T Nation

Getting Started

I and my wife want to lose weight and gain muscle mass, but we have no idea on how to get started. Walking will be our first start but my wife loves beer and i know that beer has a lot of carbs in it and it probley wouldnt be a good choice of beverage when losing weight. This would be our first attempt together in weight training, but we have know idea on what steps to take in getting started and to be successful incompleting our goals. Can someone help me?

First off welcome to the wonderful world of weight training and T-Nation.

As beginners with the primary goal of building muscle( not Strength) the two of you would be greatly benefited by compound exercises that hit the entire body in the 8-12 rep range. Lower rest periods are also a way to boost fat loss by burning more calories, but losing fat is mainly just that, controlling your diet so you spend more calories than you take in thus losing weight.

Compound exercises such as overhead press, bench press, squats, deadlift, and pull ups along with a few isolation exercises such as EZ Bar curls and Tricep extensions hit your entire body. Full body workouts performed 3x a week with at least one day of rest in between are great. There is a million exercise varieties and you will have fun with those later but learn the basics first.

But remember the most important thing is stay safe and have fun, training as a couple should be a great stress relief and should always be viewed as positive. Get consistent and once your gains start coming you should stay dedicated easily, remember consistency is key. If you training ever becomes bothersome and something you do not look forward to doing back off a little and remember all the good it can do. I hope this helped you.

The first step is to compute your daily caloric requirements and set a SPECIFIC weight loss goal. Ideally, do this in terms of lb/week or lb/ month not “I want to lose 25lbs”. Counter to this advice, you might be better off watching your waist size/week or month rather than pure body weight. This is a more accurate metric.

I lost a great deal of weight 2 years ago following a consistent and organized plan. I determined my caloric intake to be about 2000cal/day (1lb per week). It was very hard at first, but after the first week I found I got physically full much quicker and slowly my appetite purged. Some people may tell you “Eat this, dont eat that, blah blah blah”. I have found that the more rules you set for yourself, the more confined you feel and the harder it is to follow.

Keep it simple: eat whatever you want as long as it add up to X cals/day.
The catch: you will find that to in order to feel full you will have to sacrifice crappy food for good food! Rather than jumping right into a specific diet, learn that you will not feel as full eating sugary sweets, unnecessary bread, etc.

It is ok ONCE IN AWHILE to splurge, but acknowledge the consequences. If you prevent yourself from enjoying life you will be discouraged.

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
The first step is to compute your daily caloric requirements and set a SPECIFIC weight loss goal. Ideally, do this in terms of lb/week or lb/ month not “I want to lose 25lbs”. Counter to this advice, you might be better off watching your waist size/week or month rather than pure body weight. This is a more accurate metric.

I lost a great deal of weight 2 years ago following a consistent and organized plan. I determined my caloric intake to be about 2000cal/day (1lb per week). It was very hard at first, but after the first week I found I got physically full much quicker and slowly my appetite purged. Some people may tell you “Eat this, dont eat that, blah blah blah”. I have found that the more rules you set for yourself, the more confined you feel and the harder it is to follow.

Keep it simple: eat whatever you want as long as it add up to X cals/day.
The catch: you will find that to in order to feel full you will have to sacrifice crappy food for good food! Rather than jumping right into a specific diet, learn that you will not feel as full eating sugary sweets, unnecessary bread, etc.

It is ok ONCE IN AWHILE to splurge, but acknowledge the consequences. If you prevent yourself from enjoying life you will be discouraged.[/quote]

Outstanding nutritional advice!

[quote]TNewells wrote:
This would be our first attempt together in weight training, but we have know idea on what steps to take in getting started and to be successful incompleting our goals. Can someone help me? [/quote]
Some really good advice so far.

I really like this article as straight forward step-by-step guide for setting up a nutrition plan:


Just wait for the reality check of Mission #12. :wink:

As for training, just walking is a decent start and it’s certainly better than not walking, but weight training is going to be key for building lean muscle and actually getting a better body, for both of you. There are a bunch of simple routines in the Archives here (use the Search box at the top right of the screen). Anything with 3 or 4 days of lifting should be a good start.

You have already gotten some good advice, but I’d like to add some comments on beer and lifting coming from the perspective of someone who started lifting just last year. Prior to that I did a whole lot of sitting on my ass chugging beer.

  1. Beer and lifting. The beginning lifter, if previously sedentary, can still drink beer and gain muscle while losing fat, at least in the first few months. It is NOT at all optimal for most health and fitness goals, but if you and your wife are ready to start hitting the gym but not quite ready to put down the beer then by all means, pick up a barbell and crack open a cold one when you get home. I drank LOTS of beer in my first year of training and still somehow managed to lose over 40 lbs and get a LOT stronger in the process.

I’m sure I would have done much better had I not been putting a six pack away most nights, but I sure as hell made a lot of progress in spite of that. It is worthwhile to note that my diet was quite good, with the very notable exception of beer, so I was getting sufficient nutrition to actually make muscle gains. The beer was just wasted calorie intake on top of that. Your mileage may vary, of course, but having some cold ones and getting into lifting are not mutually exclusive.

  1. Consistency of exercise. If you are really interested in a lasting change, you will probably need to reprogram some of your behavior patterns. You may want to work on achieving some sort of consistency with the time you put into the gym and the level of effort you put forward while you are there. That’s what I did last year, and I was chugging beer the whole time. To be clear - I drank AFTER my workouts. Putting down a 6 pack and doing a set of 300 lb squats is a Darwin award waiting to happen.

Not worrying about fixing my beer consumption allowed me to focus on changing how I spent my time on a day-to-day basis, specifically by prioritizing my MWF weight training sessions. One year later I am all but automatic with my workouts and lifting is something I really look forward to. My big focus this year is achieving consistency of diet, which includes cutting beer out of my daily calorie intake.

Of course, your mileage may vary. This is just what has been working for me. I prioritized lifting, and everything else has been falling into place around that, slowly but surely.

Here’s a link to my log. I’m still doing the same basic lifts that I started with (compound barbell movements done full-body 3x/week, very similar to what BJK advocated).