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Cardio or Lifting for Obese Gym Beginner?

I’m currently on TRT, got my T levels way up, and really wanting to lose weight and get fit. I’m 6’0 245 pounds, not a ton of muscle. I’ve never really worked out in my life, but my jobs I’ve had were all very physical and required lifting heavy stuff and lots of manual labor, so I’ve got a bit of muscle from that. I’m going to start dieting, but I’m trying to decide if I need to cut down to like 1500 calories and walk/jog a few days a week? Or if I should go straight to muscle building and losing fat passively. Also the clinic I work with told me by growth hormone is in a really good spot to build muscle. Think it’s closer to the top of normal ranges, like 320 or something? Top of the range is 350 I beleive. My original plan was to get down to 220 which would take me into the overweight range instead of obese, so maybe I’d feel a bit more comfortable at the gym, and have a bit more energy for workout. I also made a deal with myself, that when I hit 200 pounds I’m joining a BJJ gym.

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I’m going to be the proponent of taking a modest approach. Sure, you have plenty of fat to sustain you but I do not think you should cut down to 1500 calories.

Ideally, find out how much calories you are currently ingesting per day.
Subtract something like 500 calories from that and try to stick with that until your weight loss stalls for several weeks (a minimum of two, preferably three-four before cutting additional calories).

Feel free to walk, as long as your joints allow you to do so. No need to start with an excessively high goal. Do the least you can, that’ll be an improvement on your current state. This leaves you room to progress once weight-loss stalls. This means that if you are absolutely sedentary, start with 3k steps a day.

If you already walk more than that, then the next goal would be 5k steps, and then 8k, and then 10k. I see no argument for going above 12k steps per day at the most.

Do not jog, your joints will probably become cranky (get fit to run, don’t run to get fit).

Do start lifting.

Depending on how you are eating, it’s entirely possible you can lose weight without counting a single calorie by just substituting your food choices by other healthier food choices.


I lost 60 pounds last year on a VLCD, but gained alot of it back. Probably because the way that I lost it. Also I currently walk 10k steps a day minimum at work. How many days should I lift as a beginner? And I’d like to start walking like 3 to 4 days a week, maybe 2 miles? I’m used to walking due to my past jobs, so it never seems to hurt my joints.

Definitely start lifting. Your priorities should be Diet, Lifting then cardio/walking. Also, you can wait till 200 to join a BJJ gym and if that is your motivation go for it, but BJJ is also a pretty good workout in itself and will help burn calories. So, if its your payoff for losing 45lbs, that is fine, but if you are waiting because your aren’t fit enough, I would just join. Good luck.

Alot of it because I’m so out of shape, but some of It also just lack of confidence. Working in that now though, and I’m sure losing a bit of weight will increase my fitness/energy/self confidence. 200 is more like “I don’t care if you don’t want to, or feel like it, you said 200 pounds, and you’re 200 pounds so do it”. I’m hoping to feel better sooner and join before then, that’s like a bottom line.

Then you don’t have to worry that much about getting additional walking in although I won’t stop you. Fresh air and sunshine is good for you after all.

This will be very dependent on how you lift and your previous training background. Generally, 3, 4, maybe 5 days.

How old are you?

I’m 23 and I have no weight lifting experience.

If I was starting anew, I’d start with this,

How do I determine how much weight I need to use? Keep raising til I can barely do the amount of reps it says to do? I have no clue what my maxes are for anything obviously

You want the reps to be solid, not a struggle. Preferably, when you rack the bar you want to know that you had 1-2 more good reps in you. Dominate the weight, don’t let it dominate you. Don’t worry, you’ll be back again in two days going heavier than you just did. Once you can no longer sustain this, you switch to not trying to add weight every session but every week, and once you can no longer sustain that it’s time to adopt a different approach.

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You really need to establish consistent habits instead of crash dieting with extreme calorie restriction again and again. This is a straightforward guideline:

Eat better, every day of the week; lift 3-5 days a week; do some kind of cardio 3-5 days a week, and you’ll be well on track.

In the grand scheme, this isn’t that important at all. Don’t give it a second thought.


TRT at 23 with no lifting experience? These doctors will prescribe anything to anyone and it seems like patients just want medical intervention without exhausting the other alternatives.

There’s no reason to be on TRT unless your diet/training/sleep is all shit. When I tried to inquire about TRT at 28, a doctor suggested I focus on my sleep. I don’t know how your sleep patter is, but if your diet and training were in check, you wouldnt be obese. I know somebody here is gonna chime in with “What if he was born with hypogonadism like I was?” - I’m sure he doesn’t.

All that being said, you should probably invest in a coach if you’re not sure where to start. You can do both cardio and lifting as an obese beginner.

I’ve had hypogonadism my entire life actually. I had testicular torsion shortly after birth. Would those things help? Absolutely. Would they take my T levels up to 1000+ like TRT does? I highly doubt it. Also all that shit is much harder with low T… Sleep sucks, no energy or drive, less gains in the gym, easier time gaining weight, harder time losing it. I’m sure there are some hardasses out there with low T that don’t know it, who are busting their asses doing those things, but in the end, they are putting in more work, and not getting anywhere near the returns they should be. T Levels in men are important, and so is the balance.

I don’t know if you’re on TRT, but if not go to the TRT replacement thread, and read all the posts about the guys who have a good diet, workout like crazy, get enough sleep and STILL feel like shit.

Yeah, I been on the subforum, and I’m considering TRT for the future as well. Those guys really had everything down, but that’s not your case, is it?

I stand corrected in that case

You don’t even lift yet tho

I figure you already know that by eating right, investing in some proper training, you’ll def get the most bang for your buck on TRT.


This can also cause low testosterone. I’m not trying to correct you specifically, but seeing lower levels of testosterone in a training population is, as I recall, not unexpected. However, if “they”/athletes take it easy it will go up assuming no underlying issue exists.

Also, excessive dieting can also tank hormone levels.

To not seem as if I’m here just to point fingers and be a correcting know-it-all (not my intent with the post): I’m on TRT for hypogonadism as well though.


Well said

Not to mention:

Are also symptoms of being obese

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I had these symptoms well before I was obese. I wasn’t obese until I stopped TRT at 19 because I didn’t realize how important it was. I was healthy and decently active, played alot of basketball and wasn’t overeating. An obvious sign that TRT was a factor in my obesity. When I got back on TRT I lost 60 pounds. Then we bumped up my TRT dose and it spiked my E2 and I gained half of it back. I’m working on losing again now with dieting, due all this Covid-19 mess, but as soon as I’m able I’ll start going to the gym.

Good call

Hello, weight loss is really hard and whilst there is no one answer for your question I am going to suggest another approach.

Don’t start lifting straight away, walk every day for 30min on top of what ever walking you are doing at work. Do this at the same time you would ideally go to the gym and lift weights. The purpose of this is to form some good habits with out getting stuck on the little stuff and getting overwhelmed. Do this for a month, and focus on walking faster each time and increasing the distance. I also enjoyed going for a longer walk once a week. My longer walks started at 45-50min and now my long walk per week goes for a few hours.

Get your diet in check, you don’t need to lift weights or exercise at all to lose weight, its all about cals in and cals out. You don’t need to eat super clean you can eat what ever you want as long as you are burning more than you are eat you are good to go.

I did find that eating clean enables you to feel full for longer, stops most of the cravings and makes you feel better in general.

After you have been doing the above for a couple of months and have formed good diet habits and training habits you can hit the weights. Start off with 2-3 days per week which will replace the walks that you would normally do on those days. Find a program that you like and enjoy it but just make sure you put in every time you go.

I found the above approach worked for me, I have failed many times at dropping weight until I broke it down like above. My weight loss journey isn’t completed yet I’ve lost 123.459lbs in total since July of last year.
Which ever way you go about it just stick to it, its a real mental battle.