T Nation

Yet Another Beginner Post

Hi guys, I’m new here. I’ve browsed the beginners forums and it seems like most of the guys posting here are skinny guys looking to get big. I’m not - I’m a short fat guy. I decided to get into lifting because even if I never get ripped I don’t want to be a blob, and I figure it will be easier to stop being fat if I have more muscle mass.

I’m lucky enough to have access to a quite good university gym - three squat racks and dumbbells going up to 150lbs. I wish they had kettlebells, because that looks like a great alternative to traditional cardio, but seeing what other posters on here have to deal with in terms of gym equipment I really can’t complain.

I don’t have a huge amount of time to spend in the gym, but I’ve been doing a 3-day split consistently for about a month and a half now:

Monday (back/biceps): pull up 5x12 (assisted because I’m a fat fuck), seated row 5x8-12, preacher curl 5x12, pullover 5x15, upright row 5x12
Wednesday (chest/triceps): bench 5x8, parallel bar dip 5x12 (assisted because I’m a fat fuck), overhead press 5x12, rope pressdown 5x12, cable flye 5x12
Friday (legs): deadlift or squat 5x8, hack squat 5x12, goblet squat or straight leg deadlift 5x12, calf raise 5x15

Before: max bench 115, max squat 135, max deadlift 125, weighed 165 with 40" waist
Now: max bench 145, max squat 165, max deadlift 155, weigh 170 with 38" waist

Not bad for a month and a half of training, but I figure that’s mostly because I went from sitting on my ass all the time to exercising regularly. I take a NO booster pre workout and whey protein post workout, but that’s all I’m doing for supps, mostly I’m trying to eat more lean meat and vegetables and less junk. I haven’t had chips in over a month and I miss them like crazy, but I know it’s worth it.

I know these kinds of improvements are going to plateau pretty quickly, I guess what I’m asking is am I on the right track or are there any glaring weak spots in my routine that I need to address?

That is definitely a good start. Honestly, you are far ahead of most beginners since you actually put effort into making a routine and watching what you eat. Keep training and you will keep seeing results.

What does your current diet look like? 80-90% of how you look depends on what you’re putting into your body.

I’d say what you’re doing is pretty spot on. Keep it up - consistency is the key. Good luck with your goals.

You have to be pretttty short to be “fat” at 165-170 pounds. But I’ll take your word lol don’t neglect rest periods, sometimes instead of upping the weight, lower the rest period.

Squat lower.

Thanks for the responses guys. It’s comforting to hear that I am on the right track. I’m 5’5" (I blame my mom, all the men on her side of the family are 5’8" or shorter) and according to the circumference method I’m currently at 28% body fat, which is clinically overweight. A lot of that weight I put on in the last year from a combination of depression and poor eating habits. I also have asthma, which is made worse by the extra weight, so losing it will make me feel better in several ways. I already have more energy and actually feel rested when I wake up in the morning.

As to my diet: Breakfast is usually plain yogurt with frozen raspberries, that’s about all I can get down in the morning. Lunch is a ham or turkey wrap in a low-carb tortilla, maybe with some fruit as a side dish. I have my post workout shake as I mentioned in my original post, and dinner is something like chicken and vegetable curry with quinoa instead of rice. I’ll try to eat some cottage cheese as a bedtime snack, because as I understand it’s high in casein so good for overnight recovery. If I’m hungry between meals I’ll have a handful of nuts or some fruit or some scrambled egg whites with reduced fat cheese.

And Reed, I’ll be sure to squat lower just because you said so! In all seriousness I’m trying really hard to not let my ego dictate my lifts, I stick with a weight that feels heavy but I can still use good form. It’s really intimidating to be surrounded by experienced lifters though. Last leg day the guy in the rack next to me was squatting 585, but I just keep reminding myself that his lifts don’t affect me and he didn’t get to where he is by overdoing it and hurting himself.

[quote]Pintsize wrote:

I’m trying really hard to not let my ego dictate my lifts, I stick with a weight that feels heavy but I can still use good form. It’s really intimidating to be surrounded by experienced lifters though. Last leg day the guy in the rack next to me was squatting 585, but I just keep reminding myself that his lifts don’t affect me and he didn’t get to where he is by overdoing it and hurting himself.[/quote]

This is the way to go. I was the same way. When I started, my max squat was 115. I was actually terrified to hit the freeweight section of the university gym because I was so damn weak and skinny compared to all the guys there for several months. Stuck to machines. They scared the shit out of me. I finally did hit the free weights and just took it in mind that I was never going to be outworked, out dieted, or out focused by anybody in the gym. Ever. I was going to stick to my weights and do them RIGHT. I made it a point of pride to do a weight perfectly before I got to the next weight increase where guys all around me were heaving themselves around (1RM attempts excepted, since they’re always touchy).

Well guess what? 5 years later I was bigger than almost all of those SAME guys I had been scared of (many of them were still around the town), routinely accused of steroids (clean), with a deadlift in the 5s, olympic depth squat at 5, bench at 365 (always sucked for me, long limbed), rack pull in the 700s, good morning in the 4’s for reps, and a mean set of shoulders and a thick back. I found out by accident I had now started to intimidate and scare some of the guys that I had been scared of back in the day with my intensity and strength now. I was also injury free, with the exception of some tendonitis problems. No knee injuries, no low back injuries, no pec tears.

Stick to the plan, give up the crap. Stay consistent on weekends, summers, holidays.

Squat lower.

Also, you don’t need a shit ton of supps. Even though I use some of the expensive ones now and I believe in them, it’s not necessary for the first several years. Just focus on doing the big things right. Then figure out the details later. NEVER LET THE DETAILS DISTRACT YOU FROM THE BIG PICTURE FUNDAMENTALS.

Btw, I used to have asthma too. Goes away when you can squat 500 lbs or deadlift heavy ass weight for high reps :)). You’ll get there if you don’t give up on yourself.

I’ve always felt like all of the “big guys” are actually really cool to talk to and they’ll give you valuable advice as long as you don’t act like a know it all. At one point or another they/we were all where you were, and if they don’t remember this, fuck their advice anyways.

Lol I was being serious squat lower. 9/10 guys who say their squat is higher than their deadlift is usually because they are not squatting to full depth and their squat numbers are inflated because of this. Usually you wont see someone with a higher squat unless they are in gear although you could be the exception. But something to think on.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Lol I was being serious squat lower. 9/10 guys who say their squat is higher than their deadlift is usually because they are not squatting to full depth and their squat numbers are inflated because of this. Usually you wont see someone with a higher squat unless they are in gear although you could be the exception. But something to think on.[/quote]

I agree. Could be though his belly is helping him squat. He’s short at 5’5" & built for squatting…plus by his own description he is fat.

But I still think he should squat lower too.

^^^^Agreed.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Lol I was being serious squat lower. 9/10 guys who say their squat is higher than their deadlift is usually because they are not squatting to full depth and their squat numbers are inflated because of this. Usually you wont see someone with a higher squat unless they are in gear although you could be the exception. But something to think on.[/quote]
I figured it was sort of a blanket admonition, like, “If a beginner doesn’t squat, tell him to squat. If he does squat, tell him to squat lower.” I think Aragorn is right that my gut is helping, since it artificially lowers my center of gravity. Also I’ve got short arms and legs, so I just don’t have to move the weight very far for a squat (or bench, for that matter). I expect that as my gut shrinks and as I get used to the lifts my deadlift will outstrip my squat and stay that way.

I wish I had a gut to help me squat with :frowning:

As everyone else has said, you seem to have your head screwed on so keep doing what you’re doing, I wish I had half your knowledge when I started lifting.

Only advice I’ve got to give: Put the weights away after you use them! Not saying you don’t, but this drives me mad and it’s always the new guys :slight_smile:

asthma might come from or be made worst from dairies.
My suggestion would be really no dairies whatsoever for 3 weeks and your results will tell if you should keep on avoiding them.
All the best !

I squatted lower yesterday and I could handle the same weight as I’d been doing, but today OH DEAR GOD THE PAIN. So I guess I better be sure to always squat that low.

[quote]Pintsize wrote:
I squatted lower yesterday and I could handle the same weight as I’d been doing, but today OH DEAR GOD THE PAIN. So I guess I better be sure to always squat that low.[/quote]

Definately do. My legs were getting a bit stronger, but not bigger, until I started squatting deep, calves and hamstrings touching, butt almost on the floor. Once I started that my legs started to explode.

And its a great feeling too when people stare at you like your weird squatting that deep, when you know personally that its the proper way to go.

[quote]Pintsize wrote:

And Reed, I’ll be sure to squat lower just because you said so! In all seriousness I’m trying really hard to not let my ego dictate my lifts, I stick with a weight that feels heavy but I can still use good form. It’s really intimidating to be surrounded by experienced lifters though. Last leg day the guy in the rack next to me was squatting 585, but I just keep reminding myself that his lifts don’t affect me and he didn’t get to where he is by overdoing it and hurting himself.[/quote]

You have a good attitude. Sometimes it can be the hardest part, but you have to check your ego at the door at the gym (at least for a while, though it still seems like many of the strongest guys are also quite humble). Get to know the big, strong guys. If you surround yourself with guys who are better than you, you will both be able to learn quite a lot from them as well as realizing just how much people are capable of naturally. The “everyone smaller and weaker than me is a pussy, and everyone bigger than me must be juicing” mentality is a huge mental barrier that can hinder you a lot. And everybody seems to have that mentality in a uni gym.