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Fitness for the stupidly obese?

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  • Fitness for the stupidly obese?

    Okay, I've been primal for many moons now and am famous for ignoring all my excess poundage and just doing *what needs to be done* as I understand it. Sprints, walks, LHT, plyometrics, even Kettlebells (just because they're so bloody fun). I didn't care that I weighed 350 lbs at the outset and (thankfully) didn't sustain any injuries in the process of losing some 70 lbs.

    Now one of my buddies is asking for my help.

    Bigger than I ever was and with a considerably higher fat to muscle ratio, this guy gets winded walking across the street, and while I wasn't much better when I started out I am still not comfortable advising him to be as reckless as I was. I've got him eating primal, and in that respect I am fully confident in my knowledge to advise. But not so much with the exercises. Which is frustrating both of us because despite my losses I'm still a pretty big guy with a pretty big belly telling my friend I'm not so sure he should be doing the same routines my fat @ss is doing.

    So where does someone start, primal fitness wise, when even *move at a slow pace* is rigorous? Or more to the point, where does someone *safely* start . . . ?

    As I said, I have my own experience to draw on, but I am by no means a certified personal trainer or anything even remotely resembling one.

    (Any and all insights greatly appreciated).

  • #2
    IMHO, with no experience training anyone, i think he should focus on walking, moving in general, and moving in water. he could try to add 2 minutes on his walk each day. in a week that is 14 minutes.


    • #3
      Honestly (and I'm definitely no expert), maybe just leave it at starting with the food/nutrition changes, just for now. Sometimes trying to change too much at once is overwhelming and stressful. If he can see the benefits of changing what he eats, which happen pretty quickly, he may be more motivated and even more able to work on raising his activity level.


      • #4
        I think the safest, easiest exercise most people can do is walk. Of course, if he has some reason (specific reason like recent knee surgery or something - not just being tired) that he can't walk then maybe not. But walking is free and easy and doesn't have much of a risk of injury. He can up the speed as he starts to feel better but even if he starts with a walk around the block, if it's more than he's doing now, it's good.

        Other than that, if he has access to a pool that's great. Especially if he does have issues like knee problems.

        I also think most people can manage wall pushups. Where you stand arms length away from the wall and push (slowly) away, then ease back.

        I think most weight bearing exercise is safe as long as people do it in a slow and controlled way rather than trying to deadlift their weight right off the bat. I'd think a set of light (5 or 10 lb) hand weights would be good. As long as he understands the difference between a good old workout ache and a pain that means you should stop.

        Good luck to your friend! I know what you mean about being much more willing to experiment with our bodies than with others.


        • #5
          Originally posted by RitaRose View Post
          Honestly (and I'm definitely no expert), maybe just leave it at starting with the food/nutrition changes, just for now. Sometimes trying to change too much at once is overwhelming and stressful. If he can see the benefits of changing what he eats, which happen pretty quickly, he may be more motivated and even more able to work on raising his activity level.
          Yeah, I suggested that. And he's actually done well food-wise (once he shed the carb-flu) but his response to me suggesting he put off the exercise part was a grumbly *Why? You didn't!* . . . I know . . . males - not the most reasonable puppies on the planet.

          I do like the pool suggestions. 4 feet of water would go a long way towards preparing him to do squats with not much chance of injury.

          Probably not such a good training ground for pushups. Though the amusement factor will make resisting the suggestion more than difficult.


          • #6
            Walking in water.
            Riding a (stationary) recumbent bike.
            Hand/arm bike.
            Last edited by TigerLily; 06-11-2011, 11:06 AM.
            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


            • #7
              Exercise, Part 10: What If I’m Markedly Obese? | Diabetic Mediterranean Diet

              The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt I
              Because of this low-carb adaptation period, we never, ever counsel our patients to start an exercise program when they start their low-carb diets because a) we know they’ll be too fatigued to do it, and b) we know that in a short time they will start exercising spontaneously to burn off the excess fat on their bodies once the skids are greased, so to speak.


              • #8
                This is from a previous forum post that has some fascinating science behind it. It may be applicable.

                leptin resistance, Dr. Jack Kruse, weight loss, Why is Oprah still obese? | Jack Kruse
                "You can always do more than you think you can !" Sensei Scash


                • #9
                  Walk, walk, walk, swim. It ain't gonna happen overnight. An injury or ton of stress isn't exactly the wrong way to start.
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


                  • #10
                    ( this is no negative comment on you )
                    Assume he is a big boy and willing to take risks for his health like you did. You are not him and you dont know what he is capable of. Just tell him what you did, or even better work out with him, he may surprise you, and his health is his business. If you dont give him options he may go out and do it anyway without your experience to say, hey that move right there caused me a twisted ankle. When i used to work out with professional body builders they always started out assuming that i would not be able to keep up... but muscle is not my problem and soon they were just wondering why i was still fat.
                    Optimum Health powered by Actualized Self-Knowledge.

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                    • #11
                      I like Quelsen's suggestions. Alternately, if he absolutely can't do this from a physical standpoint yet, he can work with a set of dumbbells, do wall pushups, do step ups - one step up, one step down, lunges, simpler bodyweight stuff like that to start.
                      Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

                      Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
                      CW: 146.8 lbs
                      GW 140 lbs
                      A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by belinda View Post
                        I like Quelsen's suggestions.
                        Yeah, and that's the sword that's hanging over my head. Just don't want it to become a friendship ruining event. Mike is as knuckleheaded as I am and very likely to scoff at *alternative* versions of full exercises, so that's probably where we'll end up. Guess the first step will be to have him try and then see how much he can actually do.

                        I just feel out of my depth, because beyond crap like hiking and canoeing, I really don't have much of a track record with exercise.


                        • #13
                          I would suggest standing, walking and maybe a few chair-squats (not every day). Standing probably is the easiest activity that still can be considered exercise, so I would start with that and add walking when standing becomes too easy.

                          Training anything but his legs probably is futile in terms of metabolic and health effect, obese people necessarily have strong legs and doing just a little bit more with them easily beats any upper body workout (at least in a perspective of weeks or months).
                          Last edited by PatrickF; 06-11-2011, 04:04 PM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PatrickF View Post
                            obese people necessarily have strong legs.
                            Yeah - when I was in college I started going to the campus gym to work out and this guy came up to me eyes bugged out asking how I got such massive calves. I said, You're kidding, right? (gesturing to my belly) They've been carrying over 250 pounds (ah, my lean days) for years!


                            • #15
                              What about just following Mark's PB Fitness plan? Five body weight exercises geared to your fitness level, plus moving at a slow pace plus sprints. Download the e-book, watch Mark's YouTubes. Five exercises = squats, pushups, pullups, overhead press and planks, with progression based on fitness level. Add regular walks or swims or biking at a slow pace. Add sprints eventually.

                              Here's Plank Progression: YouTube - ‪Plank Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness‬‏

                              Overhead Press: YouTube - ‪Overhead Press Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness‬‏

                              Squats: YouTube - ‪Squat Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness‬‏

                              Pull-Ups: YouTube - ‪Pullup Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness‬‏

                              Push-Ups: YouTube - ‪Pushup Progression - Primal Blueprint Fitness‬‏