T Nation

Complete Beginner, Advice Needed on Where to Start


#1

Hi all,

I made the decision to adjust my lifestyle to be healthier and overall more active, as I was veering into obese territory and decided that I wasn’t happy with how I was treating my body. I started out at about 104kg (~230lbs) and was quite frankly an inactive tub of lard. I changed up my diet and started out with doing some cardio too, and have since gone down to 87kg(190lbs) and now look like a less offensive tub of lard, but I also feel a lot healthier and happier with my body so I can’t complain. After a little research and lurking on the forums here I have decided that I want to start lifting as the next step for a healthier lifestyle and fat loss. I realize that I will now get to enjoy the beginner period, so I am eager to begin and plan to do so tomorrow. I was considering Starting Strength as a starting point, but I felt that I should ask people who actually know what they are talking before jumping the gun. My question is which program(s) would you recommend for me to start out at. I am open to any suggestions and greatly appreciate any insight you all have to offer.

Age: 25

Height: 180cm/5’11"

Weight: 87kg/190lbs

The cardio I was doing was the insanity workout, followed by the first month of insanity max. Just wanted to confirm the notion that it would be ok to drop the HIIT once I actually start lifting, and instead replace that with something like skipping/basketball on days off. As much as I enjoy being more active, I would LOVE to not have to do insanity, at least for a while :smiley:

And as a last point, I would like to give you an idea of my diet to see if there are any glaring issues. An average day looks something like this:

Breakfast: oats with dried fruits, toasted nuts and seeds, and a half litre of milk OR 3-4 egg omelette/scramble with deli-style turkey/chicken ham

Lunch: wholegrain toast (3-4 medium slices) with parmesan and deli-style turkey/chicken ham

Dinner: Protein of the day (chicken breast, steak, salmon, white fish) with a side of carbs (quinoa, rice, pasta, potatoes) and veg (asparagus, beans, zucchini, salad of the day)

Snacks/inbetweens: fruits (in moderation), and plan to add a protein shake post workout once I start lifting weights

I would say I average around 1800-2200 calories, depending on the day. I was thinking of upping it to about 2500 and observing for a few weeks to see how my body reacts, and was wondering if that sounds like a reasonable place to start.

Sorry for how long the post has gotten, and once again thanks in advance for taking the time to help me out.


#2

Pick a program that jumps out at you and commit to it for 3-6 months. It doesn’t really matter which one. Just don’t get dragged into the optimal/fastest progress suckers trip to purgatory.

Your diet is an okay starting point. See how it works for you and tweak over time.


#3

Either of these a great way to start off…


(can start wth phase 2)

or

Reading a bunch of other articles by Dan John well worth the time also

Yeah fine to drop insanity for basketball etc


#4

The best program is the one that you’ll actually stick with. There are lots of good options for getting stronger and leaner, but this will be driven a lot by your personality and what kind of reinforcements will encourage you most to keep going. I think 5/3/1 is a great program for a lot of people, but you might look at it and think it’s not really for you. The biggest thing is to set realistic goals that can be measured.

It’s fine to say I want to feel better and get stronger and healthier, but what does that mean to you? Do you want to bench press a certain weight? Do you want to wear a certain size clothing? Do you want to run a 5k or marathon in a certain time or do a Spartan race? These are all questions that will drive how you train and what type of program. You don’t have to answer all of these at once and they’re really meant to get you to think about what your priorities in training are. There are a lot of different authors on this site that have great ideas to implement and programs to use, but it has to fit your wants.

Beyond that, all the best to you. Get after it and make some progress. 80% of what most good trainers are going to say is basically agreed upon to some extent or another. Pick a program and hit it for a couple months and see where it takes you.


#5

Since no one else has mentioned diet yet I’ll take a quick stab at thee:

Is this an estimation or have you actually measured? It’s VERY easy to get calorie estimations wrong. 99% of people either way over/underestimate their calories. My advice is to spend at least a few days meticulously logging everything you eat so you can get an idea of where you’re at.

Upping calories may or may not benefit you depending on a host of factors. It is a good idea to take a break from calorie restriction for a couple of weeks every once in a while (also depends on a host of factors but generally not a good idea to restrict calories for 12 weeks+).


#6

Thanks for the reading material, and I’ll be sure to check out Dan John articles over the weeks to come.


#7

Thank you very much for the detailed response! I haven’t paid any attention to my ability to digest things so I’ll keep that in mind as something to fine tune as I go forward.

Also, what you said about upping the protein intake so your body has to take from fat stores for energy never occurred to me. I suppose that’s the kind of thinking that comes with experience, so I appreciate the info a lot.

And lastly, you were quite right, was only an estimation. I’ll log everything I eat for the rest of the week and see what my intake actually looks like. I’ll also just keep eating as is, and if I’m feeling hungry/weak at any point I’ll add in another meal.


#8

Thanks for the kind wishes. Definitely gives me a lot to think about. I think it would help to have a clear end goal in mind for motivational purposes as well, so I’ll keep what you have said in mind.


#9

de nada. My two favourite things on this forum are helping people who truly want advice, and being a complete dick to everyone else.[quote=“lelouch92, post:7, topic:232032”]
I haven’t paid any attention to my ability to digest things so I’ll keep that in mind as something to fine tune as I go forward.
[/quote]

This is a hugely underrated aspect of diet in my opinion, and something I only started really trying to dial in relatively recently. If you are eating foods that bloat you, cutting those out can take 2 inches off your waist pretty much immediately.

Protein also has a thermic effect so it boosts your metabolism too. Protein’s the tops.

Big red flag here, mate! Estimations are always dreadfully wrong, so definitely do some logging.

Good luck!