T Nation

Absolute Beginner, Needs Help!!

Ok, so, yes, cliche, here I come, start of new year, new years resolution, GET IN SHAPE!! More than that though, I want to get my LIFE in shape, my spirit, soul, mind, finance, body, relationships, attitude - I believe this is the sport to help with that. I honestly do, I have been reading a lot of bodybuilding and watching a lot recently and believe this is a lifestyle choice that will permeate into all areas of my life.

Now, I’m 32 years old. Ex 20 a day smoker (17 years) - Problems with Alcohol, Drugs and binge eating. I want to change, I AM going to change. But with all this information, and there is more of it than there I can believe. Where the hell do I start???

I would appreciate any input - I’m in need of so major bro love here!!!

I’m 32 - is that too old?
My lungs are shot to crap - as is my liver? Not too mention, probably the rest of my organs such as my brain!!
I’m on anti-depressants?
I know i’ve been stupid, I know I done damage. But I want to change all that and start contributing to my life and my family and my society.

Help guys!!! Please.

Stop posting. Right top corner the white box is to search.
Search, read, do, rest, do,
All the best !

I’ve been reading. That’s why I posted, so confused. So many dieting strategies, so many exercise routines - I get your point though, not going to loose weight sat on laptop. Was just looking for some advice i guess.

I mean I got myself to 210 lbs / 30% body fat at 6 foot 2 - that is not good shape. Where do I start to turn things around.

I’ve cut out the drink, drugs and smoking - which is a MASSIVE start for me but I want to go further!!!

Go into the gym today or tomorrow. Find your maxes on squat, bench, deadlift, and press.

By jim wendlers 5/3/1 book. Do the program exactly as written. Easy into conditioning. For a month just walk for an hour 4 times a week. Then you can start hill sprints, prowler etc.

Get you diet in check. Make sure your getting in 1 gram of protein per bodyweight, and fill the rest with clean carbs and fats. Find a calorie level where you are dropping weight slowly. After a week or 2 drop the calories again, then repeat.

Well if you smokrd and did drugs,nothing stopping you from jumping on a big stack of juice, you’ll be jacked in no time.If you don’t like that, give wendler 20 bucks, and get on 531, like the rest of us broken down wrecks

same boat here…drank way too much and smoked into my 40’s . put that behind me and took up P’lifting .

gains havent been stellar , but they are coming so I cant complain . no reason at all that you cant make gains in your early 30’s .

good luck

If you haven’t already noticed you aren’t gonna get much sympathy here. Keep asking questions, we are here to help, but at the end of the day YOU know what’s wrong and what’s right, YOU are gonna be the one that has to change it, YOU are to blame if you succeed, YOU are to blame if you fail. See what I’m getting at? Other than that jtown gave you pretty good advice. Keep it simple.

you can totally do this.

i first joined a gym at age 30 after a life of being sedentary…

i have only just managed to quit smoking last christmas (one year smokefree) after more than 15 years of close to 30 per day…

So I smoked for quite a while when I was training at the gym. It isn’t optimal but it is possible and change takes time.

you can totally do this. One step at a time.


have a look for the 100 push-up program. you can find it on the internet. do it. if you can’t do one from the ground just yet then raise your upper body up e.g., on stairs. work hard at them until you can do them properly from the ground.


how come? because it gives you something that you can do RIGHT NOW. NO EXCUSES.


if you possibly can…

find a powerlifting / sports training kind of gym where there are people who train properly and trainers who know how to train people properly. Even crossfit would be better than your joining up to a place like planet fitness where (by the sounds of it) nobody knows their ass from their elbow…

If you can afford a trainer (and can find one who knows their stuff) that would be best…

If you can’t then you can make things work anyway.

Visit gyms… Make sure that you get a free pass to see how you find it before you commit to joining…

Even (kinda hate to say this) check out their free classes. To get you started. So you start to feel comfortable in the gym environment and it is a regular part of your life.

Or…

Boxing? A social sport? A martial art?

Again… It is a way of getting instruction (so you feel confident about what you are doing) and social contact where a lot of people enjoy the social aspect and find it helps them stay motivated.

You don’t need to go that way, though…

When I first started out I found a non-stupid but not particularly brilliant trainer. I got a standard machine weights program… I kept a log and tracked my progress… And I made progress. And 3 months later I got him to give me another program.

If you typically do nothing then doing SOMETHING will require your body to change to keep up. It is more about your finding something that you will stay motivated to KEEP DOING. And then (down the track) small adjustments to it that require your body to continue to adapt in response to. Most anything will work, it depends on what you LIKE to do so that you keep on doing it.

What sort of thing has appeal to you?

[quote]jtownlax wrote:
Go into the gym today or tomorrow. Find your maxes on squat, bench, deadlift, and press.

By jim wendlers 5/3/1 book. Do the program exactly as written. Easy into conditioning. For a month just walk for an hour 4 times a week. Then you can start hill sprints, prowler etc.

Get you diet in check. Make sure your getting in 1 gram of protein per bodyweight, and fill the rest with clean carbs and fats. Find a calorie level where you are dropping weight slowly. After a week or 2 drop the calories again, then repeat.[/quote]

That is a very nice approach, too

(though it relies on your being competent in the squat, bench, deadlift, and press - and it is not at all uncommon for beginners - especially in their 30’s to have FUCKLOADS of mobility work to be doing before they are competent in these movements)

[quote]BobRonnieZane wrote:
Ok, so, yes, cliche, here I come, start of new year, new years resolution, GET IN SHAPE!! More than that though, I want to get my LIFE in shape, my spirit, soul, mind, finance, body, relationships, attitude - I believe this is the sport to help with that. I honestly do, I have been reading a lot of bodybuilding and watching a lot recently and believe this is a lifestyle choice that will permeate into all areas of my life.

Now, I’m 32 years old. Ex 20 a day smoker (17 years) - Problems with Alcohol, Drugs and binge eating. I want to change, I AM going to change. But with all this information, and there is more of it than there I can believe. Where the hell do I start???

I would appreciate any input - I’m in need of so major bro love here!!!

I’m 32 - is that too old?
My lungs are shot to crap - as is my liver? Not too mention, probably the rest of my organs such as my brain!!
I’m on anti-depressants?
I know i’ve been stupid, I know I done damage. But I want to change all that and start contributing to my life and my family and my society.

Help guys!!! Please.[/quote]

No man, you’re not too old. Not at all. I train two guys in their 50s and 60s, strong as fuck for their weight and age. Have one person with severe nerve damage to the left side of their body…still progressing, still working hard, still improving. Couldn’t do a damned bodyweight squat or lunge 6 weeks ago and now can now zercher squat 200 lbs and do clean walking lunges. Left side is improving nicely, so is his everyday walking and functioning. He’s super happy. It’s not too late, it’s just all about how much you’re willing to work and sacrifice for.

You have the right attitude. You have the right idea. Just realize you HAVE to stick in for the long haul, the frustrating days/weeks/MONTHS, the bad days you don’t want to go in and the good days you want to train for hours. You HAVE TO.

This isn’t a game where people who want the easy road do well. This game–long term success anyways–is solely and utterly dependent on strength of will and mental discipline. That’s not to say you aren’t alllowed to screw up or make mistakes–EVERYBODY does that, even big thick cut vets. What it DOES mean is that you’re not allowed to fucking quit on yourself and take the easy road that “feels good” and still get results. You pick yourself up and get back on the program. Discipline doesn’t mean we don’t fuck up, it means that over time we fuck up less and less because we improve on our willpower and focus on what needs to be done, not the excuses why it hasn’t been done yet or “can’t” get done.

You make the sacrifice over the year, you get results. You don’t…you end up the same as you are. There’s no magic fucking pill or magic diet or magic stack of steroids (and you’ve got a fucked liver anyways–although I hope you realized I wasn’t telling you to take prohormones or roids). NOTHING–and I mean NOTHING–but hard work and discipline. This game is one that really does teach you discipline and focus if you stick with it long enough. It’s fantastic.

I’ll tell you right now there is no perfect weight lifting program or “fitness” program. Anybody who tells you that is selling something. It doesn’t matter right now that you pick a “perfect” program–what matters is that you do something–anything–that you will stick to and enjoy some of the time. So pick something that sounds interesting, and stick it out for 8 weeks before changing. It’s not about the program it’s about the effort and time.

I don’t care if you start with only push-ups and sit-ups and bodyweight lunges at home, start today. Don’t fucking wait–that’s an excuse. That’s a deadly excuse. Follow Alexus’s advice, but in the meantime do SOMETHING on your own. Nobody cares how badly you start off, they care where you end up, or if you have the stones to get somewhere.

Alexus has excellent advice and I would follow it. I would say also that your lungs will improve the longer you work at this, even though they suck now. Don’t take a bunch of supplements, just some healthy vitamins and protein powder for workouts–and something to contribute to liver health.

Pick a program from one of the sticky threads here in the beginner forum, and do it. Doesn’t matter what, just stick to it and keep reading and learning. Ultimately the only thing besides discipline that will improve you is learning and educating yourself. Not reading infomercials mind you, but actual stuff.

If you feel like shit for spending years putting horrible shit into your body. You’ll probably feel a lot better if you start putting good shit into your body. Your body probably isn’t so far gone. I know it seems unlikely right now, but given time, you can get back to that feeling you had about your body working normally before all the drugs alcohol and smoking.

Start eating good. Make it a point to eat foods that will make you feel like you are eating healthy. Again, ALL THE TIME.

Good luck, bro.

If you start drinking, smoking, or doing drugs again, understand that you are a weak person and accept it. (snark intended)

I’m actually really touched by the above responses here. Don’t want to act a sissy or nothing but means a lot cause it is a LIFE change for me, a MENTAL change, and I know it’s going to be tough; but to think there are people out there that will give me the time of day means more to me than you might know - anyway, have to stop acting the girl!!

Genuinely though, thanks for the replies guys, I really do appreciate it. Makes me feel more motivated and ready to go.

ARAGON - thanks for taking the time to post bro. You’ve said some things that have really hit home, you know. And it’s made me think if there are guys in there 50s, 60s and people with physical handicaps smashing it out, working hard, being committed; then I really have no excuse - just cause I smoked too much, drank Russia out of Vodka etc etc… Fck all that sht, I have my reasons (excuses) for heading down that road to begin with, but at 32, hell, it’s time I grew up, stepped up to the plate, and became a MAN, a real man, stop making excuses for why my life sucks and complaining that I’m hard done by… Look, I know this is not a sight for counseling, but I have chosen this sport because it’s a lifestyle, a mentality, I see it breeds winners, and I’m sick of being a looser - Amen.

I particularly liked this: “What it DOES mean is that you’re not allowed to fucking quit on yourself” - sums it up for.

I was thinking today, and you know what I find most amazing,… is that even after 17 years of smoking, god knows how many gallons of vodka and sh*t cut with god knows what, my body is still kicking, that really is amazing - It’s time I treated it with the respect it deserves. Hell, it’s time I started treating everyone with the respect they deserve, including me.

Thanks again for all the advice guys…

You know what, I was going to start this ‘Journey’ on 1st January 2013. But hell to that, Ima start tomorrow!!!

Much love

[quote]Moe Doobie wrote:
If you feel like shit for spending years putting horrible shit into your body. You’ll probably feel a lot better if you start putting good shit into your body. Your body probably isn’t so far gone. I know it seems unlikely right now, but given time, you can get back to that feeling you had about your body working normally before all the drugs alcohol and smoking.

Start eating good. Make it a point to eat foods that will make you feel like you are eating healthy. Again, ALL THE TIME.

Good luck, bro.

If you start drinking, smoking, or doing drugs again, understand that you are a weak person and accept it. (snark intended)[/quote]

Thanks man - appreciate it.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]BobRonnieZane wrote:
Ok, so, yes, cliche, here I come, start of new year, new years resolution, GET IN SHAPE!! More than that though, I want to get my LIFE in shape, my spirit, soul, mind, finance, body, relationships, attitude - I believe this is the sport to help with that. I honestly do, I have been reading a lot of bodybuilding and watching a lot recently and believe this is a lifestyle choice that will permeate into all areas of my life.

Now, I’m 32 years old. Ex 20 a day smoker (17 years) - Problems with Alcohol, Drugs and binge eating. I want to change, I AM going to change. But with all this information, and there is more of it than there I can believe. Where the hell do I start???

I would appreciate any input - I’m in need of so major bro love here!!!

I’m 32 - is that too old?
My lungs are shot to crap - as is my liver? Not too mention, probably the rest of my organs such as my brain!!
I’m on anti-depressants?
I know i’ve been stupid, I know I done damage. But I want to change all that and start contributing to my life and my family and my society.

Help guys!!! Please.[/quote]

No man, you’re not too old. Not at all. I train two guys in their 50s and 60s, strong as fuck for their weight and age. Have one person with severe nerve damage to the left side of their body…still progressing, still working hard, still improving. Couldn’t do a damned bodyweight squat or lunge 6 weeks ago and now can now zercher squat 200 lbs and do clean walking lunges. Left side is improving nicely, so is his everyday walking and functioning. He’s super happy. It’s not too late, it’s just all about how much you’re willing to work and sacrifice for.

You have the right attitude. You have the right idea. Just realize you HAVE to stick in for the long haul, the frustrating days/weeks/MONTHS, the bad days you don’t want to go in and the good days you want to train for hours. You HAVE TO.

This isn’t a game where people who want the easy road do well. This game–long term success anyways–is solely and utterly dependent on strength of will and mental discipline. That’s not to say you aren’t alllowed to screw up or make mistakes–EVERYBODY does that, even big thick cut vets. What it DOES mean is that you’re not allowed to fucking quit on yourself and take the easy road that “feels good” and still get results. You pick yourself up and get back on the program. Discipline doesn’t mean we don’t fuck up, it means that over time we fuck up less and less because we improve on our willpower and focus on what needs to be done, not the excuses why it hasn’t been done yet or “can’t” get done.

You make the sacrifice over the year, you get results. You don’t…you end up the same as you are. There’s no magic fucking pill or magic diet or magic stack of steroids (and you’ve got a fucked liver anyways–although I hope you realized I wasn’t telling you to take prohormones or roids). NOTHING–and I mean NOTHING–but hard work and discipline. This game is one that really does teach you discipline and focus if you stick with it long enough. It’s fantastic.

I’ll tell you right now there is no perfect weight lifting program or “fitness” program. Anybody who tells you that is selling something. It doesn’t matter right now that you pick a “perfect” program–what matters is that you do something–anything–that you will stick to and enjoy some of the time. So pick something that sounds interesting, and stick it out for 8 weeks before changing. It’s not about the program it’s about the effort and time.

I don’t care if you start with only push-ups and sit-ups and bodyweight lunges at home, start today. Don’t fucking wait–that’s an excuse. That’s a deadly excuse. Follow Alexus’s advice, but in the meantime do SOMETHING on your own. Nobody cares how badly you start off, they care where you end up, or if you have the stones to get somewhere.

Alexus has excellent advice and I would follow it. I would say also that your lungs will improve the longer you work at this, even though they suck now. Don’t take a bunch of supplements, just some healthy vitamins and protein powder for workouts–and something to contribute to liver health.

Pick a program from one of the sticky threads here in the beginner forum, and do it. Doesn’t matter what, just stick to it and keep reading and learning. Ultimately the only thing besides discipline that will improve you is learning and educating yourself. Not reading infomercials mind you, but actual stuff.
[/quote]

Thanks bro - means a lot.

[quote]alexus wrote:
you can totally do this.

i first joined a gym at age 30 after a life of being sedentary…

i have only just managed to quit smoking last christmas (one year smokefree) after more than 15 years of close to 30 per day…

So I smoked for quite a while when I was training at the gym. It isn’t optimal but it is possible and change takes time.

you can totally do this. One step at a time.


have a look for the 100 push-up program. you can find it on the internet. do it. if you can’t do one from the ground just yet then raise your upper body up e.g., on stairs. work hard at them until you can do them properly from the ground.


how come? because it gives you something that you can do RIGHT NOW. NO EXCUSES.


if you possibly can…

find a powerlifting / sports training kind of gym where there are people who train properly and trainers who know how to train people properly. Even crossfit would be better than your joining up to a place like planet fitness where (by the sounds of it) nobody knows their ass from their elbow…

If you can afford a trainer (and can find one who knows their stuff) that would be best…

If you can’t then you can make things work anyway.

Visit gyms… Make sure that you get a free pass to see how you find it before you commit to joining…

Even (kinda hate to say this) check out their free classes. To get you started. So you start to feel comfortable in the gym environment and it is a regular part of your life.

Or…

Boxing? A social sport? A martial art?

Again… It is a way of getting instruction (so you feel confident about what you are doing) and social contact where a lot of people enjoy the social aspect and find it helps them stay motivated.

You don’t need to go that way, though…

When I first started out I found a non-stupid but not particularly brilliant trainer. I got a standard machine weights program… I kept a log and tracked my progress… And I made progress. And 3 months later I got him to give me another program.

If you typically do nothing then doing SOMETHING will require your body to change to keep up. It is more about your finding something that you will stay motivated to KEEP DOING. And then (down the track) small adjustments to it that require your body to continue to adapt in response to. Most anything will work, it depends on what you LIKE to do so that you keep on doing it.

What sort of thing has appeal to you?

[/quote]

Hey man,

Thanks for your words of encouragement, what I need right now, cheers dude.

Glad to hear you packed in the smoking, cool man, with you on that.

You’ve given me a lot of food for thought and I have to thank you for that. You know what, your question

What sort of thing has appeal to you?

Got me to thinking, before all this drinking mess, I used to love jumping on my bike (pedal) and heading down the beach and just hitting the promenade, especially in the summer when the chicks are out catching some rays!!!

I know it’s not going to give me a chest like Mr Nubret but it’s a start, right?!! Anyway, I’m bringing this a day forward, why wait until the new year!!

[quote]BobRonnieZane wrote:

Got me to thinking, before all this drinking mess, I used to love jumping on my bike (pedal) and heading down the beach and just hitting the promenade, especially in the summer when the chicks are out catching some rays!!!

I know it’s not going to give me a chest like Mr Nubret but it’s a start, right?!! Anyway, I’m bringing this a day forward, why wait until the new year!! [/quote]

Perfect attitude! A day wasted is one day towards the long improvement. And hey, it doesn’t matter right now if biking gets you Mr. Universe chest or not, if you like cruising around do it on the warm days. Any movement is always, always better than no movement. Even if it’s not hard or really balls-out challenging. Better habits, better fat burning, and better mentally. The type of people who say “I’ll start next week” are the type of people who don’t last more than a month past New Years. Way way better that you started now/today, even if it’s only a few sets of push-ups and better eating than normal.

You’ll have good days and bad days, but you’ll get through if you don’t give up. I started much the same way (sans drinking/drugs, but more out of disgust at myself). 12 years later, I’m 100 lbs heavier than when I started, as lean or leaner, and a fuckload stronger. And I’m training people to do the same thing as myself. Btw–that nerve damage case I told you about? He was born 3 months pre-mature. He’s been fucked since birth, but he’s now functioning better and feeling better. Even if he has some really crappy days in the gym when I train him sometimes :/.

RE: diet–no need to get crazy right now. Just good fundamentals. Same as a sport right? Learn to pass, dribble, etc. Then start the complex stuff. So just cut out sugar and desserts, the coca cola. Eat meat, veggies, some fruit. Honestly it doesn’t matter right now as long as the food you eat is recognizable as something that used to a) run in the field or forest, b) grow in the ground or on a tree (fruit).

Whatever your favorite fruit is, keep a stash in your house. When you feel a sweet tooth, grab some of your favorite fruit. It ain’t candy, but it tastes good and fills you up. better habits = better life and more muscle eventually.

I used to be an addict myself, to this day I give free memberships to anyone with year clean time. I was 30 with not a thing in the world but a bad habbit and crimmnal past, now I’m 38, own a franchise gym, my own home, young wife(24) and beautiful daughter(5) weightlifting gave me the drive, and lessons(small steps–big dream)to overcome.The book Beyond Brawn by Stuart Mc Roberts, was my bible for training and living(highly recomend it).I now have over 30 clients and make my living from my passion.Keep your head down and put in the work, realize you need to bench 100 than 200 to get to 300, I use that aproach with everything in life,and remember KEEP COMMING BACK!

I signed up just to reply to this thread as it chimed with me so -Some thoughts from a 30 yr old with one years lifting experience…

32 is not too old, utterly not.

A year of compound lifts twice a week will make a huge, massive enormous difference to your body. I had run the London marathon in 2010 so was “fit” (skinny) but lifting has made me feel so much stronger and my body more “together”. I feel like my whole body is more linked together and I’m more flexible and strong. Just picking up things or squatting to my haunches I’ve noticed a big change.

Pick a compound lifts programme and stick to it. Strong lifts. Starting strength or anything suggested in this thread is fine. Do not fall for my mistake of thinking bicep curls will make you buff. It’s all about compound lifts - squats, deadlifts, bench, overhead press. You can go on to split routine later on but get your basic big lifts sorted and you’ll make great progress.

I record all my sessions on Daily Burn Tracker but that’s how my mind works; I enjoy recording and looking back over my progress. You will need to keep the motivation up; it’s very easily lost - we’ve all been there. I find recording sessions motivates me, or find a gym partner to keep you going. You will know how to keep yourself motivated - whatever it takes, make sure you commit for the next 6 months and the results will come

Good luck dude!

The OP wrote:
“so confused. So many dieting strategies, so many exercise routines - I get your point though, not going to loose weight sat on laptop. Was just looking for some advice i guess”

I am glad you took my post about doing for what i meant.
I started a thread thinking of you and so many others. EZ to do at home, starting NOW
All the best !

BobRonnieZane Wendler’s book is great but you really should get Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. The two accompany each other well.