Guidance Please

I originally posted this in Paul’s forum but that was likely the wrong place for it. I’m 33, 6ft tall, and a very sloppy 192lbs. I have struggled with some body image issues for years. This has resulted in me going from fat to skinny numerous times. Now I’m a 33 year old skinny fat, weak trainee. Obviously I need more of everything…strength, muscle, and leaness but where would you begin? I’m open to everyone’s thoughts.

I start with blood work and get your baseline. You may have low T keeping you from gaining muscle and losing fat

Thanks! I am due for a check in fairly soon

I think you should identify what kind of dream result gets you most excited. I know we all want to get bigger, stronger and leaner, but that means different things to different people. What does the ideal end goal look like for you? Are you driven by looks or performance? If you can come up with honest answers to all of these, you’ll probably answer your own question anyway.

Failing that:
Lift heavy stuff regularly
Get out of breathe sometimes
Eat lean protein and veg
Drink water

These will all help with all of the above goals.


This is what I struggle with because I’m embarrassed by my fat, my strength, and my size lol. If I had to choose I’d say aesthetics would be more important to me than performance but it’s awfully close. Honestly for myself I don’t need to be super lean to be happy. I’d be estatic to be 12% but I’d only be happy if that carried decent size and strength. Ideally I’d be pumped if everyone came on here and said get bigger and stronger because than that would mean I’m not such a slob that I can’t chase some size and strength. However, I’m not convinced I’m at a BF that should be gaining.

First, I feel like you’re fishing for compliments by saying “very sloppy”. Yeah, you’re not lean but obviously not morbidly obese. This sounds like body issues talking.
Second, the opinion of others shouldn’t dictate your goals. Decide on the goal and pursue it at whatever pace is sustainable.
If you can’t feel comfortable at your current body fat, either change your opinion or change your body fat. If you don’t like your current level of muscularity, either change your opinion or change your level of muscularity. Neither of these will come instantly, and you may find that you still don’t like your appearance after changing. Your own self view will be the most important change.


In my opinion you should look into 531 or something like that and focus on getting a healthy relationship with food rather than bulking and cutting. Get a good diet down. Start with 3 meals and eat a lean protein (eggs, chicken, beef, fish) and some vegetables and a carb source like rice or potatoes or oats, cream of rice etc. I would personally eat good food and make a habit of eating right and watch how your body responds. This all come from Jim Wendlers 531 book by the way. This is just my opinion though.

As I said, get a healthy relationship with food and good habits with your diet and lift heavy stuff following a good program.

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Eat good quality food and set some lifting and conditioning goals and go after them. It’s that simple really, chasing physique goals when you need to build muscle and get leaner will just mean you do neither to a level that will satisfy you.

By getting after your lifting goals which are much more quantifiable you will positively impact your physique without it messing up your head.

Thank you everyone, I appreciate it and can’t disagree with anything that was said. I think the general consensus is fix your head and then worry about everything coming together. I’ll just eat well and get after a program and then reassess after. Cheers to all!

I’m no pro, but I honestly think that if you just stuck with a good diet and literally any consistent training program, you could look amazing in 6 months or less. The hard part is consistency.

It’s going to start with diet. Do you have money for quality food? I’m not talking grass fed bison and wild caught salmon here, just the basics. Heck, all you need is a shit ton of chicken breasts, jasmine rice, eggs, oats, maybe some protein powder and some other protein/carb sources.

Use an online calculator to determine your maintenance calories and then eat 300 or so calories per day over that. Eat 1.5 grams of body weight in protein and split the rest between carbs and fat. Watch some meal prep youtube videos.

Then pick a weight training program and do it at least 3 days per week. IMO 4 is better, but we all have schedules to keep. Focus on progessive overload also known as “beat the damn log book” If you want to add in some cardio on offdays go for it, but it’s probably not even needed.

That is literally it. Again, I’m no pro, but I think that ANYONE could follow the above advice and get jacked way faster than they ever thought possible and way easier than anyone selling you something would have you believe.

this. you are very vague and wishy washy when you talk about what you want. Dream big. don’t think about where you are now, or what you THINK is attainable. Go on google image and post a photo of what you consider to be aesthetically perfect. Or pick a celebrity and tell us. Everyone has a different idea of what is aesthetically ideal, so knowing yours can help us to give you more specific direction in terms of a long-term, and short-term, plan. Like, if you think pro bodybuilders have the best look, there’s no reason to really care about cutting fat now, because the muscular gains you’d need to make to get there are so tremendous, you’d want to start on that path asap. If you think pro strongmen have awesome physiques, then I’d give similar advice. If, however, you think fitness models, or pro soccer players, or MMA fighters, or whatever, look the best, then cutting fat now should be more of a priority.

I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. I grew up being quite literally the smallest male in my class/school. I was 5’10, 125 lbs at 18 years old, when I first stepped into a weight room. I couldn’t bench an empty bar without shaking, I couldn’t competently squat down without any additional weight, I couldn’t pick 100 lbs off the floor. So getting in the gym and getting to work was intimidating, to say the least. I had to push through those fears and decide that I could be something more than I was, that there was nothing special about Arnold, outside of work ethic. And if I started lifting weights, and ate everything in sight, eventually I’d look like that too. So far, I’ve come up short of that, and that’s ok. I’m a hell of a lot closer to that goal than anyone, including myself, could have ever predicted.

It’s never too late to start, either. I’m 35, and the biggest, strongest and leanest I’ve ever been.


Thank you. I do definitely have the money for good food and eat quite healthy most of the time. I think there are some emotional laspses that have definitely happened though. When those do happen I tend to get stressed and anxious. So there are some mental issues surrounding food. I think a commitment to tracking would make a big difference to me, something tangible. I’ve got access to so.e great programs by some great coaches and so I will focus on that. About to start Thib’s neurotype 2A program. Thanks for the response.

Honestly your physique I’d be overjoyed with. Or something like Henry Cavill (?)
I don’t necessarily have to be super lean, but abs woukd be great. I definitely want a strong and powerful look if that makes sense. That’s what has given me the mental mind f**k… knowing I need to be leaner but also bigger and stronger. I’ve never really known what to start with and have just slammed my head into a wall for a long time essentially. I really appreciate your reply.

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I’ll be the annoying person and follow this all up with the most loved question: should I gain mass or cut some fat if the above is my goal?

If this reeealy resonates with you then do it but specialising in your specific “neurotype” is really not necessary at this stage. Starting off with something like this below would be preferable IMO…

I wouldn’t say I’m a huge believer in the neurotype stuff. This program was just structured in a way that looks really enjoyable to me and it doesn’t hurt that it was given to me. Thank you!

Focus on losing fat and then eating above maintenance. Do not do something like a “recomp” that will have you spinning your wheels. You are 33 yrs old, do not waste time putting in unnecessary work. At your level you will still build muscle on a cut. Your body has stored energy in the form of fat.

Lol, I’ve tried the “recomp” a few times and haven’t looked much different. I’m seeing multiple articles now suggesting to do fast fat loss, I think the Bach one was the most recent. Is that the preferred approach now?

Thats because it doesn’t really work unless you are taking drugs. Can’t go north and south at the same time and expect to move.

I would focus on lowering your body fat to at least 12% while doing some form of full body lifting with a lower rep scheme. 6 months of propert diet, cardio if needed, and building a foundation in the basics will do more to make you look dramatically different.

Once you are at a lean and stronger base, a long term focus with a SLIGHT surplus over another 6 months. Notice how we just talked in the terms of one year. Don’t overestimate what you can do in short term and underestimate what you can in the long. Easy recipe to stall or spend months “recomping”.

Also I really hate to be that guy, but at 30+ and getting serious about it, you may not want to set a goal that is not attainable naturally and at the top end of the spectrum unless you do not plan to do it naturally.

Again, about this. Using someone as an example whose full time profession was to achieve that physique and already had a life time of proper foundational basics and a top tier physique is not smart.

Others will say “shoot for the moon” or some shit but that “mind fuck” you speak will get worse with a goal that is not realistic or potentially even possible. Setting yourself up mentally for failure if the only way “to win” is to look like Superman. Maybe shoot first for Clark Kent, reward your success and then reassess. Keeping in mind trying to achieve a phyqisue someone spent over a decade to build in a few months is not a recipe for success mentally.