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I am 23, 6'1", and weigh 212 pounds.

I want to get lean by the summer and start a new healthy lifestyle. I play soccer every Sunday and play air-soft or mountain bike every other Saturday. I get extremely fatigued every time I do these activities and shows I am out of shape.

I want to workout everyday.

Now my question is, should I wake up every morning and do cardio then go lift weights every evening after work?

When I do cardio would it be a good idea to stick with HIIT or running, or should I do both?

Should I workout once a day?

When I workout should I lift heavy and low reps or stick to low weight and high reps? Also should I do full body workouts when I lift or workout 1 muscle group at a time and then work my way up to 2 muscle groups per workout?

Then the big question is nutrition. Will intermittent fasting work? Should I stick to 6 meals a day? Then what foods do I eat? I am not really working towards a specific weight goal. I just want to feel healthy and be a mean looking son of a gun.

Where do I start?

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    You're asking a lot of questions here. It's helpful in the sense that we understand where your question is coming from, but it's also against the site format of asking ONE question for the purpose of it being answered. You should really utilize the search function on this site as many of the questions you've asked have been answered in various forms in the past. – JustSnilloc Mar 3 at 19:22
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    Quick hints: 1. Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. 2. Don’t try to lose much more than 1lb/week else it won’t be fat you lose. – G__ Mar 4 at 2:03
  • @G__ - Both of those are misleading. Abs are "revealed" in the kitchen, not built there. You have plenty of scrawny guys under 10% bodyfat without abs, you have to build abdominal muscles to have abdominal muscles to reveal via nutrition. How much weight you lose per week depends entirely on your current body composition and total weight. A 300 lb person could reasonably lose 3 lbs a week whereas a person under 10% bodyfat should be losing LESS than a lb per week. – JustSnilloc Mar 4 at 19:25
  • @JustSnilloc nitpicking. Of course this doesn’t apply as law to all scenarios, but still good rules of thumb and for this OP I stand by that advice. – G__ Mar 5 at 20:40
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Getting rid of excess weight is often made overcomplicated.

Here's what worked for me:

  • Get up early and go for a walk every day. You need good footwear and rainproof (or at least appropriate for your local climate) clothes for walking outside. Do this for 30-60 minutes.
  • Walking every day is all the exercise you need to start with. HIIT is dangerous for overweight people due to the stress on joints and the danger of injury leading to immobility which further sets back weight loss... and to be frank, why stress yourself out and complicate things? There are other forms of exercise that would help but consistent wins over something clever done only once. Initially just more activity to burn calories is fine.
  • To loose excess fat you need to be in a calorie deficit. i.e. burn more energy than you consume. A simple starting point is to look honestly at your diet and find out what you can cut back on without too much stress. Some foods have far more calories than others. If you can identify some terrible junk food habits, try tackling the worst ones. Here it's better to make gradual, consistent wins rather than go "balls to the wall" for a few days and fail. Keeping a food diary for a few days should help.
  • Don't allow "nutritional garbage foods" in your residence. You only have so much willpower and you need to rely on it as a last resort. If girlfriends or flatmates like eating garbage - it would be better if they didn't eat crap around you for a few months while you work on reprogramming your habits. If they insist and continuing to eat crap - insist that they hide it away you. A girlfriend or wife that's not prepared to give up shit foods for a little while is one that's not being supportive enough.
  • Once you've beaten your one or two worst junk food habits - try to find the next one or two to tackle... and over time gradually clean up your diet.
  • Learn to cook. Look for really healthy, simple recipies. This is a good start: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/healthy Getting pleasure from good food will make it easier to stay on the path.
  • Substitute more low-calorie protein rich foods in the place of high calorie ones e.g. lean chicken breasts, white fish, lean beef mince. This will help reduce cravings and help you to keep muscle.
  • Avoid drinks that have a lot of calories such as whole milk, fruit juices and of course alcohol - because it's too easy to comsume lots of calories that way. You can substitue almond milk if you need a milk substitute with super-low calories.
  • Eat plenty of fibrous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. These are super-high volume foods that will make you feel full - apart from having a great micronutrient content.
  • Weighing yourself once a week is enough to measure progress. Don't get all hung up over water weight changes that happen from day to day.
  • How many meals a day? Studies show that nutrient timing has very little effect. You're not shaving 0.25% off some track time for the Olympics so do whatever combination of meal times and sizes you can sustain. So long as you're not eating too many calories the effect will be the same.

This will take about a month to make an initial impact. This is a game of consistent progress over the weeks and months - so you need to find things in this that you like doing because you're going to be doing it for a long time. Healthy foods you like and places you like to walk are a good thing.

Longer term getting ripped will mean tracking your macros with something like "If it fits your macros" - which is a lot more hassle. The above should be fine to get results over the first few months.

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You start by adjusting your nutrition and also with finding a reputable training program.

Both of these things should be done in keeping with YOUR goals. Now there might be things that you want to do and things that you don't want to do, but the work necessary to reach your goals will guide what you SHOULD be doing. Keeping that in mind, let's look at these two categories separately.

Nutrition, what should you be eating?

  • Stay hydrated, drink enough water.
  • A caloric surplus to gain weight, and a caloric deficit to lose weight. Check your TDEE.
  • Protein - Target of 0.8 grams per pound or 1.76 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
  • Fat - Minimum of 0.5 grams per pound or 1.1 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
    • Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the good fats. Saturated fats lean towards being neutral. Trans fats are just plain bad.
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Try to get 2-3 grams per day, from food or supplements.
  • Carbs - The rest of your calories can come from here.
    • Fiber - Men should get 30-40 grams per day and women should get 25 grams.
    • Sugar - Try to do less than 100 grams per day.
  • Micronutrients - These all have clear recommendations, just try to reach 100%.

... EVERYTHING else is your preference. Do you have to count calories and measure macro and micronutrients? No, but it's the most accurate method of getting it right. What about intermittent fasting or eating six times a day? That's almost entirely a matter of preference. What about the [blank] diet? You should be eating in a way that is sustainable for you, if [blank] diet is sustainable for you then try it out, but the above remains true regardless.


Exercise, how should you be working out?

  • Strength Training - This is useful for basically everyone. Building lean mass increases the metabolism, helps the body to look and perform better, as well as many less obvious benefits.
  • Cardio Training - This typically comes in two different forms, LISS and HIIT. LIIS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio is like a brisk walk, and for the purpose of this question it's primary benefit would be to burn extra calories. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Cardio is like sprinting sessions, and for the purpose of this question it's primary benefit is cardiovascular endurance.

... what you should do is find a program that matches your goals here. Are you looking to be like a bodybuilder? Find a bodybuilding program. Are you looking to be like an athlete? Find a general athletic program. Are you looking to be like a specific kind of athlete (like a swimmer)? Find a specific (swimmer) program. If you don't have any specific goals, any beginner program should be fine. The most important part here is to find a REPUTABLE program that matches your goals. Unless you have many years of experience, making up your own program is suboptimal at best.


Rest is also important, critical even, but there is something else that is too important to not mention. And that particular something is your expectations with regards to a timeline of progress. An untrained/detrained individual might expect to build 1-2 lbs of muscle per month (half of that for the ladies). Losing 0.5-1% of your total weight each week is also reasonable for both goals and the content of that lost weight being primarily fat. It's entirely possible to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously, but it also depends on the individual. Regardless, this is probably a lot of information to take in, especially for someone just getting started. So I'll repeat the most important part - You start by adjusting your nutrition and also with finding a reputable training program. The most beneficial thing would be to do everything right starting now. The best thing however would be to incorporate these things in manageable steps, in a way that you can slowly normalize.

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