T Nation

Complete Newb to Working Out

Hi, my name is Colton and I’m a 20 year old Canadian. I have lived a life of partying, drinking, eating uncontrollably, and lets face it, living the “life” in most young peoples eyes. Now, getting more older and mature, I have realized that it’s time to do what I need to do, and thats get fit. Of course, I have picked this path AFTER the peak of my testerone is over. (so I have read) The reason why I need help so bad is that my weight is causing me to have back problems, ultimately making me not able to work, so all help would be very very helpful.

Now, I have read the beginners threads, all the links to certain guides and such, but my questions haven’t really been answered, they were just guidelines to what I need to do. I have learned the following:

  • To keep a foodlog.
  • The difference between calories and empty calories.
  • Alcohol is BAD. (Darn.)
  • Instead of single pin-pointed muscle workouts, do multi-muscle workouts, such as deadlifts.
  • Mix up your workouts alot, to keep the body surprised.

I could keep going, but I have learned so much from this website, I really think its endless knowledge for living healthy and being fit, which Is exactly what I want.

So, this leads me to my questionings and what I should do, I’m really stuck here and could use some professional advice, In which I am sure I always find some sort of reasoning to quit and not go ahead, these reasons mostly being that I’m doing something wrong, or I’m just falling back into the same hole… but now that im 20, its having such a big impact on me its not funny, and I’m going to live the healthy life, if my friends like it or not. Ultimately, I’m going to set my questions into categories so It’s easy for you, the people of health and fitness, to quote and answer.

Question #1:

I’m 20 years old, 6ft, 274 pounds (yikes!), and I don’t know what type of “metabolism” I have but I know its not fast. Now the body weight is high, I know, but It actually doesn’t look like im 274 pounds, which is nice, but not nice enough when I need to goto the beach. Unfortunately, I have the belly of buddah, which screws my chances of working at where I want to work, because it gives me such bad lower back problems its not even funny, and the tits of a pregnant woman (hahahaha! the joys of making fun out of myself. Don’t worry, I’m confident.)

So in conclusion to question #1, What sort of eating/workout plan would I do to ultimately get what I want, which is fat loss, and leaness. I want the power I have right now, which is extraordinary to my fit friends, but I also want their energy, their way of always giving er. I have alot of dedication, but I always get cramps like a woman whenever I do, so I believe in a slower moderation of me not giving 100% WILL result in not having these cramps, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Question #2:

I have confidence, but not enough confidence to go to the gym. I know, I know, I read in multiple threads and guides that they are there the same reason you are, and they may have been the same weight you have, and to look at the ones who are more fit as somewhat idols and people to look up to. But no, I still don’t want to do it, I live in a city that is SMALL and alot of the people I know go there, and I just can’t spend the time chit chatting with them all the time. So in conclusion to THIS question, what exact equipment will I need for the excercise plan I will be getting?

I have:

  • Free weight dumbbells (X ammount of weight, please)
  • Benchpress (X)
  • Curl Bar for 21s etc.
  • Light, 2 pd curl/shadow boxing hand grips
  • Treadmill
  • Stairmaster (Dennis Leory making fun out of this was hilarious.)
  • Excercise Ball
  • Kickboxing Bag
  • Skipping Rope

Hopefully, I can get somewhat of a plan with these above programs. Anything else I need would be great, Ill go out and buy it.

Question #3:

What is the price range and a good list of groceries I should maybe get for this diet plan? I’m like completely lost, and new to all this and really Its like teaching a newborn baby some words, and I’m sorry im like this but i really need help, and I really apreciate anyone whos willing to give it. Another question is, a silly, but serious question, I love hotsauce, I put that stuff on everything and I just… i love it. Is it bad for you? Is it good? i don’t know! you tell me!

In the final Conclusion, I’m lost in it all, and I really could use some help, and I won’t let it down! I won’t give up, and I want to be fit, I want to be able to swim again without being embarassed, I love swimming and i haven’t swimmed in 9 years due to self concious issues.

Thanks all,


I am fairly new myself, so welcome, and CONGRATULATIONS on your first step. Its like walking into a gym before knowing anything about exercising. Its confusing and frustrating, but hang in there.

One thing that I did, was to not change anything about my eating habits for a week, and record every food item I put in my mouth. No recriminations, no judging, no questions. It was a starting off point to where my eating habits were. I counted calories, protien grams, carbs, and fat. Because I was overweight, obviously I was eating too many, so I decreased them by 300-500 a day. If it produced results, I kept with it. This is a simplification to START with, but not a long term solution. Eventually you’ll plateau.
But its a start.

I dont feel qualified to suggest any weights or specific numbers to you, so I’ll just end with a resounding “good luck!” I know you can do it!

People may blast me for this, but here goes:

Pick a program that looks fun to you. Any program. As long as it incorporates Squat, Bench, and Deadlifts.

Incorporate 2 days of “cardio” weather that be steady state, HIIT, whatever. Again: do what looks fun to you.

Now here’s the REAL hard part:


Diet: Don’t eat like a fatass. This shit aint rocket science. Look down at that double-bacon cheeseburger with the grease running down your arm. Is that fatass food? Then don’t eat it. Do what your mamma told you: less grease, eat your veggies.

Stick with it for 6 months. You will be IMMENSELY more knowledgeable from doing this than all the tmuscle reading in the world. Not saying reading is BAD, but time under the bar is more important for you at this phase.

If you do this, you will be blown away by the results. Again, I emphasize:


Now go get-em.

Like OTS1 said anything will work when you start as long as you keep to the basics with good form.

1)I would recommend either starting strength or stronglifts and then mix in some cardio twice a week when you start plateauing. If you increase your activity from none to 3 hours of weights a week cardio will not be necessary to start…but thats up to you.

2)If you dont want to go to the gym you will have to invest in a power rack and a bench if you dont already have them. You will also need a standard olympic bar and some plates…this isnt cheap but how much is this worth to you?

Or another idea is to look into kettlebell training like Pavel Tsatouline’s enter the kettle bell or return of the kettle bell, it will be cheaper than a full gym set up.

One final idea, this wont be popular but if you dont have the money to invest look into P90x or turbulence training they all contain home workouts which should get you going.

  1. A great place to start with diet is to look at berardis 7 habits


If you do all of these you will lose fat and retain your muscle.

I think motivation is the key. You have great enthusiasm now, but sooner or later it’ll fade away.

So first of all: motivate yourself. Best thing to do - look at yourself in the mirror and say - ‘I’ve been a pussy for too long. And now I wanna be a MAN.’ Do it everyday, until you look respectable.

Dietary advice:
-never get your stomach ‘full’
-do not eat shit that fat people cannot eat

Physical activity advice:
-spent at least 1 hour everyday sweating. I mean, ‘bigtime’ sweating. Your T-shirt totally wet, you can taste your fuckin sweat dripping from your forhead etc

Good luck. And don’t be a buddah.

Bad news, like 90% of your work is going to be on the diet. You can pick just about any diet, it will probably work. Just shoot for a caloric deficit. You’re probably going to have to analyze and quantify your diet a lot more than you’re used to. Keep in mind that a 500cal per day deficit yields about a pound of fat loss per week. And there’s about 500 cal in a McD’s double cheeseburger.

If you’re very deconditioned, you may need to do some exercise just to get into shape to do some exercise (cardio and super light weights). doesn’t sound like you’re there exactly. But you may still want to ease into things. If you have cramping issues, search around for mobility and stretching exercises, and make sure you’re getting enough water.

Oh, and if you go into a commercial gym, you’ll realize that most people there are idiots. It’s really a great way to feel better about yourself!

You’re still young, and putting your nose to the grindstone (again, mainly dietary) will work great. You’ve just got to stick with it for a long time.

First and foremost, congrats on reading the stickies. You’re already better inform than most just by reading those. Welcome to T-Nation.

So, here’s suggestion #1: Start your own training log in the training log forum. Introduce yourself in the same fashion you introduced yourself here. In there post RECENT pictures, at least two or three. When I say recent I mean like hot off the press recent. Like, take them, up load them. You’ll get a lot of really good suggestions and you’ll have a visual way to track your progress besides posting your numbers and diet. I’d say do the picture thing every few months. Post in your training log your progress (or lack there of … it happens but post it anyway) every few days don’t go more than 5 days without posting. People here are generally interested in the progress of the highly motivated people and positive transformations. If you make the effort we’re more than glad to help you when you get stuck with training or motivation or diet.

Remember, you’re new to this. The change you want isn’t going to come over night. You’ll make what we call newb gains for the first month or so then your progress will be less visible. But stick with it. If need be find a good article or two that motivates you (particularly Iron by Henry Rollins. http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/henry_rollins_ancedote_on_the_iron … this is a favorite of mine). It takes hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and a lot of trial and error.

You speak a lot about being confident, but then you contradict yourself by saying you haven’t swam in 9 years due to being self conscious. Well, don’t be. Remember, no one is perfect no matter how hard they try. Every wipes their ass and everyone’s shit stinks (this is particularly helpful when working up the courage to talk to a pretty girl). So, who cares that there’s only on gym in your town? You don’t want to chit chat; you’re there to work. So go there to work. Put your ear buds in and go to town; do what you gotta do. Don’t want to be a snob? Master the head nod acknowledgment. Make it known you’re not there to socialize. If there’s a problem go in the morning or at night (ie avoid the crowds … do what you need to do to get it done). Don’t worry about how anyone else views you. You’re your biggest critic.

As far as diet goes, the healthiest foods are along the walls of your grocery store. Dairy, meats, fruits and veges. Get some almonds, eggs, cheese, milk, meat, fruits, veges, oats, whole grain bread. I’m missing essentials I know from that list, but that should be the absolute basics. Also, herbs and spices. Learn em, love em. Especially when cooking chicken. That shit gets bland REAL quick. Get creative in the kitchen. Also, what price range are you looking at working with for diet?

Read articles and put them in your favorites for quick reference. Come back with a little bit more specifics or post the specifics in your training log. Go from there. Not sure what to include, read some of the other logs. Specifically ones that resemble your situation.

There was as series of body transformation articles by CT on here that might be of interest to you. I would suggest, however, reading some of Chad Waterbury’s or Christian Theabadeau’s articles as far as training. Maybe look to pick up Nate Green’s book Built for Show … I read it and it’s a pretty good starter at getting familiar with different lifts and programs and diet. Good luck, and if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask.


Thank you for taking your time from learning and gaining knowledge from this website to make a post for me, I really apreciate your advice. Thank you again. I have started taking a “Beginners” food log like you insisted.


Thanks for your advice, but what do you mean “GO DO WORK”, like Go to work, or go do a workout? Sorry for the misinterperation but ya know. :slight_smile:

I don’t know what would look fun to me, I like doing alot of arm workouts, and the thing about my body is that I can only really feel fat in my chest and stomach areas, but im sure theres fat in my feet, neck, buttocks, leggs, etc.


Your reccomendations are respected and very grateful, but what kind of plan do you mean? Like on Monday, Tuesday, do cardio, then Thursday friday saturday, do weightlifting, then the following week switch the 2-3 set of days? Also, what do you mean if I increase my activity from none to 3 hours of weights a week cardio will not be neccisary? I haven’t worked out for awhile because of my back, but if I start now and do 3 hours a week, I won’t need cardio? Explain please.

I already have a bench, but no powerrack unfortunately. I have the p90x program from a buddy he left it here when he moved out, I don’t know what exactly it is, but now that you say it i’ll study what its all about.

Kettlebells sound fun, I looked up on google “kettlebell” and clicked images, reminds me of those old old weight lifting guys who wear the tiger tights and compete in the circus. I’ll do that! :smiley:

Last but not lease for you SpiderDan, I very much enjoyed reading the 7 habits prior to posting this thread, thanks for posting the link in which I read it again, and very much enjoyed it again. Thank you, SpiderDan.


Hahaha, you made me laugh with that comment, but then I took about 5 seconds of thinking, and went to the bathroom, took my shirt off, stared, and said “I don’t want to be a pussy, I’m a man!” and hey, it made me do a couple of tooth-brush curls in the bathroom. :smiley:


Thanks Rhino! That’s very confidence proceeding posting abiltiies you got there, but I’ve tried to go to the gym, and yes their all idiots, but its not the guys I’m worried about, its those fit women staring at me all the time on the treadmills. I’m not going to lie, I am kinda good looking, and I hide the fact that I’m fat very well (considering my legs and arms are big, its my stomach and chest area that are overly fatty). Thank YOU too, Rhino.


Wow, polo… thank you for taking your time posting a very interesting, knowledgable set of paragraphs that made me sit in aww as there ARE people out there that care about the randoms around the world. First off, as soon as im done posting this I will grab my digital camera and take photos of my embarassing body and post it on the training forums.

Secondly, I am confident, just not confident in having tits. You gotta understand, a man with tits is just embarassing.

Thirdly, I am currently living with a roommate who is also looking into the whole “get fit” scene, he’s not fat, hes actually well built, but his diet is pathetic… he eats KD and thats about it. So we’re looking for about 150$ each for groceries, we’re both unemployed but do other jobs here and there to get paid, so we can probably make a 300$ grocery list, if you’re willing to help us out with that, and maybe some cooking plans… I have no idea what to eat with these 5-8 meals, except oatmeal for breakfeast and chicken for dinner.

Fourth, I’ve been reading alot of things, alot of plans, alot of references, but I really don’t know what to do as in calorie intake and as working out goes.

In conclusion, Thank you all for all your help, I hope theres more to come and more to feed the knowledge of the TNation!




I apologize if I was overly euphemistic (thats a 25 cent word right there).


I know… everyone loves arm work. Well, for you at this phase, I would look at one of the multiple programs suggested here. In addition, if you grow your pecs (bench), your man-titties will be less saggy. If you do a lot of big movements (squat, deadlift), your man titties will start to go away.

Diet is going to be important as well. Eat right. Eat less.

And I would say to take a second look at SpiderDan’s comments as well.

If you do this, you may not look like Ahnold in 6 months, but you will see a huge difference.

Good luck. Keep us posted.



Your reccomendations are respected and very grateful, but what kind of plan do you mean? Like on Monday, Tuesday, do cardio, then Thursday friday saturday, do weightlifting, then the following week switch the 2-3 set of days? Also, what do you mean if I increase my activity from none to 3 hours of weights a week cardio will not be neccisary? I haven’t worked out for awhile because of my back, but if I start now and do 3 hours a week, I won’t need cardio? Explain please.[/quote]

All I meant was there is no need to rush straight in and exercise 6 days a week if you havent been doing any recently. If you get your diet in check and do a simple weights program 3 times a week you will burn fat and build muscle without the need for cardio because you will be increasing your activity from none to around 3 hours.

With any weightloss program always start with the most minimal activity you can get away with to lose about 2lb or so a week and with a good diet and 3 days of lifting you will be able to do that. After a while you will plateau then instead of dropping calories you increase your activity by adding a couple of cardio sessions and fatloss will pick up again, if you start out at 6 days of exercising you will leave yourself nowhere to go. BOTTOM LINE…minimal amount of work to get the result too many people burn out too quickley cause they jump in at the deep end and leave noway to progress.

[quote]I already have a bench, but no powerrack unfortunately. I have the p90x program from a buddy he left it here when he moved out, I don’t know what exactly it is, but now that you say it i’ll study what its all about.

Kettlebells sound fun, I looked up on google “kettlebell” and clicked images, reminds me of those old old weight lifting guys who wear the tiger tights and compete in the circus. I’ll do that! :D[/quote]

Any sort of activity 3x a week will do to start, you may struggle with programs without a power rack or at least some stands. But remember you have to work hard whatever it is you do, there is no point in pussy footing around.

Employ them and you will get a good leg up of nutrition, only worry about counting macros and calories when your food is 90% of the time clean…there is no point in counting rubbish. If you want an actual diet to follow…look into the cheat to lose plan by Joel Marion its easy to follow and it works.

You see, it works. Now keep on doing it for one year. But try to use at least 5 tooth-brushes :slight_smile:

But seriously - be self-critical. That’s what works for me. Always compare youself to someone stronger and bigger to know how far you still have to go.

Keep us updated.

Alright well i’m in the process of finding a good workout guide and diet before I post in the training logs. My question is, how exactly do you do this training log, lol? Do you just post your pictures of your front, back, side, and legs all while not flexing, then while flexing? And do you need to have a diet plan and workout plan prior to starting a training log, or do you get reccomended it?

I’m really lost, I looked at that “Cheat to Win” diet by Joel Marion, but this insists that you can still eat pizza and burgers and all that, I’m trying to get away from all those garbage foods because I want to indulge myself into eating healthy and tasty foods. You know, replace my all the time beef eating and sometimes chicken eating to all the time chicken eating and sometimes beef eating. I want to replace my partymix eating with a nice mixture of nuts and oats you know. But the problem is I am completely lost on where to start as a diet goes, and how many calories I need. Should I join a local faction of Weight Watchers or something?

I know for a fact that showing pictures of myself will show the viewers what exercise plan would be best for me, so as soon as I get a reply as to what pictures are vital for the training logs, I’ll post them ASAP, and keep this, and the training log thread, lively.

I also just want you ALL to know that I am “Completely” newb to all this, and that what would seem like common sense to you all, isn’t common sense to me, so thus I need to scrape the bottom of your pots of knowledge so I can get refreshed with them. Sorry that It seems i am complicated, but there can only be dumb answers, right? :slight_smile:



Hey, sorry for double posting but I have been doing some research for nutrition first, and I’d like to get some feedback on how I’m going to be doing my dieting. I have read John Berardi’s “Whats in my Kitchen” and “Whats in my Fridge”, along with Dan John’s “History Of Dieting And Take Home Lessons”, which has made me form the following grocery list:

Eggs and Egg Whites
Mixed Berries
Mixed Nuts
Dried Fruits
Whole Wheat Pasta
Lean Beef
Mild Turkey Sausage
Fruits (apples, pears, pineapples etc.)
Cottage Cheese
Plain Yogurt
Vegetables (Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Spinach Leafs, etc)

Now this sure as hell better be enough of the foods I’ll be needing to prepare a healthy diet for myself, but my question is now, what sort of calorie intake should I have at my weight level? I was reading “High Performance Nutrition Made Easy” by Clay Hyght, and he posted his whole diet plan on there. I know I’m not suppose to copy anyone and create my own plan, but is this plan a good beginners for myself? Or is it terrible for weight loss. I don’t know. You tell me!

On top of all this im looking into getting Flax Oil and Fish Oil Capsules. My question is for these, when and how much of each should I take during the day? I’m going to get the Flax Oil for tea spoon intake, and I’m going to get the fish oil capsules because taking it straight up is probably like taking Buckley’s cough medicine. Its awful, and it works! haha.

I’m still on the journey for a good workout plan, but I need my questions answered in the previous post about the training logs so I can create my own training log.

I guess in all conclusion, I really want it to be set up for me, like a dumb kid trying to learn math. What should I do from the time I wake up to the time I goto bed. Like, for example, should i run on the treadmill each morning for half an hour right off the bat? Things like this really help me out with my list of excercise equipment.

Thanks Again,


The cheat to lose diet does not advocate eating all the burgers and pizzas you like. It requires 6 days a week of dietry compliance and one “cheat” day week, the cheat day is important both psychologically and metabolically. Most people find it hard to complete revamp their diet and eat clean 100% of the time from the get go they will crave those high calorie foods and it takes some real will power not to fall off the band wagon. Secondly after weeks of dieting your metabolism crashes making fat loss much harder by incorporating overeating days regularly you avoid that and keep your body as a fat burning machine.

Now the form and duration of the cheat will depend on the person, some will fall off the band wagon completely if they even touch anything resembling ice cream, some will go so silly that they will pile on all of calories they burnt during back on in one day. You can do the diet clean, if you so choose, high-GI carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal etc. all work fine as “cheat” day foods. You dont have to eat burgers and pizzas if you dont want to.

The point Im really trying to make overall is you need a plan to follow, i recommended cheat to lose cause its pretty simple and compliance is generally high. If you find something else you prefer do it but start simple, diets can get very complicated if you let them and when you start dieting simplicity is essential for maintaining it.

In answer to some of your questions:

Forget calories until your diet is clean, simply eating better food will help you lose weight to start with. Worry about calories when 90% of you food comes from good sources.

Fish oil most people underdose, 4 Flameout a day as per the guide lines is good. Personally I have liquid fish oil and I take 2 desertspoons full a day, you cant really have enough.

If you want to post pictures in a training log do it, it will help you see how far you have come. Take 3 photos, one from the front, one from the back, one from the side all with a current day newspaper. Take these photos in good light, against a plain background wearing only shorts and be relaxed in the photos dont slouch…DONT SUCK IN THE GUT. Take photos once a month in the same poses with the same background, wearing the same clothes and you will be able to see how far you have come.

I know you want it written for you, but hardly anyone gets that, if you start reading it will get interesting and you can apply the knowledge to your life. JUST START.

…wow that was a long post.