T Nation

Help Getting Started


I need some help and orientation.

I'm turning 30 in a month; weight 220lbs, 6'1" tall. No cardio conditioning (use to swim competitive until 18) no muscle tone, to sum it up in terrible condition.

Today a look at my wife, and she looked great, in perfect health and shape. Then I look at myself in a full body mirror in my underwear. One question came immediately into mind, what the hell happened? Who's that guy in the mirror? Right then and there I promise myself to change what I was looking at.

That same morning went to the gym, reactivated my membership, and in the afternoon went to start working out. Here comes my problem: I found out that I was completely lost.

I've being reading in the net, but a few mags, heard a few advice. But found myself right where I started: Lost!! So from asking around I noticed that people talk about this web site (T-Nation.com)
So here I am.

Can any of you give advice on how to get started? Should I take supplements? What diet should I be on? (Wana get strong with muscle, get the pic?) Should I be training all week or 5 days? Should I train complete body circuit or do splits?
etc. etc. etc.

Thanks for your help.


First off, congratulations on making the right choice. Your wife will be pleased, the whole world will become that much more fitter, but the big winner will of course be you.

Ok, a good starting point - Here goes:

Workout Days/Rest Days: Your recovery ability is probably strong, being fresh. So, I say, full body workouts (which have a greater effect on metabolism), every three days or so. Something like Workout, Rest, Rest, Repeat...

Or perhaps one of those Mon-Wed-Fri programs, taking the weekends off. There's overtraining and there's undertraining. Tired, weak, unmotivated? Or energized, strong and chomping at the bit? Only by listening to your body will you find the perfect balance.

Intensity makes all the difference. Some times we have great workouts, other times we feel like a pussy afterwards. And even after some of those pussy workouts, I'm surprised the next day with soreness, haha!

Take some extra rest if you feel especially sore. You can train through a little soreness, to increase the muscle's capacity for suffering, but I wouldn't do so at full intensity. It will catch up with you in time.

Sets and reps: Do whatever you like. Seriously... seriously! More reps, less sets. More sets, less reps. The weight you're putting up will determine how many reps you're doing. Don't leave any in the tank for the next set. If you can't do another set, then you're done.

Though, I've read before that we should leave the workout feeling like we could do another half workout if pressed to. That's a good ideal, especially if you're hoping to get back in the gym later that week. Only experience can teach how much intensity is proper.

The Body: Six core compound movements
- Horizontal press (ex. incline/decline/flat bench press, pushups)
- Vertical press (ex. military press, handstand pushups)
- Horizontal pull (ex. cable/bent over row, inverted row)
- Vertical row (ex. lat pulldown, pullup/chinup)
- Quad dominant (ex. squats, leg press)
- Hip dominant (ex. deadlifts, glute-ham raise)

Pick two or three exercises from here for each of the movements:

Then for each workout, do one of those exercises, and a different exercise for the workout after that. Well, vary them as you like. Just be sure to get some exercise variety, in time, and to do each of the six movements each workout.

You can do isolation work for the arms (curls, extensions) and calves (raises) but remember that any isolation work you do will hamper the compound movements. For example, you do curls and your pull-ups are going to suffer.

Then your lats aren't getting as much attention. Best to save any isolation of your desire to the end of a workout, and then only if you're sure to recover before the next full body blitz.

Supplements: During your workout, have a drink with 25 grams of protein and 50 grams of sugars. Biotest (on this website) sells one called Surge. You can also make your own, from whey protein and dextrose, but it won't be as good. Maybe 85% as good. :slight_smile:

Other excellent supplements are fish oil (FlameOut), ZMA and creatine. Biotest sells all these as well. Fish oil will help with inflammation, body composition and overall health. ZMA, taken at nighttime, helps to replenish nutrients spent during workouts, that you can keep natural testosterone at a good level. Creatine volumizes muscle cells and packs them with energy. Shovel half a teaspoon into the workout drink, and you're good to go.

Diet: They say 80% of your body composition goals are in diet, whether that's to gain muscle or lose fat. Best thing to do for diet is to split up your meals across the day, which increases the metabolism. And eat a big breakfast. Make it the largest meal of the day if you can.

Include protein in every meal. This way, you've got a steady influx of protein feeding your torn down muscles. Don't eat sugar or starches, unless peri-workout (around the time of workout). If you eat three meals a day now, go for five meals a day.

Ideally, it's best to eat every 3 hours or so, but that depends on if you already have much food being digested. If you eat smaller meals, it's more likely that you'll be ready to eat again in three hours. It's also more likely that less of what you ate will be stored as fat.

Progress: It will be hard to gauge your progress at first. In fact, it will probably take 4 to 6 weeks before you even begin to see a difference. Don't pay too much attention to the scale, until your body has started moving definitely in the right direction. Then you can tell better if your gaining or losing strategy is successful.

If you're intent on losing, though, the best measurement is a tape across the waist. If you're intent on gaining, then a tape across the arms or calves. Just don't depend solely on the scale, as it might only report that you've put on 4 pounds of water in a week, or cutting carbs, lost 2 pounds of muscle glycogen (energy).

This information I'm giving you is a good start, and a distilled version of what you might find of all the combined knowledge. You'll need more information as time goes on, when you are ready to fine-tune your program.

In fact, you should see what other people post on this thread, and read a few workout and diet programs on this website. Too much information can be overwhelming, especially when most of it is weak or marginal. But on those points where you find everyone agrees, know that there must be some good, solid info.

Just never fail, though, to listen to your body and own experience as a source of information, even if it contradicts everyone else.

Good luck.


I agree with Kailash with the exception of leaving some in the tank. I am probably a little older and have to leave some in the tank:) Something you said about being a swimmer, if you like swimming do it. But if you are looking for the best look you will have to pound those weights. Good Training


Thanks! It's hard to get good info or to know what's good info. There's to much "crap" rolling around and one doesn't knpw what's correct and what's wrong.


Thanks! It's hard to get good info or to know what's good info. There's to much "crap" rolling around and one doesn't knpw what's correct and what's wrong.


Read Vrooms Beginner threads.
there you will have all the info you need for now.

Great Decision and GOOD LUCK!!
stay dedicated to your goals and you can achieve them.


I'll give you some quick easy tips to.
Sleep- try to get at LEAST 8 hours.
Water- get a gallon a day.
Your first suppluments should be a protein powder(Metabolic Drive) and fish oil(Flameout) Don't worry about creatine for now.
try and get 6-8 meals a day.
An easy meal could be a shake with some water, 2 scoops Metabolic Drive, bannana, 2 tbls of natural PB, some blueberries, and 2 Flameout caps.

When you train use big compound movements not pussy cable cross overs or tricep pusdowns.

This is what you should be doing
Bench press
chin ups/pull ups
Military presses
single leg lifts

These will burn the most calories and put on the mos mucsle.