T Nation

Help me with my Dad's Program, Please


Alright, so my Pops who is:

52 years old
172 pounds
13% bodyfat
avid runner (down to about 20 miles per week)
lifts 3x per week

Is crazy about getting “cut” right now - he’s never had a six pack in his life (though he is a fitness beast), wants it bad, and is very close.

He is pretty progressive in his thinking about training - meaning, though he’s been in the game for 30 years, he’s always open to new ideas.

There are three major problems in his training, as I can see:

  1. He only eats about 1500 calories per day, and 500 of those are from bars and fruit. He doesn’t believe the “eat to lose weight theory” Any articles that might sway him (maybe Beradi’s calorie articles?)

  2. He has a really, really bad shoulder that prevents him from doing heavy overhead movements, dips, or pullups.

  3. He has extremely tight hip flexors from years of running 35+ miles per week without ever stretching (he regrets that now), making squats a bit painful for him.

I told him he should bulk, he’s insistent on getting cut. So, I figured since he was going to run no matter what (it is his passion), and works out at lunchtime, Meltdown training might be perfect.

I’ve sent him some articles on stretching, the T-dawg diet, and meltdown articles, waiting to hear back. Hopefully he’ll up his caloric intake, start taking fish/flax oils, and stretching regularly.

What would you recommend to replace dipping in meltdown (he seriously can’t do these, without surgery, which he won’t get)

Also, pullups.

He has troubles getting to parallel with his hips, should he just suck it up and keep actively stretching his flexors while working on his squat tecnique?

Any advice you might have, especially from some of you more experienced, older guys, would be great.

For the hip flexors, have him start with a super super wide stance with almost no weight, like just the bar and do really high box squats. every week or so, lower the box alittle and over like 8-10 weeks, he will be getting to parallel with no problem. make sure he starts with a super wide stance thoguh. That worked for me. First few reps it feels like you pulled your groin, but after a few sets, it feels like it is just over stretched. Increases flexibility fast thoguh.

good luck and i am looking forward to reading other responses. my dad is in almost the same situation.

Running 20 miles a week, eating 1500 calories, and not loosing weight?

His metabolism is a train wreck. You’re going to have to completely rebuild it before you can think about cutting any more fat.

This means a gradual increase in weightroom activity (preferably high-intensity), coupled with a slight increase in running. At the same time, increase calories. (~200kCal/week)

He should be eating at least 2500 calories a day, just to maintain.

Ike, did you mean “decrease” in running?

Rummy, here’s my thoughts. I wouldn’t create any drastic changes right away. Yes, a gradual increase of weight room activity. Primarilly heavy, compounds to offshoot the running (if your dad continues with the running).
I like Bob’s suggestion: box squats to assist in stretching his hip flexors. That’s what I’m going to be doing for myself, BTW.

If anything, just tell your dad that he needs to put his trust in you for just 6-weeks. That’s it. And within that 6-weeks, he needs to increase his caloric intake (seriously), follow your training recommendations (weights) and begin a run/sprint combo (while decreasing his long runs). I would say that after a increase in caloric intake and weight training intensity, he’s going to see a LBM gain that will in effect help burn that excess BF.

If nothing happens from that 6-weeks, he can go back to whatever he was doing before; if there are changes (which I know there will be), he can continue with your program.

Sounds good?

Thanks for the replies, seriously.

I have struggled talking to him about eating properly - he has lost weight (about 20 pounds over the past year), but that was mostly fat from a sedentiary injury and being overworked.

He eats a bowl of grapenuts for breakfast, a myoplex (or grow) bar and 2 pieces of fruit for lunch, a healthy dinner (my mom is also making incredible progress on her diet and exercise, down 45 pounds from 1 year ago and hitting the weights)

He always complains that it is really inconvient to pack lunch to work, but I have to get him in this habit - buy a mini-fridge for his office and take chicken breasts, tuna sandwiches, etc.

He doesn’t have to worry too much out carbs, obviously, with the running and all that.

Honestly, he will never decrease the running amount - he loves it, and has been doing it for 30 years. I pretty much have to work around that. He has drastically reduced it, at his peak (10 years ago), he was running close to 45 miles a week.

But, every other suggestion is fantastic, especially the trust part. I think after sending him a few articles from t-mag, and seeing my progress over the past year (down 62 lbs as of today from 14 months ago, yay!), he’ll give me that six weeks.

The box squat idea is also very good. I thought maybe the same idea with walking lunges, slowly going further down, would work as well.

Any other suggestions would be great.

p.s. - just to let you know, I’m sending him your replies verbatim, just to see that his son isn’t just blow-harding it, that real people who know what they’re talking about are saying these things.

Thanks again!

A quick adjustment:

First, I didn’t mean the carbs comment like it came off, of course he has to worry about them, but I don’t think a low-carb diet would fit too well.

Second, he just told me he runs on average 16 miles a week now, and only eats 1200-1300 calories a day (!!)

He agrees his metabolism is a “train wreck” (better watch out Ike, my dad might try to beat up your dad!), and is very very appreciative of the comments you have all made.

Actually, I meant ‘increase’. Only about 20%, or so.

Simply because of this reason: This guy isn’t a bodybuilder! If he’s been running 20-40 miles a week for 30 years, he’s simply not going to respond to things quite the same as “we” all do.

I think if he upped his weightroom activity, but then started putting down 2500 calories a day, he’d just end up putting on fat.

Like I said. Metabolism = Train wreck. Hence we need a (relative) increase in activity to go along with the increase in calories. Once his metabolism gets “fixed”, we can lay off on the running and attempt to put on some LBM to help dieting efforts.

Very interesting Ike.

I think you are on the same page as him, that a drastic change in diet right now, coupled with a scale-back of running might put some fat on him.