T Nation

Where Do I Begin?


I finally decided to put my post out there to get some additional help. Since I'm in the Beginners Forum, I hope not to get flamed too hard. I'm here because I don't know what to start with and what path to take....

Anyhow, I want to begin a cutting routine. I know a smart-ass response could be "go use the search button and find one." And I've read different articles on diet and how to lose. But I've never seriously persuaded one. I could never customize them and didn't know where to begin.

I'm 5'10" and 240 lbs at probably about 20% bf. This too is a mystery to me, how can I measure bf? I've had it range from measures anywhere from 26% to 12%.

I'm not looking to blast any fat off I may have, but more gradially. Looking to lose 15 - 20 lbs. I already eat a clean diet and have 5 - 6 meals a day. Overall, I don't gain weight (except muscle perhaps) but don't lose either. Overall, I don't have a lot of time either. Perhaps 45 mins 4 days a week.

I'm hoping that someone can give me a direction to go. Like, "first you need to measure yourself and set a goal in a timeframe. Then check your diet and find your needs and ...."

There's just so much information on here its hard to sort it out without some help. Any suggestions welcome. Thanks in advice


dude did u say 240lbs...or did u mean 140?


I hope he's not trying to lose 15 or 20 pounds if he weighs 140 at 5'10".

How healthy is the diet now? What I'm thinking is that you probably just have a junk diet. No need to go on an extreme cutting diet, at least not at first. Just try to cut crap out of your diet. Read more of the diets on this site - not just the hardcore cutting ones. They'll give you an idea of what good and bad diets look like.

45 minutes 4 times a week? Sounds like you should lift for 45 minutes 4 times a week. If you could squeeze some extra time in, you might do some cardio too.


Lets get some good info out there. Post a reply with a sample diet. We can steer you from there.


If you're about 240lbs at appx 20% bf, that means that you have about 190lbs of lean mass. That in turn means you have to feed 190lbs, not 240. This puts your BMR at about 1900calories (a more complicated formula would give you something like 1941, but it's not feasable to eat that specific anyway).

Set your feeding goals around that number. For instance, add a bit for activities of daily living, a few hundred for lifting, what have you, and then plan a clean diet with that appropriate number of calories. Dr. B's articles on "What's In My Kitchen" are a great start for food suggestions. I believe his Massive Eating articles also have some guidelines for determining a more precise level of eating.

Check those articles out, they're easy reading (in writing style, not necessarily info on massive eating) and feel free to ask any questions on them, or any others you might have.



I think thats the most insightful thing I've read. I don't think I've ever read a statement like that...feeding your LBM instead of a target weight. But a little background...

Yes I said 240 lbs. I'm a big guy what can I say? And no I don't believe 240 at 5'10" is bad. I'm the biggest guy in my gym, which is a junky one by the way. 48" chest, 39" waist (wanted to lie tho), 18" arms, other info I don't know. However, when you say 190 lbs is my LBM, it's like a smack in the face. Reality check. I need plenty of cutting down.


When I think about what was posted below, I doubt its so much a matter of junk rather than quanity. I think I've always been feeding myself for someone thats about 240 or perhaps 225.

And no, I don't currently do cardio for 4 times a week, that's more like a goal of mine but wasn't sure if it was a good one.


I am 245 at 5'7", so no sweat.

I think the main thing you have to keep in mind is to think long term, like maybe close to a year-if it takes you less time, then so be it, but far too many people get focused on "12 week cutting diet" in hopes of looking good for their high school reunion.

One of the things that I have observed over the years is that gains, whether they are strength gains, muscle gains, fat loss (which is a form of a gain) is the faster you obtain them, the easier is it to lose them and when they take longer to achieve, they tend to be harder to get rid of-I have no scientific study to back that up, just an obervation I have made.

You will get some good advice here, one final thing-do what is "doable" rather than what is "optimal"-ie, an eating plan that is good, but may not be optimal that you can do and stick do for a long period of time will work much better than an optimal plan, that is hard to do, is tedious and one that you end up bailing on-does that make sense. An ideal lunch for me each day would be broiled trout, spinach salad, and fresh steamed vegetables, but that is highly un-realistic given the nature of my work and so I do what I can do and I do it consistently.

Best of Luck



I actually wanted to avoid all the "4 weeks to a hot bod" programs. You hit the nail on the head with trying a different route. The reason being is my schedule is hardly stable. Those fast diet programs are terribly strict with diet and routines. Often, they just don't fit my lifestyle. Granted, I need to be flexible with my lifestyle but often I think of these programs as all-consuming. Being able to switch between oatmeal and perhaps an unbuttered bagel because sometimes that's all I can get to eat. I try to eat well, but perfectly is another matter.


dude, the first thing i would recomend is finding out your body fat percent, then getting your ass on a diet. I'm 5 11 and weigh in at 165 lbs which aint much but i aint lookin to be big im after sinew not size (martial artist). Sorry but i think you have a lot of fat to lose.


I'm 5'5", 165. My bf is around 12% with a 34" waist now (down from 182lbs, around 24%, with a 40" waist).
My goal is to gain strength right now, compete, then gain more mass.

Point being that it doen't matter how you compare to anyone else.

There's tons of great info here on this site, but I'm not yet familiar with the fat loss diets or routines here as I lost most of my fat before I knew about this site (unfortunatly).

As stated above, I agree that you should first look at your diet and make any changes from processed foods, to less processed foods. For example, if you like oatmeal in the flavored packets in the morning, try switching to Quaker Oats (less sugar). Make sure you're getting enough protein in each meal, and if you aren't already, try to break up your meals into at least 5 a day, maybe 6 or 7 if you can.

I found that the packets of tuna that come pre-seasoned work well for convenience, and so does frozen veggies. I put some in a zip lock bag and by the time I'm ready for my next meal at work, they're thawed out. Putting flax oil in small tupperware containers (used mostly for salad dressing) also works if you can put them in a baggie with ice. I sometimes boil a piece of frozen boneless/skinless chicken in the morning while getting ready for work. I just put it in a frying pan with about an inch of water and boil it for about 20-30 minutes.

There's also a great article called "Running Man" by Christian Thibaudeau here that helped me learn the benefits of sprinting, or energy systems in general.
Here's a link:


Hope some of this helped.


What do your measurements and goals have to do with his? At 5'11'' and 165 you're one damn skinny guy, I'm 5'10 and 190 and I'm even pretty skinny. The fact that you have very little muscle mass does not mean that this guy needs to lose more fat than he thinks he does. Sounds like he has a reasonable idea of his BF%, it doesn't have to be perfectly accurate.


And if you asked me about your size, I haven't been that small since junior high wrestling. I'd say eat. You're a bean pole. But then again as someone said, all our bodies are different. Thanks for your insight though. I appreciate all of it.


Thanks, that was helpful.


I'm sorry but thats awesome man. I mean I read it once already but it didnt hit me like it did this time (perhaps because i need to pay more attention). I always think I need to have an hour to run and lose some fat. This suggests I can do it in a short period of time (even if hard). Thanks man.


whoa whoa whoa guys, lets not throw down the figurative towel here yet, first gimme some stats...bicep size, waist, bench, curl, etc. I'll bet i can beat most of you guys.


lol. hahahaha!


Tank-I'd probably also advise looking into Berardi. I think Keith had a good post. Fast fat loss is probably best for the last few pounds. With more to lose, I think a slower approach would be better-less likelihood of muscle loss and better chance of keeping it off longterm.


come on then too scared to give stats boys and girls?


The very fact that you threw out a "how much can you curl challenge" is the obvious reason that no one has responded.lol