I started doing some pseudo personal training with an acquaintance of mine. The story is a semi-familiar one: once in-shape dude succumbs to the stresses of family life and gets fat. In the span of the last three years, guy has been working a high stress job, had a second kid, lived with and then moved from his in-laws into a new house they built, and started his dissertation for PhD that will be wrapping up next year. Prior to this, he was running marathons and was in pretty good shape. So take these stresses, add a somewhat BSC wife (trust me here) and you have the typical coping mechanisms to get through a day – food and beer. I don’t know exactly how much weight he put on, but I would guess somewhere between 50-70 lbs.
Sow we’re catching up at a social function, and while drinking down a tall-boy beer, he said he’s finally ready to drop some pounds and get back in shape. “Great!” I say, and invite him over to my home gym, knowing that the likelihood of him just giving lip service to this improvement is high. But low and behold, but he contacts me and we set up a time this last weekend to meet up and do a workout.
Really, this guy doesn’t need me, but what I am is another motivational factor in his journey. He’s got other friends he runs with apparently, but to accelerate his weight loss goal, he knows he needs more. I’ll hold him accountable and keep him on the right track provided he holds up his end of the donkey. It’s so much easier to work out with others than it is alone, and that is probably the key part of how CrossFit got so popular, and why “boot camp” style workouts continue to have success.
We didn’t do anything too fancy, and I worked out right alongside him (as did daughter Birdsnest). Introduced him to a few basic movements, rowed a little on our Concept 2 rowing machine, and did a mostly bodyweight workout – start to finish it took 20 minutes even with rest intervals (one I put in my book). I scaled up with weighted vest, he and Birdsnest scaled accordingly, we were all left sweaty and spent at the end of it, and his sense of accomplishment was obvious (and a sweat angel similar to below showed his effort). He did very well, was obviously pretty strong still, and while winded, kept working hard throughout. He is just fat, which impacts his flexibility and tires him out quicker since he has to move more bodyweight around.
He also asked about eating better, and he had already done a little research on Paleo and Marks Daily Apple. I basically told him the basics of diet in one sentence: no soda (of any sort, even diet), no bread, and no flour products, and you’ll be well on your way to dropping the weight.
As long as this guy stays motivated (easy at first, but motivation wanes after awhile), he’ll slowly start to lose weight and get fit again. For me, I enjoy providing that catalyst to improved health, and possibly to a better marriage (though the wife makes the long-term viability of this one a wild-card at best). And working out with others provides me motivation to stay on top of my own workouts and eating properly as an example to others. At one point in my life, I was thinking about doing triathlon coaching on the side. Here, I know enough to train a relative newbie back into shape safely and won’t be moving too fast as he comes up to speed. I’ve seen a few times coaches who just want to crush newbs as an initiation. Not me. Taking the long-game is almost always a better approach in any endeavor .