This is only relevant if you are both overweight and out of shape. People, including personal trainers, will tell you to exercise a ton while you’re trying to lose weight. They talk about building your muscle mass and your core muscles and how it will help you lose weight faster. I’m sure they’re right. But from personal experience, here are my thoughts.

You know how when you’re at the gym, and looking at the fit people on the stair master, or using the back extension thing, or the knee lift thing, etc… there are two types of fit people on there. One is fit and doing it. One is super fit and they’re doing it but they’re holding weights while they do it. Those are the hardcore folks. Right? So why is it, than when you’re totally out of shape, you’re expected to do those same exercises except carrying extra weight, just like those super-fit marathon runners/competitive weight lifters/etc… Think about it. If you’re 50 pounds overweight, you’re not only starting from a low rung of being out of shape and not used to this type of exercise, but it’s just like you’re carrying a 25 pound weight plate in each hand while you’re on that stair master.

That’s nuts.

Starting off like that will make your muscles hurt, your back hurt, and you’ll learn to hate the gym.

I’ve been there and done that. I’m sure that using the stair master carrying 50 extra pounds does mean you’ll burn more calories, but if it sucks so much that you’re less likely to come to the gym the next day then it’s a net loss.

Pick something that burns calories, and maybe leaves you a little sore, but doesn’t kill you. At least until you drop a lot of that extra weight, then you can start off like a non-overweight still out of shape person and build from there.

For me, I use the treadmill and the elliptical machine. I can’t run much, so I walk. I increase the speed and incline as I’m able. Now I’m up to 3.8 mph and 12.5 incline. I can do that for 30 minutes no problem. I sweat, and my legs get a work out, but the next day I’m not limping around, I’m fine. I can go to the gym the next morning. I get bored on those type of machines so I watch Babylon 5 on my iPhone. I’d recommend that, or a book on tape, or a magazine (although I could never read on those things, I’m always bopping around to much). So I can go in, and burn 400-700 calories in 30 minutes that way. Then I’ll hit a couple of weight machines and do a little arm/chest/back work. Nothing major. Maybe three machines working complimentary muscle groups, and rotate through them doing 12 reps a set, and doing three sets on each machine. Then I go home.

When I get down to 220 lbs I’ll start doing more hardcore stuff at the gym to build up my muscle mass and core strength and all that, but I need to build gradually so I don’t injure myself and train myself to loathe the gym.

Do what you can without making yourself miserable, and do it as often as you can. Every day is great, but even a few times a week is good.