Fat Loss for Extreme Body Weights

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KPj
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Fat Loss for Extreme Body Weights

Post by KPj » Mon May 19, 2008 9:19 am

Hi Guys, I was looking to brainstorm a little...

I'm about to start helping a family member lose weight (fat).

I was wondering if anyone had any information, experience (maybe personal experience?), or suggestions for someone who is quite extremely over weight. I really mean in terms of starting out.

I'm a big believer in HIIT, complexes, etc and generally anything that boosts the metabolism. I'm dealing with the hassle of him not being convinced that weights are an essential tool for fat loss. But at this stage I believe anything involving exercise is essential, so if his hearts set on the tread mill, then I'm happy with that.

The person in question is male, about 50 years of age, about 5'10, and weighs anywhere between 280-330lbs. Difficult to tell as he's quite short, but very big boned - thick wrists, ankles, very broad shoulders.... If I had the same genetics I would probably be tanning myself up just now, ironing my posing pouch, and getting ready for the big stage :-P

My general thoughts are starting with basic intervals - walk and jog (he can definitely jog), and going forward from there on the cardio side of it. Using tread mill and a bike.

In terms of weights, he's a complete beginner. So learning the basic movements is a priority. But suggestions based on the scenario of him being able to do basic exercises would be appreciated. I just need as many options as possible for the first few weeks of this (or anything). My mind also runs away in terms of joint issues, so if we have any 'glitches' then I would like to be able to work around it. Even suggestions on a mental level would be good, trying to keep him motivated etc.

So it's really all beginner stuff i'm after.. starting at the very bottom..

I know patience and perseverance could be the only answer here but it's always worth asking the question.

Thanks

KPj


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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon May 19, 2008 9:48 am

@KPj:

Sedentary people tend to be very resistant to following a structured exercise program. You'll have a better likelihood of success with him if you can get him in the habit of being active just for the sake of it. Once he makes a habit of regular physical activity - even if it's a half-hour walk every day - getting him to commit to a structured exercise program will be easier.

Was your relative involved in any type of physical; activity (eg biking, swimming, sports) when he was younger? If so, consider starting him with activities that are familiar to him. Make sure he does things that he can't fail at initially. Building his self confidence is crucial starting out.

Of course, his diet will need to be cleaned up eventually, but first things first - people relate very strongly with their food choices, and will rebel if you take them away. Once he's active, dietary changes are an easier sell.

Have him start a training diary and make him write down his experiences and his training goals. Putting things in writing forces people to take things seriously, and gives them a guide to what works and what doesn't.

Good luck to you and your relative.

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Post by stuward » Mon May 19, 2008 10:12 am

Diet changes are most important. A person can lose weight without exercise but you can't out train a bad diet. Make the changes slow and deliberate. Analyze the current diet with a food log. The culprit will likely be obvious. Start with the worst offense and move on from there.

Focus his training on keeping active. It doesn't matter what the activity is at first. Just make it progressive. Walking at 3 mph for 30 mins is a good start but as soon as it's not a challenge, increase the speed and/or distance. Eventually he will come to understand that it is the increase in effort that produces results. He needs always to do harder stuff than he has done before. Sooner or later he will be ready to pick up weights but you don't want to push him harder than he is ready to be pushed.

When you do start him on resistance training, start with basic bodyweight exercises. Get him comfortable with his own body first.

Stu

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon May 19, 2008 11:36 am

stuward wrote:Diet changes are most important. A person can lose weight without exercise but you can't out train a bad diet.
All of that is true physiologically. But success in a weight loss program starts psychologically. My own experience has been that it's easier to get someone to start physical activity than it is to get them to change their diet. Some people can have strong emotional attachments to foods that they know are bad for them. If you push too hard too soon for change they will blow you off.

KPj knows his relative. If dietary advice isn't an early deal breaker, KPj should offer it to his relative. If the relative offers resistance, he should back off and try again later when (hopefully) the relative is further along training wise. With some success behind him, the relative will have more incentive to clean up his diet in order to get to the next level.

The rest of your comments about progressively increasing workloads are spot on.

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Post by TimD » Mon May 19, 2008 12:12 pm

All the above, just a few comments. The biggest loser program does this all the time, w/ complexes, , yada, yada, however, this isn't some reality show, and I personally think that aproach isn't really correct at the beginning. I see it as asking for joint problems in the lower extremities from the git go. Just some comments on starting out w/ exercise. Walk or bike where you normally drive (within reason). Gradually introduce them to exercise. for starters, maybe something like the crossfit warmup, the Sampson or warrior stretch, and some bodyweight stuff based on simplefit.com. It's already scaled back, and starts at a low level. Maybe set up a walking course like I've seen in other places in Europe. Find a path through a scenic area, and after a half a KM, do some one or two bodyweight moves, walk some more, do some others, etc.
I too am a big believer in complexes, but don't think now is the time for them unless you use it really scaled back in terms of weight and volume.
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Post by hoosegow » Mon May 19, 2008 12:45 pm

I am almost embarassed to throw this out there, but for individuals like you are referring to, machines are a good, safe way to introduce weight training. Most noobs aren't intimidated by them and the muscle heads tend to stay away from them so they are safe from an ego standpoint. I agree with all the body weight suggestions, as well.

I can't believe I just recommended machines. I feel dirty and have to go take a shower.

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Post by ironmaiden708 » Mon May 19, 2008 2:08 pm

I can't believe I just recommended machines. I feel dirty and have to go take a shower.
It does make sense when they first start but after that free weight complexes should be used. I hope you scrubbed well behind those ears...

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Post by Wouter » Mon May 19, 2008 2:08 pm

I think machines are good for older people whose muscles and bones are very weak and they might not be able to do free-weight exercises. For very fat people (above obese) I think machines are good when they are used in conjuction with cardiovascular/GPP/... exercises like walking (NO running or HIIT untill they're in better shape) cycling or rowing and bodyweight exercises. Also let them do more NEPA (non-exercise physical activity, see Chris Shugart)

A sample plan might be (for very fat persons):
Monday: upon waking up: 15 min of light cardiovascular work
PM: totalbody workout with pushups, bodyweight squats and supine rows (work on getting full ROM first), do a few machine-exercises afterwards (the more compound the better), 30 min cardiovascular activity after

Tuesday:upon waking up: 15 min of light cardiovascular work
PM: 1-2h of GPP (towing sleds, grabbing things,...)

Wednesday: same as monday

Thursday: upon waking up: mobility/flexibility exercises and 15 min of GPP
PM: LIIT (light intensity interval training :wink: ) 2 min walking-5 burpees-1 min walking- sandbag drill- 2min walking-... 1h long

Friday: same as wednesday, switch exercises

will add things later, don't have time right now

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Post by Manofsteel319 » Mon May 19, 2008 2:08 pm

lmao hoosegow....

I would first talk with your relative and ask him his goals. Obvioulsy being overweight at that age is unhealthy. Try to find what motivates him and what his goals are and start with baby steps. Some large people don't even like to go to gyms due to embarrassment issues so you may have to do something outside of one before you even consider the gym an option.

Everyone loves to eat, unless you don't. Most people do. I was a huge fan of burger king and steak and fatty burgers and everything. They were a great way I thought for me to gain weight when I was at that point. When I decided to drop it it was like losing a best friend. Someone I could rely on to be there for me even if it was to fill me up and taste great. You know your relative more than all of us so I would ask them.

Be motivational if you can show him success stories of people with similiar goals and show that as huge of a task it is with hard work and dedication day after day eventually you will be where you want to be. Also have him keep a log and small achievements need to be commended. I tried to train my brother in law hes 6'4 340 lbs and really big. He didn't want to go to the gym because he felt embarrassed and then after a week dropped it completely. I don't know your relative but I do know from my experience bigger people have a fragile psyche. Take care and good luck.

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon May 19, 2008 5:01 pm

I've got a couple of pet theories. My qualifications for speaking are that I once ran a very bad weight-loss program and helped a bunch of people spend some money on something that didn't help very many of them in the long-run, and may have done some harm. Impressed? In more recent years I have helped patients with weight loss, with less spectacular initial change, but hopefully more healthful long-term benefits.

This is my big theory on diet: Eat often and eat well.

I really believe that diet has to be approached positively, or it is just too discouraging. To talk about taking foods, especially favorite foods out of a person's diet will lose their commitment faster than just about anything. So I'd look for things that the person likes to eat that are good choices, and emphasize them. So to tell them "Hey, you have just GOT to eat a lot more of your favorite fruit" or "take bigger helpings of this veggie" will not come across as telling to sacrifice. And when a person is full of the salad, he's likely to eat less of the pasta. Then encourage them to look for things that they can get along without.

Then teach them that hunger is their enemy. It's when you're hungry that eating indiscretions occur. If I've just had a healthful snack, I'm less likely to eat the rest of last night's dessert.

Another of my slogans has been "there's a place for every food in every diet" not meaning that everyone has to eat everything, but that no one has to totally give up everything they love. My most successful client back in the day was a single mom whose teenage son was also obese. Their favorite food was spare ribs, and they had them several nights a week, large portions. She changed to one night per week, made the portions moderate, and made it a nice sit-down supper with her son. If you told me that I could never eat Cinnabon again, I'd be pretty unhappy--that's what I start looking for in airports as soon as I get to the US every trip!

Swimming is an exercise that obese people often can be successful at, since the water supports them, reducing the chances of joint problems, etc.

Also, remember that those joints have been handling some pretty big loads for a long time. What kind of weights are you going to ask them to handle in the early months of weight training that will be much worse? So be prudent in what you recommend, but don't be excessively concerned about the joints, as long as you are being rational and going slowly. You know lifting well enough that you will be teaching good technique.

Good luck with this project!

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Post by KPj » Tue May 20, 2008 5:14 am

Thanks a lot for this, it's gave me plenty to think about. I was trying to get something down on paper, then I just felt very restricted in terms of options. I knew you guys would have lot's of suggestions.

Can't believe I never thought of playing games with him, as he used to do a lot of racket sports - tennis (man I hate tennis), squash, badminton etc. I will be able to do this, at the very least, for a change of scenery. Having a game of something even once a month might help with motivation. Swimming is a great suggestion, too.

I'll press for more 'NEPA'. He's genuinely the busiest guy I know, but there's always room for more walking etc.

Light Intensity Interval Training is kind of what I had in mind i.e. to start on IT of some sort, and gradually increase the intensity. Probably best to start him on the bike, but I also think variety could be key to making this last more than a month!

To make things just a tad more difficult, i'm dealing with a very busy (and successful), self employed 'executive'. You would think that would make it easier, with his approach to the business side of his life - I've never met anyone who works so hard to get where he is today. This actually makes it hard to explain things to him as he doesn't want to hear it - in his mind he knows what he needs to do, and that's what will be done. Which is 'eat less and do some running / walking'. The relative is actually my dad, which is worth mentioning. I think there's some sort of alpha male crap involved with a dad taking advice from his son. As a quick way around this I have tried to get him to hire a PT with a trainer that I know well, trust and respect, but so far he's not interested (just wants to do it 'his way').

He's tried and failed before, but obviously the older he gets, the more reality is hitting home. The best results he's had before was with a PT. A rubbish one at that!

I'm trying to be as involved as I can this time because I believe it could be different than before. We've had some indirect shocks - guys that stay in the same street younger than him suddenly passing away from a heart attack. And an overweight friend of his, who's not as overweight as him, also just had a scare, which landed him in hospital, and then eventually on a diet, and even in the newspaper for the weight he lost!

On top of that, my g/fs dad was 5'10, 350lbs, got refused health insurance which was the shock he needed. With NO EXERCISE, he lost 100lbs in one year. He's plateaued recently (no wonder!) but he's out of the danger zone. He used very simple logic which I love - stay away from 'creamy things', and between meals, to curb his raging hunger, he would fill himself up with veg, fruit, chicken or turkey (Jungledoc - Eat often and eat well!). To fight urges he convinced himself he was 'allergic' to certain foods, and that he would swell up if he ate it. I think that's fantastic, he's a diet guru and he doesn't know it!

So all of these factors I think should help. I've already cleared out his garage for him, which has a bench, decent amount of weight, various boxing bags, pads etc (this was/is all my stuff!), exercise bike and a treadmill (this wasn't my stuff!), so guilt should at least get him started! Also, it's not a case of me trying to force him to do something, he said to me he was going to sort him self out, so as not to lose the momentum, i've got everything ready for him.

On machines, lol, I never seen that one coming! but it's a good suggestion. Being in a gym with machines would give him more options and make it possible to get a good resistance training program... That's why this thread was needed as machines wouldn't of crossed my biased mind!

Anyway, thanks again for all this including the psychological cues as this is going to be a big aspect and again is stuff I wouldn't think of myself.

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Tue May 20, 2008 7:08 am

Good luck with helping your dad, KPj. A worthy project. Hopefully you can slowly turn him from "I need to diet and walk a bit" into "alternate walking and running a bit" into "every lap of alternating running and walking I should swing this dumbbell a few times or do some squats!" and so on.

Coaching your relatives is always hard. I've tried to coach two of mine on occasion and I realized too many family issues are buried in every suggestions and rejection. "You should try lunging backwards if lunges hurt your knees" can easily be interpreted as a salvo in some past-fought unresolved argument. It's often better to get outside help and just be there to support your family member.

Final thought:
Some people do really well with small changes and balk at radical ones. Others are quite the reverse and need radical changes to do anything.

Again, good luck!

Peter

KPj
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Post by KPj » Tue May 20, 2008 9:05 am

Thanks Peter.

And I hear you on the family coaching thing. It's definitely something I need to handle delicately. I've had similar issues with injured friends in the gym - tell them the benefits of foam rolling, dynamic movements etc and generally, they think your full of crap!

However, just saying "ok, i'm going to do my warm up just now then we'll get started, what you doing?"

Response - "erm.. I'll just warm up too" * proceeds to do some ham stretches *

And then I have them where I want them! I'll dive on the foam roller, ITBand first (the sorest), and merrily go about my foam rolling ways, then you get this - "what's that your doing".... "ach, just some foam rolling, gets rid of all the knots etc, loosens you up, it's quite good, I like to do it for 5 minutes before my warm up"... "ok... looks funny, give me a shot" - and so the torture begins. Them seeing me doing it pain free, and then having a shot and being in A LOT of pain makes them think "wow, i must be in pretty bad shape". Same with teh dynamic stuff - "looks easy enough" - "ok, try it" - then they feel very out of shape, get pi$$ed off at themselves, and there in lies the motivation.

So i've learned in that respect to leave the reasoning, science, experience etc out of it and just let them see myself doing these things with ease and this is enough to make them TRY, and that's the first step.

With my dad - no idea where to start. I figure i'll get him out in the garage first and take it from there, see how responsive he is to my suggestions. CEO types are very stubborn, never mind the fact that he's my dad. It will be an interesting challenge.

KPj

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Post by Manofsteel319 » Tue May 20, 2008 9:16 am

Talking about those foam things where can I get them at kpj I have heard great things about them.

KPj
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Post by KPj » Tue May 20, 2008 9:24 am

Manofsteel319 wrote:Talking about those foam things where can I get them at kpj I have heard great things about them.
http://www.performbetter.com/detail.asp ... ?kbid=1186

You can do a lot with a tennis ball, too, especially in your plantar fascia, calves, glutes, and rear shoulder if you felt like giving it a shot.

You can use a PVC pipe but it's extremely brutal if you've never done it before. In fact, it's just extremely brutal. I would advise starting with a foam roller. The foam roller is also a nice and convenient tool to help improve your Thoracic Spine mobility, which your shoulders thank you for...

KPj


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