T Nation

45 & Just Start'n Out.


Like it sez, 45 & just get'n started. The reason is I had the oppertunity to see first hand what a stroke can do to a perfectly good human, about 2 months ago I had to spend some time with a physical therapist & a lot of the patients ther were stroke victims & have'n to learn how to walk & even talk all over, some will never be able to work or care for themselves again, I actually felt guilty to be able to walk out of the office when most of the people ther didnt have that luxury.

Needless to say it lit a fire under my ass to try & do something with myself but need some input on get'n started & how to accomplish my goals.

I eat all the wrong foods & am in dire need of phyical activity, recently had a physical, blood work done (tryglycerides were high, cholestrol levels were border line), also had a ultrasound done on the arteries in my leg & thers no blood clots & have good blood flow so I've got a green light to get started.

I would love to be able to loose as much as possable then maybe put on a little size if I can, because of my location I dont have access to a trainer so I'll use my computer to learn with, so any "how to" info would be greatly appreciated but at 45 & 300 pounds what is the realality of what I can accomplish? ( I dont expect to end up a cover model but want to do the best I can)

At my age if I dont get started now I wont be able to later, its now or never & I need to learn from what experience ya'll have to offer.

Thanx again for any input.


What's the reality of what you can accomplish? You can accomplish something awesome. Believe it. Pursue it.

Your diet sucks? Well stop eating shitty food. You know what shitty food is. Get it all out of your house all the processed sugar bullshit. You shoukd be able to lose weight by switching to healthy real foods. Srsly for somone 300 pounds I say go paleo and don't worry about portions.

Pick a weight training program and stick with it literally ANYTHING will work. You will make progress on even a shitty program. So pick a decent one and you're golden. Pick one that has you lifting 3-4 days a week. Then add some cardio. What kind? Who cares! Just walk or ride the upright bike for thirty minutes a day three days a week.

Pick an eating plan pick a lifting plan do three days of cardio and come back here when you hit a plateau/stop losing weight.

Remember to take starting body measurements.

Use a lifting journal to log your workouts.

Go forth.


I had a similar experience. I essentially allowed my workouts to erode until I stopped working out completely about 5 years ago as I dedicated more time to my job. One morning I woke up and realized that I'd rather be fit and healthy with a diminished position in my job, than attain the highest employment position and be dead by 55. Those are the extremes, and the reality is that they are probably complimentary -- working out and clean diet probably allows me to perform better mentally on the job.

As a 40+ individual who recently started over (6', starting weight 265 lbs in February, BP 149/89, fasted blood glucose level 102 -- "pre-diabetic", could not do 1 body weight chip-up, could not do one body weight dip), here would be my suggestions:

1) You have to fix the diet first. Start a food journal, write everything down. You don't necessarily have to count calories and macronutrient ratios (carbs, protein and fat), but its hard to eat too many calories when you know exactly how many you are eating. It takes about 3600 (12 * 300 lbs -- general guideline) to 4200 (14 * 300 lbs) calories per day to support a non-active man at 300 lbs. Eat less than that. Priority should be on lean proteins first, green and low starch veggies second, fruit third. There will be many here that say you can't eat fruit, but if your diet was as bad as mine (pizza, chicken wings, and beer were staples), then fruit is an improvement. Just about everything else is crap -- don't eat it. You can work out for 4 hours a day, but if you then spend 30 minutes eating pizza, donuts and beer, you will end up with a calorie excess, and your 4 hours in the gym will be wasted (with respect to losing weight). The opposite is true, you can loose weight simply by eating fewer calories (working out is not required -- but generally accepted as helpful). As you drop weight, you'll need to reduce your calories further.

2) Once your diet is in order, I agree with hallowed, go to a gym and work out. As a beginner, anything will work. Start with basic, compound movements, probably full-body type workouts. As a beginner, you'll probably be able to do 2 or 3 sets of: bench, squat, dead lift, and lat-pull downs or rows. Select weights were you can do 6 to 10 reps of each. As you get stronger, add weight. Two sets of, 10 reps, for 4 exercises can easily be completed in less than 1 hour. When the gym wasn't busy, I found I could do it in about 35 minutes. Do it 3 times a week. As you get stronger (say 2 to 6 months later) -- you'll find you are wanting to add sets and additional exercises, and you won't be able to do a full body workout every session. For example, your chest will become "too strong" -- meaning you'll burn up all your energy before you can give you chest AND your legs a good workout. You'll need to "split" it up -- such as lower body one day, and upper body the next day. There are many different "splits." You'll have to figure out when you hit that point.

3) Stick with it. Here's what will happen -- there will be days were you are sore and tired. Your performance at work may suffer on a few days early on -- as some part of your body will have muscle soreness -- and you will be tired. You may feel like skipping work outs -- don't. Over time, you will adapt, and get stronger. You will be able to add weight to your lifts. You'll loose weight (body fat), blood pressure will go down, blood markers will improve. You will feel less tired -- you may even find that you develop an anticipation, a "need" to get that muscle stimulation. It will take time -- but it will come.

4) Get over the gym -- I found it pretty intimidating to go into a gym -- over weight and "old." I was the "fat old guy." I'm in a university town, so there is significant enrichment for 19 to 22 year-olds. Get over it. Frankly, nobody cares. Put on your headphones, put your head down, and just do it. In 5 months, you'll be the "old guy" dead lifting for a "personal best" weight.

I'm still writing my story, but after 5 months, here is where I'm at:
240 lbs (lost 25 lbs)
Blood pressure: 118/72 (I am utterly amazed by this -- would have denied that it was even possible to lower it this much.)
Fasted blood glucose is still high (95 this morning), but I've measured it as low as 93. I'd like to see if I can lower it with more weight loss.

I benched 225 lbs for 3 reps (personal best) and I did 7 body weight dips (personal best) yesterday.
I dead lifted 335 lbs for 5 reps Monday (personal best), and did 3 full chin ups.
Last Friday, I squatted 295 lbs for 5 reps (personal best).

There are a lot of stronger guys (and girls) with great physiques at my gym, but not bad for the "fat old guy." Can't wait to squat tomorrow.


switch from eating crappy food to good food. No need to go down to 1500 calories or something like that right away. Just eat only GOOD food. Just make sure you don't keep eating if you are no longer hungry. You can be hungry, you can be not hungry, and you can also be full. You want the 2nd one. don't overeat and don't undereat.

Eat as many veggies as you want.(and if you don't like them, more than you want lol ) This is the first step you need to make and it's probably the hardest one in your diet. Once you get used to eating good foods it really isn't that hard to eat slightly less to lose even more weight. I think though that by just switching over you are gonna go down to 260lbs or so.

I doubt you'll have the strength or flexibility to do most common exercizes properly right now. Just try to find something that works your whole body.

You might be able to do bench pressing and overhead pressing. Use some rowing machine and pull down machine as well instead of rows and pull ups.

For legs you might have to stick to leg extension, leg press and ham raise machines. Maybe try bodyweight squats.

Add some bodyweight abs/obliques/lower back exercizes as well.

Long term you can do a lot, don't worry that you don't have the potential for that anymore cause everyone does. But right now your priority is your health and losing weight and getting some good exercize is the priority. Once you are past this(which should last about a year I think if you do things right), you can reconsider and see what your goals are then.


I like that :slight_smile:


Seriously, read Hallowed's post like 5 times a day until it sinks in. You DONT need to jump into some crazy 7 days a week, twice a day program. You DONT need to cut calories to 1500 a day.

You DO need to start making more intelligent food choices. It could be as simple as "Today I will eat a good breakfast of eggs and oatmeal instead of going to McDonalds" or "Today I will cook a dinner containing lean meats and veggies" - Its really quite simple.

DO start training with weights 3-4 days a week. I dont know if you need to jump into a full on Body Building program right away as you are brand new. Focus on something that has you doing your entire body over the coarse of the week.

Don't beat yourself up if you make a mistake. Learn from it, and make an effort not to make it again. Small steps add up man, believe me.

Read some Dan John articles in the archives for some simple, real world motivational writing from a guy about your age. He is Yoda.


Thanx a million ya'll, some great food for thought posted & I love the staight forward attitude from everyone,its exactly what I wanted/needed.

I'm make'n a trip to the local farmers market to stock up for the come'n week, figured I can score some fresh home grown (veggies) ther, think'n peppers, squash, spinach, "sweet taters" ( as we call'm) then to the store for some fish, chicken & beef, mite have to try for a local butcher for something without the chemicals.

No more of the fast food biscuts, breakfast will be made at home then tossed in my lunch box with the rest of the days fare, lots of water & maybe some home brewed green tea but no colas or fruit juices, & guess'n a samll portion every 3 hours or so (feel free to set me straight on what I need to know on the correct way to better my eating habits, I'm just go'n by what I've read in different sites.

All of you have been very helpful & its inspiring to me see whats been accomplished with all your hard work & time.


Awesome man, glad to hear it.

The reality is you can accomplish great things at 45. Think about it, if you lose 1 pound a week of pure fat (a very realistic goal) in 2 years time you will have lost 100 pounds. If you are training intelligently you will add some muscle mass. Think about that shift. By your 47th birthday you could be rid of 100 pounds of pure fat and have 15-20 pounds of extra muscle on your frame.

Brother, that's awesome. In another years time you could drop another 30-50 pounds of fat - YOU COULD BE IN THE BEST SHAPE OF YOUR ADULT LIFE WHEN YOU ARE ALMOST 50 YEARS OLD... How does that sound?

Will you look like a cover model? Probably not. But can you be "that guy" that obviously works out and people want to help move a couch? Hell-to-the-YES!

If you can bring yourself to do this, think about it: If someone who was 45 came to me at the gym and said "Hi, My name is Larry and I'm new to this. I want to get into the best shape of my life, will you help me? Can I train with you?" - That person would have just found a new lifting partner. I would help that person out for sure. Find someone in the gym who looks like they know what they are doing (ie - Not a group of 19 year old yelling at each other "ITS ALL YOU BRO!" - He'll probably be quiet and stick to himself.) and go talk to them, train with them if you can.

Heres a tip that you might want to use:

A BIG part of my nutritional plan is to cook a ton of food on Sunday and then I can just get to it in seconds later on in the week.


I buy 2 pounds of 97% lean beef and cut this into 6 patties, fire up the grill and do 5 minutes per side.

While those are cooking, I open up a carton of eggs and cook 3 eggs at a time on the oven (I do them over hard so they stay in the fridge easier)

It works out that in about 20-25 minutes time, I get 6 burger and 6 egg "patties" - thats the basis for 12 meals right there done in under 30 minutes. From there you just throw those into a plastic container and you can literally have a meal ready/packed for later in under 2 minutes.

  • If you are just getting started, I wouldnt worry AT ALL about eating 6-7 times a day. Just focus on developing better eating habits that you can sustain.

  • Like Hallowed mentioned above, look into something like the Paleo Diet and dont even worry about stuff like "I need to eat 2467 calories today spread over 5 meals" - Just start making the transition to eating real food consistently, exercising regularly, and the process will take care of itself.

  • Think of "fast meals" that YOU can make. Examples would be things like Protein powder and oatmeal with some berries, or cottage cheese mixed with peanut butter. These are nutrient rich meals and can be made in MINUTES.

  • Dont go crazy on the weights and cardio initially. You are starting at at ZERO, dont try and jump to 60mph right away. Just focus on going to gym, hell - Do WHATEVER YOU WANT in the gym 3 days a week for the first few weeks. As far as "cardio" goes, at 300 pounds - Just walk. If you have a wife, walk with her. Take your dog for a walk. 300 pound guys who have never trained before do NOT need to jump into doing wind sprints and High Intensity Intervals, or Tabata Front Squat protocols. JUST MOVE!

I really think many people fail at "getting fit" because they burden themselves with so much right from the beginning. They think they need to eat 6 times a day, weight train 5 days a week, do cardio every day - The reality is they just need to eat less, move more, and stop drinking soda. From there you can get "advanced" but in the beginning keep it super basic, and super simple.


I really agree with this. Small definitive steps. Diet first. Add weight training. Then think about some cardio.



This is a great article that really cuts to the core of what brand new trainee's should do. In case you want the cliff notes:


Congratulations on getting started.

When you get a chance come on over to the old folks home (over 35 lifter).

At 45 it's all to play for.

Everything above has been really solid and i recognise just about all the stages i have gone through in the last 18 months.

My only tip ; when very heavy and starting out is to walk lots--if you can walk everywhere--if you are sitting right now get right up and walk around, repeat...
I lost about 10kg just by cleaning up my diet and walking, before even starting on the weights.


I completely agree. People who are coming from a history of being very inactive and, lets face, obese do NOT need to be doing Barbell Complexes and Stadium Sprints on day 1.

The quote I heard years ago that sticks with me is that sometimes, people just need to learn how to MOVE again. For some people, walking a quarter mile is so far outside their current level of fitness, that its all they need to do, and in fact all they CAN do.

Start small and take baby steps, eventually you will be doing stuff that is quite amazing.


I appreciate all the encouragement & advice. The learning curve will be sharp enuff & thers gonna be setbacks I'm certain but hope'n to keep them at a minimum, I just cant obsess over a setback but try & learn from it then do better next time, its took a long time to get into the shape & like so its gonna take time to work it off.

The info & advice has helped with my motivation in a big way, I'm get'n curious as to what I can accomplish & looking forward to geting started already


and heres a heads-up on a decision you'll be forced to make . not the first month , but soon afterward . it'll be a friday after work ; you'll have a training session planned that day , and a close family member or friend will call you needing a favor....which would result in you blowing off your training session.

thats when you decide how bad you want it


[quote]FOX FIRE wrote:

what is the reality of what I can accomplish?***

You will be amazed at the amazing FoxFire if you take the aforementioned advice...
- find what works for you and stick with it. If it isn't working for you change it
- forgive yourself the slip-ups or low days and keep going the very next day
- battle through the tough days because you will feel very badass doing a workout when tired
- set small interim goals and a big one year doable reachable goal
- measure results for feedback - Hallowed said take initial measurements - do it. I did mine in a notebook, 10 measurements + weight. I am obsessive so I measured every week because something changed each week. If it didn't I couldn't lie to myself. Less obsessive is measure every month.

Post motivational slogans or pictures of yourself to your bathroom mirror or hang up a pair of pants you want to fit back into where you can see them.

I did all of those things. I read constantly on this site. Constantly. The men and women on here motivate me.

Let him out, FoxFire. He wants out.


Fox Fire, best of luck to you. I was in a similar situation about 10 years ago. (I'm now 50). The realization hit me: it's never going to be easier or more opportune. In ten year's time, do I want to be on a slab at the morgue or out and enjoying life and my kids? It jumpstarted me. I haven't looked back. I now feel great and look great.

Like others have said, just DO something. Nearly any diet, exercise, or program (even walking) that you can do regularly is better than some ideal program that you drop or don't do regularly. Your first objective or stage here is simply to break bad behavior patterns and get in a groove with new ones involving exercise. Believe it or not, in a few week's time your mind will adapt. You'll begin to feel endorphins and satisfaction from the increased blood flow and from showing your body who's boss. ...At least this was my experience.

It might take a training log or friend--someone to hold you accountable to help you "unfreeze" from the old habits.

Once you get to this stage, then exercise and diet won't take such conscious effort. You'll actually look forward to the exercise self-time. You'll feel like shit if/when you do miss a workout. You'll miss the sense of accomplishment. ...And you'll then begin to explore more/better training options.

Don't try to "boil the ocean" or lose all 100 lbs in six months. Take this one. single. step. at. a. time. so that you don't intimidate yourself or lose heart such that you don't reach this stage one.


It keeps get'n better, love it, thanx for the encouragement, it has'nt fallen on deaf ears.


Starting Strength and cut out all sugar.

After 2 months do the V-Diet: