T Nation

Starting Point for the Skinny Fat?

Hi all.

I only joined the site today but have been reading and looking through different articles on here for about the last week or so.

Basically I am a complete novice to the whole health and fitness scene, and to be honest I am very intimidated by the amount of information on here.

My goals are to become leaner and more defined. At the moment I weigh 145lbs and am 5ft7in. I think I have ‘skinny fat man syndrome’ in the sense that I have quite skinny arms and legs but a lot of bodyfat on my stomach, back and I have manboobs.

If someone could point me in the direction of some beginners articles or programs on here I would be very grateful. I also need quite a bit of advice with regards my diet. So yeah, I basically haven’t a clue where to start. But what I will say is that I am completely determined to see this through and to feel happier about my body, so any advice you can give me will be much appreciated.

I can post pics if anyone thinks that would help them advise me (be warned, they ain’t pretty!!)

Cheers,

Keane

No pics needed!

Say the following statement out loud:

KEEP IT SIMPLE.

And then check out the Starting Strength program, and read the stickies in the beginner forum about proper diets.

Keep us updated.

For a program, buy the book Starting Strength on Amazon.com. It will give you a good program to follow, and teach you how to correctly perform the lifts. Buy the book.

As for nutrition and all that, I’ll let others more qualified help you there.

This may seem like a very silly question: Do I need to concentrate on cardio in order to first get my bodyfat down, or can I combine cardio with resistance work in order to reduce my bodyfat, while simultaneously building muscle mass?

The resistance training, plus getting your diet in order, is what’s important. You can do cardio if you want but it should be secondary to those things

Take advantage of your newb status and build some muscle while losing some fat. Once the muscle gains or fat loss starts to plateau (and they do), then you might look into a focus on one or the other for a while.

In any case, you keep lifting no matter what you’re doing.

[quote]keane_no_16 wrote:
This may seem like a very silly question: Do I need to concentrate on cardio in order to first get my bodyfat down, or can I combine cardio with resistance work in order to reduce my bodyfat, while simultaneously building muscle mass?[/quote]

You don’t need the cardio. You are untrained, so your body will likely pull the calories it needs to build muscle off of your fat cells.

The biggest thing is to increase reps/weight lifted every time you’re in the gym and to consume adequate protein and calories. Start off with a 5x5 of some sort. Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is good, MadCow’s is good, Bill Star’s is good. Use these programs until your strength gains plateau, which should take somewhere between 3-9 months, usually.

[quote]keane_no_16 wrote:
My goals are to become leaner and more defined. At the moment I weigh 145lbs and am 5ft7in. I think I have ‘skinny fat man syndrome’ in the sense that I have quite skinny arms and legs but a lot of bodyfat on my stomach, back and I have manboobs.

[/quote]

There is a difference between skinny-fat and just skinny. I would guess that you are just skinny. You won’t look muscular if you don’t have any developed muscles. PRCalDude gave you some good places to start. Just lift and focus on eating right, you’ll be fine.

And don’t you dare think about cardio/cutting until you’ve put on some decent weight first.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
keane_no_16 wrote:
This may seem like a very silly question: Do I need to concentrate on cardio in order to first get my bodyfat down, or can I combine cardio with resistance work in order to reduce my bodyfat, while simultaneously building muscle mass?

You don’t need the cardio. You are untrained, so your body will likely pull the calories it needs to build muscle off of your fat cells.

The biggest thing is to increase reps/weight lifted every time you’re in the gym and to consume adequate protein and calories. Start off with a 5x5 of some sort. Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is good, MadCow’s is good, Bill Star’s is good. Use these programs until your strength gains plateau, which should take somewhere between 3-9 months, usually. [/quote]

Good advice, though I do want to say something. I wouldn’t recommend Bill Starr’s to a newb, the gains you make there aren’t nearly as fast as someone on Rippetoes. For a complete newb (and even someone with a little experience), I think Bill Starr’s would not progress the beginning lifter fast enough. It is a good program, but I think it is more suited for those who can’t make the increases in weights as fast.

I may be thinking of a different Bill Starr’s program though, I assumed you were talking about his 5x5 intermediate program? From what i’ve seen of the program, its not nearly as good for a new lifter. Of course, you could be talking about a different program of his, im not sure how many he has or what they’re all like, but if he does have a more “newb oriented” program, then im sure it would be very good for a new lifter also. The man knows his stuff.

+1 for the Rippetoe’s Program. Buy the book, and also use this site as a guide for Starting Strength: startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ

[quote]keane_no_16 wrote:
This may seem like a very silly question: Do I need to concentrate on cardio in order to first get my bodyfat down, or can I combine cardio with resistance work in order to reduce my bodyfat, while simultaneously building muscle mass?[/quote]

This is entirely up to you. Do NOT let anyone tell you how you are going to feel the best about yourself.

It’s extremely easy to cut that extra fat. It’s very easy to do this while gaining lean mass since you are just starting.

Get on the program, and then do low intensity cardio treadmill work after your lifts. Ratchet the incline and mph to match what you can do for 55 minutes straight, and just do it.

Or pick another form of low intensity exercise.

Low intensity cardio + Heavy resistance training = Fat loss that stays gone.

Walk that fat off, and then run all you want. Long term low intensity exercise is where it is at to lose fat.

Low intensity cardio? What is that? Run intervals. Many of the coaches on this website advocate intervals and other intense forms of “cardio” because they burn the same amount of fat in less time. They also are less burdensome on your joints.

I incorporated sprints, sure. But the majority of 85 pounds came off by incline walking every day.

I didn’t start the sprints until late late into my fat loss.

Experiment. See what works well for you weekly. I’d just suggest a nice incline and at LEAST a 3.6 mph tread walk for 45-55 minutes.

I just put the focus in lifting and diet, and the walking was easy because I threw my TV out, so it allowed me to indulge in an old pastime of mine while walking in the gym.

Cardio and intervals are both tools you can use but to start you’re gonna want to focus on A. Your diet and B. Heavy resistance training, i.e. starting strength. Just getting those down can be a lot to take on.

After you’re kicking ass with squats and deadlifts and protein and veggies, then i’d worry about manipulating more intervals and cardio if your fat loss still isn’t where you want it to be.

Well, it’s good to see that the OP is taking such an interest in his thread.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
Well, it’s good to see that the OP is taking such an interest in his thread. [/quote]

Calm down precious, it’s a thread seeking some advice. If you don’t have any to offer or have anything constructive to contribute, then why waste your time posting in here?

Cheers to all who have given advice so far (Incl PRCalDude). I have ordered Starting Strength today and should receive it early next week.

Approx how may calories should I be consuming per day, bearing in mind my initial objective is fat loss?

Also if someone could ‘good’ foods and also ones to avoid that would be much appreciated.

As I said previously I’m completely novice to this and there is so much info out there (a lot of it contradicting the other) that it actually is quite daunting!