T Nation

Critique this Routine for a Complete Beginner


Hi, I am trying to help my sister out with getting healthier. So I guess I am just looking for advice of those who know more than I do. First, I will put down the starting workout plan I wrote up then I will follow it with the starting nutrition advice I will provide. She is a complete beginner so I am trying to keep things simple. Also, we don't live close enough to each other where I can go and workout with her very often. I am hoping to be able to get to her house once every 3 weeks or so to show her exercises / progressions of exercises.

My sister is obese to put it bluntly, so I am hoping that once she starts to see and feel results it will inspire her to work harder. Anyway... here is the starting workout plan.


Circuit = 5
Reps = 5 - 8
Weight = Medium (weight she can do for 10 to 12 reps)
Rest = 60s (least) to fairly normal breathing

Squat (Goblet / body weight)
Dumbbell Shoulder press
Dumbbell Deadlift
Lat Pull down


Cardio... HIIT
5 mins warmup
5 mins HIIT (50 seconds slow followed by 10s fast)
5 mins steady state at a moderate pace
5 mins cool down


Active Rest I will suggest going for a walk, doing some sort of stretching routine \ Yoga. I will also suggest she uses this as a Prep day for food.


Circuits = 4
Reps = 12 - 15
Weight = Light (weight she can do for over 20)
Rest 90s to breathing returning to close to normal

Dumbell Deadlift
Push up --> I have my doubts that she can do a pushup so I will suggest doing a wall pushup and working her way through the progression that way.


Cardio Steady State for 30 mins at a moderate pace


Active Rest (Walk, Yoga, Stretching, something)


Off Go for a walk. Use it as a food Prep day

Now onto Nutrition!!!

To start I plan on telling her to keep it simple. Try to cut out the starchy carbs, eat more veggies and a lean meat. Try to eat 5 or 6 meals a day. 3 meal meals and 2 or 3 snacks. Snacks to consist of nuts (Almonds) and raw veggies.

Basically cutting down her portion sizes and trying to eat smaller more frequent meals.

I am also considering getting her a copy of precision Nutrition (or giving her my copy and getting myself the new version).

Any advice / suggesions / tweaks are appreciated! thanks!


That looks pretty good to me!

I’d be careful with the “active recovery,” days though. Making yourself actively recover is hard if you don’t have the motivation to do it on your own…

Personally, fat loss is all about diet and cardio…the weight training is to spare muscle(and to hopefully) build some! But(unfornately) we NEED that cardio! To work up a sweat!!

I would make the walking more “official.” (mandatory)

Giving her your copy of PN would be AWESOME!! Really good support over there as well!


I plan on trying to convince her that little changes will make a huge difference. Just increasing her NEPA will have an impact. So park farther away when you go shopping things like that.

So I will make the two active recovery days a mandatory walk. She has a dog, and I am sure the dog will enjoy the walk as well.


Looking through other threads on this forum it seems alot of you ladies suggest doing the Body for Life protocol… Maybe I will get this for her. I just started browsing through “the_shut_up_experiment” thread and it seems where BodyBldgBabe started is in the same general area that my sister is starting. She had fantastic results with that program so maybe I can reference that thread to my sister (as a source of encouragement) and it will help her get through.