T Nation

Beginner Trouble


Hi everybody!

This is my first post at T-Nation, so I think that it is appropriate to introduce myself. I am a college student, and 20 years old. And oh yeah, I'm from Holland. (So excuse me if my English isn't up to par). I am about 180 centimeters long, and a overweight. I weigh about 87 kilograms, and it definitly isn't muscle.

So, (You can already guess) I want to lose the fat, and build the muscle. Now, I read an enormous amount of nutritional advice on this site, and in one word, it is just great!

I tried to put all of this info to use in a mealplan. I eat 7 times a day, about 210 grams of protein, 90 grams of fat, and about 160 grams of carbs. I really think there are still to many carbs in my programme, but it is hard to find products with 0 carbs and a lot of protein.

My work-out programme is Rippetoe, I think that you are all familliar with that. But my main question is, do you think it is possible that I lose fat and build muscle. (Note; my lifestyle up to know wasn't great. I will change it first think in the morning, by starting of eating breakfast. I will drink water and grean thea all the time, eat 7/8 times a day. Because of these changes, do you think I will lose some fat, and gain some muscle? I also will add cardio after my workout)

Thanks for your advice, hints, tips, etcetera. I'm glad that there are still people willing to help a newbie out. :slightly_smiling:

Oh, and I love the site btw, really informative, sometimes funny, but it always makes me think about life and all of it's important aspects.


Lossing fat while building muscle, while possible, is a very difficult thing to do and not something I would recommend for a newbie.The likely outcome for someone like yourself trying to do both at the same time is you’ll notice very small gains in either one, become discouraged, and maybe give up.
My advise would be to concentrate on building mass for the next 6 months to a year and then go on a fat loss program when you have something to show for your efforts.

Welcome to T-Nation


[quote]brohalloran wrote:
Lossing fat while building muscle, while possible, is a very difficult thing to do and not something I would recommend for a newbie.The likely outcome for someone like yourself trying to do both at the same time is you’ll notice very small gains in either one, become discouraged, and maybe give up.
My advise would be to concentrate on building mass for the next 6 months to a year and then go on a fat loss program when you have something to show for your efforts.

Welcome to T-Nation [/quote]

Hi brohalloran,

I do see youre reply now, I think I just had something wrong with my Internet here. Well, thanks for the advice. However, I do see T-Nation advocating to lose the fat first, and then build mass… It’s sometimes so confusing.


It really comes down to your own priorities. My own reasoning for going with mass development first is; to get bigger you need to get stronger, to get stronger you need to eat. This means that during mass building stages your body fat % is likely to go up if you have a low body fat % to begin with (If you have a high body fat % then it’s just as likely to drop).

My point being, when your a beginner, why put yourself through a fat burning cycle when your only going to put some of that fat back on.
Also, in my own experience, I find it easier to maintain strength and muscle mass when burning fat than maintaining a low body fat % when developing strength


Ah, alright. Well, it does sound like a very solid reasoning to me. Bigger muscles will also burn more fat ofcourse. And it is not that I’m enourmously overweight. With all the clean eating I will do, that will do a lot good to my physique. (More water, grean tea, not so much alcohol, eating breakfast, eating veggies, fruits…)

Well, you convinced me. I just should eat as clean as possible, and I’ll see were I’m going. But I do have another question… My maintance is around 2300 calories. I am currently on 2400 calories… You think it will be enough? As you see, I eat a lot of protein, which is musclebuilding.I also have a very low activity level, I train 3 times a week, sometimes I cycle 25 minutes to my GF, and that’s about it. I do sit a lot, at school and at work, so my maintaince is very low. Do you think 2400 calories is okay, or is it still too little?


2300-2500 on training days, 1600-1800 on non-training days. On non-training days try and get in some steady-state cardio (fast walk over 3 miles, or 2 mile jog/run) at least once a week, and High Intensity Interval Training (circuits, hill sprints, etc.) again at least once a week, no more than 30-40 mins a session. This should help make up for inactivity during the day.
For clarification - Training Days = Days your in the gym lifting
Non-training days = obviously days your not lifting


Wauw, again very good tips there. :slight_smile:

Hehe, 1600 - 1800 calories? I think i’m going to starve, hahaha. Well, we do know why I’m fat then, hehehe. I’ll add a little more fat + protein on my work-out days, and then i’ll try to cut as much on the carbs at non-training days.

Oh, about the walking, really good idea is that…
I also think that it will increase my overall fitness. :smiley:

Thanks for the tips man, I really appreciate it!


Hi Avenge,
glad you’re here and starting a program! And your English is excellent.

I think you actually can lose fat and gain muscle, especially as a beginner who hasn’t lifted weights before, and especially as a fat person. It’s bodybuilders who generally can’t cut and bulk at the same time. According to Rippetoe, some of that should happen almost automatically as you start training. It happens to a lot of people. Not to second-guess brohalloran, but that statement just stuck out to me as false.

That 1600-1800 sounds brutal. That’s what I eat (and I’m a girl.) When I see a man go on a cutting diet, it’s generally still above 2000 calories. Maybe you don’t even need to count at first, if you eat clean (and eating clean is a major change – that means a total absence of white processed starchy goodies.)


Hi AlisaV!

Thanks for the compliment about my English, I really appreciate it.

Alright, very interesting statements you are making. Especially about the fact that you eat around 1600 - 1800 calories. So, what you are actually saying is…

  • Eat as clean as possible (with enough protein ofcourse), then changes will come.

I will try, i’m trying to start drinking a lot of milk, cottage cheese and eggs. Since I’m a student, I have to watch my budget a little. I will start with eating this tomorrow, as stated in the first post. Do you by any chance have any idea when I will start to see some changes?

(I know, building a body takes long and hard work, and that is totally right, but I would like to have at least somewhat of a referencepoint.)

And thank you for sharing your views with me, I really appreciate the fact that people are trying to help out others!


Maintenance calories is an individual thing. I have clients, a husband and wife, whose maintenance calories are about the same. He has WAAAAAAYYYYYY more muscle than her; she has about 110 lb LBM while he has 180. Nonetheless their RMR is about the same. She actually burns way more calories in a day because she is so active, while he is not.

In short, neither this poster nor anyone else will get great results eating calories appropriate for someone else. All that matters for you is what YOUR maintenance is.

And Avenge, congratulations for knowing this number. Few beginners do.


I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to steer you wrong. I’m not a professional or even particularly knowledgeable, and andersons is. My bad.


I don’t think anything you said was wrong. Many males do diet effectively above 2000 calories, but some people are going to need lower-than-average calories to lose fat because they just don’t burn that many.

On the positive side, I think that you are right that if Avenge trains hard, ramps up the general activity, and eats way more protein than he did previously, he should gain muscle and lose fat thanks to the magic of newbie gains.


Well Andersons, interesting view you have there. It really opens my eyes that a mail and a female can have the same RMR. About the number (around 2300), I have calculated this number via a Dutch bodybuilding site, so I hope it is quite correct. And if I get too fat, I’ll just cut it back. I really do feel that this is at least some trial and error, and I have to start somewhere.

Hehe, I really do hope that you are right about the newbie gains! I’ll measure everything up tomorrow, just before my work-out, and I will do so every two weeks. And AlisaV, don’t worry too much about what you said. Since Andersons think you might be right… Well, you just might be right!

Oh, and thanks for all the constructive comments, all of you!


Ah, you used a calculator. I thought you knew your true maintenance.

The calculator is a rough guess based on a regression equation. There is high variance though, so your true maintenance could be much more OR less than the equation predicts.

But anyway, by eating breakfast and plenty of protein and lifting hard, you should make progress. And be as active as possible and do some cardio on your off days.


since you are now starting to work out keep I would say keep your intake the same for two weeks to see how your body reacts and then start adjusting your calories according to what you need, add 200 calories or drop 200 calories if you feel you need to change your caloric intake. Keep doing that every two weeks until you know exactly what you need to bulk, mantain, or cut, whatever your goal is


@ Andersons & Myself1992

Yeah, I did use a calculator. I do know that they are always (or hardly any) correct. However, I do have to start somewhere. Unless you have better tips, I think I have no other option than to use this. And like what Myself1992 says, I just start somewhere, and I’ll start tweaking along the way.

And what exactly do I reach with being as active as possible? Just burning up more carbs than usual, or are there more reasons to it?