I started consulting in November 2012. The 4-hour a day commute tires me out and leaves me with absolutely no time to do anything else, much less go to the gym. So, I haven't gone to the gym since January 2013 and have since put back all the weight I had lost, and much more, and have lost shape.

I am going to start a 1-hour walk from tomorrow morning and my plan is to do free-weight dumbbell exercises after the 1-hour walk.

I've been so used to going to the gym that I am a bit unsure if just a pair of dumbbells would be enough?

Can I lose back all the weight, develop muscle tone and get back into proper shape with just a pair of dumbbells?

My plan is to:

1) Walk 1 hour for the next 30 days because I cannot jog or run with all the weight I have put on now.

Follow that with a few dumbbell exercises such as lateral raises, frontal raises, chest press, shoulder press, hammer curls, and concentration curls and full body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, side-lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, ab crunches and some stretching.

2) For the next 90 days, replace the 1-hour walk with a 40 minute jog. Then, do the same dumbbell and body weight exercises.

3) For the remainder of the year until 31st December 2013, replace the 40-minute jog with a 20 minute mix of jogging with short lapses of running (30 - 90 second lapses). Then, to follow that with a dumbbell and body-weight workout routine same as the one I described above.

I plan to do this workout 5 days a week and plan to lose about 57 lbs weight and gain some 10 lbs lean muscle mass after that.

All the walking, jogging and running I am planning is going to be on the ground.

I love the gym and still hold my membership there although I am totally unable to go because I leave home pretty early for work and come back very late at night. The gym is also quite far and in the opposite direction.

Therefore, I was planning on just doing the dumbbell and body-weight workout routine I outlined above.

Is this routine enough to get me back on shape or am I going to need to join the gym again?

  • That's a great plan, sounds like it should work, but everybody's different. Remember to keep your diet in check as well. How heavy are the dumbbells? Mar 14, 2013 at 20:03
  • Thank you, Dave. I bought two sets of dumbbell handles and attachable plates of the following weights: (1) 8 plates of 1 kg (2.2 lbs each); (2) 4 plates of 2 kgs (4.4 lbs) each; and (3) 4 plates of 3 kgs (6.6 lbs) each. So, I can do as little as 2 X 2 kgs at a time and go up to as much as 2 * 9 kgs at the most. I usually do frontals and laterals with about 9 kg weights on each hand. I increase the weights for chest press and shoulder press, though.
    – Sathyaish
    Mar 14, 2013 at 20:25
  • I'm not confident you will be able to switch from 1 hour walks to 40 minute jogs just like that. I would start the switch by jogging for as long as you can and then keep walking the rest of the hour (at the same brisk pace you were walking before). Slowly increase the percentage of jogging.
    – user5414
    Mar 15, 2013 at 9:29
  • Thanks for the correction, what. You make a point. By the 40-minute jog, I actually meant exactly what you said.
    – Sathyaish
    Mar 15, 2013 at 12:14

2 Answers 2


Is this routine enough to get me back on shape or am I going to need to join the gym again?

What is so special about the gym? Treadmills/steppers? Do the cardio outside. Freeweights isolation? Just use a pair of dumbbells with adjustable plates. Barbell strength routine? Buy a power rack for cheap off of craigslist. Whatever you can do in a gym, you can do in or around your house.

Can I lose back all the weight, develop muscle tone and get back into proper shape with just a pair of dumbbells?

Yes. But you will definitely want to invest in heavier plates so you can take advantage of progressive overloading. You won't be using the 9kg dumbbells forever, especially not for the compound presses. Rather than wasting your time by doing a massive amount of reps with a light weight, you should be sticking to a specific rep range (somewhere in 5-12) and just increasing the weight as necessary.

The same can be said of the body weight exercises. Eventually they will become so easy you barely break a sweat doing them (I'm looking at you, squats). Consider loading weight as necessary to these exercises so you aren't waisting your time doing several dozen or hundred reps just to "feel the burn." For example once you can do 50 - 100 squats easy, start doing goblet squats with your dumbbell. For exercises you cannot load with weight, consider making them more difficult (add the clap to push-ups, raise the leg during dips, etc.).

I plan to do this workout 5 days a week and plan to lose about 57 lbs weight and gain some 10 lbs lean muscle mass after that.

Do you mean every day you will be doing cardio AND lifting weights? If so, that is a major red flag for overworking your body. Rest is just as important as the workout itself! Without rest you're just a hamster on a wheel; sure you're exercising, but you're going nowhere. Consider doing A/B/A splits where A is your cardio day and B is your strength training day. By separating these elements apart, you are giving your body enough time to recover before you train those muscles again (and recovery is when the muscle growth actually occurs).

If you're like me and you have a tense body, you may also want to have a dedicated stretch day every week where you just do a full hour of yoga or similar stretching. So a two week workout would be something like: A/B/C/A/B--A/B/C/A/B. Or, if your schedule is flexible enough, keep the original A/B split, and do stretching on Sat/Sun.



It seems like everyone is already giving you some good tips. And I agree with Moses regarding his tips and plan for you. However, the truth about sustainable weight loss has a lot to do with dieting and less with exercising. I don’t know your diet, but whenever I consult my patients and clients, and hear them saying that they have gained the weight back since they stop exercising, I realize then that it’s mostly eating habit, rather than exercising.

With this being said, you seem like you are pretty determined to get back in shape. Although you have 2 goals (lose the weight and gain some muscle mass), the truth is if you eat well and exercise efficiently, you can achieve both of these goals. However, to reach your goals and to reduce unnecessary injuries, some sort of an organized eating plan and workout program need to be applied. I put together some tips and tricks in addition to a sample workout plan (too long to put it here) for you to lose weight as a sustainable mean.

Tips and tricks for successful and sustainable weight loss:

  1. Eat healthier foods throughout the day to include meals and snacks. Try to eat every 2-3 hours (including snacks) to keep your metabolism running high, thus resulting in burning more calories.
  2. Consume the least amount of sugar as possible. Foods like milk, juices, sodas and sweet snacks have lots of sugar, which will slow down your metabolism, thus will not be effective for burning calories. Be sure to read the label before purchasing or consuming.
  3. Drink plenty of water so that you will feel full throughout the day (12-16 glasses per day).
  4. If you do eat late (after 7 PM), try to eat good calories like vegetables and lean proteins. If not, make sure to exercise extra to burn those calories the same night.
  5. Yes! Exercise, but try resistance training. You do not have to use actual weights, but rather mostly your body weight to get results (look at the gymnasts). Plus, resistance training has been shown to boost your metabolism. Remember the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.
  6. Try high intensity interval training as they are more efficient. Yes it is harder, but you will get used to it. Plus you said you do not have much time.
  7. Try combo exercises as they are more effective and efficient for targeting the entire body (major muscle groups). Also, try to train at a higher intensity for at least 15-30 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week. Try these exercises: dumbbell squat shoulder presses, dumbbell squat swings, dumbbell push-up rows, squat jumps, chin-ups, stability ball rollouts, planks and mountain climbers.
  8. Motivation comes with a price; however, you need to dig deep each time and ask yourself the same question why you wanted to lose weight in the beginning. Is it for your looks, your feelings, for someone else’s or just for the HEALTH of it!
  9. If you start a habit by eating healthier, most likely you will sustain the results because it is so natural to eat, and not so natural to exercise and sweat.
  10. Everything we do in life is habitual. You just have to get started!
    Let me know your thoughts or if you would like a copy of your workout plan. Good luck!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.