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Just Started Body Building - Seeking Advice

Hey all.

I started weight training a week ago and changed my diet as well. I want to make sure I am doing it right, particularly my diet.

Since I started training, I have cut all bad foods out of my diet. I used to eat a lot of take-away and drink fizzy drinks.
I am now only eating meats such as steak, chicken, lamb and lamb chops. Vegetables including broccoli, snow peas, spinach, capsicum, carrot and green beans. Some times I mix all my vegetables up into pasta.
I have also been eating eggs. I also have 1 or 2 servings of fruit each day, mainly apple or banana. I am eating 5-6 meals a day.
I drink protein shakes when I feel like I haven’t eaten enough but apart from that I only drink water and milk.

My diet on a training day looks something like this, obviously it changes a bit:

-2 eggs on toast
-3-6 Weetbix with a cut up banana on top
-Steak and Vegetables, possibly with a protein shake (hour before training)
-Pasta with mixed vegetables (Post Training)
-Meat and Vegetables (Generally what my parents cook for dinner)
-Buttered toast and an apple

As for weight training itself I am trying to work in the 8-12 rep range for 3-4 sets with 1-2 minute rests. I am training with my experienced friend and the program goes like this:

-Chest/Back: Dumbbell Bench Press, Barbell Incline Press, Lat pull-downs and standing rows
-Arms: Military Press, Seated dumbbell overhead press (not sure what it’s called exactly), EZcurl bar curls, tricep extensions)
-Legs: Romanian deadlifts and single leg squats. I am working my way up to deadlifts and front squats but want to get the form right first.

As I have only just started I am still experimenting with getting all my weights right and am still working on correct form with a few things.

If you guys feel there is anything that I should add or take from my diet or if it sounds like I am doing anything wrong some tips on what I should change would be greatly appreciated.


How experienced is your friend? Does he do the exact workout? If so, I do not think he is experienced (I wait for answer tho) .

What are you goals with weight training/bodybuilding? What is your experience to this date? Age?


Should be your split, in my opinion. I’m a firm believer that chest and back should have their own respected days and there really isn’t a need for a solo arm day.

Bench press
Assisted dips
Triceps press downs
Ab crunches

Assisted pullups
Seated Cable row
Underhand grip pull downs
Barbell curls

Barbell Squats
Walking lunges
Romanian deadlifts
Barbell overhead press
Lateral raises

There are plenty of good weight training programs out there but a 4-6 week introductory phase is definitely needed if just starting out to get used to exercises etc. My program isn’t perfect by any means but I feel it is much better than what you have listed to get you started and to progress to other programs.

Again, I do not know your experience .

My goal is to hit 90kg with around 15% body fat by the end of the year. I’m 22, 78kg and roughly 25% body fat.

As for my friend, no this is not his exact routine. He does advanced lifts that I’m still in the progress of getting the form right with. For example, squats and deadlifts.
He is extremely passionate about weight training, has done a lot of courses, red a lot of books and has made huge gains in strength himself.

His form looks great in everything he does and he knows what he’s doing.
He’s not some guy who has spent a few months in the gym and thinks he knows everything (if that’s the stereo type that you had in your head).

My knowledge goes as far as what I have learned from him and what I have learned on youtube from Elliott Hulse. My experience goes as far as half assed training in a home gym, until I decided to get serious and start going to a proper gym as well as get my diet right.

I have seen a lot of controversy about doing back and chest on the same day but I am comfortable doing it and I don’t set the huge problem with it.
Also, I am not worried about training abs directly, I’m trying to bulk and I don’t want to waste too much time on abs until I have gained some mass and lost some body fat.

Please don’t bulk if you’re reasonably certain you have 25% bf. You will become a fatty and losing the weight will take forever. Build a reasonable base of strength by lifting until you die and walking until you feel normal again (both of which will contribute greatly to fat-loss on their own)

[quote]magick wrote:
Please don’t bulk if you’re reasonably certain you have 25% bf. You will become a fatty and losing the weight will take forever. Build a reasonable base of strength by lifting until you die and walking until you feel normal again (both of which will contribute greatly to fat-loss on their own)

I second this. As a beginner, you can see great improvements in strength and muscle mass by eating your maintenance level of calories. There are many online calculators to help you calculate this. Eating this way will allow you to still make good gains while shedding some of the excess bodyfat.

You have a lot of learning to do. All the luck to you.

I agree with the other posters here. Stick to basics and maintenance calories for a while and I would reevaluate your goals. While you will have a boost from being a beginner, the transformation you are talking about going through in 8 months would require ungodly dedication and possibly also steroids. Consider the following:

78kg with 25% bodyfat = 58.5kg lean body mass and 19.5kg bodyfat.
90kg with 15% bodyfat = 76.5kg lean body mass and 13.5kg bodyfat.

Putting on 18kg of muscle (about 40lbs) in 8 months would be impressive. It is not completely impossible for you to reach your goals in 8 months, but you will need to have that goal be your religion and you will need to have every single thing in your life focused on reaching that goal. I would recommend having a goal for the next 6 months of focusing on sticking to your lifting program and getting stronger every week, and eating clean/healthy at maintenance calories, I bet the changes you will see will make you very happy. At the end of the six month period you will have built a foundation of clean eating and dedication to lifting, changed your body composition, and developed an understanding about how your body reacts to lifting/eating healthy, at that point I would start looking into definitive weight/body comp goals. With your current goal, you may just be setting yourself for disappointment at the end of the year, and I hate when people give up because they don’t feel like they are getting the results they want. Either way, you will do well as long as you stick to it and work hard! Good luck!

I’m sort of replying to all of you in one post here so bare with me:

Perhaps I will aim to reach that goal at the end of one training year, not the end of this year itself. So I’ll set it for this time next year.

I used to train for strength when I worked out in a home gym and I haven’t lost much at all.
I can still lift almost as heavy as I did there, I made some huge gains strength wise in the few months that I trained at a home gym and somehow haven’t lost that strength.
I know it’s not heaps, but I can still dumbbell bench with 17.5kg dumbbells, Military Press 40kg and curl 25kg in the 8-12 rep range. If I was working in the lower reps for strength I would definitely be able to list as heavy as I was before (22.5kg dumbbell, 47.5kg military, 30kg curl)
And that’s only a few examples. My point is, I haven’t lost any strength.

Also, I already walk for an hour around 3 times a week, usually on off days and not on leg day. I forgot to mention that in my original post.

Maybe I’m not 25% body fat, I have a bit of chub on my belly and a bit of a layer over my chest but apart from that there isn’t much fat on me at all.

I am more worried about my diet being correct. Obviously I am trying to maintain a diet that allows me to gain mass and shed body fat where possible. So any tips there would be appreciated.

Also, does what I am doing training wise look ok to you guys?

Diet is probably the simplest part, unless you want to go down into the sub 10% bf.

-Eat lots of vegetables. Make it a large part of your lunch and dinner.
-Make protein the greatest portion of your every meal. Eat roughly 1g/lb of your bw. There’s lots of different lit. on this, but unless you’re measuring precisely you won’t get the number anyways. I just wrote that to tell you that you should be making protein the main dish of every meal, and there should be a lot of it.
-Carbs really shouldn’t be necessary unless you’re moving heavy weights (at which point you’re really doing HIT work), trying to put on bw, or doing heavy conditioning exercises.

While it may seem counter intuitive, gaining mass shouldn’t be your priority right now. Progressively improving on barbell/DB lifts and getting considerably stronger is. That’ll naturally give you more mass if you’re eating at maintenance calories or a 100-200 surplus. The amount of bf you lose depends on your actual bf% and how much of a surplus you’re eating at.

As for your actual lifting plan, it’ll depend on your strength.

What are your numbers on the basic barbell lifts? How many pull/chin-ups can you do without kipping? I know you said you can’t seem to do deadlift and squat because of form issues, but what exact form issues? And what are you doing to fix said form issues?

Basically, if you’re quite strong already (which your inability to squat/deadlift and your DB bench/OHP numbers suggest is not true), then you can move onto a BB oriented program and have no trouble. If you’re not, then any of the basic strength-building workouts with assistance exercises/stuff added in to target neglected muscles would be ideal.

Well I am eating a decent amount of meat and vegetables and even some protein shakes. Yeah my friend recommended that I decrease carbs so I’m trying to do that.
No matter how much I eat though, I cannot seem to feel full. I just had a big fat omelet two thirds the size of my frying pan consisting of 3 eggs, tomato, spring onion, zucchini, capsicum, ham and cheese and didn’t feel remotely full afterwards. This is happening with every meal I eat.

I seem to be gaining strength while staying in a high rep range. Today in the gym I was actually stronger than I was last week, I went up from 17.5kg last week to 20kg this week on the dumbbell bench press and got the same reps. I also got more reps on the incline bench press and more reps on the same weight as last week on the lat pull-down. I do not know how surplus works sorry. Perhaps I should google it.

My inability to squat and deadlift comes from the fact that I never trained legs before I started going to the actual gym 10 days ago. So they are both completely new to me and I think it best to start with romanian deadlifts and single leg squats and work into them.

I can’t do many chin ups or pull ups. I never said I was all that strong but I am about twice as strong as I was this time last year. Also like I said, I seem to be gaining strength working in this rep range anyway.

How old and how tall are you? If you’re a teen, then I daresay an omelet consisting of 3 eggs, a bunch of vegetables, ham, and cheese won’t be enough. I eat 5 whole eggs scrambled, 2 slices of bacon, a home-made fruit smoothie with greek yogurt and sliced almonds for breakfast. All in all, it probably comes out to 800-900 calories.

I currently stabilize at a weight of 157-160ish at a height of 5ft 7. If you’re like most Americans and above the height of 5ft 8, then you really ought to eat more.

If you’re a teen, then your absolute priority should be eating until you’re full at every meal. Just make sure you eat mostly good food (basically anything that you make at home from fresh ingredients). Try to avoid sugar drinks.

Eating a surplus simply means eating above your daily calorie requirements. There are many websites and places that claim to calculate this for you.
Try this one-

Choose the little or no exercise option and eat a surplus above that. Pay close attention to how your body feels and the mirror. If you feel consistently tired, etc, then you should eat more. If you look like you’re gaining weight, then eat less. Keep in mind though that sudden carb intake after not eating a lot of them will cause bloat and water retention, which will look like weight gain. Ideally you’ll find your happy sweet spot and be able to know how much food that is.

Can you get into the actual squat position? The squat is not necessarily a strength movement when you’re starting out. Many people are simply too inflexible to get into that position. For example, I had to do stretches for the squat for close to two months before I had the actual flexibility for it. Then I did a bunch of body squats until it felt comfortable.

The deadlift should be easy to get into position for. Just deadlift.

I’m a tad over 6 foot, 22 years old and weigh 78kg (171 lbs)

I mainly drink water. I drink milk in my protein shakes and I have the occasional orange juice with breakfast. Ok so I should eat more? I’ll try but I’m emptying the cupboards and fridge pretty quickly as it it.

Thanks for the link. It says I need 2178 calories on the “little to no exercise” option. How much Surplus should I eat?

Since I started eating healthy and weight training my body constantly feels great and my sleeping patterns are pretty good too. I have been going to sleep at around 9:30pm and waking up at 8am. During the day I feel constantly awake and full of energy.

Yes I can get into the squat position. I can do them okayish (front squats) but they need work. Maybe I will try stretching next time.

Surplus depends entirely on what your plans are. If you just want to gain strength in a slow and steady manner, anywhere from 100-300 should suffice.

Size will require min. 400+

Keep in mind that these are really general advice, and you need to really pay attention to the mirror and what you’re actually eating.

Alright thanks for your tips and advice magick.

I will try and maintain eating at a 400+ surplus the best I can.

I feel like I am putting on a little bit of size and losing a little bit of body fat but it could just be my imagination. I feel that what I am doing is working pretty well though so I’ll probably keep doing that I am doing with a little more food.

Also I think my friend is changing our program soon and it should be a lot better this time around.