T Nation

Literally Just Started, Advice?


Hey guys, I literally just started working out for the first time 2 mornings ago. First, a quick overview. I am a 22 year old student, 5'11, 153 lbs. I am what you would call skinny fat, skinny legs, arms, no chest definition, and have a small belly. Right now all I have to workout with is a set of 1-50 powerblocks which I have set up a small workout plan with for the time being from what knowledge I gathered from reading these forums and others straight for the past week. I have a few questions regarding my plan, and concerning the weight I am lifting.

I plan on working out Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday in the AM. I'm doing 3x8 with these lifts(With dumbells)
3x8 Floor Press(I don't have a bench)
3x8 Dumbbell Squats(These were killer, felt dizzy doing them)
3x8 Shoulder Press
3x8 Dumbbell Deadlifts(Not sure if I was doing these correctly, but I definitely felt it in my legs)
3x8 Dips(On the edge of my bedframe)
3x8 Dumbbell Rows(I do 3x8 for each arm)

Anyway, onto my questions. I am supplementing with Creatine Mono, Fish Oil, an ADAM multi, ON Fish Oil, and ON whey(Eventually going to go for Scivation whey, or maybe some Grow! Whey) Does this look good? Anything I might add for a beginner bulking? Also, I am incredibly weak, as in I used 25lbs for every exercise. On some of the exercises I couldn't get fully done(The shoulder press I failed on my 3x6 on my right arm, and 3x2 on my left.) Also, the squats were really difficult, I tried to get ass to the grass all the way through, but I didn't get all the way down near the end.

So yeah, I am incredibly weak and am incredibly sore today all over. Im experiencing some pretty severe DOMS(I actually almost fell over while attempting to sit on the toilet) , so would I wait till this ends to workout again, or do I work through the pain? Also, should I change up the weights as I move to each exercise? I know I should be able to squat a lot more, but it's really hard to keep form with higher weights. I just want to gain some mass, and stay focused. I am sure I had other questions but I can't remember them now, so I will post when I remember them. Thanks guys!

Also, I am keeping an eye out on craigslist for an Oly bar, Squat rack, and a flat bench. I will definitely go that route(and sell the powerblocks) as soon as I find a good deal.


I would suggest doing your big compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlifts) in the 5 rep range. 5x5 is pretty standard, although as a pure beginner, you could do much worse then to follow Starting Strength, which is 3x5. Your sups look ok, but they are supplements. What does you diet look like? No amount of supplements will help you if you don't have a solid dietary foundation.


Hey Ninja, thanks for the quick reply. I am glad you asked about my diet, as I actually need help on it. I am thinking of bulking, and here is my diet. Also, if anyone else can help regarding my diet, please do.


1 Scoops Optimum Whey- 120Cal 24Prot 3Carb 1Fat
1 Cup Quaker Oats- 300Cal 10Prot 54Carb 6Fat
(Mixed in)1 Cup Skim Milk- 86Cal 8Prot 12Carb 0Fat
All Mixed together in a shake
2 fish oil capsules
Totals: 508Cals 42Prot 69.0Carb 7Fat

8:30AM (Pre-Workout Snack/Fuel)(Do I need this, seems like im getting a lot of carbs around AM)

1 Banana 105Cals 1Prot 27Carb 0 Fat
5G Creatine Monohydrate (Scooped Straight into Mouth)
Totals:105Cals 1Prot 27Carb 0 Fat

9:00AM (Workout)

Plan on getting workout done in an hour

Within 10 minutes of workout

2 Scoops Optimum Whey- 240Cal 48Prot 6Carb 2Fat
1 Cup Skim Milk- 86Cal 8Prot 12Carb 0Fat
35g Dextrose
35g Maltodextrin
5G Creatine Monohydrate (Scooped straight into mouth)
Totals: 326cal 56prot 88carb 2fat


4oz Chicken Breast 110Cal 25prot 1carb 2fat
1 cup brown rice 216cal 5prot 44.8 carb 1.8fat
2 Cups Brocolli 42Cal 6prot 12 Carb 0Fat
1 Apple 95Cals 0Prot 25Carb 0Fat
Total:463cals 36prot 82.8carb 3.8fat


1 Baked Sweet Potato 103Cal 2Prot 24Carb 0Fat
1 Can Tuna 191Cal 42Prot 0Carb 1Fat
1 Cup Skim Milk- 86Cal 8Prot 12Carb 0Fat
Totals:380cal 52prot 36carb 1fat


4oz Chicken Breast 110Cal 25prot 1carb 2fat
1 cup brown rice 216cal 5prot 44.8 carb 1.8fat
2 Cups Spinach 82Cal 10prot 14Carb 0Fat
2 Tbsp Olive Oil 119Cal 0prot 0carb 14fat
Garlic Clove
Totals: 527Cals 40prot 58.8Carb 17.8fat


2 Cups NonFat Cottage Cheese 204 Cal 30 Prot 20carb 0fat
1 Baked Sweet Potato 103 Cals 2Prot 24carb 0fat
2 Cups Spinach 82Cal 10prot 14 Carb 0Fat
2 Tbsp Olive Oil 119Cal 0prot 0carb 14fat
1 Multivitamin
2 Fish Oil Capsules
Totals:508 Cal 42Prot 44Carb 14Fat


1 Ground Beef Patty 141Cal 22Prot 0Carb 2.5Fat(May be switched up with Chicken, or Turkey)
1 cup brown rice 216cal 5prot 44.8 carb 1.8fat
2 Cups Spinach 82Cal 10prot 14 Carb 0Fat
2 Tbsp Olive Oil 119Cal 0prot 0carb 14fat
Totals: 558Cals 37Prot 58.8Carb 18.3Fat

11pm(Will vary depending on schoolwork and such)(Pre-Bed)

2 Cups NonFat Cottage Cheese 204 Cal 30 Prot 20carb 0fat
22 Almonds 169Cals 6Prot 5Carb 15Fat
1 RPN Gut Health
Totals: 373Cals 36Prot 25Carb 15Fat
(Is this to many carbs for pre-bed?)

Grand TOTAL: 3748Cals 342Prot 491.3Carb 78.9Fat

Okay first off, I know I have a lot of carbs, what would you guys suggest replacing...or taking out completely. Also I probably need more good fats, how and when should I incorporate these? I am 5'11, 153...would this be a good place to start? Are these too many calories, and if so, what would you suggest I drop to? I appreciate any help that is given, and take every suggestion! Thanks again!


The number of cals you need is really going to be something you discover by trial and error. That said, 3700 looks like a decent starting point to me. You've got it spread out well throughout the day, although you may want to consider having your higher calorie meals in the morning, rather then at 5, 7 and 9 pm. You have your carb heavy meals early in the day, which is good. I would suggest cutting your creatine intake to 5g a day, mixed into your pwo shake.

I've also had very good results with Surge, you may find it quicker and easier to use it instead of mixing your own. Your pre-workout meal may or may not be needed, it varies from person to person, so try it and find out. I normally just make sure to eat about 1.5 hours before I hit the gym, and the I sip half my Surge during my workout. Your fat sources look fine, you're right that you'll probably want more. I would replace your non fat cheese and skim milk with the real deal.You look like you have good sources for poly and mono unsaturated fats, you may want to add some saturated fats as well.
Also, you may want to have a meal at 11am. I know I get ravenious about an hour after working out.


simple and effective advice.

TS.. and uh, you obviously came over from bb.com didnt you.

that ON shit.


Haha, we all start somewhere right? I'm trying to get an economical whey that doesn't taste too shabby as I am a poor student. Anything you'd recommend specifically?


At least he is better than half of the bb.com'ers who write up a "diet" consisting of a piece of lettuce, a chicken breast, and a cup of broccoli and say that its their "losing fat but gaining muscle" program....

Looks good man, keep us posted, seems like you know what you gotta do.


Hey skinny machine,
Going the barbell, 5x5, starting strength routine is the best idea if you can, like ninja boy said. Strength is really the key attribute that you lack, and without it, you will never develop significant mass. Concentrating on building strength for a year or two behooves you as a newbie.

I'd say your diet look fine for what you're doing, but don't be afraid to eat more once you start with a more physically demanding barbell program, or if your progress stalls. As a skinny person protein and carbs are your friend. Low carb isn't really what you should be doing. It's easier to build mass with a caloric surplus. Also along the lines of what ninja boy said, thinking of your post workout shake as a "meal" that you'd be waiting 3 hours to eat next is not the best idea. You really do want to follow up that shake within an hour with a solid meal, preferably one high in protein and carbs.

I think you will make progress very quickly on the program that you have outlined, though it is not optimal. However, in order for you to make progress, you may have to drop back on exercises that you are incapable of completing 3x8 with, or simply changing the exercise. For each rep, try to control the eccentric (negative) part of each repetition, and try to lift faster on the cocentric (the contraction) part of the lift. If you feel that your form is deteriorating or that you might not complete the next repetition, stop the set.

You'll also want to keep a logbook, because some exercises are going to progress much faster than others, e.g. dumbbell squats will likely progress faster than shoulder presses, and you'll want to know the weights/reps that you used. A simple progression schema would be to lift a weight at 8 reps, then at 10, then at 12, then picking a heavier weight that you would lift for 8 reps again.

try to get 8 hours of sleep.

Also, just curious, what was your lifestyle like before you started lifting?


Hey Anom, thanks for the great reply. That was really helpful! As for my lifestyle before this... My whole life I have been very skinny, only with the start of college did I start getting a small belly, but with no difference to my arms or legs or chest. 2 years ago I started going to the gym with my friend(Who wasn't that great in his workout routine) and who told me that all I needed was just to do random machines with cardio at the start. Also, I didn't go on any diet.

Needless to say, no progress was made during that time. So basically, very little weight lifting during my whole life. Always kind of sedentary with some cardio in the form of walking to classes, etc. But yeah, I really want to make progress. I will work very hard to achieve this.

One of the main reasons I'm doing this is for confidence and self esteem. I look fine with clothes on, and i'm not horrible looking, but because of my lack of physique I don't feel confident. I envy those that are confident, and really have no qualms about their bodies.I also want to do this for my girlfriend, who is great, but I feel like she deserves someone more than a stick for a boyfriend.

The last thing is with regards to my education. I am working towards becoming a Physicians assistant and recently completed an EMT program on the side. I worked very hard in the EMT program, all the while taking 5 courses at university. I managed to get #2 out of 102 in the class and was excited to start my career. I applied to an ambulance company, and got past the interview and both tests. Then came the physical agility test which required me to lift a weight and walk up and down stairs. I couldn't do it. That demolished me, and now I'm here. I want to be better.

Thanks guys!


Read the stickies.

The top four threads on the beginners page are links to information every beginner should be aware of. The provide you glimpse into the jargon and reasoning of most of the information given out on this site.

That, and if you don't, there's the high probability you'll ask a question that's been asked a number of times before which was why the stickies were created, thus eliciting the response "read the stickies".

Good to have you. Good luck, keep asking questions, and be sure to post significant milestones.


My advice:
A. Stay consistent in diet and training.
B. Don't look at others or worst compare yourself to others.
C. Don't buy into the supplement ads very few of them work and the athletes adverstising them all use other drugs and then the supplement.
D. Don't worry about having the "Go big or go home" mentality. The strength and plates will come with time but right now you need a foundation and you can't do that if you injure yourself 6 months in

E. Set realistic bodybuilding/physique goals. Doing this naturally takes a long time if your not a genetic freak. You wont end up looking like Dexter Jackson if you buy all the supplements and train for 20 weeks. I've seen this happen before. Trainer is hardcore for 5 weeks and then burns out because he doesn't have 20' guns and hasn't gained 40lbs of muscle.


yea, welcome to T-Nation.

im biased and almost always favor Biotest products. T-Nation brainwashed me well.
they had a buy two get one free deal a couple months ago... i bought myself 12 lbs of Grow! whey. (3 tubs)

Metabolic Drive, Flameout, and Biotest ZMA are also very cute


hey skinny,

You're welcome. In addition to what I've said, it really behooves you to listen to Otep by reading the stickies. They are useful sources of information.

Growing boy is also correct in that being methodical and taking the small gains with the optimal programming schema will produce very pronounced changes in the long term. That being said, you'll probably have some newbie gains, so enjoy them.

Also, with respect to confidence and self esteem issues, I can understand where you're coming from. My advice to you however is not to get hung up on some idealized male body image (comparing yourself to others), which may sound odd on a bodybuilding website, and to concentrate primarily on making progress (towards a realistic strength goal). I think it's better if you think about your reasons for doing this stemming primarily from the failure to do a simple task which required a basic level of strength that you did not possess. If you're internally motivated to better yourself because you remember why you started, you'll find that training is more fun and rewarding.


x2 on the advice already in this thread.

At 153 lbs I'd recommend something like a Defranco power hour or a cheat day once a week and go to town on any junk you particularly enjoy.