T Nation

I Have No Idea How to Start

I’m 24, I’m 5’6", I’m 178lbs, I’ve never been active, I’ve never eaten healthy, and I had a Csection 6 months ago. I joined a gym, but I get there and have no idea what to do, so I run a while and go home. I’m trying to change my diet, but diet advice is so conflicting the only change I could think to make was to cut out soda. I have no clue wear to start. Everything I read for beginners says to take it easy on myself, but doing that is why I’ve never worked out. I have to be hard on myself to stick with anything as I have rather severe ADHD. So what do I do? Is there anything I can read that’s targeted at beginners that know literally nothing but also doesn’t tell me to baby myself? Is there anything actually reliable about what I should be eating?

While there are lots of good articles here, it’s easy to get information overload and keep clicking around. Also, you’ll get conflicting information and so many strategies it’s hard to know where to start.

For a newbie female, I would recommend the book “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger”, which can be bought on Amazon for $2.99 Kindle or $12 paperback (https://www.amazon.com/Thinner-Leaner-Stronger-Building-Ultimate-ebook/dp/B0098PYV7Q). Michael Matthews gives complete advice on diets, supplements, a complete (very easy to follow) training program, and useful info for someone new to training/dietary changes. My wife has the book, and finds it informative and liked the simple training templates.

I’d actually suggest against getting too much info from too many sources at the beginning, as it can just add confusion and frustration.

Have a look at @jamie1888 log. Plenty of great diet ideas in there. Her training is maybe a little to advanced for a complete beginner but will give you some ideas.

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Aw, thanks @kd13 :blush:

@niesje I’d be happy to help / answer any questions, so please feel free to tag me any time. I’m no expert by any means. But, I try :grin:

Some things that you may find helpful:

Complexes are great for any lifter and would be a great place to get started at the gym. You just find one small area you can use, grab whatever weight you are using and get to work!

Although I don’t read the articles on Bodybuilding.com, they do have a good library of “how to” videos for most exercises. If you just do an Internet search for any exercise, the bb.com exercise database will likely be the 1st result. I used to look up everything I was going to do the next day at the gym just to learn proper form, etc.

When it comes to diet, the basics are to cut the crap, processed foods. Eat lots veggies, good sources of protein, get some healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, nuts) and carbs from whole food sources (white rice, oats, potatoes, etc).

If you’ve never done it, keeping a food log for a few weeks is helpful. Use an app or website like myfitnesspal to log everything you eat. You’ll need to weigh/measure all your food to be accurate. Log everything. This is going to tell you how many calories you actually consume and what foods make up those calories. Once you do that, you can start making adjustments.

If you just want to jump in head first and follow a strict diet to jumpstart some fat loss, The Green Faces diet could be an option for you. What I liked about it was that I didn’t have to weigh/measure food and didn’t have to log anything. But, it’s tough. (And there’s 2 versions of the diet that I’ve seen. 1 allows some non-green veggies and oils, the other doesn’t.)

This is the one that I followed & my log of it is what kd13 linked you to above.


It’s very easy.

Multiply your current bodyweight by 10. This is how many calories you’re allowed to have a day. Eat proteins and healthy fats. Tilapia is a dieters magic food. 21g protein and only 100 cal per serving.


Olive oil
Coconut oil

Brown rice

Anything green and leafy

Probably better to avoid or keep to a minimum on a diet

Mustard yes
Hot sauce yes
Ketchup no
Read the labels they count for total calories

Measure your servings on everything. Preferrably weigh as opposed to measuring cups.

Recalculate bodyweight by 10 every 10lbs or whenever you have a 2 week long progress stall.

Expect to lose 2lbs a week on AVERAGE.
(weight loss seems non-linear because sodium water fluctuations, excess stool menstruation etc.)

Any more than 2lbs a week and youre losing muscle too which is bad.

Protein has 4 cal per gram
Carbs 4
Fats 9
Alcohol 7

You NEED fats carbs are optional, alcohol is pointless and is only screwing yourself.

Aim for 1g protein per lb
0.5-0.7g fat per lb
The rest made up of carbs or more protein

The sum total of protein, fat, and carbs should equal your bodyweightX10 number.

When youre happy with yourself, multiply 13 or 14 by your final bodyweight to maintain it.

Read into HIIT cardio. Jump on a bike or treadmille and do 10 sets of HIIT and you’re done.