My general advice to overweight beginners.


Hey there, FB Family. I've thought about making this post for a while. Anywhere you go in the fitness world you'll see beginners who aren't just new to working out, but are overweight. Sometimes, as in my case, severely overweight at the beginning. There's a wealth of information on the Internet, some of it marketing BS and some of it from legit lifters and athletes. The problem is, even as the BS becomes easy to spot, the legit info is rarely tailored towards people who have no idea what their own starting point should be.

As such, below is a short list of advice I'd offer to beginners in general, but especially to anyone coming from where I started, and still am. I am still overweight, so I'm not some ripped Adonis coming to tell you what to expect.

1) First thing first, educate yourself. Eating healthier can be tricky. You may not know where to start beyond eating veggies and fruit instead of Doritos and ice cream. Where you live can effect the price of natural food severely, even within the United States. Talk to a nutritionist, ask the community here, read Kelli and Daniel's blogs, and take the time to find the legit sources on the Internet. Stay away from fads and anyone trying to sell you a diet based off scare tactics - such as including the buzzword "CANCER" in every other sentence. Scope out your grocers, find who can supply your needs ,and create a budget. You'll have to do some adulting, as much as I hate to say it, and I do hate to say it.

2) Never compare yourself to anyone. Ever. Period. That guy over there with the 25 inch biceps with four people hanging off each arm? No. Ignore him. That woman over there with the booty you want, squatting 60 pounds while you can only do 20? No. Ignore her.

You are not them. You will never be them. What you can be is yourself, and you have no idea at this point what your potential is. Lift weight. Don't worry about becoming a meathead or a gymbro. That's a self-inflicted mental disability, not a result of training. You'll be fine. Do NOT try to lift what other people are lifting, at the gym or here on the FB forums. Experiment, lift light, find the maximum you can control with proper form and good, solid, tight contractions of the muscle groups in question. Go from there. We all have different genetics, different default levels of strength and fitness, and different levels of potential. You are not lesser, you are you. Be you, not them.

3) Ignore the calorie bar on FB workout videos. It's an estimation to begin with, and it is definitely not an accurate representation of what you're burning as an individual, or as an overweight individual. Our weight will severely impact the calories we burn when running at the max level of effort we can safely handle. You will burn more calories walking briskly for a mile as an overweight person than a slim, fitter individual would. That being said, we go to point four.

4) I told you not to compare yourself to anyone else for a number of reasons. This is one of the more practical ones. Attempting to lift or exert force upon yourself that you are not ready for, especially if you are overweight or severely overweight, can be devastating. The fitness greats will tell you how HIIT is superior to steady state cardio. It is. That doesn't mean it's the best thing for you right now. Jumping, running, and anything high impact multiples the amount of weight on your joints significantly for brief periods of time. More mass + velocity = equals force multiplied. Your knees are not designed to handle a thousand pounds worth of force. Do not force them to do so. You cannot gain muscle or increase your cardiovascular endurance if you're so severely injured that you can't exercise. Note that this does not mean you shouldn't push your limits. Do so safely and intelligently. As K&D say, listen to your body.

5) Split your routine into two segments if you find yourself unable to push all the way through a routine with maximum effort. I get it. I get out of breath and out of power myself. I push myself hard, because I know how hard I can push myself. Eventually I just run out of steam, even on one of K&D's shorter workouts. Do not get discouraged if and when this happens to you.

Simply make it until a change in exercise or the water break, and then pause. Take note of where you are in the video, and come back a little bit later. Have a healthy snack that refuels you. Do not do any static stretching. Do not do a cooldown. If you stretch at all, make it brief and do not hold it. Now, this is important - Make yourself come back. Set a reminder on your phone. Set a reminder on every device in your house. Make everyone in your house annoy you until you go back and start up again. Warm up again, then when you're good to go start the video where you left off and give it your all. It still counts. Trust me.

6) Last for this list right now, but certainly not least, is save your shame for embarrassing teenage memories that like to pop up and torment us from time to time. There is no reason to be ashamed of your level of fitness, what you're capable of, or feel inferior to someone else. Maybe you can't lift as much as Kelli or Daniel. Maybe you can lift more, but you can't go as long. Don't be ashamed to lower your weight, drop the weight entirely, or take a longer break. If you need thirty seconds instead of twenty between reps, take it. Just try to keep moving a little through it all and don't let your heart rate down too much. Learn about the exercises you're doing. Learn how to modify them. As a fitness person might tell you in videos you look up, learn your progressions. Your progressions are the stages of modifications to a move you can work up to. Such as starting with a wall pushup, moving to counter top or bench pushups, to half-pushups, and finally being able to do a full pushup. Each one a step up until you get to the original, unmodified version.

Learn, adapt, do. There is no "I can't", there is only "I will." Yes, "I will eventually" counts as a permutation of that. You can do it, just don't feel like you have to do it all at once, because nobody can. In the end, working out itself is a series of progressions. Don't get depressed that you're at the beginning level of a progression series. Get excited because you know eventually you're going to move to the next level, and then the next, and the next. Small goals aiming upwards.

I'm over 250 pounds and I can do squat jumps. Because I know how to protect my knees and I worked to get there. As I lose more weight and get stronger, I will jump higher, and so too will you reach new heights.