T Nation

Need a Workout Plan

25 y/o grad student, 5’10, 205 lbs, bit of a belly, pretty clueless and trying to get into shape.

I have tried researching before and I think my head starts spinning when I see all the options and plans out there, I get discouraged before I even start. Not sure if I should focus on getting rid of the fat, and only then start with weights - or if I can start trying to get muscle right away.

If someone could just lay out a plan, I’d follow it to the letter.

It’s rough to read everything at once. Pick a plan. Any plan. I don’t care what it is. Look through the newbie thread stickies at the top of this forum and pick one of the articles linked there… Doing something is always better than doing nothing, even if progress is slow or not optimal. Pick up the weights now. Keep reading too, but do something in the meantime!!

Besides, you already know what is healthy to eat and what is not. You KNOW you shouldn’t drink pop, eat candy, scarf down whole pizzas, snack on ice cream, eat oreos and nachos, and bong beer. That’s not new. Losing fat is a simple matter of will and consistency. There’s no easy way to make the transition, it’s going to test your willpower regardless. That’s the way the road to physique transformation is, and all the vets here have experienced it first hand. You don’t need to starve yourself, just switch food sources. Have all the chicken, steak, fish, veggies and fruit you want. Instead of

Rule #1–Always eat breakfast. I don’t care how late you are, you got time for a couple eggs and some oatmeal. Or get up earlier. Never skip.

Rule #2–refer to rule number one.

Rule #3–protein with every meal and snack. If your snack doesn’t have some sort of protein it doesn’t go in your mouth unless you have some protein powder you’re going to use with it. Meat, chicken/turkey, fish, eggs, mixed nuts are fine on their own for snacks, if it runs on the ground or swims or is a fruit or veggie it’s game. Or protein powder.

If you miss a meal, make it something besides breakfast. You shouldn’t anyway, but not breakfast.

Eat 3 meals a day and 1 or 2 snacks. All the rules apply to everything you put in your mouth.

You get 3 “free meals” a week where you can eat something bad for you.

If your friends go out for wings or pizza, go with them. But you only get 3 freebies a week. So make them count.


Monday–4 exercises

Bench 3x8
Bent over dumbbell row (look it up, use a bench to support yourself) 3x8–each arm. Go up in weight til it becomes difficult to do with while keeping a straight back and not swinging.
Dips 3x8
Chin-ups or assisted chin ups 3x8. Strict form lat pulldowns are acceptable substitute if you do not have a chin up station with assistance. In that case, pull just like a chin up–the bar goes under your chin, keep your torso as straight up and down as you can and don’t swing your body to make it easier.

Wed–3 exercises + abs

Romanian Deadlift–4x8 Look up how to do it. Make sure to keep your back straight, ESP. lower back.

dumbbell Lunges-- 3x10 (each leg), touch your knee to the ground and take looong steps. keep your torso as upright as you can. Keep increasing the weight until they are difficult to perform correctly, but you can still do it right.

45 degree back raises–3x12. 1st set is bodyweight only, add weight each set until it gets difficult to complete all 12 reps with full range of motion.

Abs–whatever you want to do. Crunch, cable, machine, don’t care 3 sets.

Fri–5 exercises + abs

Goblet squat 3x15 look it up. Go all the way down.
Decline bench 3x12
Seated cable row 3x12, keep back straight while doing it.
Dumbbell shoulder press 3x12, seated or standing doesn’t matter. Go all the way down.

Lat pulldowns 3x15. Use a different grip from Monday.

Abs 3 sets of whatever, but pick a different exercise than last time.

After everything on the list is done, you can do any bicep or tricep exercises you want that day.

This is a balanced program. Not great, but it covers the basics and you don’t need something complicated right now anyway.

Walk 30 minutes at a brisk pace every day. Even if your legs are sore. Don’t care when it is, just so it gets done. Best time is right after you get up and go to the bathroom before breakfast. But as long as it happens every day, it doesn’t really matter.

aragorn - just wondering why you set him up with that kind of a routine vs. something like rippetoes.

LoL Aragorn I think you just copy and paste that answer for everyone who needs it.

Yeah…everything Arragon said. lol.

The diet is paramount though. Cut all the shit (alcohol, soda, processed junk, white bread, candy, etc etc) out first and you will be amazed at the results you have just in the first 2-4 weeks.

After 8 or 12 weeks of eating clean…you can begin to make tweaks and heed to the “advanced” stuff you might find on here or other sites.

If you absolutely need supplements…I would only recommend Protein Powder (anyone on here is good too), Fish Oil/Omegas/Fatty Acids etc (Flameout is pretty awesome when its in stock), and BCAAs and thats about it.

Personally I would wait to hit all the other stuff until after 4-6 weeks at least. Its not because they are ineffective or anything but from my own experience, when you’re starting out and you have a TON of supplements…you tend to focus more on supplementation than the BASICS and fundamentals of lifting and eating right. Master the nutrition and training routine first before experimenting with supplements. I would have made much more quality gains in the first 6 months of my training had I just focused on the basics. Instead I read all the advanced stuff, bought all the cool new supplements and didnt get anywhere.

So…master the basics. Train hard. Eat right. Sleep well.

Good luck.

[quote]mafzal4 wrote:
aragorn - just wondering why you set him up with that kind of a routine vs. something like rippetoes.[/quote]

lol. Because I don’t have the book in front of me and that’s what I came up with about 30 seconds of improvisation (don’t own the book, actually. I didn’t hear about it til I was past the newb stage).

Put Goblet squats in there because it’s hard to coach traditional squat technique via internet and I don’t trust anyone to teach him there. Goblet squat teaches good technique, helps mobility, is safe (just drop the dumbbell), and works the upper back muscles and shoulders from holding it in front of you. Also good warm-up movement.

No bent over barbell rows because dumbbell rows allow you to support yourself so form is easier to keep. And because on Friday he’ll probably be sore from his leg day, so stretching the low back and hamstrings under load is asking for him to screw up his form on bent rows.

Romanian deadlifts in there because they are easier to learn/feel working than conventional DL from the floor if you don’t have a coach present, don’t require as much flexibility, and even if you do cut depth they still are productive (turn into Dimel Deads).

Lunges are good because they work the quads and help the squatting muscles without a danger factor (just drop the dumbbells). Also, they teach a balance component, and if you go all the way down til the knee touches the ground you get good hamstring/glute activation as well.

[quote]Himora22 wrote:
LoL Aragorn I think you just copy and paste that answer for everyone who needs it.[/quote]

I’ve thought about it. :slight_smile:

I like it. He wanted someone to lay down a plan and Aragorn delivered.