T Nation

Help w/ First Client's Diet,Training


SO I am beginning my personal training quest and my first client is somewhat tricky. He is 249 lbs and 6 ft. He wants to get down to 190 and is very dedicated. He does a spin class four times a week at 5 in the morning and is planning on lifting right after each class. I don't think I am going to be able to talk him out of that part.

He has however given me complete control over his diet which is good since nutrition is such an important aspect. Here is what I have come up with. Please realize that this is my FIRST CLIENT. So please just give me some honest critique on what you think of the diet and training regiment I have come up with.


Upon waking
1 apple
1 cup of cottage cheese

730 Post Workout
8 oz of skim milk
1 dry cup of oats
1 scoop of whey protein
2 eggs 2 tbsp of olive oil

930 Snack
2 string cheese
1 oz. Of dry roasted almonds.

1 sandwich with whole wheat bread. All condiments are fine except for those that are high in sugar. Examples of high sugared condiments include ketchup, barbeque sauce, and miracle whip, (not mayonnaise,) whip cream, sweet and sour sauce. <<< Just to name a few.
Carrots with 2 tbsp of light ranch

Protein bar low in sugar

1 scoop of whey protein
1 cup of watermelon

16 0z of trimmed steak/chicken/fish/pork loin/ 3 tbsp of olive oil
1 bag of lettuce or frozen broccoli cooked with either vinegar or 3 tbsp of light dressing.

1 cup of cottage cheese
2 eggs or two tbsp of a natural peanut butter or almond butter.

I have also reccomended glutamine for the spin class.


4 day rotation

Chest and triceps
Incline Barbell 4 X 12-15
Barbell Bench 4 X 12-15
Decline Dumbell 4 X 12-15

Tricep Pull downs 3 X 10
Skull Crushera 3 X 10
Tricep Dips 2 X 8-10

Squats 3 X 8-10
Lunges 3 X 8-10
Leg press 3 X 10-12
Leg extension haha

Deadlift 4 X 10-12
Dumbell Row 4 X 12-15
Seated Row 4 X 12-15
Pull Ups/Pull DOwns 4 X 12-15

MIlitary press
Front Raises
Lateral Raises
Rear Delt Machine

Preacher curl
Incline Curl
Cable Curl


So he is a fat ass and you are recommending supplements for advanced strength athletes? Stop that.

You want him to lose weight and you are having him do curls? He needs to be doing full body movements every day. Deadlift, squat, press....every day.


I wouldn't personally eat cottage cheese right before cardio. Whey is lighter on my stomach.

Post workout I'd stick the maybe the whey and skim milk and have the fats and complex carbs a little later.

I also notice very little hamstring in your training, and no calves.


x2 on what DoubleDuce said about cottage cheese before cardio. You'd want him to have something faster absorbing like whey.

Also, ask him what his motivation is in the weight room. I understand he wants to lose weight, but he might be doing too much as far as spin followed by weights. Can he do weights or spin in the evening? Breaking up his workout like that might also help him boost his metabolism more efficiently. Also, is he getting enough calories? Did you calculate his bmr and activity levels and design the diet around that?


Your recommended diet contains only one serving of vegetables a day? You could replace all your diet advice with "eat something green and crunchy with every meal and don't buy anything that comes in a box." and your client would get good results. You are setting him up for constipation problems with all that protein and minimal fiber.

Having your client drinking skim milk is a waist of time, your recommendations are clearly low carbohydrate, so have your client drink healthy full milk. If he can get his hands on raw milk from a farmers market have him do that.

If used correctly, the inclusion of vegetables will help eliminate hunger through your semi starvation diet you have outlined. Learn and apply the principles of volumization. http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/volumize_your_diet

Good luck with your client.


Man, no offense, but what the fuck are you doing training people?


I completely forgot about this article thanks!


None taken. I'm doing what I love to do.


EDIT: Nevermind. Go get em champ


He's getting married in August and wants to look good for the wedding. Yes his BMR was around 2300 using Benedicts equation. But I strongly doubt 2300 calories would be anywhere near close to what he needs. I was thinking along the lines of 3500. THen we can start to cut things out according to how his weight loss goes.


More protein, more vegetables needed in the diet. If you were to recommend any supplements, BCAA's pre/during/after training are good or utilize the faster acting carbs post workout when he can. Personally, I don't like fruits since they contain a lot of sugar and I don't think they're great for dieting (contrary to some beliefs). Replace the fruits with some fibrous greens and try to have the guy get more whole protein sources in like chicken, steak, and fish. Milk can be good at times, but I would avoid that too.

x 2 on what mmllcc said with the need for full body movements every day.

Chad Waterbury/Alwyn Cosgrove both have good examples of full body routines that are good for fat loss. Also, the guy should try to get in either steady state cardio every day, increasing each week or some serious HIIT two to three times a week.


It isn't really important at this point what you have changed his diet to - it is important what you changed it from.

For example if this diet is a direct change from Twinkies and night-time binges, you will have an issue.

If he was previously eating just a bowl of low fat salad a day and eating a 2000kcal meal once a day - you will have an issue.

He may well have to re-learn how to eat and feed for aesthetics and health. To undo the damage that has been done over the past 'x' amount of years.

In most cases of 'general clients'*, you will find that of those who want to work real hard for 1-3 hours a day - that the majority believe this is enough to allow them to eat what they like - and most importantly, keep the bottle of wine on an evening.

The food you 'prescribed' (that makes me shudder) includes protein shakes.. with water no doubt. dont you think that as he is dieting, that opting for whole food options would be beneficial - with a lean turkey/chicken breast yeilding the same nutritional profile as a shake, but being infinitely more satisfying..

Your training program is a basic, run of the mill bodybuilding type program with high volume and muscle isolation.

There is no clue if you have been working on any muscle imbalances before this, or if you have been doing his pre-hab and postural work as you should with all 'general clients'.
There is no clue if he is able to complete such high volumes of resistance work or if he has ever lifted with intensity. A man that size may have lifted in his younger years - but may not have for 20 years or so.. making him essentially an absolute beginner.

Give an absolute beginner a resisted workout like that and you wont see them for a month - if ever again.

*General clients in this case are those who buy a trainer to achieve results for them who for the most part wont train hard enough and will drop out within 3 months. There are of course some who end up running marathons or achieving their goals - but they are the minority. They are generally sedentary or work sedentary jobs or have been training with no results since 'newbie gains'.

Being a trainer because you love training is like me being a gigolo because i like sex. It isn't that simple and doesn't work like that.
Saying that, seeing as you have started, you will find out for yourself if you are destined to be a trainer or not. Good luck - (get reading for christ' sake).



This guy sounds like he is pretty new to all this. Cutting out fruits? I don't know man. Maybe if you are dieting for a contest. This guy sounds like your average American. No need to go from completely lax to completely strict all at once. Cutting carbs, adding in lean protein, and cutting out junk and portion control is probably all this guy needs at this point.


This guy sounds like he is pretty new to all this. Cutting out fruits? I don't know man. Maybe if you are dieting for a contest. This guy sounds like your average American. No need to go from completely lax to completely strict all at once. Cutting carbs, adding in lean protein, and cutting out junk and portion control is probably all this guy needs at this point.[/quote]

x 2
I agree that he should ease his way into a better eating plan and that the first things that should change are cutting out junk and increasing meal frequency. Maybe cutting out the fruit might be much for his purposes lol.


As a trainer you shouldn't be prescribing a specific diet. STOP. Seriously.

You can educate people on nutrition and help them develop a sample meal plan with their input giving them options on food choices that would help them reach their goals.


x2 - Are you a dietitian?


No. But he literally asked me to lay out a meal plan for him


It's hard not to go off at you about all this. Brook and others have it very correct.

First off, fine you have "training" or "schooling" to be a trainer (just as all of us who started where you are) but unless that comes with a serious education on nutrition as well (dietician, clinical nutritionist) you have no legal basis and/or back up to be prescribing a diet, let alone supplements.

You can advise heathier choices as suggested - more greens, more low calorie fruits (berries, melons), clean whole food proteins, good fats and nothing out of a box, but specifics - don't go near them. I'm 100% sure the guy knows what he's been eating wrong. And how he can improve it.

I've found it's better to have these types of clients journal their eating patterns and you can take 10 minutes at the end of the week to discuss one or two small tweaks to improve OVER TIME.

I hope to hell you have insurance my man! Because if this every backfires on you...can someone say E&O liability lawsuit?

With bigger people you can't give them bodybuilding exercises and routines. The volume is too much, they'll be too sore, their immune system will last about a week before they get super ill off any bug floating around and on and on and on.

The bigger a person is the more it comes down to simply moving and moving a lot (prescribe daily 45 minute walks outside), as well as fixing postural issues which hinder proper movmenet patterns.
I suggest you pick up a book: Movement That Matters by Paul Chek (http://shop1.mailordercentral.com/thechekinstitute/prodinfo.asp?number=MTM) It's $20. It'll hopefully change your mindset here.

Alwyn Cosgrove's bodyweight training or beginner level Scott Abel MET training (www.scottabel.com) could be a better way of doing this.

Put it this way - the guy weighs 250lbs. How much more do you want him to squat? How much more compression do his joints really need?


and if he asks you to shoot growth hormone is his ass literally, you up for that too?!

You can say you're not qualified for what you don't know.


then he should go to an RD. Most probably suck, but try to network and find one that will fit.

Or, again you could educate him on proper nutrition and empower him to make his own choices.