Hopefully with your help, I hope to make a thread worthy of being stickied or even archived . F&N seems to get a kabillion "i'm just starting" threads, and it'd be nice to have a great reference point for beginners to check out first. My contribution: I'll start off by saying that nothing in this world comes free. If you want to look the way you've always dreamed about looking you have to put in the time and effort necessary. There are two types of beginners in the world. People who want to lose weight, and people who want to gain weight. Keys to losing weight: Lift weights to pack on some muscle to jumpstart metabolism. Manage diet effectively by cutting out fats and in some cases carbs, and lowering caloric intake. Cardiovascular exercise. Commitment. Dedicaton. Keys to gaining weight: Lift big to get big! Jack up your caloric intake. Diet: My philosophy is to eat as healthy as possible. Cut out "bad carbs", fatty foods, grease etc. Fast food? try subway instead. Soda/pop? drink milk/juice/water instead. Deep fried? try boiled/poached/baked etc. Try hard to get a "square meal", cover all the bases on every single one of your meals. Meat, Dairy, Grains, Veggies. take a look at the food pyramid, are you getting your necessary servings? sure it's easy to eat enough meat, and grains, but what about veggies? If you're looking to lose weight, you'd be amazed at what you can do by keeping the portions the same, but varying what you're putting into your stomach. Bruce Lee viewed his body like a racecar. Do you want to put in high octane fuel? or some low octane crap? If you're trying to get big, check out various posts from some of the guys here, it seems liek they spend 100 bux a day on groceries. they eat big. lift big. and they GET big. Cardio I advocate cardio for everyone. it almost seems as if everyone here only does cardio when they're cutting. sure it's conducive to your goals. i.e. jacking up caloric expenditure. but cardio has tons of other health benefits as well. better circulation, more efficient breathing, lowered blood pressure, lower disease risk etc. when you look at time commitment required for a GOOD cardio program, it's basically 20 minutes 3 times a week. that's 1 hour out of a possible 168 hours in a week. cardio doesn't just have to mean a treadmill. sure you can use the machines at the gym, elliptical, rowing, bikes, stairmasters etc. but those can get boring quick. btw watch your form when you're reading stuff on cardio machines. it tends to suffer as you squint to read. cardio can be a whole multitude of things, from just going for walks around the neighbourhood. got a dog? walk it!. spouse? go for walks on the beach etc. like sports? play them! there's pickup games to be had everywhere, intramurals etc. cardio CAN be fun. lifting: for beginners, I don't recommend designing a huge inflated program at the start. you gotta take baby steps before you can run. number one thing you should do is get acquainted with weights. be it machines or free weights. you'll find that F&N wholely advocates free weights, and spits on machines. so go over to your gym one day and just check things out. intimidated? hell yeah, most people are when they first lift. but the thing to remember is that a) you're here to better yourself. fuck everyone else. b) everyone started where you were c) most people could give a shit about you as long as your'e not using their bench . look into hiring a personal trainer for an hour to help get you acquainted with exercises, watch your form etc. you don't have to do this, but it's a good way to ease yourself into the gym. for alot of people. time is an issue. try to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, lunch hour, at night etc. you can do fullbody workout and 20 mins of cardio in under 2 hours if you work efficiently. 6 hours out of 168 spent in the gym and you'll look fabulous. pretty good marginal benefit. starting out, aim for 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise. hit the big muscle groups first before the smaller ones. i.e. pecs before shoulders/tris back before biceps start with one exercise per muscle group and add on more as you go along. the first few weeks are spent with your muscles re-establishing muscle memory/paths. so you'll see gains fast. a good way to find out how much you should lift is, find your one-rep max for an exercise and then use 3/4 of your rep max. this is an outline of exercises i would do. chest: dumbbell bench press/barbell bench press triceps: overhead extensions/skullcrushers deltoids: lateral raises trapezius: shoulder shrugs biceps: barbell curl back: one arm rows/lat pull down legs: squats/leg press abs: crunches note: these are just good introductory exercises. make sure your form is 100% or you're just cheating yourself. www.exrx.net is a goldmine for exercise information. eh. that's all i feel like writing for now. feel free to add your contributions etc.