T Nation

How Should I Start Out?


I used to work out with a friend of mine but some things changed and whatnot and I've been out of it for about a month now. Well I've decided to start back up on my own. Well I'm 5'8", 265 and have 30% body fat.. I've never worked out by myself before and I'm not sure if I should start off by cutting down fat or if I should bulk up and then lose. I really want to bulk up but I'd rather do whatever is more beneficial.

A few months ago I had a fitness assessment done that told me my body fat percentage and how much muscle I supposedly had which at the time was 190lbs if that makes any difference for the advice. I saw a little bit of change when I was working out with my friend but nothing really significant. The hardest thing for me is the dieting I'm good for about three weeks and then usually fall off the bandwagon. But basically I'm looking for some friendly advice on where I should start and how many calories and such I should be taking in. Thanks to everyone in advance for the help!


This is my advice. Go buy the 5/3/1 ebook (It's 20 bucks) and read it thouroughly. Also, read up on the "NOV eating plan", also by Wendler. The problem with diet plans is that they are so strict it's hard to stick to 100%. The NOV eating plan has much more flexibility, and will teach you to eat healthy, instead of teaching you to follow a diet.

Absolutely, positively, do NOT bulk up. You gotta lose some weight. I would suggest that you do the 3 day a week template in the 5/3/1 book, and condition on the other 4 days of the week.


I would diet down to around 10-15% body fat if I were you. You don't need to go extreme and shoot for abs or any of that sh*t but keeping your body fat below 30% should be beneficial for a number of reasons.

Just get on a good maintenance plan (calorie wise) and hit the gym HARD for a couple months. If that goes well and you are in a good routine then shave off a few hundred calories every day and see where that gets you. You don't need to go from pizza buffet to salad buffet to lose weight. After the maintenance stage add in morning fasted steady-state walking, or find something else you like, as that will be what you will want to do.

I also like the Green Face diet when it comes to keeping things simple but the N.O.V. eating plan sounds vary simple as well. Maybe research both.


I hope just by reading that it is obvious what to do.

Incase it's not.... lose some weight, get that body fat to the mid teens, which as has been mentioned will generally make you feel better (joints, cardio system, overall). Choose any proven, simple method so that you don't fall off the wagon. Someone with better weight loss advice could chime in here....

I'd go for mid 3000 calories, splitting my macros in 1/3's. Carbs AFTER workouts. Thats what BODYOPUS recommends and I like too.

Good luck mate.



First, congratulations on deciding that you want to change. That takes a lot to recognize and turn into action, and posting here on T-Nation is a start.

Second, I agree with picking a program that is straightforward - either Rippetoe's Starting Strength or Wendler's 5/3/1. Pick one, and just stick with it for 6 months. This way you always know what your next workout is, and you won't get paralysis by analysis on your weight program.

Third, I agree with picking a path to cleaning up your diet, like the suggestion for Wendler.

Finally, take before pictures, but take starting body measurements too. With a solid program and improved diet, you'll measure results with the tape measure before they're obvious in the photos.

Welcome to T-Nation, kudos again on committing, and good luck.


None of us know what your diet looks like, but one thing I can point out too: even if you don't touch your diet, and you hit the gym hard, you should see positive results.

That being said, if you want to really get leaned out, diet is definitely the key. If dieting is your biggest roadblock, I agree, try something simple. In addition to whats been said, this is a good link to start with too:



Thank you guys for the advice. It really means a lot to have some support. I'm ready to shed this weight off


Hey Bro, congrats and welcome. Would ask that you take physical measurements and photos, then also get your 1RM for the Squat, bench and deadlift so you know where you are and where you are going ; ) Then also only try to weigh yourself every other week on the same day at the same time, such as in the morning after a good dump.

This way you have a good baseline to start from and can gauge progress more approprietly. Again congrats and welcome !