T Nation

Complete Newbie/Nerd Trying to Get Healthy


I'm sixteen years old, and up until recently didn't really care about being unhealthy. Then I started trying to work out. I say "trying" because I had no idea what I was doing, ended up doing way too many reps at way too little weight, doing the wrong workouts to exercise the muscles I wanted.

For example, triceps extentions to work out my bicep. I was curling like 20 reps once every day with 10lb dumbells. Eventually I started doing a bit of research, but I never found out how much I should be lifting. Just how to do each exercise. Up until now, I've been eating very unhealthily, too. I'd wake up and have a pack of ramen noodles. That would hold me over until I got hungry, then I'd have another pack. Which would hold me until my mother made dinner. After that, I'd have another pack of ramen noodles. I'm also pretty thin, 5'7'' and 124lbs.

Just a few days ago, I found the "Tailor-Made Nutrition" articles (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=856188) , and decided to change.

Now, I have a few questions:

How am I supposed to set overrall goals? Let's go with the dumbell curl. How am I supposed to know when I should stop increasing the weight? When I'm satsified with my arm size?

Is it worth doing that diet if I only eat three meals per day? I mean, is it much more healthy than just what I was doing before? My parents can't afford for me to eat more than that, and I am unable to get a job because gas and car insurance would amount to more than any part-time job around here pays.

When is the best time to drink a whey protein shake? With a meal? Sometime before/after working out? Does it count as a meal (under the seven rules) if I add a few cups of frozen/fresh fruit to it?

I want to lose fat. Well, not really, just enough for my abs to show all the time instead of like now when I flex. I also want to gain muscle. Am I correct in assuming that I shouldn't do too much cardio, and just focus of lifting, until I reach the muscle goal?

Would anyone mind telling me if shrimp counts as a "lean meat"? If not, that's fine. I still have tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey and roast beef.

For any particular exercise, is this acceptable?

3-4 times per week (every other day)
3 sets
12 reps
Enough weight for 12 reps to be all I can do.
I take about fifteen minutes in between sets, because I do all the different muscles, one after another, then wait about five minutes before starting again.

Should I take a shirtless picture of myself now, and then every two weeks to see if I'm making progress?


Good of you that you have found this place, PHEWW..

Well, maybe your overall goal is to GROW..You need to eat like crazy. I think that Tailor made nutrition is not for you. Search for the Massive eating article.

XEXE. Don't worry about too much weight. There is no such thing, especially if you'r a beginner. Just lift hard and with good form.
About the arm size. LOL. If you'r 12X lbs, you'r not going to get big over night. BIG arms are hard to get. It takes a long period of bustin' you'r ass in the gym. And I'm not talking about months but years.

If you include PWM, that's four meals and I'll bet that you can squeeze one more meal. Five meals a day is a good start. As you gain weight you're going to need more meals. Just try to have protein in every meal. At least 50g.

It count's as a meal and you should dring it after you'r workout. If you have carb-protein shake than that's Ok. If you'r shake is just P. than I recomend that you get some simple carbs like glucose and add it to your shake

I don't thing that losing fat is in order. You need to EAT boy. EAT. Abs on a scrawny body are, and I repeat, are not good thing. Cardio OUT.

At you'r weight, It's EVERY meat in your dictionary and plate..

I would go for the basic 8 reps per set. And I would not go untill failure. Just watch for your form, breathing ect. untill you learn to lift right.

Please NO. You could take a picture and NOT share it with us but save it and then in a 5 or 6 months take another picture and then post both of them.


yeah - good advice on the munch, just eat like a machine, clean if poss - but you need the volume first at your weight.

try a workout on here, there is no way you will ever design one as good as a newb. i suggest 'westside for skinny bastards' or one of Chad Waterburys ones. just do a search.


HVRV gave some great advice

3 good meals plus protien+carb shake (whey protien + gatorade powder is cheap and effective) after workout and add a scoop of protien to a couple cups of milk before bed and you will be doing pretty damn good

more good info:



you should try a low grade beaver tranqualizer, injected straight to the eye. or was it kre-alkalyne? anyways that helped me gain my 44" arms and 18" thighs. i can squat 3,000 miligrams now, yeah. just messing w/ ya. eat eat eat, and stay away from the beav. tranq. your too young for that.if you do a search on growth diets you should find allot of info.


To increase your protein intake....as soon as it stops moving...EAT IT!


PS. Where can I get some of that beaver tranquilizer? Does it work on Canadian beavers?


How do I know when to increase the weight I'm lifting, then?


Like, blend fruits into it? My shake is just protein.

Haha, no I meant for my own use. I wouldn't post it here. I just thought maybe taking a picture every two weeks to go with the two week, seven-rule diet would be another good way to measure.[/quote]


ok dude, you are very very new...but its great that you have taken an interest in improving yourself and this site is the best place to learn.

ok where to start....

food...protein is your friend, but also fats and carbs...as said before, just get protein in each meal, chkn, fish, green veges and meat or veg really...potato, pasta and rice and olive oil is good to use...dont eat a shit load of bread, get carbs in other ways. eat 5-6 times a day...prepare meals in advance, take it upon yourself, dont rely on mummy or daddy...have atleast 2-3 protein shakes a day and add fruit to it to make it a meal...PWM, post workout meal, a protein shake after working out is good.

with lifting...find a program here...look up Waterbury, or westside...and follow them to the T. you are a beginner, focus on CORE lifts...COMPOUND movements...bench, squat, deadlift, overhead presses, rows, chin ups and dips...seriously, do them...they arent 'glamorous' but they fking work and build size and strength. follow the rep/sets exactly, dont tinker with it...if you are unsure on what weight to use, start off light and go from there....its easier on the muscles and ego if you start at a weight you know you can lift, get out the reps/sets, then increase it as you see fit...

keep a log of the food you eat and keep a log of the workouts you do..dont go in the gym without a writing pad and a pen, you need to record everything you do in the gym. it helps a fkn lot.

get lots of sleep, and rest. take a photo now of your self showing front, back and legs...DONT POST THEM, hide them, look at them, laugh, then in 6 - 8 months, take photos again in the same poses...DONT post them then either...take photos again 6 - 8months after...etc etc...post in a few years...

lifting is not a sprint, its a long, tough haul but you will be better for it. ppl who are successful in changing their bodies are 99% likely to be successful in their professional life.

this is all advice i have received from this site...just keep at it, dont quit...hope this helps and it has reminded me that i have to go eat now.


Increase it wen it gets to light. Lets say you have you'r basic 8 reps. If you can finish them easily and for the whole 3 sets than you need more weight. If you can't finis all 8 reps in your third set than that ok. Ofcourse there is the piramidal whay of lifting whey you start with the low weight and each set you raise the weight but lover the reps. Ofcourse the last rep of each set is not total faliure but when you lift it with a bit more problems and certantly the next rep would be a gonner.Usually when you use piramidal u set your reps 12-8-6-4 or somethin' like that You will catch it up pretty fast if you'r serious. Read some training articles on this site. The are really helpfull.

post workout meal

No. You need some fast carbs. You can buy in some stores basic sugars like dexterose. I use grape sugar.


A quick Google search says that honey contains dextrose, can I use honey?

I can do most of the exercises on the Westside program here: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459321

There are a few parts of it I cannot do, though:

I do not have the quipment to do those and I cannot get to a gym because the closest one is about forty minutes away and my parents have made it very clear they won't be driving me.

Are there any exercises that train the same things that I could use until I can afford a chin-up bar and some of that grip equipment? Or should I not start this program until then?


does your school have a gym or fk, even a playground? use the monkey bars for chins, pull ups...for grip, grab anything around the house/garage that is heavy and hold it in your hands for 40 - 60 seconds...use towels to make the 'handle' bigger...improvise on this shit..good luck..


Alright, I'll try the grip thing. I'm homescooled, though. So the chin-ups will be kind of hard.. I know there's a park/playground about fifteen minutes from my house, I'll see if I can get my parents to drive me.


For pullups, this is easy and it may cost less than 10 bucks. Go to the hardware store and buy a metal pipe about an inch in diameter. Do you have a doorjam you could hang it in? That way no one needs to drive you anywhere. Most people, including Arnold and Lou from Westside, will tell you the only way to develop the back is pullups. You don't way all that much so this will work till you get 200+ lbs.

The other thing to do is get a sledgehammer and swing it at an old tire. That works the back as well.


Awesome, I'll definitely check out the metal pipe thing. I don't have an old tire or a sledgehammer, so I can't try that.


haha, that would work great until the hammer bounces off the tire and smacks him in the forehead :wink:


Ooh yeah, does it work on the southern wiry haired beaver?


yea but you gotta sneek up on them, very shy.


for an at home work out, try filling gallon milk containers with(depending on your strength)water, or sand , or cement.tie a strip of towel to make a circlular handle. you can curl them. lat raise them, or whatever. be creative. also get a broom handle, drive a nail through it, and tie a rope around the nail, attach the other side to something heavy, and balanced. then roll the stick until the object is lifted all the way up, then unroll. repeat.if you have a wheel barrel, remove the front support legs so it sits low on the ground. fill it with dirt, or rocks, or both. you could use that to shrug, mock deadlifts etc. if it's heavy pick it up. BE VERY CAREFUL TO USE PROPER FORM. since you don't have any example's this will be difficult to obtain. if it hurt's it's bad. that's not to say there will be no pain, but there is good pain and THERE IS BAD PAIN, try to avoid the bad pain. point is be careful.


I have a pair of dumbells, a barbell, and a bench, so I'm fine for most exercises. Just the few mentioned above I can't do. Thanks for your help anyway, though.


I think the real problem in your case is diet. At your weight you should be able to gain no matter what you do at first but you also would have to eat like grazy.

If your parents cannot afford to feed you more, you have to get a job. Get there with a bike, walk, or find a small jobs in the neighborhood if that is possible. If you combine that with cheap, reasonably healthy foods that could bring you a long way.