That may sound like outlandish advice given married + 4 kids.

Lifting heavy shit will make him strong, and build some muscle, which is what he wants if his goal is to lose 100 + #'s.

Basically, your friend is going to have to accept the fact that an entire lifestyle change (drinking, diet, stress, weights, etc.) is in order if he’s looking to drop 100 + #'s in this lifetime.

Having come back my self from a 7+ year lay off(and a high weight of 245,now 190),I can say that is the way to do it. I would forgo the running. If He does his sets and reps right,He will get plenty of cardio. One more thing,the effects of cardio are kinda limited when it comes to loosing weight. They only last 30 min. or so. The effects of weight training last a LOT longer.

[quote]63Galaxie wrote:
One more thing,the effects of cardio are kinda limited when it comes to loosing weight. They only last 30 min. or so. The effects of weight training last a LOT longer. [/quote]

This is misleading.

Sure, if you do low level steady state cardio, then it isn’t going to do much for EPOC.

But if your cardio is High Intensity Interval Training, then it is going to significantly increase your resting metabolism and help keep you out of starvation response while in calorie deficit.

The main thing your friend needs to think about is that “getting in shape” isn’t something you work at for a while and then once it is accomplished, you’re done with it. He needs to find the combination of nutrition and exercise that will permanently keep him in shape for the rest of his life. In other words, we’re not talking about a project; we’re talking about a permanent change of lifestyle.

Nice work on helping your friend.

I don’t think there is going to be any silver bullet here. It’s going to take a combination of things along with a whole family lifestyle change. This could be an opportunity for his whole family. If he explains his goals to his family and get them involved it will make this whole process easier.

He could also use this as an opportunity to get involved with more physical activity with his kids.

Given his situation the traditional training might not be possible. However with a combination of this he can achieve and outstanding outcome and positively influence the rest of his family. Some of the components might be

Change the family diet to make better choices
Engage the whole family in physical activity
Add extra daily activity such as lunch walking
Add in a few targeted workouts of both strength training and interval training

Good luck

[quote]

The main thing your friend needs to think about is that “getting in shape” isn’t something you work at for a while and then once it is accomplished, you’re done with it. He needs to find the combination of nutrition and exercise that will permanently keep him in shape for the rest of his life. In other words, we’re not talking about a project; we’re talking about a permanent change of lifestyle.[/quote]

Well said Happydog. As you have stated many times, a lifestyle change is a hard hurdle to stride!

But I’m proof one can make a change inspite of himself.

I agree with the family thing. Chances are the whole family could use the exercise and an overall change. A person can get cardio lifting but it’s not for the faint of heart. Beginning a lifting program should be all about doing the exercise the right way. I wish someone would have pulled me over and told me how the cow ate the cabbage. The best to you and your friend.

[quote]63Galaxie wrote:

Lifting heavy shit will make him strong, and build some muscle, which is what he wants if his goal is to lose 100 + #'s.

Having come back my self from a 7+ year lay off(and a high weight of 245,now 190),I can say that is the way to do it. I would forgo the running. If He does his sets and reps right,He will get plenty of cardio. One more thing,the effects of cardio are kinda limited when it comes to loosing weight. They only last 30 min. or so. The effects of weight training last a LOT longer. [/quote]

I had similar weight loss and lifting is the only exercise that has been consistently with me the past few years.

BTW, walking, not for the exercise but for the stress reduction, might help him as well. But I remember commuting and working six days a week. It was a nightmare for finding any time to exercise (or live, for that matter).