T Nation

Some Help with a Roommate

This is going to be a pretty long post so bear with me here.

I’m looking for some insight into helping train one of my roommates. He’s 5’5" 175, body fat around 30% by 7 point caliper. Prior to this last semester when he started training with us, he’d never really done anything athletic in his life. In the 4 months or so since then his strength has increased a lot (squat 150 to 275, deadlift from 175 to 300, bench from 110 to 170) without a whole lot of body comp change.

He has a lot of trouble controlling his diet (and that’s obviously going to be #1 here!) because he has Celiac disease and allergies to milk, walnuts, and several others. He also has an anatomical leg length difference, balance issues and some other complicated medical issues and family history. My training partner oversaw 99% of his training this semester which was basically a body part split and a run at the Anabolic diet which stopped after 3 weeks or so because of his allergies.

Really big points to address:

  1. Body fat.
  2. Very weak grip strength (fortunately this has shored up a lot with his 300 DL but he still has lots of problems)
  3. Very weak lats (has difficulty barbell rowing the bar)
  4. Very deconditioned (no history of sports, his calves get tired from walking up hills)

I’d like to see him run something like Madcow 5x5 to exploit his very strong squat, but at 30% body fat I think that losing the fat should come first. I’m would appreciate some views on what other people would do in this situation.

Keep him active is the biggest thing, as long as he’s not falling back into sedentary life he’s making good habits.

I’d work on the bodyfat first, like you said, he’ll just feel a lot better if he gets rid of that, too.

problems 1 and 4 go hand in hand. drop bodyfat and he is not carrying as much useless weight around, obviously making it easy to run and walk. Problem #3, i always thought BB rows were more for your traps, teres major/minor and your rhomboids. Wide grip pull-ups/pulls downs for your lats. As far as grip strength is concerned, deadlift, heavy DB lunges and farmers walk should fix that.

Have him look into the paleo diet. Its pretty basic, meat and vegetables, but it does a good job of staying away from grains and dairy which would help him greatly w/ his allergies and body comp. You can definitely get in some good proteins and fats w/ olive/coconut oils, and just enough carbs from veggies to keep him fueled.

I think he Madcow 5x5 would work considering his short training age, and you can always toy w/ the parameters and do smaller jumps each workout to make up for the lack of recovery. I think he can still get stronger as long as he is getting decent sleep and not severely dropping calories.

I think the hardest part will be figuring out and sticking to the meal plan.

A question about his leg length difference, does he squat w/ a shim on one side, or have some sort of special shoe to make up for it during his daily activities? I can see how that would effect his progress and lead to some imbalances.

The C2 Rower/AirDyne might be good candidates for conditioning work if he can’t sprint or do a lot of dynamic movements.

Get him to go for a 1 hour walk every day. Once he looses some weight, start running that mofo.

naet could help him get rid of his allergies