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  1. #1
    Registered User Kaiwan78's Avatar
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    Unhappy How can I start?

    Hi everyone,

    I just saw a YouTube video about a guy's transformation where he lost over 400 pounds. It got me thinking about my way of life. I am a 41 year old English Teacher. I am at 5'5 and 300 lbs. I have struggled with my weight since I was about 15. I have never done any sports and would like to know what is the best way for me to start. If anyone can share their wisdom, it would be highly appreciated.

    Talk to you soon

    Jose
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  2. #2
    Registered User nemLifts's Avatar
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    Finding a routine that focuses on building muscle while consuming less calories than you require in a day is a great way to start. If you do some research on body recomposition (it seems like you're the perfect candidate for this), you will be able to get an idea of what would be required to achieve results. It's a long process but it is definitely worth it.

    Routines are freely available, so it is suggested to find one that isn't overly complicated and suits your lifestyle. If you want to start slowly and get a feel of things, a 3 day split could work wonders. Routines that feature too many exercises or have you in the gym for overly long periods of time aren't typically the most effective. They're also harder to stick to because of all the added complexity. Having said that, doing more exercise in general will increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). A brief walk (up to 30 minutes per day) can have a huge effect as well in the long run.

    As for nutrition, you need to make sure you're eating less calories per day than your TDEE. This can be daunting at first - tracking calories, changing your diet completely.. So it can help to slowly introduce alternatives in your diet. For example, you could replace a soft drink with a diet version, or preferably water. One 250mL drink can save you upwards of 100 calories in a day and over time, it really adds up. Once you get a feel for it, start counting calories and track your weight changes week to week. Then adjust how many calories you eat depending on the numbers. An important thing to note is that weight changes can fluctuate pretty drastically, so watch your weight over the course of several weeks to make sure that your are making progress.
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  3. #3
    Registered User spradish's Avatar
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    If you want to lose weight:
    - use a TDEE calculator to get an estimate of your maintenance calories
    - subtract 10-20% from that number
    - eat at that level for a month
    - at the end of the month, adjust your calories up/down based on results. 1% of bodyweight, or 2-3 lbs per week is likely a good start for you. However, the first few weeks will see you dropping much more because you always have a big drop in water weight when you first start out.

    Other info:
    - Aim to eat .8g/lb of protein each day (base this on the top weight in your "healthy" range, not your current weight.)
    - Aim for .4g/lb of fat each day. (Again use that healthy weight, not your current weight.)
    - The rest of your calories can come from more protein, more fat, or carbs. Doesn't matter. Do what you prefer.
    - In general, resistance exercise (lifting weights) is a must in order to keep as much muscle as possible while lifting (resist the urge to say "eh, I'll worry about muscle later"--people ALWAYS regret that choice. However, assuming you are fairly sedentary right now, just getting up and moving some is fine. Take baby steps--walk 15 minutes/day for the first week, a bit more the next week, etc. After a month, try to add in some resistance work twice a week. Do not go whole hog straight off the bat as that's how a lot of people hurt themselves, which means they take time off to recover and then never get back to it. Baby steps all the way.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Kaiwan78's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks mate.
    Excuse my ignorance on the matter. What is a 3 day split?
    Originally Posted by nemLifts View Post
    Finding a routine that focuses on building muscle while consuming less calories than you require in a day is a great way to start. If you do some research on body recomposition (it seems like you're the perfect candidate for this), you will be able to get an idea of what would be required to achieve results. It's a long process but it is definitely worth it.

    Routines are freely available, so it is suggested to find one that isn't overly complicated and suits your lifestyle. If you want to start slowly and get a feel of things, a 3 day split could work wonders. Routines that feature too many exercises or have you in the gym for overly long periods of time aren't typically the most effective. They're also harder to stick to because of all the added complexity. Having said that, doing more exercise in general will increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). A brief walk (up to 30 minutes per day) can have a huge effect as well in the long run.

    As for nutrition, you need to make sure you're eating less calories per day than your TDEE. This can be daunting at first - tracking calories, changing your diet completely.. So it can help to slowly introduce alternatives in your diet. For example, you could replace a soft drink with a diet version, or preferably water. One 250mL drink can save you upwards of 100 calories in a day and over time, it really adds up. Once you get a feel for it, start counting calories and track your weight changes week to week. Then adjust how many calories you eat depending on the numbers. An important thing to note is that weight changes can fluctuate pretty drastically, so watch your weight over the course of several weeks to make sure that your are making progress.
    Cheers

    Kaiwan
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  5. #5
    Registered User nemLifts's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kaiwan78 View Post
    Thanks mate.
    Excuse my ignorance on the matter. What is a 3 day split?
    No problem! We all have to start somewhere.

    A 3 day split consists of 3 workouts per week that typically target the full body, or are split in a way that allows for the entire body to be worked.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Kaiwan78's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll do some research online. Thanks.
    Originally Posted by nemLifts View Post
    No problem! We all have to start somewhere.

    A 3 day split consists of 3 workouts per week that typically target the full body, or are split in a way that allows for the entire body to be worked.
    Cheers

    Kaiwan
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  7. #7
    Registered User nemLifts's Avatar
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    I'm a pretty big advocate of stronglifts 5x5. It covers everything
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  8. #8
    No Excuses TheHaws's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by spradish View Post
    If you want to lose weight:
    - use a TDEE calculator to get an estimate of your maintenance calories
    - subtract 10-20% from that number
    - eat at that level for a month
    - at the end of the month, adjust your calories up/down based on results. 1% of bodyweight, or 2-3 lbs per week is likely a good start for you. However, the first few weeks will see you dropping much more because you always have a big drop in water weight when you first start out.

    Other info:
    - Aim to eat .8g/lb of protein each day (base this on the top weight in your "healthy" range, not your current weight.)
    - Aim for .4g/lb of fat each day. (Again use that healthy weight, not your current weight.)
    - The rest of your calories can come from more protein, more fat, or carbs. Doesn't matter. Do what you prefer.
    - In general, resistance exercise (lifting weights) is a must in order to keep as much muscle as possible while lifting (resist the urge to say "eh, I'll worry about muscle later"--people ALWAYS regret that choice. However, assuming you are fairly sedentary right now, just getting up and moving some is fine. Take baby steps--walk 15 minutes/day for the first week, a bit more the next week, etc. After a month, try to add in some resistance work twice a week. Do not go whole hog straight off the bat as that's how a lot of people hurt themselves, which means they take time off to recover and then never get back to it. Baby steps all the way.
    OP, lifting is great and all.... but follow this advice. Figuring out your eating is the only way to lose weight. Read the stickies, do research. Doing a 3 day split or 5 days split or w.e is not going to help you lose weight, a calorie deficit will. Start simple, eat less and move more.
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  9. #9
    Registered User nemLifts's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheHaws View Post
    OP, lifting is great and all.... but follow this advice. Figuring out your eating is the only way to lose weight. Read the stickies, do research. Doing a 3 day split or 5 days split or w.e is not going to help you lose weight, a calorie deficit will. Start simple, eat less and move more.
    I'm 100% in agreement with figuring out the eating and TDEE importance but to say resistance training wont help with weight loss seems pretty bold. The extra calories burned, potential metabolic effects? Theres an opportunity to see even more change, not to mention the psychological benefit of seeing what your body is capable of over time in regards to lifts. Starting simple is ok but if someone is willing to go to the gym, why would you discount it like that?
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  10. #10
    No Excuses TheHaws's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nemLifts View Post
    I'm 100% in agreement with figuring out the eating and TDEE importance but to say resistance training wont help with weight loss seems pretty bold. The extra calories burned, potential metabolic effects? Theres an opportunity to see even more change, not to mention the psychological benefit of seeing what your body is capable of over time in regards to lifts. Starting simple is ok but if someone is willing to go to the gym, why would you discount it like that?
    Key word is help. I am not saying don't lift at all but clearly his issue is food. You can't out train a bad diet so why would he start with training first. I clearly lift so obviously I would always recommend lifting, but him focusing in lifting advice over getting his eating in order will not help him lose weight.

    and what extra calories? if cardio isn't included the calories burned in a resistance session is not even enough to count. The overall increase in metabolism is muscle mass burning more calories over time(Approx 80kcal a day per lb). So lets say he starts lifting and gains 4 lbs of lean muscle mass over the course of a month thats 320 extra calories a day. I can guarantee you that OP is overeating way over 320 calories (and will probably end up eating more while training if gone untracked). The most effective way to lose weight is by eating in a deficit, period end of story.

    That being said OP SHOULD lift, but clearly his eating is out of control.
    Last edited by TheHaws; 01-17-2020 at 05:11 AM. Reason: math is hard
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  11. #11
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    First, congrats to you for deciding to be the boss of your fitness journey! That alone is so admirable. You are very far ahead of most for making that mental change.

    Small steady changes are the key to a sustainable new routine. A 3 day split is very advanced. I've noticed most folks start out doing a full body work out, and then much later, spitting it up as you gain more intensity and focus and start having to deal with so much muscle soreness that splitting it up becomes necessary. At first, just making one small dietary change like dropping your least favorite treat is a significant step.

    Any steps must be acknowledged when you first start out. When I first got started, just showing up at the gym in my workout gear made me feel great because it was a HUGE accomplishment. It was even harder to show up to the pool, but once I got going, boom. Take off. Later on I began to refine my workouts, but getting started, my advice is just see if you can go for a full week to the gym. Take the time to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and appreciate yourself for practicing self care and self love. No one else can do this for you, so you have to be assertive with family and friends who tell you not to go to the gym. Once you get everyone trained that you will be taking this time for you, then you can really settle in and make the gym your playground. It's like a PE class that just never ends. I'm like a forever kid at the gym. I hope you feel sexy in your new hard body soon! Also, being an endomorph gives you greater energy reserves. You can make the change to mesomorph easier than ectomorphs. You will soon see your biceps blow up like balloons.

    One thing you might do - take private, candid "before" photos. Some folks don't do that, then they don't have a record of how far they've come once they start looking swole.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by TheHaws View Post
    The overall increase in metabolism is muscle mass burning more calories over time(Approx 80kcal a day per lb). So lets say he starts lifting and gains 4 lbs of lean muscle mass over the course of a month thats 320 extra calories a day.
    i haven't done any research on this, but i don't think you burn an extra 80 calories per one pound of muscle. i've gained maybe 15 pounds of muscle and i can assure you i'm not burning 15x80 (= 1200) calories more than before

    agreed with the other things you said though
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    i haven't done any research on this, but i don't think you burn an extra 80 calories per one pound of muscle. i've gained maybe 15 pounds of muscle and i can assure you i'm not burning 15x80 (= 1200) calories more than before

    agreed with the other things you said though
    6 calories per pound per day / 4 lbs would be 24 calories per day or 720 per month
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by TheHaws View Post
    Key word is help. I am not saying don't lift at all but clearly his issue is food. You can't out train a bad diet so why would he start with training first. I clearly lift so obviously I would always recommend lifting, but him focusing in lifting advice over getting his eating in order will not help him lose weight.

    and what extra calories? if cardio isn't included the calories burned in a resistance session is not even enough to count. The overall increase in metabolism is muscle mass burning more calories over time(Approx 80kcal a day per lb). So lets say he starts lifting and gains 4 lbs of lean muscle mass over the course of a month thats 320 extra calories a day. I can guarantee you that OP is overeating way over 320 calories (and will probably end up eating more while training if gone untracked). The most effective way to lose weight is by eating in a deficit, period end of story.

    That being said OP SHOULD lift, but clearly his eating is out of control.
    If you look at my first post, I clearly addressed the nutrition part by suggesting he start by making small changes and then slowly shift to more manageable ways of losing weight through diet. Making drastic diet changes, especially from someone who regularly lives in a surplus is much harder than going to the gym. I'm considering the changes required to aid in chronic and long term sustainable success. The weight lifting will also boost the psychological willingness to stick to a routine of fitness.

    And whoever said 3 day splits are advanced, there are beginner programs out there that focus on 5 exercises or less.
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    Inb4 Double post

    Why is it that when someone inexperienced asks to lose weight, people throw a bunch of dietary numbers and words around and say dont worry about complicated exercises.

    Do people really think that a dietary overhaul is less complicated than going to the gym?

    Inb4 TDEE . Yes - I've already mentioned the importance.
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    Originally Posted by nemLifts View Post
    Inb4 Double post

    Why is it that when someone inexperienced asks to lose weight, people throw a bunch of dietary numbers and words around and say dont worry about complicated exercises.

    Do people really think that a dietary overhaul is less complicated than going to the gym?

    Inb4 TDEE . Yes - I've already mentioned the importance.
    If you'd give an example, I could probably answer you better but I can explain why I suggest focusing on diet first:

    I was obese and decided to lose weight/get in shape. I was very sedentary and had terrible eating habits. For the first month, I focused on bettering my eating habits. The second month, I added in some activity (walking.) The third month, I added some resistance exercise. Easing into some major lifestyle changes allowed me to better manage them since I could focus on one thing, get fairly good at it, and then add a bit of complexity, rather than trying to split my focus and do three things at once. Diet is 80% of the problem for a person who is obese--obesity comes down to eating more than a person needs to eat at a healthy weight--so it made sense for me to focus on fixing it first. Lack of activity is seriously problematic for people who are obese (others too, but we're focusing on people who are obese) but it is secondary to a bad diet. That's why I focused on it second.

    Doing the above--easing into things, baby steps, etc.--worked well for me and while I appreciate that everybody is different, I prefer to speak from experience rather than generalities.
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    Originally Posted by spradish View Post
    If you'd give an example, I could probably answer you better but I can explain why I suggest focusing on diet first:

    I was obese and decided to lose weight/get in shape. I was very sedentary and had terrible eating habits. For the first month, I focused on bettering my eating habits. The second month, I added in some activity (walking.) The third month, I added some resistance exercise. Easing into some major lifestyle changes allowed me to better manage them since I could focus on one thing, get fairly good at it, and then add a bit of complexity, rather than trying to split my focus and do three things at once. Diet is 80% of the problem for a person who is obese--obesity comes down to eating more than a person needs to eat at a healthy weight--so it made sense for me to focus on fixing it first. Lack of activity is seriously problematic for people who are obese (others too, but we're focusing on people who are obese) but it is secondary to a bad diet. That's why I focused on it second.

    Doing the above--easing into things, baby steps, etc.--worked well for me and while I appreciate that everybody is different, I prefer to speak from experience rather than generalities.
    Congrats on your achievement! I prefer to hear from experience rather than generalities.

    My original post at the top I believe covered the exact thing you're saying. But it seems that to me that having put the routine part above the diet part is leading people to think I regard diet as less important. This couldn't be far enough from the truth. To re-iterate once again, and summarize my very first post in this thread (reversed and in a more digestible way I guess)

    1) Take a gradual approach to dietary changes. They should be sustainable until you reach a caloric deficit according to the weight you want to lose.
    2) Find a fitness routine that complements your lifestyle (3 day split was my suggestion but I never said it was required). This will increase TDEE, and provide a psychological boost in accomplishing your goals.

    That sums it up. It's my opinion that someone suggesting a fitness routine will not help in weight loss to be ignorant.

    At the end of the day, what matters in this thread is helping OP achieve his goals.

    So @Kaiwan78, if you look at my first post, bear in mind that the nutrition apsect will be what influences your success the most. I stand by the addition of a fitness routine that complements your lifestyle. All the best.
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  18. #18
    No Excuses TheHaws's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar boat, July 2018 I weighed in at 300lbs, had/have a bad relationship with food. As a former obese, that should be the first focus. You don't tell an alcoholic to go lift to quit booze.

    just my 2 cents in the matter.
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  19. #19
    Registered User Kaiwan78's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I think I got it in your first post. I've already looked for some routines than seem about right for my level (-10000 hehehe)
    Once I decide which one to do I'll post them here to see what you think about it, along with changes I'll make in my diet.
    This is really helpful for me and I truly appreciate your help.

    Cheers

    @Kaiwan78

    Originally Posted by nemLifts View Post
    Congrats on your achievement! I prefer to hear from experience rather than generalities.

    My original post at the top I believe covered the exact thing you're saying. But it seems that to me that having put the routine part above the diet part is leading people to think I regard diet as less important. This couldn't be far enough from the truth. To re-iterate once again, and summarize my very first post in this thread (reversed and in a more digestible way I guess)

    1) Take a gradual approach to dietary changes. They should be sustainable until you reach a caloric deficit according to the weight you want to lose.
    2) Find a fitness routine that complements your lifestyle (3 day split was my suggestion but I never said it was required). This will increase TDEE, and provide a psychological boost in accomplishing your goals.

    That sums it up. It's my opinion that someone suggesting a fitness routine will not help in weight loss to be ignorant.

    At the end of the day, what matters in this thread is helping OP achieve his goals.

    So @Kaiwan78, if you look at my first post, bear in mind that the nutrition apsect will be what influences your success the most. I stand by the addition of a fitness routine that complements your lifestyle. All the best.
    Cheers

    Kaiwan
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  20. #20
    Registered User schrickm5's Avatar
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    My advice is pretty much the same as the others - get into a calorie deficit - train if it suits you, I find myself less likely to revert to bad eating habits when I am training....could just be me.
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  21. #21
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by schrickm5 View Post
    My advice is pretty much the same as the others - get into a calorie deficit - train if it suits you, I find myself less likely to revert to bad eating habits when I am training....could just be me.
    I don't think it is. When you train it connects your mind to your body, and then you want to eat to nourish, rather than eat (or drink) to numb (which is what most people do).
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