New to Lifting - Help?

Hey everyone,
I’m new to this forum and lifting in general. I have tried joining a gym before but that just fell apart. I have been extremely interested in building muscle mass for some time now and I think now that I am a bit older, and more mature, I will be able to submit to a program. I am 19 years old, about 5’10’’ and 165 pounds.

I have read the “lifting for newbies” articles and would love to start. I am not looking to become a body builder, but I would like to increase my muscle mass and also look a lot better.

I am currently at home on winter break and only have access to an at home gym for the next month. I was hoping someone could suggest some sort of workout routine for me for this month. I’ll be going back to school where I’ll have access to free weights and everything in about a month, but I would like to start as soon as possible. Also if someone could suggest a diet plan that would be a great help too!

I apologize for being a newb but I am really looking to get into this and build some muscle mass. I understand it will not happen overnight and I will have to dedicate myself to it but if anyone could help I would greatly appreciate it.


What kind of home gym do you have? Even if you only have some sort of substandard all-in-one machine, you should be able to make some gains. In fact, as a beginner you should be able to make some decent gains with out any special equipment at all.

Take a look at Mike Mahler’s “Training advice for Generation Ent”

or “A Better Body Without Weights” by Chad Waterbury

These programs might not put any muscle mass on an intermediate trainee, but they’re probably an OK place for a beginner to start if he doesn’t have access to weights.

That being said, if you can get ahold of a barbell and some plates, you’d be better off following Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program.

The home gym I have is some older one. It has all the basic/general things that other at home gyms have.

I’m just looking to use this for the month and then when I get back to school start with the free weights and so on.

Any suggestions suggestions for what/how I should be eating?

[quote]Howie1881 wrote:
Any suggestions suggestions for what/how I should be eating?[/quote]

Assuming you aren’t carrying around a ton of excess adipose tissue, I wouldn’t worry about trying to slim down. Generally speaking, beginners tend to make pretty decent changes in body composition without having to focus too much on diet. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t change your diet.

Firstly in order for you to make gains in muscle mass, you’ll probably have to increase your daily caloric intake by about 500 kCal. You may want to eat more often, like every 2.5-3 hours instead of only 3 times a day - this might work better for you (or not). If your body is not carb tolerant you might want to avoid refined carbohydrates except immediately after working out.

Try reading some articles by John Berardi, like his “Tailor Made Nutrition” articles

Thanks a lot this really helped me out a lot. I’ll post back later if I have more questions. I’ll try maintaining the workout I have right now and eating more appropriately.

Thanks again.

Order Nate Green’s new book “Built for Show.” Follow that and you’ll be set.

Nate Dogg, I’m sure the OP would see great results using Nate Green’s book, but he doesn’t have access to free weights at the moment.

OP, you would probably get some better advice if you posted a copy of your workout schedule. More people would probably chime in if they could see exactly what you’re doing.

This is what I have as a workout. Obviously since I don’t have access to free weights at the moment I am doing most of these using a machine.

Day 1: Chest/Triceps
-Bench Press (4 sets of 8 reps)
-Incline dumbbell flys (4 sets of 8)
-Incline Bench Press (3 sets of 10)
-Tricep pushdowns (4 sets of 10)
-Tricep kickbacks (3 sets of 10 each arm)
-Tricep dips (4 sets of 12 (do as many as you can each set))

Day 2: Back/Biceps
-Cable Rows (3 sets of 10)
-Pullups(4 sets of 10(if you need to, use the assisted pullup machine))
-Deadlifts(3 sets of 10)
-1 armed Bicep Curls (3 sets of 10 each arm)
-Barbell/barbell preacher curl(3 sets of 10)
-Hammer Curls (3 sets of 10)

Day 3: Legs/Shoulder
-Squats (3 sets of 10)
-Calf raises(4 sets of 12)
-Leg press(3 sets of 10)
-Lateral Raises (3 sets of 10)
-Arnold Press (3 sets of 10)
-Shoulder Press(3 sets of 10)

The only ones I am having trouble substituting for are the Inclined things, deadlifts, squats, leg press, and arnold press.

Also, what kind of things should I be eating? I know you said as a beginner it won’t have a profound effect, but if you could give me some examples that’d be great. I know grilled boneless chicken is a good meal, but how about things like - pastas, sandwiches, cereals, meats?

Workout plan is solid… I’d put deadlifts first on back day, switch incline and incline flys, put shoulder press as your first shoulder exercise on day 3 (but still do them after legs), and probably get rid of arnold press and one of each of the bicep and tricep exercises.

That being said, have a look at starting strength, like was mentioned above… A LOT of beginners have gotten great results from it. Obviously anything you do will be much more difficult until you get to a gym with free weights though. Whatever you do, lift hard, make sure you are progressing on all your lifts.

As for diet, read the stickies at the top of the beginner forum if you haven’t already, should give you some ideas. Basically eat a lot, clean food, at least 5 meals/day, protein at each meal, have most of your carbs in the morning and around your workout, drink pretty much only water or milk. Just doing those things should make a huge difference.

[quote]Howie1881 wrote:

The only ones I am having trouble substituting for are the Inclined things, deadlifts, squats, leg press, and arnold press.[/quote]

I wouldn’t worry too much if you can’t do some of the incline stuff, but working your legs is imperative. Even if you can’t do squats and deadlifts with a barbell, you can still work your legs. Go buy a 50lbs sand bag, sling it over your shoulder and do some walking lunges. Or do some single leg squats. Anything is better than nothing, and you might be surprised by what you can acomplish just doing lunges.

Also, I don’t see any abdominal work. You might want to add some. Other than that, your workout seems pretty balanced, although I’m not sure why, as a beginner, you’re using a body part split like this.

I had asked my friend for some help and he gave me this workout cause it is the one he uses.

Any advice for some abdominal workouts I could add, and where in the workout cycle?

Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate it.