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Ask The Super Strong Guy

"I want to be strong and
stacked! Where do I start?"

Ask The Super Strong Guy: I'm New To Lifting, So What Do I Do?

If you're new to the world of weight training, you might feel isolated in your ignorance. Don't get left behind! Get the knowledge you need to get started right here.
Q

Hey Strong Guy, I'm new to lifting. Where do I start?

Getting big is no small feat. Even when you're new to the gym, you don't have to feel lost. Asking for help and keeping it simple should equip you with the tools for success.

You're already motivated. You're asking questions and reading. Now it's time to act. Get your butt inside the gym and take charge of your training and body. If you want to improve, fear has no place.

Bell's Newbie Training Guide
Watch The Video - 16:20

Instead of grabbing a dumbbell and timidly looking around as you try a few curls, suck it up and take these four piece of advice:

1
Ask For Help

Do not be afraid to ask other people for help. Choosing somebody who's actually knowledgeable is not an easy task, especially when you're so unsure yourself. Try this: Walk into a gym at 5 p.m. on a Monday. Scan the gym for the biggest, most jacked dude, the guy who's moving around the most weight (and who doesn't look like an asshole). Go over to him and say, "Hey, excuse me, I want to know what's going on over here. I want to look like you." Tell him that you'll pay him for his time. Guys will usually just show you some stuff for free—especially if you're not arrogant and you're polite.
Quick tip: Don't start yapping right as he's about to handle 150-pound dumbbells. Catch him in between sets.

You can also use a personal trainer. Or, try a local CrossFit gym. I know some of you guys are going to bash me for saying that, but some CrossFit boxes have decent coaches and highly skilled athletes. If you want to get into Olympic lifting, they can give you some advice, and have a good setup for deadlifts, squats, cleans, and those types of things.

You can also hit a website like Powerliftingwatch to find a powerlifting gym. More than likely, if you find a powerlifting gym, you're going to run into some decent powerlifters. It's also a great idea to go to an actual powerlifting meet and start talking to people. Try to figure out who's the strongest guy there and then ask a lot of questions: What does he do? Where does he live? What does he eat? How can I get involved with or communicate with him to get stronger? There's no shame in asking for help!

2
Train Within Your Means

If you can't find a lifting-focused gym, a commercial gym works just fine. They provide a lot of equipment: Hammer Strength, Cybex, cable pieces, etc. There's nothing wrong with using that equipment—we've all started out on some of that stuff. That's how you get jacked in the first place, isn't it? You get jacked doing squats, deadlifts, and bench, but you also need some of that filler stuff to maximize results.

Work with sets of 10 on just about everything you can think of. Don't try to lift too heavy too soon. If you're trying to bench press and your arms start shaking and you can't keep the lift under control, reduce the weight. Your last rep should look similar to your first.

Be smart. If things are difficult for you, if anything hurts, don't do it. You're not ready for it. If you try to get on some sort of machine and it hurts you, don't use it.

Most important, there's nothing wrong with practicing. I did whole set of practice pulls and practice deadlifts the other day; I worked for an hour. I got a lot out of it. And you know what? I'm sore as shit. Regardless of how many plates are on the bar, working on form and technique is absolutely vital. You do not want to develop any bad habits. Train within your means.

3
Eat Simple and Clean

I'm going to make this simple: No more fruit juice, no more soda, no more sugary drinks. You're an athlete. You're trying to become a bad mother trucker, so get rid of all that junk. Stick to natural, slower-digesting carbohydrates: Any form of potato will do; white or brown rice is also fine. Avoid bread. Eat as many vegetables as you'd like.

Get one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and if you're fairly lean, one gram of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight. If you're not lean, half a gram per pound of body weight is adequate. Make sure you eat healthy fats. Coconut oil and fish oil are crucial.

Supplement-wise, I'm a fan of Vitamin D-3. Since taking it, I've noticed that I don't get sick as often. Also make sure that you take a good multivitamin. Protein is OK, especially if you find a good form and it tastes good. But don't worry about pre- or post-workout supplements for now. Once you have a few notches in your weight belt, you can start being more serious about your supplementation.

4
Read!

If you want to get better at training, then you need to learn about it. Yes, asking for help is a great way to start, but it's also important that you put some expert knowledge in your mind. If a guy isn't familiar with Louie Simmons or Kelly Starrett, I assume he doesn't know shit.

Here's a list of sources for you to check out:

  1. The Cube Method, by Brandon Lilly
  2. 5/3/1, by Jim Wendler
  3. The Westside Book of Methods, by Louie Simmons
    If you want to dive in a little deeper, this is a great source.
  4. Carb Night and Carb Backloading, by John Kiefer
    Available at Athlete.io
  5. The Periodization Bible Part 1 and 2, by Dave Tate
    If you want to try the conjugate system, this article is for you.

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About The Author

I used to be known as JackAss from my days at elitefts.com, or Smelly from the feature film documentary 'Bigger, Stronger, Faster.'

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RCM3

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RCM3

These are solid tips! I constantly forget the simplicity of working out hard and eating right. Short and sweet, great article!

Jun 25, 2013 5:40pm | report
Molinski44

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Molinski44

Could not agree more - awesome article.

Jun 25, 2013 6:53pm | report
Turnick

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Turnick

Even if I workout since some years already, this reminds me the basic principle of working out. We tence to do too much sometimes when we shouldn't. Thanks for that article!

Jun 25, 2013 7:17pm | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 14'11"
  • wt: 179.8 lbs
  • bf: 10.0%
Jaii44

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Jaii44

This article right here is legit.

Jun 25, 2013 9:16pm | report
Allaround101

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Allaround101

lol i tell the last one to my friends all the time. JUST READ, always been seeking knowledge

Jun 25, 2013 10:26pm | report
summergypsy69

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summergypsy69

I agree with everything but the carb intake, 1g/lb of BW is very low. With that amount I would just pass out lol.

Jun 25, 2013 11:51pm | report
Singularity7

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Singularity7

Mark Bell is a freaking beast!!!

Jun 26, 2013 6:57am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 15'5"
  • wt: 185.19 lbs
  • bf: 11.0%
Qotu79

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Qotu79

THANK YOU FOR THESE TIPS. THEY ARE STRAIGHT FORWARD AND EXPLAIN A LOT. I'M STARTING OVER WITH BODYBUILDING AND THIS IS VERY GOOD ADVICE.

Jun 26, 2013 7:54am | report
mdterps24

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mdterps24

this is a great article wit great tips thank mark bell

Jun 26, 2013 11:43am | report
danamerican

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danamerican

mark bell is the ******* man

Jun 26, 2013 11:58am | report
The Crush

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The Crush

Absolutely right on the money! Hats off to Mark and the invaluable information he is sharing. Thanks Mark!

Jun 26, 2013 12:14pm | report
elliottharrison

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elliottharrison

Man I wish I had this article when I started!

Jun 26, 2013 2:40pm | report
inaka_rob

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inaka_rob

half a gram of carbs is pretty low. That is about what I aim for when I am on a carb CYCLING phase. probably okay if you are doing no exercise, but if you are doing cardio and hitting the gym (duh) thats pretty low and should cycle your carbs at least once a week or raise that number just a tad. I guess most people UNDER estimate though and also cheat so it should be fine.

Jun 27, 2013 2:19am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 14'7"
  • wt: 175.56 lbs
  • bf: 16.0%
perkinsd56

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perkinsd56

great article even though I'm not familiar with Louie Simmons lol

Jun 27, 2013 7:59am | report
FTroop147

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FTroop147

Thanks Mark! This was great info for my early-stage work. Keeping me from burning out.

Sep 23, 2013 5:35pm | report
MzIrish

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MzIrish

Great article. Thanks for the advice.

Nov 30, 2013 1:40pm | report
Fireice2

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Fireice2

Been training with 0.25g-0.5g carb per pound of body weight with a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol for about 4 weeks now. Well I got weaker for about 3 days or so. Lifts were back to normal after about a week. Started to improve in two weeks time and onward, and was able to beat some PR's in the process. I do load up on carbs once a week to about 2g per pound of body weight.

I also train fasted most of the time unless work gets in the way of my training time. :)

Dec 7, 2013 6:32am | report
Showing 1 - 17 of 17 Comments

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