T Nation

Beginning Advice from a Beginner

Besides a proper beginning training regiment, here are some (very) simplified tips from a beginner to another to help wrap your head around things.

  1. No one is laughing at you because you are struggling on the bench with 105 lbs but with proper form. Everyone is laughing at you if you are rocking 315 lbs with horrible form.

  2. Take a friend to the gym with you on a Saturday morning to find out what your 1RM ( one rep max) is for:

Bench Press
Deadlift
Squat
Military/Overhead Press
Standing Dumbbell Curls

How many of the following you can do:
Pushups
Situps
Pullups
Chinups

WRITE THESE DOWN! You have to know these to gauge proper rep weight, and also to cackle in glee as you destroy these benchmarks in time. Goals are everything. Set them, demolish them. If you cannot bring a friend, ask a trainer there to spot you while you go for it. They will be happy to help.

  1. Supplements are NOT a priority for you right now. Never ever feel like you are not maximizing your time in the gym because you dont have a good sup stack lined up. Priority is hitting the gym at full speed every day, good diet and protein intake. Supplements are important, but they are worthless if you neglect the big 3. Us beginners are blessed with tremendous % gains just by natural lifting.

  2. Stay hydrated, invest in some good whey protein. These are the single best “supplements” for a while.

  3. Farmer’s Market: Lots of round steaks, chicken, and seafood. Keep your freezer full. Buy plenty of vegetables, fresh preferably, but keep some cans in supply. Avocados, nuts (almonds), oatmeal, eggs (whole, real eggs), fat free cottage cheese and yogurt for late night hunger. Missing a meal is death. Plan ahead, eat off any hunger with healthy foods. Being hungry is the enemy (especially if you are also trying to lose weight)

  4. That piece of pizza? Say goodbye forever. It’s the cause of insecurities, stretch marks, and jiggling bodies. You won’t want to eat shit like that if you eat healthy and often. Don’t even mess around with the ‘healthy’ pizzas with whole wheat crust and such. Boycott Taco Bell. The human body is an amazing machine, but it was not designed to house fast foods and pizza.

  5. Don’t count calories. Not yet. You have to get a set diet routine in place before even thinking about calories. Why? Say it’s 5:00 and you are at your ‘calorie limit’, but find yourself hungry. Do you not eat? Of course you eat. You always eat when you are hungry. You stop eating when you are not hungry. Never ‘fill up’. Discarding food is ok, and well advised. It will take time to get your diet in line.

  6. Invest in a Sansa or IPOD. Put shit tons of metal on it, put it on full blast and never hit the pause button. Walk into the gym feeling great with a great plan.

  7. Involve someone you know in lifting. Either find an existing friend that lifts and spend every session with them, or drag an interested party into the gym with you. Call each other names if one of you ever pusses out on a session.

  8. If you are male: Do not tell another male you are “working out to get tone, not gross big”.

Here’s why: Muscle tone is for the ladies, god bless them. Guys, we’re either building mass, or we’re losing mass. You have no idea of how much time and effort goes into those ‘gross big’ bodies of the finer weight lifters. You wont have to worry about having that ‘problem’ for many, many years. Never use the word tone. If you must, substitute ‘cut up’ or ‘Hollywood cut’, or ‘I have no idea what I am talking about’ instead of the word tone.

  1. Read everything on this site. All the articles, all forums, and private message the more accomplished lifters here that grace our presence with more personal issues that may arise. You’ll be shocked at how much of a personal interest they will take in YOU.

  2. Never feel inferior. If you’re the smallest or fattest person in the gym, no one is judging you, in fact, they are applauding you. If you just put your head down and dedicate yourself to busting goals and educating yourself, you WILL be gifted with a proper physique. Don’t worry if the gains aren’t coming as fast as you’d like.

  3. Make a life decision to eat right, and lift right. You absolutely deserve all of the rewards this lifestyle brings.

Pretty damn good advice…

For a beginner! 8^)