T Nation

Newbie, Help Getting Started


My name is kim, I'm 20. I'm 5'2 i weigh about 140 and i need alot of help in changing my body. I want to get down to about 110 or so and I have no idea what to do. i signed up for gym in school and need some good advice as to what to do. My diet now is horrible but I have reached a point in my life that i want to start to eat better and to look better as well. Should i mainly do cardio? because my main focus is to lose the weight. I'd love to acheive my goal by summer. Any help would be appreciated.


Do you want to be muscular or just slim?
The main thing I think you shoud do is to eat clean , and if I focused on loosing weight I woud do cardio.


I mainly want to slim down. I just need advice in what kind of diet i should be eating and exercises i need to be doing to drop the weight as quick as possible but in a healthy way.


Here's a thread that has alot of good articles for women.


When you figure out what you would like your goals to be, then start reading articles.


Hi Kim.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you not only want to lose thirty pounds, but that you would like to keep it off. Instead of thinking it as "reaching my goal by summer", think of it as making it a liftime commitment. Yes, I know that sounds daunting, but allow me to explain why:

So often I see women who want to reach a goal of losing weight for their high school reunion, wedding, summer, pick something, and then fall back into their bad habits after the event is over. One year later after they have gained all the weight back and then some, they are kicking themselves for backsliding. They had "reached their goal" and had not thought about what comes next, so they just eased back into their old comfortable habits.

However, it sounds like you are ready to make a change, but remember this is a journey, not a destination. So, with that said allow me to make some recommendations:

  1. Yes, cardio may be helpful for losing weight, but what you really want to do is change your body composition. This is where weight training comes in. By building your muscles your body becomes more metabolically active (burns more calories). Think of it as turbo- charging your system.

  2. Weight training will also teach you that you are stronger than you think you are. It will give you a measure of confidence and inner strength you never had before.

  3. Weight training will help to give you stronger bones which will help you as you get older (yeah I know you're only twenty now, but think long term). I'm fifty and osteoporosis is nowhere in sight.

  4. Skinny girls are a dime a dozen. Anyone can starve themselves and spend hours on the treadmill. Strong, fit women are impressive and send a message to those around them. Be one of the few, not one of the many.

What to do:
Yeah, it's daunting with so many articles on this and other sites. But deep in your heart you know what you shouldn't be eating. Cut out the fried foods. Kick the fast food habit and start making yourself healthy meals. Eat 5 to 6 small meals per day. Cut out the simple garbage carbs: chips, fries, pastries, sweets and soft drinks. But you really already knew this, the hard part is execution.

If you are weak-willed enlist the support of someone close. Tell them what your plans are. Ask them to help keep you on track. During this time, educate yourself on nutrition and training. There is plenty of information on this and other websites. And don't be afraid to ask questions. Many of the women here have been down the same road you are starting on and can tell you what worked for them.

Which brings me to another point, and a very important one. We are all different. What works for me may not work for you, so you will have to experiment. If something doesn't work, don't get discouraged, just try something else. But don't give up. Never give up, just adapt.

Consistency is also very important. Whatever you choose to do, whether it's cardio, weights, yoga, whatever it is, do it consistently. That means you have to MAKE TIME, not find time. Don't try to work out when you have time. Make the time to work out.

I've been doing this for twenty-something years, so I've got a little insight into all of this. Believe me when I say that this can be one of the best descisions of your life.

Remember...a journey, not a destination.



Your hot.

Good luck on the journey.


Get Active.


Ok, I'm aware I probably have no right to say anything on the topic, being 14, only a year into training and whatnot.

But scale weight means bugger all. I'm heavier then I was a year ago and have a smaller waistline. I have had a MASSIVE change of body composition to become much, much leaner. I weigh more but look like I weigh much less. I'm guessing you just want to look like you weigh less regardless.

Ok, here's an example I picked up off this site: do you think a guy will look and you and say wow...you're hot or wow...you're 110 lbs?

I rest my case. Now get down and pump some iron :wink:


I agree with what gojira said, but she is very right, it can be daunting.

My best advice is to make a plan and then jump in headfirst. These changes you'd like in your body are going to come mainly from a commitment to cardio and a healthy diet.

The healthy diet thing is pretty easy if you have a little motivation. Go into your kitchen and throw out everything you have, or better yet give it to someone else, or to a food pantry. Start fresh, with fresh food. If you keep stuff around that isn't in your diet, you will eventually eat it.

For nutrition articles you're going to want to read as much as you can by Dr. John Berardi. If you look on the left under authors, you can click on his name. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective nutritional programs is the most important.

In very simple terms you are going to want to eat 5-6 times a day with smaller meals. Your meals should mostly be consistant with the "meat, leaves, berries, nuts" approach, meaning that you will get most of your carbohydrates from fruit and lettuces, and not much if any from bread/pasta/etc. You should eat protein at each meal.

I find that I eat a lot of salads and Meat + vegetable combinations.

As far as the cardio goes, do what you like/can stand as often as you have time, preferrably 3x a week or more. You should be breathing heavily enough that you cannot sustain normal conversation.

I have successfully trained 5-6 females your age and they are all doing very well. Feel free to PM me or ask any further questions. I'm in my first year of grad school and 22 y/o so I can also help with some ideas on how to fit the diet and lifestyle choices into a social life.


Lift weights eat right and do some cardio.

Don't just rely on cardio.

Don't starve yourself.

You have come to the right place to learn.