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Thread: Newbie needing advice on starting out

  1. #1
    Senior Member SCmmaFAN's Avatar
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    Newbie needing advice on starting out

    Hey guys and gals. Here's my story. I've decided to get serious about getting my body and health in better shape. This isn't some sort of New Years Resolution that won't last a week. I'm tired of being overweight and fat and I want to transform my body and mind with weightlifting. Here's a little background.

    I'm 34/m who is 6'3" and my weight hovers around 290-295 currently, so I'm much fatter than what I need to be. I used to lift weights in high school and off and on in college. I got serious about lifting again in graduate school. So I started eating better and working out. I didn't really have the information that I've gained access to on these forums and I realized my training regiments sucked back then (we never did deadlifts for starters). I was using an olympic width bench but it didn't have any spotters built in. I stopped lifting because I like to lift at home and alone and I got caught under the bar twice while benching and it messed with my mind and I essentially gave up because I didn't know what to do and didn't have anyone to ask back then. I was ignorant at the time and didn't realize there was this thing called a "rack" or "cage" that didn't have to cost several 1000's of dollars.

    I've researched and read the FAQ's etc. but I've been reading the WBB forums for about a month and I'm getting to the point where the information is blurring together and I can't keep it straight. So forgive me for asking questions that might have been asked 100's of times.

    I'm in the process of purchasing my setup. I can't go and buy everything at once especially with the holidays approaching and I'm not a big credit card user. Here's what I'm planning to purchase based on reading the WBB forum.

    1) 300 pound Olympic Weight set and add additional weight later as needed.
    2) A rack with spotters in addition that will allow me to do chinups/pullups and dips.
    3) A flat bench, since I don't know how much incline/decline presses I'll be doing. Plus, I like the stability of the flat bench.

    Is this a good set up to start with? Is there any other "essential" equipment I'll need?

    Now, comes a tougher part for me. My research on the forum has lead me to conclude that one cannot seriously loose a lot of weight (fat) and bulk up (muscle) at the same time. So I have three options bulk, cut or I think it's called "body recomposition" where you essentially trade fat weight for muscle. Since I'm starting fresh I don't know which I need to do. I read that when you start lifting that the beginning is the best opportunity in your lifting life to build mass. I don't want to loose this opportunity but I realize I'm 290-295 so I need to loose weight too. I read that I can go for "body recomposition" but it's a delicate balancing act that is difficult to achieve.

    Any advice for what I should be doing to start (cut, bulk, recomp)?

    I have a decent understanding of diet and I'm going to use the WBB Routine #1 to start with. So I think I'm ok there for now.

    Any other thoughts or advice for me?

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Clover's Avatar
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    I would do a cut to your desired bodyfat % while building a strength base at the same time. This will be possible because you are just beginning.

    Then, once you are at your desired bodyfat %, start bulking by adding 500 calories a day.

    Cutting and building strength won't last forever, but once you get to that point, you can reassess your goals.


    That equipment would be perfect for a beginners routine like Starting Strength. Read the stickies for more information on that routine.

  3. #3
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    The equipment you are planning on getting is certainly enough to get the job done. If you haven't trained in a number of years you will probably gain some muscle while you lose fat at first. I would suggest getting on an established program like Starting Strength, adding some light cardio (like brisk walking), and cleaning up your diet. Ultimately, you will have to prioritize (fat loss vs. muscle size) and set some tangible goals.
    At first your goal might simply to do the exercise program and diet consistently for three months, then re-evaluate. Since you are starting out overweight, I would try to lose some fat before you get too concerned with bulking up. You will also need some measurable goals at some point. Simply wanting to get "in shape" or "healthy" isn't really tangible. Picking a target bodyweight or bodyfat % or numbers for your lifts are measurable goals. Your long-term goals may take years to acheive, so set some short-term and intermediate goals as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    You have gotten some great beginners advice so all I can add or say is ...
    Welcome to the world of the Iron and Steel.

  5. #5
    Senior Member skinny99's Avatar
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    I was in basically the same place as you five months ago! Through careful dieting and lifting heavy(SS for the last two months) I have lost 50lbs and 9 inches of waist. I also went from barely benching 135 once to 255 last week! The advantage of having not lifted a lot lately is you can take advantage of the newbie gains to lose fat and get "stronger"! You have already been givin some great advice! For me a realistic yet measurable goal is the key to what success I have had! I am still about an inch behind on my waist and prob 10lbs on bench,but having goals makes it "easier" for me to do the right thing when faced with a tough decision(eat it or not,take that walk or watch tv) which we all deal with! Good luck and remember you gain and lose weight at the dinner table not the gym!
    "The deadlift is more functional in that itís very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy *h*t up off the ground" Rip

    Max 3x5 Goal 3x5 by 12/31/11 *1X5
    Bench (245) (275) 285x1x1 335
    Dead (385)* (445) 435x1x1 505
    Squat (320) (355) 355X1X1 405
    Squat (195) (275) 20 Reppers!
    (950) (1075) 1075 1245 Goals (Not including 20 reps)
    5'10" 288Lbs 02/01/2011 Goal Weight 230 On my way back from a Break!

  6. #6
    Wannabebig New Member
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    Hey SCmmaFAN, there are many different ways you can achieve your goals. However it really comes down to a few aspects.....which are: doing weights, cardio, correct nutrition (low fat, high protein etc) and rest (very important if you want to build muscle). That's really it.....Just put those together into a plan you can stick to and go for it....

    As a general rule of thumb though i wouldn't, and don't, exercise a muscle group more than twice a week......this prevents muscle damage.

    Just remember doing something is MUCH better than doing nothing at all

  7. #7
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    Coming from someone who's lost about 20lbs in fat over the last year, (would've lost more but my dad had some major health problems all summer long, lots of junk food and I put on 10 lbs) it's all about what you eat -- place your primary focus on changing your lifestyle when it comes to what you put into your body and supplement with strength training. After all, which is really more important to you right now, losing fat or building muscle? Answer that question and you'll know what to do. BTW, one thing that I've found is that it's darn near impossible to out-train a poor diet.

    [/soapbox]

    BTW, awesome job skinny99!

  8. #8
    Senior Member SCmmaFAN's Avatar
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    I think I've gotten some good advice here. Sorry for taking so long to return but I was reading about some of the things posted.

    My general observations (in no particular order) are that:

    1) My equipment selection is good (once I get all of it).
    2) I need to get on Starting Strength and it looks like great program for me. I'll be very impressed to increase my amount of weights every lifting session!
    3) I need to CUT weight.
    4) Establish some clear cut goals.

    OK, an online BMI calculator has me at approximately 37% BF. With 30% being considered obese I think cutting my weight down is priority one. I know that online calculators are not accurate especially for those who train etc. With that said, I'm buying some body fat calipers and I realize they aren't perfect but they are as good as I can get without getting a professional calculation.

    Here are some goals that are mostly short term.

    GOAL #1: To lift regularly and diet correctly for three months.

    GOAL #2: To get my weight to 30% BF (which should be roughly 240 pounds). This will probably realistically take me quite a few months. I don't know how long it will take to cut 50-60 pounds. Ultimately I want to get my BF much lower than 30% but this is my first goal.

    GOAL #3: Once I establish my baseline lifting weight numbers, I will set some hard number weightlifting goals for 3 and 6 month intervals.

    GOAL #4: To take pictures of myself weekly to visually see my progress.

    GOAL #5: To consistently do light cardio such as biking, shadow boxing and brisk walking.

    Are these goals tangible and reasonable?

  9. #9
    Senior Member SCmmaFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMedley View Post
    You have gotten some great beginners advice so all I can add or say is ...
    Welcome to the world of the Iron and Steel.
    Thanks for the welcome. I read your story in the Bowflex thread about your heart attack and you're an inspiration!

  10. #10
    Senior Member SCmmaFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny99 View Post
    I was in basically the same place as you five months ago! Through careful dieting and lifting heavy(SS for the last two months) I have lost 50lbs and 9 inches of waist. I also went from barely benching 135 once to 255 last week! The advantage of having not lifted a lot lately is you can take advantage of the newbie gains to lose fat and get "stronger"! You have already been givin some great advice! For me a realistic yet measurable goal is the key to what success I have had! I am still about an inch behind on my waist and prob 10lbs on bench,but having goals makes it "easier" for me to do the right thing when faced with a tough decision(eat it or not,take that walk or watch tv) which we all deal with! Good luck and remember you gain and lose weight at the dinner table not the gym!
    Very impressive weight loss my friend! I guess there isn't an excuse for me not to lose some weight NOW!

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