I'm a FNG Asking Questions

Hi all!

I’m new to fitness and new to the website. T-Nation was the first on a very short list of recommendations given to me by one of the trainers at my gym.

I used to exercise a lot in the Army, and found Power Lifting through a friend. That was an easier time in life. Eat everything in sight, take too much of the latest and greatest protein powder on the market at the time, and pop Testosterone boosters with Estrogen Blockers. I got strong in a hurry!

Then, it all went away even faster than I gained it.

That was 2010. I’m 29 years old now and I swear, just thinking about a calorie makes me gain 5 pounds!

I’ve been working out since February. Focus is 100% fat burn. I don’t care if I gain muscle, lose some, or stay the same. I am trying to burn fat faster than humanly possible. I hit the gym 6 days per week, taking Sundays off.

I’ve already gone from 255 down around 210. My initial goal has been to hit 200lbs, and reevaluate from there. But, the more weight I lose, the more I seem to plateau, which is driving me nuts.

I looked into that Ketogenic diet, and based on what little I could understand, people have died on it. I’m the type of idiot who would end up doing exactly that. I approach everything in life at 100% Wide Open Throttle, or not at all. My philosophy has always been: Wide Open Throttle until you see God, then tap the brake pedal. If you ain’t gonna bring everything you got, then why are you even bothering with it?
That being said, I think I do pretty good with my workouts. For the most part anyways. Some days definitely require a mild Pre while other days just can’t be saved. But I still get my fat ass into the gym whether I want to or not because I feel that a lousy, half-hearted attempt is better than not going at all. Yes, I see the self-contradicting statements.

Questions for anybody who knows what they’re talking about:

Where do I begin learning about fitness and the human body? What are some good articles, written in English? I’m not the smartest guy around, and every article I look into is written in Doctorese. If I gotta look up 6 words in a 10 word sentence, my A.D.D. is going to kick in and I’m just going to get frustrated and give up on it.

Here is everything I know about the human body: It is, without a doubt, the absolute worst machine ever designed. It is temperamental, it resists corrective action, and it freely allows itself to break down and malfunction.
I look at it this way: The human body is supposedly programmed to self-regulate and survive. If that’s true, then why does it allow itself to become morbidly obese? Diabetic? And all the other problems facing Americans today?
A double grease burger served up with extra salty bacon between two glazed donuts is essentially poison. Why doesn’t the body reject that poison and throw it back up? Seems logical to me. But, like I said, I know less than nothing about the human body.

And for the record, I have never eaten anything like that. Just making an example.

So, where do I begin learning?

Thanks in advance

Read all of Lyle Macdonald’s fat loss stuff. His flexible dieting book, his rapid fat loss book, and another one I’ve forgotten the name of. Those’ll teach you absolutely everything you need to know about the conditions under which your body burns fat. Literally everything.

Other cool nutrition stuff is shit by John Berardi (has a site called Precision Nutrition) and Alan Aragon (although he can be a little stingy on the free content).

Nate Miyaki wrote some bitching diet articles for this site, and, as much as it pains me to say it, @Chris_Colucci has written some very good and easy to understand diet stuff too.

Also, just FYI, but a keto diet will not kill you. It sucks though, because carbs are amazing.

Good luck!


This is because of this:

Maybe if you didn’t treat your body like a motorbike, you would have more success.


The body stores fat because humans are animals. Millennia ago we didn’t have agriculture and domesticated animals for a stable food source.

A burger and fries isn’t poison any more than water is. If you drink too much water you will kill yourself. The poison is in the dose.

My only hint is to eat as many calories as you can and still lose fat. You don’t want your body to adapt to 1800 cals and stall out like I did. I would do some kind of lifting or the body you reveal when you get down to 200lbs won’t look as appealing as you hope.

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If echo what @Yogi1 said especially 're Berardi. I’ve shed a good deal of fat since May by upping both my activity level and my calories gradually over the weeks but maintaining a caloric deficit. I think Berardi called it “G flux”. I’ve not lost any appreciable amount of muscle and have gotten stronger and the fat is still going, albeit a little slower now.

Mbdix, I’m not sure how you got Yogi’s login info, but I’ll have to have the tech guys look into it. BRB, suspending both accounts. :pokerface:


Then you’re either getting into near-contest condition and have very little bodyfat left to lose or you’re using a bad training/nutrition plan. I’mma guess it’s the second one.

Solid work for 6 months progress. How tall are you? The context is different if you’re 6’ or 5’6". Also, roughly how lean are you right now? Any ab definition first thing in the morning right out of bed?

And what kind of weight are you moving on the big basic lifts? Doesn’t even have to be a 1RM necessarily. I know you said you don’t care about losing muscle (which is a dumb approach and leads to the wrong kind of “results”), but strength a very-general indicator of where you stand overall.

Totally looking at it the wrong way. The body responds precisely to the input and directions we give it. With the right approach, many people can essentially “hack the system” and move in a direction opposite what “genetics” would otherwise settle on. The majority of problems are caused by user error, not a flaw with the machine itself.

In general, here, where the overwhelming majority of articles are not written in “doctorese”. Do you have a more specific question?

I just meant that I commit to it 100% or I don’t do it at all

I appreciate your feedback. I am at the library right now, and I made a note of everything you said. I will be looking for these authors.

Thank you!

I do some light lifting without much weight.

Kettlebell swings, squats, Goblet squats, Reverse lunges, overhead presses, shit like that.

Medicine ball work

Rope ladder running

What else… TRX Rows

My gym has what they call a “Functional Training” room where most new clients are started out. That’s where I do 90% of my routine. I also get some mild cable work too. Rows and pull downs.

Like I said, I’m focused on rapid fat burn. Will worry about muscle later. And I have never cared what I looked like. :-/

I appreciate your input!

I will look into that

Thank you!

I am just an RCH under 5’10. Like, a thick pair of socks make me 5’10. But I still have a belly. And love handles. And the nicest pair of tits in the gym.

One of the primary reasons I am losing weight is because I want to return to the United States Army. Civilian life sucks a fat one so, I’mma go make a life out of the military.

This is how the Army calculates body fat %
Neck measurement around the Adam’s Apple, Belly measurement at the Belly Button.

That’s it. That’s what I have to meet standards for. They say that a male, 5’9, age 29 should not exceed 189lbs. If you do, then they break out the tape measure.

My neck is at 16" and my belly is at 40". The calculation works out to 25% body fat. The maximum allowable is 24% so, I am CLOSE.

Yes, I understand that this is a completely stupid and inaccurate way to measure body fat. I don’t make the rules or write the regulations. I just follow them to the best of my ability.

Anyways, my reason for seeking y’all’s advice is that my approach isn’t working as well as I had hoped. Yes, I know that I have had great success, and I credit the Personal Training staff at my gym. 90% of my success has come from their brains. The rest has come from my work ethic.

As for the weight I am using with lifts, it is all light weight. I have to drop LBs and inches. Hence the reason I don’t give a shit about muscle right now.

But for the record Mark Wahlberg, Pain & Gain is the ultimate goal. I understand that that is years and years away. That goal is the farthest thing from my mind at this point.

“You said what kinda weight am I moving… Doesn’t even have to be a 1RM” Total n00b here. I have never seen nor heard the term 1RM

You also said that with the right approach, people can hack the system. HOW?

I will read the article you included in your response.

Thank you!

The problem is that lifting light weights and not caring about muscle means you’re going to burn muscle and end up weak, flabby, and useless. Are there not also physical performance requirements for the military?

I suggest eating like this, a low-ish carb approach, and using a training plan like this or anything well-designed with 3-4 days of lifting and 3-4 days of conditioning.

I find that very hard to believe since you used to exercise a lot and “found powerlifting”, and since you’ve been picking the brains of personal trainers in the gym. It’s 1-rep max. The most weight you can lift for one rep.

By coordinating an efficient, well-designed training plan with goal-focused nutrition and strategic supplements to work towards a specific goal.

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these great for all out fatloss …

(do several warmup sets for the 5rm stuff)

Also google “Joe Donnelly sprint workout” and check out some of the workout stuff on his instagram

I Would avoid keto, just a piece of advice.

I’ll sum up dieting as best as I Can here.

When you diet, you want to begin by eating under your maintenance calories. Maintenance calories are how many calories you need to eat to stay the same weight. There are calculators online to give you a good idea, but everyone is different. Lets say for examples sake my maintenance calories are 2800. So I start my cut at 2400 calories per day. Now for our macros (how we devide our calories).

All calories are either protein, carbs, or fat. 1g of protein and carbs is 4 calories, 1g fat is 9 calories. Some people do better on high carb low fat, some on higher fat low carb. I’m a high carb low fat guy. You want 1-1.3 grams of protein per LB of body weight. Since I’m a low fat high carb guy, we will keep fat at 1/3 of bodyweight in lb. I am 200lb, so we will stick with 60g fat (not exact I know, but i like em low to lose fat) So my macros will be 225g protein (1.1g per lb ish), 60g fat, and the rest carbs. this leaves me with about 1000 for carbs, so 250g. this is an example not exactly how I Do things but very similar, and a good example of a high carb low fat approach*

So now that I have my calories 2440 and my macros,
Protein 225g// carbs 250g// fats 60g

Now I eat from the following foods ONLY to ensure that I eat only clean food, and that will help me with body composition!

protein: chicken, fish, extra lean ground beef, protein powder, egg whites

carbs: brown rice, steel cut oats, white bagels(post workout only)

fats: incidental fats from meats and carbs, olive oil, fish oils, avocado

Now I make a diet from these foods and eat the same thing every day to ensure I diet properly.

Now we have our eating down, but eating 2400 cals a day forever will not ensure weight loss. we need a workout program and a cardio program, and we need to learn how to keep adjusting our calories for the future as we lose weight!

You may use whatever kind of workout you want, just use one that is pre made and well spoken for, such as 5x5, or something similar. You want one that focus’s on main lifts (Dead lifts, squats, bench press), and still has some isolation exercises thrown in!

So lets assume our example guy has the above diet i posted and a good workout routine that has him in the gym Monday through Friday with weekends off.

We’re going to start with 30 minutes of speed walking every morning before breakfast, and 20 minutes of maximum incline high speed WALKING on the treadmill after each workout!

So so far we are following the diet, doing our cardio every morning and post workout, and working out 5 times a week! We should start losing fat from this!
Lets say after two weeks we have lost 3.5-6 LB, great start!
But as we lose weight, our maintenance cals that we talked about at the start actually go down, since we weigh less. This means we are in LESS of a defecit! So as we lose fat we start to stall out (Stop losing weight) and We need to further adjust things!

There are a lot of “cards” you can play when weight loss slows. Some examples of these “Cards” are: Increasing cardio, decreasing calories, eliminating all sugars and breads and dairies, adding more workout sessions, taking shorter rests between sets during workout, adding HIIT sessions, ETC.

Each time your weight loss starts to stall, you play another card or two. Our example guy may increase his morning cardio to 45 even 60 minutes, or increase his post workout cardio to 30 minutes. He may lower his calories by 200 (by removing 50g carbs), or he may add HIIT (high intensity interval sessions) once to twice a week!

HIIT is a great form of cardio, just give it a quick google search and learn about it! It’s the most effective fat burning tool you have, but don’t overdo it because it takes a lot of recovery to recover from HIIT.

The reason we don’t start out with super low calories and tons of cardio is no matter how low your calories are or how much cardio you do, your body will adapt and fat loss will slow unless you further drop your cals and further increase cardio*

So, we keep the cals JUST low enough and do JUST enough cardio that we can lose about 1-2 lb of fat a week on average, that way we can keep dropping the calories and adding more cardio when we need without getting SUPER low cals and doing like 4 hours of cardio a day!

This guide has been an example guide of dieting for a 200lb male who prefers high carb low fat. Everyone is different, DO NOT copy this guide. I intended you to see and undertstand the process behind fat loss, and why we do not just drop our cals super low and add tons of cardio.

You really need to make sure you do things slow and steady, and don’t burn yourself out! IF you have any specific questions, reply to my post or tag me in a post and Ill happily help you!

IF you would like help with your calories and macros or a cardio plan, let me know and I will help make you one and check in with you daily to keep the weight loss happening! I hope I can help you reach your goals!

NOTE: I am not a professional trainer, but I do have some good knowledge and can lead you in the correct direction!

NOTE2: I wrote this post quickly and did not design an “ideal” diet plan. I went over a very basic progressive plan so a beginner could get an idea of how to progress dieting and the thought process behind it! I hope it helps!

I will check these out


There is a lot to learn here. Cannot thank you enough!

I’m 29 y/o 5’9 210lbs

How can I start building a plan?

I probably eat about 2000 calories a day. Can I take a picture of my workout routine and post it here via android? Starting to work on strength. My personal trainer has been working very hard to help me but I’m in another fucking plateau and so close to that stage one goal of hitting 200lbs.

My routine varies but, I’m in there 6 days a week. Mostly KB exercises, starting to add in DBs and a couple of cables (Chest flys and Lat Pull downs) and TRX Rows. Love TRXs.

That is not what you call low fat high carbs.
Less teaching, more reading.

Move on to a mainly barbell lifts plan now, especially if plateauing. Stuff like Cable chest flyes are a total waste of time if going for all out fatloss

Those programs I posted previously are probably too big a jump. Start off with this below and do 45mins-hour HIIT on bike or elliptical, sprints etc on off days…

2000 cals too low for any male training hard, up to say 2500 and instead on focusing on low calories focus on monitoring carbs. Try this…