T Nation

Need a Beginner Program That Keeps Me Going


So I have a vague question. ..
I really would like to start lifting a bit and I have read so many articles about how to start but I'm still confused as far as what should I eat and how much. What machines should I use and how much weight. And what about cardio?
My goal would be to lose 15 lbs well replace it with lean muscle I guess.
I'm not tall if that matters
Anybody can help me please


For Training:
Read about any variation of 5x5 (strong lifts, bill starr, etcetera) and 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler. Choose one of those, doesn't matter which one. Start training in accordance to how they are written.

For Diet:
Eat 3-4 meals every day consisting of whole foods-- in which their contents will be meat, vegetables and fruit, and a carb source such as rice, oatmeal, quinoa, potatoes. Eat as much in whole food form as possible. Majority of people aren't getting fat on meat, vegetables and rice... it is all of the other bullshit in their diet.

Try to get 8 hours of quality rest every night and drink plenty of water ever day.

Good books to read are Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler. Invest in these books and they will serve you well.

Believe it or not, this will get you to your goals and way beyond. Best of luck.


This. Avoid machines if you can for the moment, they're useful but not so much when you're starting out IMO. Don't do cardio. Do conditioning.


Good place to start...

after a couple months move on to Texas method or 5/3/1 triumvirate


Why no cardio?what should I do as far as a warm up?any suggestions on books to read as far as diet


Those books and the advice I mentioned to you in my last post will get you there. So basic and easy to follow it seems like it won't work. Seriously, it is that easy. Cardio is included in those resources, via conditioning. In those books, conditioning is laid out as sprinting, pushing a sled, hill sprints etc. You can work your way up to doing that or just simply start by just plain old walking, walking steps, walking hills, etcetera. Start small and work your way up. Read those books, especially 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler. It will help you get on the right track and keep you going for years to come.

Don't over think it. Develop discipline and good habits.

If you need a good lay out for diet, here is one of my favorite articles and basically how I and my girlfriend both eat year round: https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/simple-diet


I ordered the book but haven't received it yet. Just didn't know if it had like meal plans in it. Thank you so much. Can't wait to start reading it.


Yeah, the book is more of a sustainable, reliable way of approaching training. It may be, in the general sense, geared more towards guys-- but it is completely applicable to women and it is how several females at our gym train. You can't go wrong with it. It touches on diet if I remember.

Remember, keep it simple and make it a long term lifestyle that you can sustain for years, and hopefully a lifetime. That is the goal, no quick fixes or extremes.


I don't recommend machines all the time. Generally, the less freedom of movement you have, the riskier any exercises becomes. Free weights as often as you can.



My bad, didn't check back. No idea on books for diet.

For warm-up, warm up for what you're going to be doing. Start with some basic stuff to get your joints moving for around five minutes. That can include foam rolling and stuff if you like. Then do some work-specific stuff, again for about five minutes. For example, if you're going to be squatting do some GHRs and body weight squats. Then move on to your work, starting with an empty bar (or light dumbbell if that's what you're using) and work up to your working load.


I modified GreySkull LP to use as a beginner program for my girlfriend and she's made amazing progress. Her strength has increased tremendously over the past 5 months and her butt is visibly improved.

Take a look at the program, and if you like it, let me know and I'll go into detail about how I modified it for female novice lifters.

General stuff: pick a good program that has a progression scheme and focuses on big compound lifts, start paying attention to what you eat and focus on making small lasting improvements over time, sleep lots, read everything you can, warm-up before you lift and stretch after. Cardio is not necessary to accomplish your goals, but doing some cardio (just don't go crazy) after your lifting sessions or on off days will not hurt your training, and can augment your fat loss progress and general health.