T Nation

25 y/o Female Overweight


I’m 25, f, 31.2% muscle, 33% BF, 164lb, 5"1, dress size 12-14. I also have polycystic ovarian syndrome (pcos), hypothyroidism and a small benign tumour in my pituitary gland which can all throw my hormones out of whack a little. In keeping with pcos, I have the typical ‘apple’ BF distribution which I know long term puts me at higher risk of CV events + T2DM.

I started my lifestyle improvements in the new year, which let’s just say contrast quite a bit with the lifestyle I had before.

Current diet is mainly chicken, fruit, veg + quinoa/bulgur wheat/lentils + 30g of nuts each day which I think is working well. I currently skip breakfast most days.

Over the past month I’ve been working out 4-6x a week but went in with the philosophy of, whilst I’m starting out, as long as I’m doing SOMETHING more active than I was I’m making progress. As such it was a lot of about 60-70% effort, mainly cardio/swimming, with some upper body strength exercises using resistance machines that one of the gym staff showed me and sporadic 8kg kettlebell swings (I do 3 x 15).

All in all, things aren’t going too badly, this has to lead me to look more toned which a few people have commented on and I have noticed that I can use heavier weights with the arm machines week on week. But I I still have a lot of fat to lose and want to become much stronger. Also, none of the actual weight has shifted. I’m not sure about BF % or muscle mass changes as I only recorded those stats today.

I’d like to gradually start stepping things up more now. I was thinking of adding 1-2 new goals at a time and sticking with it (on top of previous goals) for two weeks before adding another.

Obviously, wrt my diet I want to slowly start eating more veg and having a consistent breakfast. I think I’d like lower GI options because of my worries re diabetes (although all blood tests show I don’t have glucose intolerance/pre-diabetes or anything like that, fortunately).

Wrt exercise, I guess now maybe a more of a structured programme would help so that I can make sure I’m working on all of my muscle groups. I’d really like something that means, if I wanted to, I could go to the gym every day, as I am starting to enjoy it, the routine helps psychologically and it helps counteract my stressful job. I do find the weights area intimidating and I’ll have no one there checking my form is ok (obv I will do my best to learn from youtube ect) so I’m worried about the ones that have deadlifts etc.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


Either of these are a good way to start off…

Then if really want to crank it up further down the line/more comfortable in weights area, then give this a shot…

Excellent, thank you.

I like the look of the last one. I think my plan this month then will be to start learning and practising what some those exercises actually are individually but just mixed in with what I normally do. Then when I’m confident with them all, set the beginning of March as the formal programme start date :slight_smile:

Kb swings hardstyle (strongfirst.com) will probably be your fastest route.

Looking at the ‘Hard Body Training for Women’ program, on Wednesdays they want overhead medicine ball throws which I won’t be able to do in this gym. Can anyone recommend a good substitute?

I would just do Hammer strength machine or similar, fine to leave it out also as just one excercise and the push press work alone is plenty of stimulation

Can always ask that author himself for ideas, has his own forum section here…

Clapping handstand push ups…

To be honest I have nothing to contribute for your goals but this statement is what gives me hope for you. Don’t lose sight of making slow, realistic, gradual changes you can actually manage. These things happen very slowly and take consistency. Think in terms of years. You can be in a much better place a year from now, and again the following year, etc.