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Old 03-21-2011, 10:00 AM   #1
Joel Godfrey
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Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

He's my cousin.

6'2", 330# and he hasn't worked out since high school. He lost his job and is generally low on self confidence and is in bad shape physically. I see that warrior spirit inside of him that he doesn't see, and I see an extremely STRONG guy waiting to bust out!

My question (or conversation)...those of you that have trained someone like this - any tips? He's driving to my house 3-4 times weekly, and atleast two long walks on other days. His first 3 workouts he has put out hard and really shown some intensity. He wants to change. I want him to make the gym a habit, then we will work on diet. Only dieting we have changed is no pop (he drank up to a 2 liter daily).

While training has gone great so far, I'm always up for advice from those much more knowledgeable than myself.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
Rebecca Roth
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

I am definitely not a trainer, but in a similar situation with a friend. He started walking a little bit on his own, but just wasn't feeling like he was making any progress and started asking me about reccommendations. I had him start doing 3 rounds of 5 pushups, 10 sit ups, and 15 squats (briefed on proper form/depth and gave videos of each).
Starting out with this routine in the morning upon waking up left him sore, but feeling positive about really feeling a change and after a few days he started doing it in the morning and at night before bed. Now he is up to 5 sets twice a day, and is about to start increasing the reps in each set, as well as his walking distances, and has dropped 2 sizes. Another friend who I got started doing this a couple weeks ago as well and is seeing similar improvements.
Just remember to start gradually, people who are very overweight struggle with even the most basic movements simply because of the amount of weight they are moving around, however their strength will also come along very quickly... as long as they aren't pushed so hard that they end up injured and get set back. Slow & steady is the way to go.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
Mike Darley
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

I'm not a trainer, but I was a fairly big guy myself whose had some success getting in shape. I'm no expert, but I'll give you a few things I've learned.

First, I'd make diet more of a priority. I used to work out quite a bit, but maintained an unhealthy diet and saw only moderate success. Big guys typically like to eat, and so you may be thinking that you don't want to push the issue so he doesn't get discouraged. Speaking from experience, doing all the work he'll be putting in and not seeing the weigh come off can be even more discouraging.

Second, scale. I know this may seem obvious, but it wasn't for me when I first started. I was kind of stubborn about it. I'd see the rx'd weights and know I could do it. It just took me like five times longer than it should have. Of course this missed the point of intensity, which is what actually causes our body to burn fat. Focus on strength on strength days, and metcon on metcon days.

Also, make sure you encourage him to measure his progress. Measure his waist, weight, etc. Maybe encourage him to take a picture of himself with this shirt off. (For his eyes only if you don't want it to be too weird.) Benchmark things like number of pull-up, push-ups, etc. He won't be in the kind of shape he wants right away. It will take a very long time. There's the tendency to want to give up. If you can say, "Hey cousin, don't quit, look at all the progress you've made. Don't throw it all away." This will help.

Anyway, just a few thoughts from someone whose been there.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:35 AM   #4
Joel Godfrey
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

We have started out slowly, as injury/frustration are his two largest factors for failure I believe. He is actually very strong naturally...I've done a couple if workouts that have challenged and made him very sore but not frustrated.


For time
500M row
40 squats
30 abmat situps
20 pushups

(took him 25 minutes)


Mountain climbers
Burpees (no jump) with box step (12")
Half Turkish gitups (15#)
Kb swing (25#)
Med ball toss

Gus: 3 rounds for time:
- 5 sledge hammers (each arm)
- Fire hose carry down street and back
- 5 keg slams (work on clean/press)
- 5 lunges each leg
- 6 pushups
- 15 air squats
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:37 AM   #5
Joel Godfrey
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

We have completed all of those workouts. I'm trying to show him new creative ways of getting in shape, and as you can see, he's capable of more than just walking etc.

I have also been careful to teach him proper form. We are learning the Olympic movements without load one at a time.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
Joel Godfrey
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Smile Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

Mike - really appreciate the response.

The diet thing is very tricky for TWO reasons.

1. He IS used to the horrid eating habits, and it will be tough.
2. The biggest reason; he lost his job, has had to move in with his parents and has little money for food. He eats what is put in front of him by his obese parents. Hence the reason I picked out soda as a modification. Not only will he lose weight, but it will save him money.

I will try and develop something for him and his limited budget. I agree with your diet comments wholeheartedly.

His weights on lifts are ALL scaled. He has lots of body weight to work with. I am focusing on the intensity vs slow paced lifting, and we are working on a power movement daily. We review the prior workouts lift, and learn a new one. That is in additiOn to the workout.

He is bringing a scale and tape for measurements today. We will also be doing pictures. He is comfortable with me because I am family.

I appreciate all of the responses.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
Gene Pires
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

good for you Joel. It is a very good thing that you help out this man. If only everyone had someone who was as helpful. This country would be very different.

I have heard from other sources about the way the HR can go really high just walking with obese people. Maybe a good idea to strap one on him and keep an eye on that as he works out and walks. Keeping it high but not to high.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:43 PM   #8
Meghan Reid
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

I like that you are easing him into it.

I think that dropping the soda will make a huge impact initially that will eventually level out. If nothing else, it will be a pretty significant calorie reduction and will help stabilize his blood sugar. Plus, the more he works out the more he'll feel better, and he'll probably *want* to start eating more healthfully.

Good job. Best of luck to you!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:04 AM   #9
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasn't worked out in years!!!

I have found with my clients that measured improvement is such a positive reenforcement. Track results. Simple things like number of push ups without stopping. Create a benchmark sheet and repeat stuff every three or four weeks. When the early benchmarks becomes too easy create new ones.

I just moved everyone up from a 3 round version of Kelly to the Rx'd version of Kelly as one of our bench marks. They were really proud to be doing it full length. No fear either, they knew they could handle it even if it did take awhile to get through it.

A workout like Kelly is perfect because it could start as simple as 1 round 400m walk/jog + 30 12" step-ups alternating feet + 30 air squats for time. Now as he progresses you can add rounds, you can increase box height, you can go to box jumps, you can go to wall balls, you can increase wall ball weight and so on. Celebrate each upgrade. Going from 1 round to two is a Big F**ing deal!

Someone already mentioned a tape measure. I tell my clients we prefer changes in how clothing fits to scales early on because often some one might loose 15 lbs. of body fat but gain 8 lbs. of lean muscles mass when they start out. The scale only shows a 7 lbs. difference but the person has probably lost 2 or 3" from their waist.

Giving people permission to have what I would call an "off" day. Just didn't fell 100%, couldn't do something as well as they have done it before. Missing a lift they have made before.

I teach about sleep and good pre workout fueling habits. My clients know I'm going to ask them if they ate lunch and what they had. If it was too light or they skipped it I give them a friendly reminder there are three important aspects to improving fitness and health. Nutrition, rest/sleep and a good workout program. Amazing how often my clients get the rest and nutrition part wrong but try and come into the gym and go hard. They are slowly learning....

I have found positive encouragement and support works much better then yelling like some stupid high school football coach to work harder. If we make eating well and doing CrossFit a positive experience people will continue to do it. The more they continue to do it the better results they get, the more the positive experience continues. That is the magic that leads to big successes!
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:29 AM   #10
Joel Godfrey
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Re: Training 30 y/o, 330# male who hasnt worked out in years!!!

Thank you all for the replies. My cousin is bringing it daily!!! Today we did the following:

Deadlift work (form, light weight, explaining how it leads to other lifts, explaining benefits of the DL)

Workout:

- 40 burpees
- 40 ab mat sit-ups
- 50 kb swings (he liked these, 35# bell)
- 40 body weight rows (not quite to pullups)
- 20 box jumps, 12" box
- 10 dips on huge tire

I based this off of Tuesday's workout. We split all exercises up into 10 reps each until we hit the magic numbers. He views the elephant as much smaller doing them 10 at a time.

He did awesome!!! Friday squat / tire sled work and we will work on form.

The positive reinforcement is working. I am cautiously optimistic...and learning so much at the same time. I'm certified level 1 but it's so cool to see the rubber meet the road and put things into motion.

He has had zero pop since our talk. Will be working on diet also...

I recommend the positive attitude as well vs the yelling method. He needs to hear he is doing good, but yet is being pushed very hard. One man I've learned a lot about being positive from is Rudy Reyes. He is a friend and someone that is so positive...it really helps.

All in all, great start. He is getting more and more hungry for improvement. He is going to quit smoking shortly.

Just thought I'd update everyone. Crossfit really IS for ANYONE.
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