T Nation

Mike's Training Log

Hello, my name is Mike.

This is my first time posting and I’m a complete novice. I’m 43 years old and have never lifted weights in a gym etc.

About me: I’m 6’ tall and weigh 283 pounds. I have a large belly and headed down a dangerous path with my diet and lifestyle. Before Sunday I had a habit of drinking between 6-8 Mt Dews a day and getting through life eating gas station food. I quit all of it on Sunday, and besides massive caffeine withdrawal and a couple of hallucinations last night I’m doing pretty good. On Sunday I bought a vita mixer and made a green smoothie; Broccoli, spinach, a banana and some pineapple. It was good, and I actually enjoyed it. I literally have to teach myself how to eat because I forgot how.

I totalled up the money I spent last month on crap food and soda and it was $1,177 so basically I blew through close to $200,000 on crap food over the last 25 years. I’ve also kept a YMCA membership for 3 years and never stepped foot inside it, that’s also $109 a month wasted.

I am very committed to this lifestyle change but I’m also very confused because there’s just so dam much information to learn I’m not sure where to begin. What I learned so far after reading a ton of articles is that at some point I need to pick heavy weights up of the floor and lift it up and move it around. I’m looking in to the Starting Strength program because it’s simple enough to understand and it makes sense to me.

For my diet, it’s a struggle to know how much protein I should be taking etc. Any opinions would be great!

So that’s that, and this is where I begin my journey. I’m pretty excited about it, I’m not giving up anything, I’m gaining everything. Well, that’s how I see it anyhow.


Welcome, and congratulations for taking the first step!

I only have a couple of pieces of advise to start with:

  1. There are a ton of programs out there, and all of them will help you, depending on what your ultimate goals are… As a beginner, pretty much anything you do will get you stronger and healthier, at least for a while. I personally do 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler, which I like because it’s built on slow, steady progress, which is good for an old guy, but that’s far from the only option. Do an archive trawl of T-Nation articles and you can find a ton of different programs. Pick one that looks like it fits your goals, and stick with it for 6 months before you decide something else you read looks like it’s better. Starting Strength will probably get you through about 4 months before you run out of newbie gains. Don’t let training ADHD get you.

  2. Start slow, both with your diet and with your exercise. It’s easy to make a commitment in the moment to suddenly do everything better and drop all your old bad habits, but real life seldom turns out that cleanly. Making commitments is definitely a good first step, but there is danger in an all-or-nothing approach, and it’s easy to just abandon all your good work if you have a bad day or bad week, fall off the wagon, and decide it’s not worth it, or you can’t do it, you’re not strong enough, or whatever. Accept that you will make mistakes, and plan on them so when they happen they don’t derail you. As far as protein goes, 1 g/lb of lean body mass is a good thumb rule.

  3. Have fun! Don’t be discouraged when progress is slow, just be consistent and change will come.

  4. One more thing - since you’re totally new to this, I would suggest finding a trainer to teach you to lift safely if you have the means. You can learn a lot from watching videos and reading articles, and the Starting Strength book (you bought it, right?) does a good job of showing the mechanics, but nothing replaces some hands-on coaching starting out. I don’t know if I’d do the GOMAD though, since you’re trying to lose weight…

Thanks for taking the time to comment OTHSteve.

When you say 1gm per pound of muscle mass what does that mean for us obese people? I’m not lean, I just know I’m a 100 pounds heavier than I was at 20. So would I use the 180 weight calculation or the 280?

I’m sorry, I’m just trying to figure this all out and it’s confusing for a newbie.

I’m not an expert on eating to lose weight, but I’m pretty sure there’s an article on here somewhere that says 1 gram protein per pound of target lean body mass is enough to minimize muscle catabolism while you lose weight, so 180 g of protein should be okay I would think.

If you have time, it only takes a few days to comb through all the article archives and find the right one. You might want to pose your nutrition issue under the ‘supplements and nutrition’ forum, there are some experts on the site who can direct you down the right path.