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Need Help on Simple Routine



I have been reading the articles and forums on T-Nation extensively for a week or so now (great stuff btw). I am very overweight and have decided its time to do something. I believe I have my nutrition completely sussed out, and basic supplementation.

Unfortunately I am running out of time to research this more, and am looking for advice on a training routine. My first couple of months I want a routine that is for fat loss. It would prefer it to be simple (no complexes yet) with the idea to teach myself correct form, and habits so later down the track when as I learn more, I can start to tailor my program and contribute back. I have to overcome all the beginner's problems such as ego, intimidation, but I know I can do that.

I can train Mon/Tue Thu /Fri, with sat/sun some cardio (playing sports). Suggestions or articles you can point me too would be great. Im looking for what exersizes to do, how many, how long rest periods, what do do differently on each session and so on.

I hope to not be flamed to hard from this, but this forum is absolute information overload to a beginner, and I want to just get started, and learn as I go.



Good on you to start.

Your first routine will be to get your mind to work with your muscles. Don;t worry to much about "fat loss" or "bulking" or whatever else. Keep it simple.

Start with the Stickies.


Both great reads. Don't worry too much about retaining everything. It will come.

Then you need to clean up your diet.


Again, read everything there, pick a program and start.

Again, not a matter of retaining everything, but to actually start. Again, it will come.

Now, do that for 6 months, don't stop, keep lifting, check your food intake, heck, keep a log.

We'll see you in 6 months with great progress.


Have fun.


Yup. I will be fine with the nutrition... Im good at research and got that sorted. Ill be keeping extensive logs. Ill be able to share it down the track.

Another question is there any good workout/diet sites/apps for logging information? (dont really want to use excel)


I use Fitday.com

Can't think of the others right now.

Saying "will be fine" is a bad start.

Use positive language. "I AM fine as I am already doing it".


Ill have a look at fitday.

Any recommendations on a program / routine?


Stronglifts 5x5 (alternate A & B for 3 non-consecutive days per week)
Use a Barbell.


Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
Deadlift 1x5


Squat 5x5
Row 5x5
(Overhead) Press 5x5

Start with just the bar.
When you can do the movement with just the bar with good form then add some weight (e.g., 2.5kg on upper body lifts, 5kg on lower body lifts) to all sets the next time you train that movement.
When you can do the movement at that weight with good form then next time you train that movement add some weight.

You might like to do some abz at the end of one of those. Planks are good. Start with 3x 30 second holds. Build the time to 3x 2 minutes. Then drop the time to 60 seconds and add some weight.

Just one suggestion. It is simple. That is the main virtue, I guess. There are others if you look around...

If you do it stick with it until your progress stalls out (until you can't increase the weight anymore). Should be a fair while before that happens...


For lifting, that -- or Starting Strength, but they are very similar overall.

For a nutrition tracking program, I prefer cron-o-meter. It is a free program you download, functions a lot like fitday, generates nice reports over any period of time to show what an average day looked like, has easy to read graphs if you want to look at them and (importantly) is super easy to use. I have not used fitday so unfortunately cannot compare them.


No worries... so to just confirm, Monday i should do A, Tuesday - B, Thursday - a, Friday - b ?
Is there any more exercises I should be doing?

and you say 5 by 5, so should I do all 5 sets of squats, then all 5 sets of benches? or rotate after each? (may seem impractical to tie up 2 pieces of equipment)?



You're welcome.


Ah. No, you want to train on non-consecutive days alternating A and B... So, for example, you might want to train:

x: Monday(A), Wednesday(B), Friday(A).
y: Monday(B), Wednesday(A), Friday(B)

x, y, x, y... hopefully you get the idea.

x: Tuesday(A), Thursday(B), Saturday(A).
y: Tuesday(B), Thursday(A), Saturday(B).

x, y, x, y... hopefully you get the idea.

You need at least one day between training sessions because you get bigger and stronger recovering properly BETWEEN training sessions.
You don't need more than two days rest between training sessions because leaving too much time between won't have your body ideally compensate by getting properly stronger / bigger.

Do one exercise at a time. First time you do it try squatting for 5x5 without weight. If that felt okay then next time you do your squats do 1x5 without weight to warm-up the movement. Then try 5x5 with the bar for your work sets. If that felt okay then next time you do your squats try 1x5 without weight for a warm-up. 1x5 with the bar still for your warm-up. 5x5 with 5kg on the bar for your work sets. You will need to see how much warm-up is ideal for you. How much warm-up you need partly depends on your mobility and partly depends on what kinds of weights you are moving. Your work sets now will be your warm-up sets sometime later down the track.

Do a similar strategy with each of them. Maybe 2 or 3 or 4 or later 5 warm-up sets followed by 5x5 work sets (or 1x5 for deadlift).

Rest for a couple minutes between sets. I find 2 minutes to be good.

With respect to 'any more exercises I should be doing' the above simple program is enough for good strength / muscular development gains for a beginner. You will make LESS gains if you overly complicate things. You really can't do any better than learn these important movements and ADD WEIGHT TO THE BAR EVERY TIME YOU TRAIN. That is why you want to start out light and work really hard on your form. The movements might feel easy to start - but you want to draw out linear weight progression for as long as you can. Make sure you eat enough protein to fuel your training and fuel your recovery!!

Things you might want to add (if you really can't help yourself and / or you find yourself needing something more):

Foam rolling.
Glute activation.
Shoulder stuff (e.g., facepulls, internal / external rotation exercises).

If you find problems in getting the form on the exercises good (maybe because you aren't mobile enough or because your muscles aren't activating properly) you will need to add stuff. If you find pains (maybe because of imbalances) you will need to add stuff. Don't worry about it until one of those issues arises, though.



if you need to pick three days to train from:

monday / tuesday, thursday / friday then... i'd just pick three of those days. try and have a one day gap between at least one of your training sessions. might not be totally optimal but you could do a lot worse.


Ok, so Bench / Squats / Deadlifts.

Is there any specific items to increase flexibility? or does this come with training?

Should I be doing any aerobic / HIIT during the week?

Oh and Planks were suggested, do these fit in?


Is there any specific items to increase flexibility? or does this come with training?

the first thing you need to do is learn the movements. if you can't squat without weight (for instance) then you will need to figure out what is preventing your doing it right and then figure out some assistance stuff to enable you to do the movement. if you can do the movements okay then your flexibility is fine.

Should I be doing any aerobic / HIIT during the week?

well... up to you, i guess. i know you said you want to drop some fat so it would probably help with that. once your lifts start going up then that will burn a lot of calories and start to demand a lot of your body with respect to recovery. keep it in now if you like, but if you have trouble recovering from your training down the track (start struggling to keep the weight increases) then maybe think about dialing it in a little.

the program should help you build muscle - which will mean you burn more calories at rest than you used to. calories will also be burned during the training / helping you recover from the training. you should notice your body composition changing favorably - especially if your nutrition is good and you have the protein to fuel muscle development. i'm not sure about how to figure how many calories you need (sorry).

Oh and Planks were suggested, do these fit in?

well... usually core stuff is done at the end (as assistance).

but personally i find the planks to help with my abdominal activation which helps me with my overhead press. so i'll often do something like this:

plank 60 seconds (weighted)


1x5 warmup set of press


plank 60 seconds (weighted)


1x5 warmup set of press


3x5 work sets of press (but stronglifts is 5x5)


plank 60 seconds (weighted) - which tends to finish me.

maybe just do them at the end to start with. i worked them in with my pressing because what my pressing needed to improve was better abdominal activation. your press might well not need that in which case working in the planking might make pressing harder for you due to fatigue or something. keep it as simple as you can (and the same as you can - only variable that changes is more weight each time). things get complicated all by themselves...


My advise is to get of your ass and do something do not overthink. There is no such thing as a magical perfect program just many years hard work pain & suffering and a quality program that suits your training needs. do not be afraid to make mistakes its a part of the life it takes years to be in tune with your body.

If you are playing sports exerting yourself there is probably no need for cardio you should use your precious energy on lifting heavy iron. I recommend 5x5 2 days a week deadlift & press on monday and squat & bench on friday add 5lbs on yor bench & press once a week and & 10lbs on your squat & deadlift once a week. When you stall drop the weight and work back up.


that is a nice program, too.

i do think, though, that frequency of squatting (in particular) is especially important for those learning the movement. Some people turn out to be born to squat and pick it up no troubles at all. Other unfortunate bastards (such as myself) end up needing to spend a good few weeks (if not months) working on squats before they are in any position to load them.

Also... 2x a week... Asking for more trouble with DOMS than you need imho.


I find that when I stop asking questions and actually go to the gym, I get my best results.

Seriously, the OP has been given gold info, and everyone is still answering the same question. All that is missing is the actual hand holing.

Now, start applying what is here.


As a note to the OP on this, your first warmup will always be with an empty bar -- always. Then just split the differences across the warm up sets to build up to your working weight.

But, now you have the program, now go lift, eat, sleep, repeat.


I used fitday for a while, but I really like Livestrong.com. The database is so much easier to use and since its not a hassle like fitday, I've been more inclined to keep it updated.


20mins-1hour fasted cardio /brisk walking first thing in the morning on totally empty stomach. Can do every day.


Another for the weight program: