T Nation

I Need Some Help


First off I would like to thank everyone in advance for whatever help they can provide. Here is my situation, I am 17 years old, I stand at about five foot five inches and weigh about 180 pounds. I have little to no muscle so basicaly, my condition is very bad.

The main reason for me wanting to get fit is because in a couple of months, maybe five or so, I want to start learning martial arts and I, at the least, want to be at average weight and muscle mass. At the age of 20, I am aiming to join the military. I work three days a week and for about 12 hours each one of those days.

What I need is some helpful information, advice, or tips anyone can provide to help me get started and to maintain a healthy body. I am looking to lose weight and build muscles, so, any diet and body building information can be useful to me.

Again, I would like to thank anyone in advance who can provide any information to help.


I just said something along these lines in a previous thread, but I'll summarize:

-Don't follow a split routine, make your own (after reading and modifying your workout so it fits your goals)
-Work out 3-4 times a week
-Focus on basic compound lifts (squat, chinups, dips, rows, bench press, back extensions, shoulder press etc.)

-Avoid excersizes that work only one muscle (isolation), do compound lifts that work many muscles
-Don't use machines
-Cut down on whatever garbage you are eating if you haven't already, drink water, and just generally eat healthy, you can fine tune this stuff later once you get the basics


My comments would be to ignore some of what Zeff posted.

-Split routines can and do work just as total body routines can and do work.
-Dont avoid isolation exercises.
-Dont avoid all machines just because they are machines.

Some other T-Nation members will chip in with some more info but I just wanted to make sure that you didnt get lead down the wrong track right from the start.


I disagree with you. I think Zeff's information is spot on for a beginner. Further down the track he will get benefit from machines and isolation exercises, and split routines. But for now, full-body routines using free weight compound exercises is the best way to go.


I think that you are probably right, but please understand that I have not recommended that this guy (or the other newbie thread in which I made the same comment) go and do a 6 day a week split program with heaps of isolation work on the machines.

I just dont like to see the statement like 'only do total body' and 'only do compound movements' thrown around as if they are part of the 10 commandments. Especially when impressionable new people are around.


Stick to the basics. Something like Chad Waterbury's Big Boy Basics will serve you well. Beradi's 7 habits are improtant, as opposed to the seefood diet for a skinny ecto


I'd have to second this one. It's a matter of degrees.

Yes, most lifters should base thier programs around big, compound lifts with freeweights. This delivers max bang-for-buck for most lifters.

However, if you don't have access to freeweights, working-out on the machines is better than nothing, and frankly, mixing in a bit of machine/isolation work into a program can get you better results than dogmaticly doing compound freeweight lifts.

I.e. Supersetting squats in with leg-extentions can really get your quads growing.

Lets not simply assume that what worked for you will work for everyone else.


I didn't mean split routines are bad, I meant make up your split routine (or full body, which would be better) instead of following other routines on the net.


Forget about the military and go to college.


Can you even get into the military at 5 foot 5?