Good day everyone. I've been wanting to improve my physique for some time now but I haven't still because I'm scared. I've been leading a very sedentary life and it's made me unhealthy and weak to a point I feel unattractive and don't have any confidence.

My goal

My goal is to lose a lot of fat and also gain muscle. Generally just getting that perfect body, like Chris Evans A.K.A Captain America. I want to shape all parts of the body.


  • I'm scared because I've heard that if I don't do everything correctly, i.e eating right, exercising right it might actually worsen my physique.
  • I don't have access to a gym, but I do own some equipment. I have a pair of 3KG (~7lbs) dumbbells, a treadmill, and a bench.
  • I've tried doing weight-exercises with the dumbbells to build muscle with reference from www.dumbbell-exercises.com/ but I didn't feel any stress on my muscles. At first I thought the weights were too light but then I read articles where people say they've built a decent amount of muscle with light weights. So clearly I'm not exercising right.
  • I've also tried body-weight exercises but it was the same. I didn't feel like they were having any effect. I might have also doing it wrongly.
  • I don't have access to protein powder either.

What I don't know

  • What exercises I need to do, how, when, or how much I need to exercise to achieve my goal.
  • How to use the equipment that I have to benefit my goal.
  • How much to eat, what to eat, and when with regard to exercising.

Those who have knowledge about physical fitness know how to plan their diet because they have an idea of how strenuous their workouts are. I do not have knowledge about physical fitness.

What I do know:

  • I know that my goal is big and it will take a long time for me to achieve it.
  • I know that diet is a big part of any body transformation.
  • I know the basics of nutrition, i.e what a calorie is, what macro and micro nutrients are, what BMI is.

My specs

Age: 18
Height: 68in

Waist: 35in
Hips: 39in
Forearm: 10in
Wrist: 6.2in

Weight: 160lbs
Fat percentage: 18.3%
Fat weight: 29.3lbs
Lean weight: 130.7lbs

My motivation

My motivation behind doing so is that I want to feel more active and confident. And also because of my S/O.

The actual question

This may not sound like a question but please. I need guidance on how to achieve my goal based on the information I've given. I want to learn what I do not know.

You can advise me what do personally, give me some tips on getting started, or point me in the right direction.

If you require any other information I'll let you know. Thanks in advance!

  • Here's a resource I have found helpful. There are categories on the side regarding diet and nutrition. – pushkin Feb 29 '16 at 0:58
  • @pushkin I haven't got the time to read, but thanks for the link it really seems relevant to this context. I'll make sure to find time to read and let you know if it helped me once I do! – Tayab Mar 1 '16 at 1:25

It isn't complicated

The physique improvement process isn't as dangerous or difficult as your post seems to imply. It is very difficult to "worsen your physique" and especially to do it without noticing it's getting worse. You don't need to "do everything right", rather just follow a few basic principles. The hardest part is actually maintaining motivation to keep following your plan! There are so many ways to reach your goals and all of them tend to work within reason. I've used a variety of different techniques to train and found out how effective each of them was for me in my situation. (spoiler: yes they all work, but only if you put in the work).

Someone like yourself who is thinking about the process and looking for the correct way of doing things will be just fine, I feel there is unnecessary apprehension going on. The most important thing for you: just getting started with a plan.

Building muscle

Two main stages:

  1. You work the muscle. This causes stress that the body isn't used to.
  2. You rest. This allows your body to build up your muscles in order to adapt to the stress you imposed on it in stage 1.

You repeat, increasing the work on the muscle over time to ensure your body keeps improving.

There's a bit more depth to it, e.g. for your goals your 3kg dumbbells aren't going to cut it (ignore what people online said about building muscle using light weights, that sounds horrendously out of context here). I'd suggest a gym membership where you can start using barbells and working up in weight properly.

For you, you want to be aiming to lift heavy stuff for sets of 5-15, working out your whole body every time you're in the gym, and going to the gym as often as you can/want (minimum 3 times a week).

Your aims (first few months)

  1. Get used to lifting weights
  2. Learn some basic lifts (squat, bench, row, etc)
  3. (once you've done a few sessions) Start pushing your muscles! Aim to increase weight/sets/reps over time.

Even if you do this all wrong..

Don't worry. It's a journey, and you'll take some incorrect steps as you go, but you learn from it. I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't made a whole bunch of mistakes along the way.

Trust me doing "permanent" damage to yourself is very, very difficult unless you specifically want to. Any mistakes you make will at worst lose you a bit of time but at the same time provide you with priceless experience. Embrace mistakes. Experiment and push your limits. Have fun.

  • As I said above: "I don't have access to a gym", I live in a somewhat backward area. I'd like to know however how much muscle you think my 3KG dumbbells will allow me to build? It's fine if I don't build too much muscle as long as I have more muscle than I began with. Also in my thought worsening of the physique is possible. What if you build too much muscle, or lose too much fat, and in the undesired areas of the body? Wouldn't that make you look worse, in your own eyes, than you started off with? Anyway, thanks a ton for your answer I hope you can get back to me on this :) – Tayab Mar 1 '16 at 1:22
  • @Tayab Well with whatever weights you have (like your 3kg dumbbells) you are going to have to work out/tire out/stress the muscles involved. This is quite hard to do with 3kg. I'd actually recommend finding heavy items around your house/in the neighbourhood and being creative (find rocks or stuff). Do bodyweight exercises. You'll get better results. About building too much muscle, or losing fat in ugly ways, there's too much I can write on this (char limit), but you need to understand it's a misconception. Muscle builds so slowly no one in history has every built "too much" without realising. – hamza_tm Mar 1 '16 at 15:42

I will be honest, you will not gain muscle with 3kg dumbbells. They are simply too light. A single push-up will have you moving more than five times that weight. I understand if you can not get a gym membership, but you will be better off with bodyweight workouts until then as they allow you to progress. Your assumption that callisthenics is too easy is unfounded as there are any number of progressions to do to build strength (read the link before for more information from someone more qualified).


Now, with your assumption in the comment for hamza_tm's answer that you could easily worsen your physique I would say that is very hard. Simply losing fat will improve your physique as it will make all of your muscles appear larger. It also takes an extreme amount of work to overbuild muscle in a specific area, we're talking years of only doing triceps, or only doing core work, for something that to happen. Follow a full body routine and you will be ok. And with your fear of losing too much fat in the wrong areas of the body I would say that you should not worry about that, as nearly any part of your body that you judge to be too skinny can be filled with muscle.


Both those men are 10 percent bodyfat, but as you can clearly see one has a very high muscle mass, where as one has very little.

This idea that fitness is extremely hard is one sold by the fitness industry to sell products and supplements. Choose a premade plan and follow it consistently and you will see results.

Now while you begin this program I would also advise you using an If It Fits Your Macros calculator(link below) and using it to slowly cut fat. You will be far happier with your body skinny first, and it is much easier to cut before bulking. Use the calculator and lose at the 15 percent option so you still have the energy for bodyweight workouts.


Keep a food log using either an app like myfitnesspal or a diary and stick to it as best as you can. If you can not always get enough protein, or you eat 20g's too many carbs do not beat yourself up over it or worry. Simply try your best the next day and continue your program.

If you maintain both of these things for a few months you will see results. If you follow the program consistently and finish the entire 6 months you will look and feel better.

Take a photo log of your progress to encourage yourself and make your change easier to see it.

You can do it alright.

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