T Nation

Newbie Questions

Hello T-Nation, I have been lurking on these boards for a little while now and have been somewhat reluctant to post because I feel a bit out of place. I’ve pretty much always been the skinny nerdy guy but am at a point in my life that I would really like to change that and figure it’s time to make a real attempt at a lifestyle change.

As the title of this post suggests I have some questions I would like to ask of The Nation although I think giving some background information on myself would help you all out. If you don’t care to read through this and don’t think it will matter I will save you some time and direct you to the numbered section at the end of this post where the questions are located ;-).

First some basic information: I am a 22 year old male, around 6’3’’ and 175 lbs. I have historically been very skinny and weak which was only exacerbated my senior year of high school and begining years of college when I was diagnosed with severe depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Between side effects of prescriptions and the depression itself I almost never ate. I ate maybe two meals a day if that and lost a ton of weight that I really didn’t have to lose in the first place. I went off those medications and pretty much gained all the weight I lost back on a steady diet of fast food and an exercise plan of being too depressed to get out of bed, off and on for about two years.

I am not going into all of that for sympathy or anything like that I just want to properly describe the terrible situation I am in physically now. I really want to make a change and have started to do so but could really use some guidance. I know how much better exercise makes me feel and helps me with my depression but if I could also make a positive change in my body and achieve some goals I think/know it would help with my self esteem tremendously.

I would really like to just get into good shape and be healthy again. I am not looking to be a power lifter or body builder but I am definitely looking to pack on some muscle and lose some fat as well as become just an all around healthy person. Hopefully I’m not completely in the wrong place.

It is somewhat depressing to see some of these new younger guys post their pics and be told they’re way to skinny when I would kill to have as much muscle as some of them have (lol).

My ultimate goals are as follows:
I want to…

  1. Gain about 20 pounds of muscle (I think? I really don’t know how much that is to be honest. I’d just like to put on a significant amount of muscle but at the same time wanted to have a quantifible goal)

  2. Lose about 10 pounds of fat.

  3. Significantly increase my strength all around but specifically in my upper body because I feel it is lacking there the most (I don’t want to ignore legs though!)

  4. Be able to run 3 miles without stopping to walk.

  5. Be able to run 1 mile in 6 mins or less.

  6. Be able to touch my toes again (I have almost NO flexibility anymore and would feel more “fit” in general if I did).

From the information contained in this site I feel a bit lost on how to achieve that. I know that it’s going to take a LOT of work on my part and I really am ready to do whatever it takes but I just don’t really know what to do. It seems that some of those goals are mutually exclusive.

For instance gaining muscle, and losing fat or gaining muscle and doing cardio or even weight lifting and stretching.

So with all that in mind, my questions are as follows:

  1. Should I focus on some of those goals first and then move to others because they are impossible to achieve simultaneously? If so, in what order would you suggest. If not, how would you suggest going about trying to acheieve them. I really am pretty lost because I feel like as I make progress toward one goal I am moving away from another.

  2. Keeping in mind the answer to 1), what kind of supplements do you think I should take? Right now I am taking fish oil and a multivitamin (does that even count? lol). I think some sort of protein powder would be in order as well I guess depending on which goal I am working toward?

Or maybe I should just be using one regardless? Keep in mind that I am taking a prescription medication (Lexapro) so I am not sure if I should really be using anything else.

Hrmm I guess it is just those two questions; I thought I had more but those are pretty all encompassing. I really want to make a positive change and achieve my goals but I just flat out don’t know where to even start so if anyone could help me out of a little direction I would very much appreciate it.

Anyway, if you have made it this far thanks for at least reading my long winded post and if this is all pretty basic stuff that I should have found using the search feature already, I apologize.


P.S. Just as a sidenote, I was reading through this and want to point out that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the power lifting or body building communities. I certainly don’t mean to imply that they aren’t healthy individuals.

I totally respect (especially after lurking on this site) the amount of time and work that they put in and what the hell do I know maybe they can run 3 miles easily. My goals are in my view just a little bit different than your average visitor here (in my limited understanding) and I wanted to make that clear.

[quote]
My ultimate goals are as follows:
I want to…

  1. Gain about 20 pounds of muscle (I think? I really don’t know how much that is to be honest. I’d just like to put on a significant amount of muscle but at the same time wanted to have a quantifible goal)

  2. Lose about 10 pounds of fat.

  3. Significantly increase my strength all around but specifically in my upper body because I feel it is lacking there the most (I don’t want to ignore legs though!)

  4. Be able to run 3 miles without stopping to walk.

  5. Be able to run 1 mile in 6 mins or less.

  6. Be able to touch my toes again (I have almost NO flexibility anymore and would feel more “fit” in general if I did).

From the information contained in this site I feel a bit lost on how to achieve that. I know that it’s going to take a LOT of work on my part and I really am ready to do whatever it takes but I just don’t really know what to do. It seems that some of those goals are mutually exclusive.

For instance gaining muscle, and losing fat or gaining muscle and doing cardio or even weight lifting and stretching.

So with all that in mind, my questions are as follows:

  1. Should I focus on some of those goals first and then move to others because they are impossible to achieve simultaneously? If so, in what order would you suggest. If not, how would you suggest going about trying to acheieve them. I really am pretty lost because I feel like as I make progress toward one goal I am moving away from another. [/quote]

Um Id say no work on them all but make one or two priority. Like do cardio and running some and bring that up but make the lifting and flexibility and diet a priority to start this will go toward the goals of gaining quality muscle, shiftinjg the body comp, and making you flexible while still making a bit of progress on you running.

The amount of running your talking is not HUGE 3 mile you will be able to nail that and gain the bmuscle etc you want but I feel you will be better suited to just do Some running and concentrate on gaining the lean mass you want first. Then once you have that aim to preserve the lean mass and get those running times down.

[quote]
2) Keeping in mind the answer to 1), what kind of supplements do you think I should take? Right now I am taking fish oil and a multivitamin (does that even count? lol). I think some sort of protein powder would be in order as well I guess depending on which goal I am working toward? [/quote]

the protein powder would be a big help you are going to need to eat its a staple like the fish oils and Multi you listed take those and real food and run with that a bit. See what that does and then add one thing at a time. Like maybe add Alpha Male give it a good go and see how it does for you etc etc.

[quote]
Or maybe I should just be using one regardless? Keep in mind that I am taking a prescription medication (Lexapro) so I am not sure if I should really be using anything else.[/quote]
as for protein yes use it in any and all goals its food, the others check with your doc on any implications

[quote]
Hrmm I guess it is just those two questions; I thought I had more but those are pretty all encompassing. I really want to make a positive change and achieve my goals but I just flat out don’t know where to even start so if anyone could help me out of a little direction I would very much appreciate it.

Anyway, if you have made it this far thanks for at least reading my long winded post and if this is all pretty basic stuff that I should have found using the search feature already, I apologize.


P.S. Just as a sidenote, I was reading through this and want to point out that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the power lifting or body building communities. I certainly don’t mean to imply that they aren’t healthy individuals.

I totally respect (especially after lurking on this site) the amount of time and work that they put in and what the hell do I know maybe they can run 3 miles easily. My goals are in my view just a little bit different than your average visitor here (in my limited understanding) and I wanted to make that clear. [/quote]

Just start you know what to do something. Your getting know where thinking about it do something lift run eat etc. keep reading and learn more and add more.

I suggest you read the beginner threads above. Start nailing a quality diet, pick a solid Basic resistance training program and start lifting, start doing some cardio and stretching. Then keep adding as you need and learn more asking questions as they arrise.

Be consistant in the doing in the doing anything that leads to your goals and not just thinking about them going for a walk even or eating some veggies and meat, learning how to cook goes a lot further toward your goals then thinkming and waiting for the perfect program/plan.

Hope this helps,
Phill