Trying To Help Dad

My dad is very over-weight. His bodyfat is well into the mid to high 20’s. I want to try to get him to lose weight but at the same time trying to keep energy. He works unsteady hours so he’s at work alot. I was thinking of putting him on the Next Big 3 by CW but there are a couple of problems.

  1. He cannot do chin ups so, I’m guessing I need to help him work up to those.

  2. I’m not sure if working out twice a week is enough for a calorie deficit but to be honest, he does not have time to workout everyday. Maybe 3 times a week, max. So would I throw in a cardio day since you only workout twice a week on NB3?

Lastly, in terms of diet, I need something that involves an easy to follow plan since he’s at work often. Mostly easy to pack foods. He is not a fan of protein shakes or supps in general but I’m going to try to get him to down some post-workout. So what should I do for diet?

Keep things as simple as possible for him. Make sure he has good form on his lifts, does mainly compound mvmts, doesn’t go failure too often - to avoid burnout, (but maybe every once in awhile b/c some people like to “feel the burn,” as it makes them think they are working harder. Even know we know this “burn” shouldn’t be a goal, but it MAY make him feel good about his efforts), have him work full body in his workouts. If it is difficult to get him in the gym very often, you should probably push for him to get in cardio after his lifts. (He can do lat pull downs in place of chins - you may hafta make adjustments on some/many of the exercises). Nutrition: don’t worry about getting too detailed in the beginning. You don’t need to explain the benefit of every supp., (I am sure at this point he doesn’t give a shit about the difference in whey and casein protein) attempt to get him to eat at least 4 meals/day, in order to get in at least 4 meals, it’s gonna take planning, there’s no way around this, (cook a couple chicken breasts the night before w/ some veggies, put in the fridge and have him take it too work so there is NO EXCUSE to miss meals at work). Then, hopefully he’ll adopt this lifestyle, if that happens, you can possibly take the next step…A more integrated program that involves a very individualed training/nutrition/supp program. Once again - SIMPLE for now.

Best of luck,


Last year I lost my Dad around this time so I commend you for making the effort to help your father.

You’ve got some good advice so far. I think the biggest obstacles facing beginners are the psychological ones. It is important that you keep things simple (especially nutritionally) for the first while. Have him eat several small meals per day, but don’t worry about a food log for now. I personally cook a bunch of chicken breasts and extra lean ground beef once per week. I put half in the freezer and leave half in the fridge. I also a few cups of rice and whole wheat pasta. I buy frozen veggies and spinach spring mix salad in a bag. Then when I go to work I just toss a chicken breast/beef and some rice/pasta/frozen veggies in a Tupperware and go. You can have all your meals for the week already made. I also find that raw veggies, fruit, nuts, and beef jerky are easy to carry around. Have him eat 1 serving of Vector and 12oz skim milk after his workout if he won’t use a PWO shake.

From john berardi
(358 calories) - 18g protein, 65g Carbohydrate, 2.8g Fat

Right now I believe that if you Dad wasn’t training at all that 2 days will be enough (both physiologically and psychologically). Start him slow and build as his interest climbs.

Remember too that he’s older and will need a week off every 8-12 weeks for sure.

I am sure that there will be many sceptics out there, but the Atkins diet is very rewarding initially, since weight loss is so rapid in the beginning. The “eat as much meat as you want” philosphy will help someone like your dad feel satiated, while losing weight. After the 1st 2 weeks, transition him over to a “cleaner” diet. The atkins phase will train him to recognize crap-carbs vs good-carbs. That’s how I started, lost 20-30 lbs, before starting to bulk-up from lifting.

As for excersise, just start walking. I started with 1/2 walks, worked up to 5miles/day, then 5milesX2/day. That’s a good start for “cardio” for someone that is that outta-shape. Start really light with the weights (follow reccomendations above on weights).

It’s too easy to burn out on diet/lifting…start him off slow, make him notice the rewards, and hopefully he’ll want to make more gains…and keep the momentum.

Good luck!

Shouldn’t he do cardio on off days? I always thought it wasn’t good to do cardio after you worked out. I have a home gym with a treadmill too so everything is pretty accessible all the time.

In terms of workout here is what I’m thinking, first two - three weeks, light weights mid-range reps (8-10) focusing on form.
Exercises: Deadlift walks, Sternum Pull-Downs, Shoulder Press Squats, Bench Press.
He will do the NB3 routine twice a week on Monday and Friday and light cardio on Wednesday.

In terms of nutrition, drink mostly water. My parents are very avid tea drinkers. They drink black tea, I don’t think that its that bad. I’m not too sure though. Usually for dinner, my mom makes white rice and meat with like soup sort of. I’m guessing the white rice isn’t good. Should we substitute something else for that? In terms of foods heres the general plan, note: I will try to get him to have a fruit or veggie with each meal:

Meal 1: Egg Sandwich
Meal 2: Tuna Sandwich or Boureg*
Meal 3: Chicken with some veggies
Meal 4: Whatever my mom makes with salad
Meal 5: Peanutbutter sandwich

*Boureg is a mid-eastern food. Basicly Egg roll wrap, with ground beef inside.

Post-workout is usualy between meal 4 and 5, I am just going to try to get him to drink some skim milk since he is not a fan of supps. I’m open to suggestions, thanks for the help so far.

In my opinion, Surge is tastier than milk, so maybe he’ll go for it.

As far as the cardio goes, just try to get him to do it for now. I think it will be fine on workout or non-workout days. I suggested (in the above reply) to try to get him to do it after his lift b/c for many people, once they are at the gym, they are more likely to get it in. Maybe this isn’t the case w/ him.

If you must do the rice thing, try to make it brown rice/wild rice. I’m not a HUGE fan of rice b/c of the carb/volume ratio. In other words, a small amount is fine, but if he’s like most people, the plate will have a large portion of rice on it. If that is the case, the carbs add up really quickly, (just like w/ pasta). And remember, carbs should be lower in the evening/night time. (unless you workout later) And when it comes to things like sandwiches, make sure he’s using whole wheat bread and to watch the toppings, (i.e. mayo). Toppings can make many acceptable meals into unhealthy meals. Finally, Natural PB, not the regular kind.



I agree with DBoy. While it may not be optimal from a physiological standpoint to do cardio after his workout (which is debatable anyway) he’d probably rather just get it done. If you’re only having him train 2 days per week he won’t feel that it’s taking up all his time. That way he’ll feel more inclined to work out.

As for exercises, I think that the plan you’ve selected might be a little complex for a beginner. He should probably learn how to deadlift (and do it well) before starting with deadlift walks. The same goes for squatting. Start with the fundamentals and add on later.

Use Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Presses, Rows, Pulldowns (until he can do chins), and Shoulder Presses. Anything more complex and you’re just begging for an injury.

I have to ask what you’re planning to put in the egg sandwhich. My suggestion is to use more whites than yolks so you can get more protein in with less total calories. As was mentioned, whole wheat bread is a must. While white rice is not as good as brown just focus on getting him eating regularly for now. Any extra time he has to pour into it might deter him. Careful with any dressings used on the salad. If you can get him to have a PWO shake then do that. If not, don’t push it. Stick with the milk (remembering that the amount we used in the study JB reviewed was 500ml after a workout).

Alright well to be honest, my dad is very willing to workout three times a week. He’s like me and so trust me, he is willing.

I’m not sure what to do as for a workout. I’m going to have him do cardio on monday, wednesday and friday but only lift monday and friday. For workout I guess I’ll do very light weights, focusing on form for the first 2-3 weeks. Then I’ll go into the actual NB3 program.

For nutrition, I know the good stuff, natural vs non-natural peanutbutter and whole wheat bread. When it comes to supps, my dad does not care about taste. Its just the fact that he likes actual food better. Its one of his personal preferences.

and those are compound movements for the first couple weeks BTW

I’m not sure what you mean when you say you are gonna have him do “very light weights.” For someone new, I usually have him/her start off in the 10-15 rep range in good form, (maybe 8-12). In other words, if 15 reps is ez, time to move the weight up. Maybe you are thinking the same thing, but I just wanted to make sure you don’t mean “very light weights” as in I am gonna have him do 5 lb curls when he is capable of doing 25 lbers. in the above mentioned rep ranges. Or 75 on the bench when capable of doing 135 for 13. (Just making sure)



Well I am not gonna give him the lightest weights possible but I’m not sure if I should get him to keep high volume. The NB3 routine is good for my dad because it is low in volume. Do you think that if I try to push him that hard he will still have energy for everything else?

Definitely do NOT push him too hard. But I wouldn’t have him doing sets where he is nearing failure in the low rep-range, (1-6). Unless he has a backround in lifting from years past, (and I get the impression from your posts that this is the first time he will be lifting weights). A person who is new to lifting will not recruit motor units as efficiently as someone who has put in some serious time. That is why I suggest the 8-15 rep range. If that seems like a volume that is too high, just lower the sets. i.e. 2 X 15, or 3 X 10. His training age (once again, if new) tells me it would not be beneficial to having him do somin’ like 8 X 3. I wouldn’t give a specialized program for awhile. Things like 60 sec RI is not that important. I think you should monitor RI, but have him go more by feel in the beginning. Give him a RI range, somin’ like 1-2 mins. If he is still feeling pretty fatigued, just have him wait a little longer. Don’t get too paticular…yet. As we’ve stated earlier, hopefully he’ll adopt this lifestyle, and if that happens, then worry about getting him on a proram w/ strict RI, heavier weight/lower reps, antagonist supersets 'n all that. For now I would just have him do a compound movement for each major body part, and then towards the end, (optional) you can throw in some curls or tricep kickbacks, errr, pushdowns.

Hope ALL this helps,


Sounds good, Thanks again to everyone who helped.