T Nation

Little To No Experience - Looking For Advice


Hi T Nation,

I joined this site at the recommendation of a friend. I have very little lifting/work out experience. I've had weight lifting classes in high school and college but I never took them seriously and just joked around. I now have a lot of free time and have decided to make a commitment to being more healthy.

I am 23 years old, 260 lbs, 5' 7". I have been obese pretty much all my life since 5th grade. I understand progress will take a lengthy amount of time and I understand dieting is a huge part as well.

I recently joined a gym 2 days ago and I plan to go 5-6 times a week as it is very easily accessible and close to where I live. What advice do you have for a super beginner like me? I don't know where to start, how much cardio to do, what routines to follow, machines or free weights etc.

Can someone recommend me a good program to follow? Think of me as a fresh mind looking for all the information I can get. I've been browsing this forum a bit today but really just looking at all the threads in the beginners forum but every post seems to have a bit more experience than me and already know what they want to do.

If there are any other information I need to let you know about me for you to help, feel free to ask away. Thanks in advance!


Hey buddy, congratulations on your new path. My advice would be to:

  1. Learn how to lift weights. Master the big lifts such as squats, bench press, deadlift, barbell rows, overhead presses, dips, and pull-ups.

  2. I would research and read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and perhaps later on 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler. Both are great, basic, barebones training books that will offer a lifetime of great knowledge.

3)Eat a sensible diet. I don’t even think you need to do anything drastic, just use your head and clean up your diet. No sugar, sodas, processed foods, etcetera. Just work on eating 3-4 balanced meals throughout the day made from whole foods. Make sure you eat, don;t starve yourself-- or cut calories-- just clean up your diet and eat a well balanced diet. Meat, veggies, good carbs sources-- done.

  1. Get moving. Every day do something active for about an hour or two. Doesn’t matter what it is, just set aside 1-2 hours to be active doing something you enjoy. It could be working on a project building some cabinets for yourself, going on walks, playing basketball, walk through a park looking for cool birds and animals-- doesn’t matter just be moving doing something that you enjoy. I personally walk every single day for about 2 miles. That is my thing, I go on a good paced walk outside.

  2. Get good sleep and try to keep the stress out of your life.

***Btw, if you learn that you hate lifting weights-- you don’t have to lift weights. But, you should aim for an active lifestyle doing things you enjoy. I love to lift weights, that is why I do it. The day I hate doing it is the day I stop going to a gym and I find something else I like.

You’re done man, do that and enjoy the process. Remember, small changes over the course of a long time lead to big changes in the future. Don’t try to do everything at once, take it slow and you should really embrace and enjoy everything-- don’t make it a chore or you will fail. Best of luck.


get a note book and ink pen
keep a log on food, you eat it, drink it, log it
pick any program on this site
go to gym, lift, log it,cardio log it
learn what works for you
watch people in the gym see how they workout ,over time see who got results ,try to work out with them
when in gym leave cell phone in the car


I’m a beginner myself so I won’t offer training advice, but when it comes to logging workouts I highly recommend something like Excel/Google Sheets, it makes it a lot easier to see the big picture and how you’ve progressed (you can even graph it!) You could write it down in a notebook when you’re at the gym and then transfer it to Sheets later if you wanted.

I have a program laid out in advance and when I complete it for the day I mark it off on Sheets, takes 2 seconds. Same with food and sleep and any other variable you wish to track. This is mine: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oMlzuw0fur24TgCDTiTrGG_0k2oyZ9lqYyEeipq5rgM/edit?usp=sharing
(I might have to change the colours to something more neutral because the brightness is getting annoying)


Thanks for the helpful advice so far. A lot of it makes sense. My friend who told me to go on this site is also a personal trainer but he goes to a gym very far away from where I am but he too advised I start learning proper form - especially for squats and deadlifts.

After creating this thread I browsed some more and I plan to follow this routine I found on the site:

On off days and after every work out I do plan to walk on a treadmill following the plan on this article: https://www.T-Nation.com/training/get-ripped-get-walking

If any one is wondering, I decided to make this commitment after being overweight almost my entire life and after temporarily moving to work at a sushi restaurant this past summer, eating mostly sushi/sashimi, walking around the restaurant on my feet at all times, standing around in the super hot kitchen and sweating, I actually lost 30 lbs in the 3-4 months I worked there. After the summer job ended I moved back home and a lot of my friends (especially females) noticed how much weight I lost and kept asking me about it and it felt really good. So I plan to keep that up.

Also, my gym has a sauna, I hear it tightens skin up and helps sweat stuff out too. Would anyone recommend usage of it or how to use it right time wise? I did have a buddy in high school who was larger than me but wanted to join the marines so in the course of a year he dropped a lot of weight but ended up having a lot of loose extra skin, especially around the torso area. Any way to avoid that?


[ I did have a buddy in high school who was larger than me but wanted to join the marines so in the course of a year he dropped a lot of weight but ended up having a lot of loose extra skin, especially around the torso area. Any way to avoid that?]

have you seen him lately is his skin still loose?
reason i ask is i have found some articles that state,suggest that if young enough the skin will contract to an extent?
but have also found articles that contradict the other articles


Yes I have seen him lately. After successfully joining the marines he kept up with work outs and either his skin contracted or his muscles, especially abs grew in and looks normal. He is the same age as me (23) and if your articles are correct, since I am still relatively young, I should be fine?


a phrase i see people use is ‘have faith in the process’
but what i see alot of is when you read articles or studies you always find contradictions
so follow the advice you get on this site ,work hard ,eat good,keep learning
’have faith in the process’