Join date: Sep 2008
Location: Louisiana, USA
So I have a friend who has, in addition to hospital-inducing health problems, is also a recovering anorexic. She's been doing pretty good with getting in a healthier mind-set and I mentioned I could help her put on some pounds in a healthy manner and without getting very chunky. I wanted to start by getting her a few good articles to read about clean "bulking" in general, but also ones that apply especially to women. I like people to know at least a little bit of the nutritional science behind what's going on (she's a grad student in NOT chemical engineering, so the better the article is at "dumbing down" the chemistry, the better).
I figure a "slow" bodybuilding style approach is probably what she needs not only to go from "completely un-gym'ed" to "muscle gal" but also from painfully skinny to deliciously meaty. I figure I can handle the training myself (even though there's almost noooooooo bodybuilding articles around here...) and the key is just going to be keeping the weight gains slow to keep her brain from regressing.
Join date: Aug 2009
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
I don't think Krista has any articles specifically discussing anorexia, but most certainly send your friend to stumptuous.com. That's where I started. Her info on nutrition is extremely newbie friendly.
I'm not a trainer (nor did I work with one), but I will tell you that the absolute biggest problem I ran into was a shit ton of muscle imbalances. I thought I had the right mindset to focus on the major compound lifts, but within a few months I was riddled with injuries.
Went to see a specialist when I had pain from my ankles up to my hips. Doc asked me to do a one legged squat. As I lifted my leg to stand on one foot I fell over. Anorexia had eaten away so much muscle I could not even stand on one foot. (I don't know how close you two are, but have you seen if her hip bones stick out? Yeah. That causes some major problems lifting when they do that and the mental hurdle of adding mass to that area will be tough for her to deal with. Just a heads up).
It took me a year to fix most of the problems. (Though I had no idea what I was doing so you could probably help her along a bit faster). I did a ton of unilateral movements even though when I started I couldn't do a single split squat without weight and even my lunges looked suspect. Its best you don't even ask about single leg DLs.
I did a lot of circuit training which helped me to keep from freaking out about gaining weight. I would do a round of 8-12 body squats, BSS, single leg DLs, lunges, step-up, hypers, leg raises etc (usually about 6-8 different movements) with 30 seconds or less rest time between each exercise. Rest 60-90 seconds and do it again 3x through. Similar model for upper body. Sometimes I would do full body but most times I stuck with upper/lower splits. Again, this is what worked for me and I am sure there are better ways.
Even though I increased caloric intake, my muscles did not have the endurance so I got tired very quickly as well. The mental side was the hardest to deal with though so I truly hope she is regularly seeing a therapist. Someone who is overweight is going to be encouraged by even small losses on the scale or tape measure. Having an eating disorder is the exact opposite. You know it is better for you, but watching the scale rise is torture....actually I would recommend you forbid her from stepping on a scale.
Take pics before you start. As she starts to gain weight and muscle she will forget about just how skinny she used to be. As she starts to build a healthier body image, she can look back on how she was and be able to finally see what had everyone else so worried.