T Nation

37 Years Old, First Timer

Hello everyone, I’m new to everything about the world of weight training, I’m a recovering agoraphobic was agoraphobic since i was 18. Got diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis a few years ago, which was both a blessing and a curse. blessing as it started getting me out of my agoraphicness, curse cause i mean it’s a life long disease, and after that my dad had to have triple by pass heart surgery due to a heart attack(he lived) but it got me thinking about my overall health and i’d like to get into the gym, i’ve already signed up, they gave me a tour and before i could even ask any questions the floor manager had seen a friend and ran off to talk to them. I just kind of have a few questions about somethings, i’m currently going every monday, wednesday, friday mainly just to make it a habit but not really doing to much while im there.

My questions after trying to read up on things is basically, where the fuck to i begin? I see workout plans for beginners, ectomorphs, mesomorphs, veterans, I don’t really know what i need. I just know where I am, my own personal stats, and goals that I wouldn’t mind hitting.

Age: 37
Height : 5’5(and a half) yeah, i know. i’m short.
Weight : 137lbs.
Shoulders : 41"
Natural Waist : 30 1/2"
Hips : 36"
Wrist : 6 and 3/8ths

I actually like the weight i’m at i’d really just like to loose the body fat that I have.
So those are kind of my goals. 135~140lbs less body fat.

Sorry if i’ve left information that I didn’t need to, just was reading things like ectomorphs, mesowhatevers, endocreatures. and figured i really didnt know what the hell i was reading, so i figured i’d come ask… what the fuck is a good starting point.

Thanks for reading and helping!

Ignore all that crap - in most cases it’s over analyzing of minutia unless you have been lifting for quite awhile.
Also, ecto-, endo-, and meso- morphs is a concept based in psychology not physicality.

If you have never lifted before I suggest two things.

  1. (And this is probably most important), Find someone or higher a coach/trainer to show you how to properly perform all the major movements and some of the isolation exercises (bench press (I prefere incline bench press), squat, deadlift and some other basic barbell and dumbbell movements, dips).
  2. Find a program (T-nation or google) that is 3 times a week and consists of a fully body workout. This one is pretty good and looks like it would take about 1 hour per day:

Bonus Tip: Nutrition is important, but just getting in the gym first is better than nothing. Start small and build up from there (adding in nutrition, advanced movements, etc… as time goes on).


The good news is that your goals are pretty limited in scope, and therefore easily within reach with a few good habits.

  1. nutrition: eat lean meat, vegetables and drink water most of the time.
  2. lift heavy stuff: aim for a few times a week, following a proven template/program.
  3. Get out of breath sometimes.

That’s it. All the above advice is probably copyright Dan John, fyi


At this point, can you do basic bodyweight exercises, Push ups, pull ups, crunches, squats etc… ?


Like @dagill2 said, you’ve got a pretty specific goal that involves basically one thing and that’s a huge advantage.

Diet will be the main factor, because you want to lose fat. You can do that relatively easily by cutting out junk (if you eat much of it) and then by slightly reducing how much you eat. I’m guessing with the ulcerative colitis you’re fairly dialed in in respect of what you can and can’t eat. If you can change anything, eat more protein, and to make room for that reduce either fats or carbs slightly. I’m not familiar with what limitations your condition places on diet so I’m hesitant to recommend anything more specific.

If you’re training three days a week Dan John programs are probably a great way to go. Very simple, very basic. Easy to follow. Pick one and run it for three months. See how you go.

For progress, I’d just track waist circumference, chest circumference and body weight. If your waist shrinks, you’re on the right track. If your chest gets bigger and your weight stays the same while your waist shrinks, you’re doing great.


Congrats on starting up!

You’re goals are super within reach and you’ll hit that all just by hitting the gym.

Always good to make new goals too!

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On this subject, I believe he has a free workout generator website (he calls them “park bench” workouts), that are designed exactly for trainees like yourself. Might be worth checking out initially while you get into this.


So just as a warning, back then I tried this but my waist was getting thicker from all the squats and deadlifts lol. But I started being able to see abs so I knew I was on the right track. Just a heads up for the OP.


Thanks for all the replies! at least now things don’t seem as confusing! @MarkKO as for food limitations there really isn’t any until you find a trigger food, there is no real “Don’t eat this, it will trigger it” kind of deal, its all based on the person. The only one thing they wanted me to stop is coffee, and no, its the only thing that makes me feel human. Infact i keep my pan colitis under control for the most part. Nicotine helps with it. They used to prescribe cigarettes to UC patients, so I started vaping with very little nicotine and since then i almost never go into a flare.

I have one more question at least for now, I looked at the Dan John programs like you all suggested, and i see a lot of “Figure out what weight you can do for 5 reps. With most people, that’s about 80% of their 1RM.”

Now should I just start with bar weight and add a little each workout until i find that?

Honestly, I’d just use the workout generator for a few months to get you started.

But if you don’t want to do that:

You could do that, but that would be slow. You could probably find the answer for most lifts in one session, Dan John doesn’t typically use many different movements. It brings me to my next question: how proficient are you at the lifts?

Also, it’s worth remembering that if you just want to lose weight, your progress will be mostly from nutrition, not the specifics of your program.


You could spend a few days like so: for a particular exercise, start very light and do 5 reps, then work your way up in weight until 5 reps takes effort not to lose form. There’s your target. If you’re consistent and you eat and sleep properly you could easily add more weight every session for several weeks. This is the principle of the Starting Strength program (not saying you have to do that particular program, but it does work as a short-term program for beginners).

Another progression option is to handle the same weight but work on more reps, then once you reach the target, add weight. For instance, let’s say you bench 85 pounds for 3x8 (that’s 3 sets of 8 reps). The next time you bench, use 85 again but fight for more reps. Once you hit 3x12, lift 90 for 3x8 the next time you bench.

There’s a thousand correct ways to do this, and as confusing as that can be, it’s also what makes this so cool! Just find things you think you’ll enjoy, follow the program consistently as written and put in effort, then find something else.

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What @dagill2 said. Again. If you’re reasonably proficient at the lifts, just start a three day program and in the first week work up to that five rep max in lieu of whatever is prescribed for the lifts.

If you’re not proficient, working with the empty bar to start with wouldn’t hurt.

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Also, the thing to remember is that if you’ve never really used a barbell before, just feeling around with the empty bar or light loads isn’t going to break you. At worst your ego will get a little bruised but you’ll still learn from it. It’s a lot like riding a bike, as long as your first time isn’t down a steep winding hill that’s also a busy motorway the worst you’ll get is a grazed knee.

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As Dan John mentioned, start with this and yeah start light(as with most programs) so have room to progress…

also reading a bunch of his articles in general will give you a lot of clarity…