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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 01-17-2012, 09:54 AM   #1
Bryce Horrell
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Training an obese woman

I am currently training a woman who could be classified as obese. She is very large but she is not so large that she cant squat, deadlift, or even do a light jog.

I wanted to get everybodys opinion here on what the best method of training this woman would be. So let me know what you think.

I just want to let you know that I am there when she trains and she will do whatever I tell her. BUT.. She will not yet try my diet. Right now she said she wants to do WeightWatchers diet, which is eating so many "points" per day based on the fat, fiber, carbs, etc... of food. Pretty often she eats the WeightWatcher meals which are essentially little TV dinners. Eventually I am going to try to suggest to her that she try a more proper diet. But I cant push too hard all at once. The fact that she is even working out is a great thing. So far she has lost 5 pounds. One nice thing is that she will drink protein shakes.

I first weened her into fitness with walking on a treadmill and then eventually we started lifting weights with it. Here is what she is doing as of now...

Treadmill - aerobics:

5 min warmup at 2 mph

small rest

1min medium pace - 2.5 mph

1min fast pace - 3.3 mph

1min medium - 2.5mph

1min fast pace - 3.4mph

1min medium - 2.5mph

1min fast pace - 3.5mph

5 min warm down - 2 mph


Anaerobics

Weights workout A: Rest: 60 seconds

Deadlift 3 sets of 10- 50 lbs, 55lbs, 55lbs

half pushups 3 sets of 10

bent over row 3 sets of 10- 8lbs, 10lbs, 10lbs

dumbell push press 3 sets of 10- 8lbs, 10lbs, 10lbs

high pull 3 sets of 10- 10lb, 10lb, 10lb

Half planks 3 sets


Weights workout B Rest:60 seconds

Squat 3 sets of 10- 50lb, 50lb, 50lb

seated overhead press 3 sets of 10- 10lb, 10lb, 10lb

2 point row 3 sets of 10- 20lb, 20lb, 20lb

bench press 3 sets of 10- 45lb, 45lb, 45lb

hammer curls 3 sets of 10- 10lb, 10lb, 10lb

half planks 3 sets


Note** We do not have a lat pulldown machine but we do have a pullup bar. Obviously she could never do a pullup as of now. Does anybody have any ideas of how I could provide her with a lat pulldown movement without a lat pulldown machine? I was thinking maybe resistance bands wrapped around a pullup bar?


Now, I was going to go with a 4 week routine of 3 workouts a week while alternating rep changes. I was going to do 3 sets of 10 with 60 seconds rest, 4 sets of 8 with 60 seconds rest, and 3 sets of 12 with 60 seconds rest. In 4 weeks that would be 12 workouts. I created this basic hypertrophy program as an intro program to get her neuro-muscular system kicked, get her moving, and to perfect her form. As far as form goes she is already pretty damn great. For how big she is she still has great posture!

After that was over I was thinking about setting her up with strength program in about the 6 rep range while still doing and improving the treadmill aerobics. My idea here was to really get her metabolism moving.

After the strength phase I was thinking about putting her into a toning phase. High reps, short rest periods, and innefecient weight.

I only have 3 months with this woman and so I figured a 3 part program would have to suffice. I normally would draw out the programs and make them more in depth but I am leaving for the Navy soon. Nobody else she knows has any idea at all how to train and she is afraid to go into a gym. So I am trying to do my best in 3 months.

Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Last edited by Bryce Horrell : 01-17-2012 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:07 AM   #2
Aron Naylor
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Re: Training an obese woman

In my opinion you need to push the diet on her, will make her journey a hell of a lot easier. Just my opinion though.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
Donald Lee
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Re: Training an obese woman

You're thinking too much again.

Weight Watchers is fine for many people, although not ideal. The given diet becomes more important when you approach leanness. "Every diet works, just not forever."

Regarding workout routine, there is no need for periodization or very much programming in general. Just do some basic movements that hit all the major muscle groups. And the band idea sounds horrible. Think about what type of client could successfully do band pullups.

You also don't need to predetermine weight and sets. Just go by how the client is doing. With the vast majority of clients, you don't need to be as OCD as we are with our own training. Consistency is much more important than the minutia, until you're advanced. Plus, most people don't want to be run down pushing the edge of adaptation constantly.

Edit: Your toning phase stuff is also based on myth.

Last edited by Donald Lee : 01-17-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #4
Bryce Horrell
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Re: Training an obese woman

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
You're thinking too much again.

Weight Watchers is fine for many people, although not ideal. The given diet becomes more important when you approach leanness. "Every diet works, just not forever."

Regarding workout routine, there is no need for periodization or very much programming in general. Just do some basic movements that hit all the major muscle groups. And the band idea sounds horrible. Think about what type of client could successfully do band pullups.

You also don't need to predetermine weight and sets. Just go by how the client is doing. With the vast majority of clients, you don't need to be as OCD as we are with our own training. Consistency is much more important than the minutia, until you're advanced. Plus, most people don't want to be run down pushing the edge of adaptation constantly.
I think we had a different idea of band pulldows. I meant wrapping a band(even a cheap walmart band) around the bar, sitting down, and then pulling it down while you are sitting.

Those arent predetermined numbers. Those are the last loads that she lifted in her actual workout. But yes, we are going by how she feels. She said it was pretty easy so next time I think we are going to go up a little bit.


How is toning a myth? Please provide evidence. Your words are compelling but I cant base my knowledge on rumors.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #5
Josh VandeWiele
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Re: Training an obese woman

Hopefully you have a CrossFit Journal subscription. I just read this last week and thought it provided an interesting perspective. Written by a "fat-body" turned CF Level 1 Trainer. She doesn't give you specifics, but puts it in perspective for you as a trainer.
Here's the link to the article; Coaching Fitness From Scratch
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Training an obese woman

i agree with donald, just get her doing something, don't worry over the specifics. especially since you only have 3 months.

i recommend you find out her motivation for suddenly wanting to diet and workout (family reunion, friends wedding, etc) and then use that to push her. she probably isn't motivated by athletic accomplishments, i.e., adding weight to her deadlift or taking time off her mile is probably meaningless to her. she is probably more motivated by her clothing size and her weight, so make sure that is where your focus is too. trying to sell her on the "it's ok you aren't losing weight because you are adding muscle, and you will look better as a muscular strong size 12 than you will as a 'skinny fat' size 8" will probably turn her off to what you are doing. i'm not saying not to have her lift heavy, but don't expect her to get excited if she sees progress and improvement in that area.

as far as weight watchers, one good thing about it is that it requires very little thinking and decision making. alot of people need that.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:39 AM   #7
Donald Lee
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Re: Training an obese woman

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Originally Posted by Bryce Horrell View Post
I think we had a different idea of band pulldows. I meant wrapping a band(even a cheap walmart band) around the bar, sitting down, and then pulling it down while you are sitting.

Those arent predetermined numbers. Those are the last loads that she lifted in her actual workout. But yes, we are going by how she feels. She said it was pretty easy so next time I think we are going to go up a little bit.


How is toning a myth? Please provide evidence. Your words are compelling but I cant base my knowledge on rumors.
Sorry about the pulldown thing. I was thinking pullup once you wrote pullup bar.

Muscles hypertrophy or atrophy; they don't tone. Stoking the 'metabolic fire' doesn't really happen. EPOC has a small contribution to caloric burn and doesn't last long. Why don't you state your reasoning behind toning, and then I'll respond to that.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:55 AM   #8
Bryce Horrell
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Re: Training an obese woman

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
Sorry about the pulldown thing. I was thinking pullup once you wrote pullup bar.

Muscles hypertrophy or atrophy; they don't tone. Stoking the 'metabolic fire' doesn't really happen. EPOC has a small contribution to caloric burn and doesn't last long. Why don't you state your reasoning behind toning, and then I'll respond to that.

I apologize. I guess what I meant to say was muscular endurance. What is wrong with muscular endurance?

Stoking the metabolic fire does happen. Especially during strength training. Would you agree?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #9
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Training an obese woman

I think your number one goal should be to give her the tools and the motivation to keep training on her own after that three-month window closes. All programming specifics are secondary, because no program will help unless she follows it.

Katherine
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:46 AM   #10
Donald Lee
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Re: Training an obese woman

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Originally Posted by Bryce Horrell View Post
I apologize. I guess what I meant to say was muscular endurance. What is wrong with muscular endurance?

Stoking the metabolic fire does happen. Especially during strength training. Would you agree?
Strength endurance is fine. There's no need to train strength and strength endurance in different phases for the average person.

What people tend to think when they say they're 'stoking the metabolic fire' does not happen. There is a very small increase in calories burned from anaerobic-type workouts (<100 CAL). If you're going to build muscle, then that's more calories burned, but that's really hard to quantify, and then you start getting into that strange territory of building muscle and losing fat at the same time, which typically only happens with beginners.
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