T Nation

Fat And Broke


Hey all, definitely need some help here. I recently lost my job and went from being 5'10" and 205 to almost 225 again. (I originally went from 245 to 205 in 3 weeks to join the Marines, but I injured my back while working out after getting through MEPS, and was told to rehab). To further compound the situation, I'm broke, and my family is way below the poverty line. We can't afford a lot of food, and because we live in a broke-down hotel room, we can't really cook anything because we don't have appliances.

Lest ye think this is impossible, I will offer some glimmers of hope... I have a gym membership that's paid for right now, and loads of time on my hands. I still have some whey casein powder (about half a tub) left, and my unemployment should be kicking in sometime in the next week.

I'm looking to get down to around 190 lbs, and I need to be able to do 3 pullups (I still have issues with just 1), 45 situps in 2 minutes (this is where my lower back starts to hurt), and run 1.5 miles in 13:30. Can I get some guidance as to what to do concerning nutrition and possibly a basic workout plan I can follow?


Regarding pull ups: Does your gym have a weight-assisted pull-up/chest dip machine? I have seen a few guys at my gym use this to help them progress to BW pull ups unassisted. If you gym has this, try it out. Play with the amount of assisted weight so that you are pulling as much of your body weight as you can while having good form. Reduce the assistance until you can do your BW for reps.

There are plenty of articles on routines and nutrition. Try the search feature. BTW- What is your time frame for your goals? I would keep that in consideration when reading/choosing what to do.

Good luck.


Yes, Bally's has a assisted-pullup/dip machine... I used to use it quite frequently but I plateaued for about a month with about 40 lbs of weight assisting.

I checked the nutrition articles, but again.. I have very limited options due to not being able to cook. I -can- microwave, but I have very limited options for cold storage, and not to mention other people like to eat what isn't theirs. I am looking to move out once I have enough money saved, and things will change then, but until then I'm still limited.

And my time frame is realistically within 3 months, but I'd like to achieve a similar level of fitness that I had before, when I was losing about 2.5 lbs a day and increasing my lifting ability at the same time.


"And my time frame is realistically within 3 months, but I'd like to achieve a similar level of fitness that I had before, when I was losing about 2.5 lbs a day and increasing my lifting ability at the same time."

THIS IS INSANE. DO NOT LOOSE THAT QUICKLY. That is NOT healthy. Anyways regarding Cheap food and your Diet first.

Protein: You don't have allot of options if you can't cook. You will have to stick with Tuna, tinned salmon and tinned chicken/turkey, and find some Wall Mart Brand protein powder or buy some Cheap protein online.

Carbs: you can put dry oatmeal in shakes, Get some Whole Grain Bread and some tinned beans.

Fats: Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, walnuts etc....), Natty PB and some Value Brand Olive Oil.

You can put together an easy meal plan with these foods. Remeber you are a fairly big guy at 220 DON'T STARVE YOURSELF. You can loose fat on close to 3000 cal's a day for sure. If you need help putting together a meal plan PM me.

Also For pull ups. Stop doing them for like a month and focus on the accessorie muscle you need to develop in order to do pull ups. Get stronger on these in every workout then try your pull ups again. You will need to work on your Lats (Do Single arm dumbell rows, Bent over rows if you have good form with the excersise, Lat pulldowns and seated rows). Also your Bicep plays a role in the pullups as well, (do strait bar curls, Preacher curls with the ez-curl bar, and inclined dumbell curls). Again if you improve on all of these and get stronger you will improve your ability to do pull ups.

I wont give any advice on your lower back because if it is hurt and you try to do Rack pull's, Dead's, back hyperextesion etc....you could really mess yourself up and I don't want to be responsible :stuck_out_tongue: So get that Checked out my friend

Good Luck and PM me if you need help with a meal plan and or Training program. Tho Search this site it has a sea of info and some very good members who know there stuff!


If you're trying to go into the marines then I wouldn't worry too much about your strength levels as far as lifting goes. You wont be doing lifting for PT while in bootcamp. You're going to do all body weight stuff (push ups, pull ups, sit ups, planks, burpees, 8 counts... that sort of thing) and A SHIT LOAD OF RUNNING! So thats what I would concentrate on now if your goal is to get yourself ready for bootcamp.

No Drill Instructor is going to care about how much you deadlift or what you can curl for reps. Just practice the movements that you're going to be doing for bootcamp and you can get into some sort of lifting program when you're out of basic. Thats my opinion man. Good luck with everything

As far as the low back injury goes I would take the advice of DAVE1986 and read some articles on here. theres one called "Low back savers" or something like that which could be very helpful. Do some prehab and mobility stuff to work/stretch out your low back and hopefully that will remedy the issue.




Use the assisted pull up machine, and also do pulldowns as well. I would alternate days- lift one day off the next.

3 sets of 5 pullups - least amount of assistance needed (progression is less weight needed until you are able to do bW.

3 sets of 10 pulldowns, focus on building stamina with the most weight possible.

Assuming you can do pushups and situps I would focus on hitting 100 of each per day. If that's 5 sets of 20 so be it, you have nothing but time on your hands anyway.

Once or twice per week I would do timed situps.

Lasty- Run forest Run. Running will help you drop weight and get you conditioned. Run on your non lifting days. start light and focus on 2 min running 3 min walking at first. Do a mile. As you find yourself getting less tired do 2/2walking. Then do 2/1 until you are running the mile. Once you have the mile focus again on the 2/1 concept and run your mile then walk until you feel you can run again.

Just my opinion, so I won't charge you.


You're right, it wasn't healthy. However, I had 2.5 weeks to make weight before MEPS and my Staff Sgt. was determined to get me to where I needed to be. I went from 240 to 215 (my max allowable weight) in that time frame and just barely made it.

As far as everyone's advice is concerned, it all seems golden to me. I'm gonna keep a copy on me when I go to the gym. Thanks, and Dave1986, I'll try and get a PM to you concerning a good training program with some of those exercises that I've never heard of. :slight_smile:

Thanks, everyone.


Sounds Good man! All the best.