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Workouts for Obese Beginners: A Guide for Success

Workouts for Obese Beginners

Kent Probst, BS, MEd

Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog

Why Workouts for Obese Beginners?

Workouts for obese beginners is a science-based guide to losing weight safely and permanently so you can feel better and stay healthy.

Here are some sobering facts:  In addition to being at risk for type II diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, being overweight can lead to a host of other problems such as osteoarthritis, gout, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s and several forms of cancer.


Decreasing the health risks of obesity is probably the best reason to lose weight.  Not to mention you’ll feel better, sleep better and have more energy.


You’ll also be more productive, sleep better, have more energy and probably have more self esteem.


Other benefits of weight loss include improved fertility, less back and joint pain, and a stronger immune system.


If you have a lot of weight to lose, starting an exercise program can seem like an insurmountable task.


Lots of people just like you have lost large amounts of weight by eating the right way and with exercise.  Rest assured, it can be done.


If you’ve navigated through the stages of change and have reached the action stage, you’re ready to move forward.

Personalabs Healthy Selfie. A comprehensive and individualized view of your health.


Before You Start


When pursuing workouts for obese beginners, there are some health screening guidelines of which you should be aware.

Some basic questions:

  • Do you have chest pain during rest periods?
  • Do you experience loss of balance or dizziness?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a heart condition?
  • Has a physician said you should exercise under the guidance of a doctor?
  • Do you have joint or bone pain that could be worsened by exercise?
  • Are you taking prescription drugs for a heart condition or blood pressure?
  • Do you know of any reason you shouldn’t exercise?
  • Do you have chest pain during exercise?


If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions, consult a physician before starting an exercise program or taking a fitness assessment.


You’ll want to make sure you’re not at risk for acute myocardial infarction or cardiac sudden death related to exercise.


Most people can exercise safely without first visiting a doctor.


The American College of Sports Medicine states that there are three points to be aware of before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity of your current exercise:

  1. Current activity level
  2. Signs and symptoms of certain diseases
  3. Planned intensity level


If you’re not exercising regularly and you have cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disease, or signs or symptoms that suggest you do, you should get medical clearance before commencing exercise.


If you’re currently exercising regularly and you’ve been diagnosed with cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disease, no medical clearance is necessary (under the care of a physician).


Please refer to the flow chart from the American College of Sports Medicine.


Get a Fitness Assessment


You can get a better picture of where to start after you’ve undergone a fitness assessment.


A fitness assessment can be done by a personal trainer at a health club or an exercise physiologist at a human performance lab.

The assessment should evaluate the five components of fitness:

  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscular strength
  • Flexibility
  • Body composition

Body Mass Index and waist circumference can help you determine how overweight you are.


Healthy body weight can be determined by Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9 and a normal waist circumference is under 40 inches (102 cm) for men and under 35 inches (88 cm) for women.


BMI can be determined by using a BMI calculator.


How Much Exercise is Recommended?


The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous cardiovascular exercise to significantly reduce the risk of disease.


Not everyone can do this much exercise starting out.  Breaking it up into 10 minute segments is a great way to make it more manageable.


Try to get at least 20 minutes a day of exercise, and then increase it in small increments.


The Best Workouts for Obese Beginners



Weight-bearing exercise such as walking will burn more calories than non-weight bearing exercise.


Having someone to walk with will make it more interesting and improve your exercise adherence.


Your pace should be brisk and be done in an area that’s safe, as well as being free of extreme temperatures.


Be sure to stay hydrated and wear comfortable athletic shoes.


Low Impact Group Exercise

One of the best forms of aerobic exercise for people who are overweight, dance cardio,  or other low impact exercise, can improve bone mass, endurance and balance, things you need for improved quality of life, not just longevity.


Make sure the instructor is certified to teach group exercise and has experience working with people who are overweight.


Stationary Bike

For people who have difficulty walking, a stationary bike will allow you to get the aerobic exercise you need.


Riding a bike will also allow you to read a book or watch television while exercising, if you find exercise boring.


Group Water Aerobics 

While it’s not weight bearing exercise, water aerobics can improve your strength as well as muscular and cardiovascular endurance.


Whichever place you choose to do water aerobics, as always make sure the instructor is certified and the facility has proper water safety equipment.


Strength Training

You will build muscle mass which will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories at rest.


A certified personal trainer or exercise physiologist can get you set up on a strength training workout that can be done 2 to 3 times per week.


Additional Exercise Advice


  • Find a fitness support group.  Having a group of people to lean on when you’re struggling to lose weight and maintain it will greatly increase your odds of success.

  • Establish a routine.   Plan your exercise on your calendar. You’re more likely to hold yourself accountable, and it will provide a structured plan you need when losing weight.

  • Do what you enjoy.  Formulate a plan that will make exercising convenient and enjoyable.

  • Include flexibility in your workout.  Regular stretching has been shown to provide the following benefits:
  • Postural Stability
  • Balance
  • Injury Rehabilitation
  • Improved Range of Motion
  • Injury Prevention


General Stretching Guidelines

  • Static stretches can be done after a workout.
  • Stretches should be held for 10 to 30 seconds for measurable results.
  • Each stretch should be done 3 to 5 times.
  • The recommendation for frequency is 2 to 3 times per week.
  • Stretches should be done without pain.


How to Approach Diet for Obese Beginners


The proper diet, including nutritional supplements, regarding weight loss is a topic too comprehensive to cover in this blog post.


A great way to make sure you’re eating correctly and taking the proper nutritional supplements is to consult a registered dietitian who specializes in weight loss.


Putting Your Plan Together


In addition to reducing your disease risk, maintaining a healthy body weight will pay dividends for years to come.


Consistency is the key. Keeping the weight off permanently is a journey and a lifestyle.


Make sure you have the right tools and resources. Having a social support network to help you through the tough times will go a long way.


John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”


Realizing that there will be road bumps along the way will make it easier to stick to your plan.


If you know what obstacles trigger a relapse, you’ll be more conscious about avoiding them.


By taking a holistic approach to weight loss, you’ll greatly increase the likelihood of success.


For additional tips on losing weight when you’re over 40, visit Total Shape. 


Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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Hi, I'm Kent

As a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, and bodybuilder, I’ve dedicated my life to optimal nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. And putting it all into practice. Now I’m taking my experience and knowledge to the next level by helping others through blogging.


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