T Nation

Uneducated/Unexpeienced College Student


Good afternoon, so straight to the point on this log. I am a sophmore in college, I have very basic exposure to weight training and fitness training in general. I did weight lifting in highschool for three semesters, and I am apart of the Corps Of Cadets at my university, so we PT three times a week which revolves around hill sprints, 5 mile runs, and HIIT station workouts. That being said, my knowledge on the subject is sparse and limited. So, my initial goals are to: 1. Build athletic performance. 2. Take off body fat, currently 220lbs at six foot tall even. 3. Increase strength, without sacrificing endurnace of muscles for the armies PT test(2 mile run, 2 minutes of push ups and sit ups.). Obviously, budget is limited for nutrition options, since college sucks bank accounts dry. I have access to a college gym, which has racks, machines, free weights etc, any all help is appreciated. I have looked at workout plans and everything in between. Thanks!




And this

Are not goals that are too well suited to pursue at the same time, and are also vague which makes it harder to evaluate progress.

This, however

Is at least partly quantified, so it is easier to train for. You know exactly what you need to do (I’m assuming there is a minimum time for the run and reps for the push ups and sit ups).

Very briefly:

  • improving athletic performance and getting stronger are quite probably compatible;
  • improving athletic performance (which can mean a lot of things IMO, but I’m guessing you’re referring to speed and agility mostly) and getting leaner are also probably quite compatible

Pick one pair and focus on that. Performance in the PT test will most likely be improved most by carrying less fat, so at a guess you’d be best served focusing on cleaning up your diet and improving athletic performance. You might find it useful to talk to some coaches at your college and ask how to improve your athleticism.


Calisthenics would do you very well in the long run too. You’d be strong, but fast/stealth in areas where you need to be. As a college student myself I won’t conjure u some complicated eating routine, but I will say to try and get in solid foods as much as you can, and if you buy a decent priced protein powder, to utilize that too. With all the moving around and studying and the hectic college life, it’s easy to neglect eating correctly. So it’s okay if most of your calories come from liquids after a certain point in the day.

And all of what Mark said as well.


Be careful. The Army has standards for height/weight. The ROTC will want you to reduce calories and run until you get down to 186.

If they hear you are lifting weights, they are gonna put you on “the list.”


I really appreciate the input, and apologize for the vaugeness of the post. I am new to this side of the exercise world, please excuse my lack of knowledge!


I got put on ‘the list’ this past semester, my neck was good, but my waist was pushing the limit! I know exactly what you mean!