T Nation

Helping a VERY Overweight Kid

I had a friend of my son come up to us in the weight room asking us to order him HOT-ROX. This kid is obese, I’m guessing 5’11" and 350+. I told him I won’t order it, it would be throwing his money away, but if he was serious I’d help him out. We talked for a long time, he seems very sincere and serious, wants to make the football team next year.

I sent him home with an assignment of logging his current diet for a couple days, told him write “everything” down including times he’s eating and snacking, and what he’s drinking.

I’d really like to do right by this kid, he doesn’t get much help from his single mother. I’d appreciate any input on putting together a diet for this kid. It needs to be realistic to what you can expect a 16 year old to stick to. I already told him he’ll be eating probably 6 times a day, and he won’t go hungry.

My son eats according to John Berardis DVD, what I’m not sure about is calorie requirements, and protein requirements for a kid this size…

Planning his new diet depends a little on how his current diet is, what foods he has access to, and how dedicated he will be to sticking to his new diet.

There are a couple of situations he could have gotten himself into. He could just be eating really crappy food with a huge surplus of calories, in which all you can do is teach him to eat right and give him a basic exercise program.

Or he may have tried dieting on his own and ended up totally killing his metabolism by eating too little (been there done that) in which case he’ll have to eat healthy and slowly increase his caloric intake. Either of those are probably the most likely situations I think.

As a teenager chances are he doesn’t go shopping for food and will probably have to ask his mum to buy certain things and whatnot. Chances are he has a basic knowledge of healthy eating but you might have to clarify some things such as portion size and eating times. The diet will be the hardest part for him but once he has his diet on track half the battle is already won.

Along with a basic program like rippetoe’s starting strength he should have no problem slimming down. As long as he keeps to the diet and training that is.

Personally the best thing that happened to me was finding this site. I went through a lot of information while kinda just staying in the background. Show him T-Nation and if he really is determined then he will push himself and ask questions.

Dear god I hope someone doesn’t flame me for something I typed lol.

16… 350lbs…

I was 90 something kgs when i started changing my life. At the same age of 16.

What i did was follow my mum out shopping every time and i read the labels of everything. EVERYTHING. my mum would get pissed at me cause i took too long. but to be honest it helped.

Initial weight loss was SO rapid cause i was so fat (i did whole body workouts 3 times a week and then did isolated type work to bring up lagging parts 1’ce or 2’ce a week)…

Now i know what to eat; what to buy. what to do. when to eat…

And i did that at the age of 16. Determination. And i haven’t cheated since.

T-Nation. DO NOT let him eat the Propaganda of Bodybuilding.com

Soo Bodybuilding.com has propaganda but T-Nation doesnt?? LOL Wake up

If his mom is willing to help him out, and commit to help him have the necessary foods available, I’ll probably take him shopping the first time and buy his food for the first week. By looking at mom and little brother I think they have no concept of how to eat, probably eats total crap all the time.

I’m thinking if he follows a simple easy guideline he’ll see tremendous results, as long as he’s as committed as he sounds. I’m really anxious to see his food log for the next few days. I’ve instructed my son to check up on him in school to see if he’s actually keeping it up, and not just trying to remember everything at the end of the day.

I’ve also instructed my son not to criticize what he’s eating right now, so we get an honest assessment of what and how he’s actually eating currently.

yah i kinda wana see what he eats too. cause when i was super-overweight… i ate alot. but… somehow i wasn’t getting as big as him. =/

I ate fast food all the time. whole tubs of ice-cream… and stuff. Hmmm.

I’d probably put him on something like the Anabolic Diet. He’s more likely to comply with the diet if he can eat until he full, and the low-carb route is almost certainly the way to go with this kid.

I would not ‘guess’ a weight, you should weigh him. I see a lot of very obese people though shorter then 5’11 who look like there 350+ but really are under 300 lbs just store fat in all the wrong places.

walking would probably benefit this kid incredibly well

uhm i highly doubt rippetoe is for 350 pound individuals that have never had weightlifting before. (or has he? the OP didnt specify)

but if he can do it and wont have any medical problems (we all know how quickly a heavy squat or deadlift can raise your heart beat rate) then sure. i highly doubt he’ll have the mobility to start with to squat anywhere near deep enough or to deadlift without killing his back but if he does by all means do so.

i say start by telling him what to eat thats healthy. say… get in 4000-5000 healthy cals (the stuff that you eat when you bulk) and then ONLY if he gets those in in a day he can eat what he wants… later tell him to stop eating the crappy things too starting by the sugars, then with the rest.

later try to reduce carbs, then the healthy fats too(meanwhile getting in some cheat meals to keep metabolism high)

im guessing the above should be done one by one every time he loses around 20-25 more lbs

if he cant do rippetoe now he should start it whenever he is able too to keep as much muscle as he can.

of course make sure he eats tons of protein at all times. if he isnt able to follow a decent program put him on a worse one that hes able to do and those two along with keeping the metabolism high by getting better food choices first and then slowly decreasing cals and carbs while keeping cheat meals every 4-5 days will let keep him from losing too much muscle.

im assuming by following something like this he’ll have heck of a quick progress till he drops to 250lbs or so

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:
Along with a basic program like rippetoe’s starting strength he should have no problem slimming down.

uhm i highly doubt rippetoe is for 350 pound individuals that have never had weightlifting before. (or has he? the OP didnt specify)

but if he can do it and wont have any medical problems (we all know how quickly a heavy squat or deadlift can raise your heart beat rate) then sure. i highly doubt he’ll have the mobility to start with to squat anywhere near deep enough or to deadlift without killing his back but if he does by all means do so.

i say start by telling him what to eat thats healthy. say… get in 4000-5000 healthy cals (the stuff that you eat when you bulk) and then ONLY if he gets those in in a day he can eat what he wants… later tell him to stop eating the crappy things too starting by the sugars, then with the rest. later try to reduce carbs, then the healthy fats too(meanwhile getting in some cheat meals to keep metabolism high)

im guessing the above should be done one by one every time he loses around 20-25 more lbs

if he cant do rippetoe now he should start it whenever he is able too to keep as much muscle as he can.

of course make sure he eats tons of protein at all times. if he isnt able to follow a decent program put him on a worse one that hes able to do and those two along with keeping the metabolism high by getting better food choices first and then slowly decreasing cals and carbs while keeping cheat meals every 4-5 days will let keep him from losing too much muscle.

im assuming by following something like this he’ll have heck of a quick progress till he drops to 250lbs or so

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Nothing wrong with Rippetoe’s starting strength, as long as he has the mobility to bench, squat, and deadlift. His bench might stall fairly quickly if he makes gains in it then loses weight (increasing ROM).

The Starting Strength program is GREAT for someone who has never been lifting before! That’s the basic premise of it. Start him off with the bar if you have to, make sure he has form, then let 'er have it as you make him pop blood vessels in his eyeballs with 110 pound squats (with good form)! :slight_smile:

well if the kid can… then sure.

but i highly highly doubt at 350 he’ll have anywhere near the mobility needed

Ok, this is not rocket science. I am going to guess this kid is fairly inactive right now. I am going to assume that he makes terrible food choices and has a problem with portion control.

Starting him on a specific program, or the Anabolic Diet is crazy at this point. Tell the kid he can’t eat carbs and I guarantee when he gets to that 48 hour carb load period it is going to be a junk food free for all.

One easy principle to follow: KISS. Don’t overwhelm the kid with a strict diet and a program. Just get him moving. Have him lift full body 3 times per week, and try to do something where he is moving two times a week. Teach him basic principles, basic movements, teach him basic progressions. Notice the one word I keep using BASIC.

As far as diet, teach the kid how to eat right and make good choices. Give him a database of good healthy protein, carb, veggies, fruits, and fat sources. Set up some guidelines and let him pick and choose and create a “diet” for himself. This kid needs to learn how to manage his weight, not be on a diet, he needs to learn to make good choices so he doesn’t return to old habits.

He doesn’t need a strict no carb diet and advanced training program. Call me whatever you want and flame away for me not putting the kid through the ringer with the velocity diet and a Thib’s contest prep body building program. (Not that there is anything wrong with either of them, hell I have done the V-diet twice.) But the kid needs some guidance and needs to see some success first, then you can progress him as needed.

[quote]BigThrows wrote:
Ok, this is not rocket science. I am going to guess this kid is fairly inactive right now. I am going to assume that he makes terrible food choices and has a problem with portion control.

Starting him on a specific program, or the Anabolic Diet is crazy at this point. Tell the kid he can’t eat carbs and I guarantee when he gets to that 48 hour carb load period it is going to be a junk food free for all.

One easy principle to follow: KISS. Don’t overwhelm the kid with a strict diet and a program. Just get him moving. Have him lift full body 3 times per week, and try to do something where he is moving two times a week. Teach him basic principles, basic movements, teach him basic progressions. Notice the one word I keep using BASIC.

As far as diet, teach the kid how to eat right and make good choices. Give him a database of good healthy protein, carb, veggies, fruits, and fat sources. Set up some guidelines and let him pick and choose and create a “diet” for himself. This kid needs to learn how to manage his weight, not be on a diet, he needs to learn to make good choices so he doesn’t return to old habits.

He doesn’t need a strict no carb diet and advanced training program. Call me whatever you want and flame away for me not putting the kid through the ringer with the velocity diet and a Thib’s contest prep body building program. (Not that there is anything wrong with either of them, hell I have done the V-diet twice.) But the kid needs some guidance and needs to see some success first, then you can progress him as needed. [/quote]

I gotta agree with BT on this, if you put the kid on something super strict he’ll likely give up quickly. My guess is he’s like every other teenager these days, sits in front of the computer, TV or Xbox for 8 hours. Get him outside walking to start off, 30min a day will do him a world of good. Teach him about empty calories and how even a snack size snickers is a waste of calories. Show him around the gym, teach him the basic “football” strength movements and get him comfortable with them once he’s got that figured out then progress a little at a time. Before long he’ll be hooked and not realize how much work he’s doing. Personally I believe if you throw to much at most kids they are going to be overwellmed(sp) and quit on you. Take it slow with him, I’m guessing that a little is going to go a long way with a kid that heavy.

I concur w/BigThrows amd Dday.

Keep it simple. Start w/nutrition- specifically what NOT to eat- sugar,junk,processed,etc. He’s probably insulin resistant or pre diabetic at this point and can’t metabolize sugar. Explain his health risks when he eats junk food.

Keep the workouts fun and just moderately challenging at first so he sticks with it.

Explain to him, that this(serious weightloss/fitness) will be a long term process not a quick fix.

keep us posted on his progress.

We weighed him today, he weighs 320. Did a really light full body circuit type workout, then walked a mile around the track. We did bar only squats so he could just feel the movement, that was fairly challenging itself. Did a couple sets of bench press, some lat pulldowns, some dumbbell overhead press, dumbell curls, tricep pushdowns. Tried to keep it fun. It wore him out completely, but he was feeling pretty good when we finished the mile walk. We talked a lot about nutrition throughout the workout.

I agree with the above posts that it has to stay fairly simple at first, keep him interested, and make it so it’s possible to stick with it.

I wish he had access to someone more qualified to help him, but the more I listen I realize I’m his best choice. He talked to the football coach, he told him to stop eating, then handed him a printed out workout that was for a pretty advanced lifter, he had no idea how to even start it. He didn’t even know what half the excercises were.

Sniper,
So far so good. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

He’s lucky to have you around to show him the way.

Not to keep beating the nutrition horse to death(if thats even possible) but the sooner he learns how to eat correctly the quicker the fat will melt off him.

Also, have him read this site- lots of great info about nutrition. I think CT’s writings would be a good start for a big guy wanting to lower his bodyfat.

It’s obvious, but the coach is giving him bad advice. Good luck with that.

Stay at 'em!

By the way, I’m very hesitant to refer a kid to this website, especially such a beginner. I’ve done it a few times over the last couple years, they always come back to me with “can you order me Alpha Male” or “how do I get steroids”. They always gravitate to the wrong areas. Better to just print out some good articles and pass those along. When, and if he gets real serious and has “some” knowledge under his belt, then I’d feel okay doing that.

My sons friends all know this is where we get our protein, Surge, BCAA, etc. That’s not the stuff most teenage kids want to spend their money on, they want the sexy sounding stuff, Alpha Male, Carbolin 19…

The first step is easy…
No soda.
1 12 oz glass of cold water every hour.
Lean protein sources 5 times a day.
No fast food…ever. Not even on cheat days.
Green veggies every day.
No chips, crackers, or candy.
Exercise every day. Cardio/NEPA 7 d/w, lift 3-4 d/w.
Woof down favorite food (non-fast food) once a week for a treat. Mine is burrito, but I don’t get Taco Bell. I get a REAL mexican burrito from a real hole in the wall joint.

Basically, right now, just get him moving every day and cut out the soda/junk food. That alone will be enough to make huge changes in his life.

Sweat the details when he gets 6-12 months down the road and 70 lbs lighter. Too many to do lists, programs, etc for a kid with his unhealthy lifestyle will just deter him from doing anything at all. Keep it simple for now. I wouldn’t even ask him to log his current diet. That’s too much of a pain in the ass for someone not already into lifting.

Good luck with this kid. Keep us informed on his progress. 8) I love hearing these kinds of stories when people make amazing changes in their lives. You’ll never regret one moment spent with him if you find a way to motivate him to great success. Cheers.

Move more, eat less.

Daily walks.

Whole foods with a good lean protein source at every meal.

Don’t go too strict, you have to teach him why most highly processed foods are bad. Teach him that eating healthy can taste good. You have to change his behavior, make the process about him. Don’t put worry about the little stuff, focus on him and how he perceives his choices. You just can’t give him the answers, he has to learn if you want him to be successful in the long run.

Some for of total body training with short rest intervals. As one of the coaches said, teach him to life, teach him to lift hard, then teach him how to lift smart.