ive put on 40kg over the past 18 months due to eating large portions and a total lack of exercise.

I used to be incredibly fit, and would regularly (weekly) follow the exercise regime outlined in the question title: first i would go to the gym for an hour and lift heavy weights. Then i would briefly jog down the road to the pool and swim for 40 minutes to an hour (breast stroke. Around 30 laps of 50m). After this i would alternate between jogging, sprinting and walking around the city (Sydney) for another hour or so. Sometimes i would travel quite a distance (pyrmont to botanic gardens, following the waterfront, for those who know Sydney).

I can say that the happy brain chemicals were firing hard when i used to do this, maximum dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. I also slept like a baby and had amazing dreams. Life was good. (TMI warning: i also regularly got rock hard erections upon waking and throughout the day immediately following this workout, which was pleasant in an "I've got a healthy sex drive" kinda way)

My situation now is that I'm totally out of practice. I haven't been regularly exercising for about 30 months, and I've been steadily piling on weight for 18 months. Im currently at 105kg and slowly but steadily climbing. I'm at a point where it is impossible to sprint, difficult and painful to run, and i can only jog for incredibly short distances. I haven't swum laps for around 18 months and my body shape has significantly changed, so I'm not sure how hydrodynamic i will be in the water, whether i will have trouble breathing, whether my endurance will be so bad that I can't even finish a lap at medium speed without getting exhausted, etc. As regards the gym, i have been a couple of times in the past few months and i struggle to lift the weight i used to. At my peak i think i was bench pressing 24kg, now i can just manage 14kg.

My question is basically, what advice can you give me, and how would you analyse my old workout in light of my current situation (incredibly unfit, 105kg). I have a lot of time on my hands right now and would like to focus on fitness, ideally returning to my old 3 hour workout, but I'm worried that it might be too intense and result in injury given my current level of fitness. What tweaks should i make to the routine? Should i cut out the jogging and running? Swim and gym for only 40 minutes each? I would like to push myself to a point beyond the point of exhaustion, but without causing injury. Perhaps swimming and lifting weights for two hours would be enough?


1 Answer 1


Since you've gained quite a bit of weight and haven't exercised for over two years, there are a couple of things you should do to prepare yourself to resume exercising.

Get a physical exam Have a physician give you a through physical exam so that you can determine what level of exercise you can handle to start out.

Per this post on fitoverfifty.com:

First and foremost get a complete medical check up that includes blood pressure, cholesterol, joints and back evaluation if you have had pain in these areas. Your weight should be evaluated as well as a bone density scan if osteoporosis may be a concern, skin cancer screening, and a cardiac stress test. You and your doctor may not feel you need all of these, but this is a pretty comprehensive list.

If your doctor detects blood pressure or other heart issues, it may be helpful to get a heart rate monitor to help you to know how much you should or should not push yourself when first starting out.

Next, come up with both a mental and exercise plan, keeping in mind any physical limitations found during the exam. Per LiveStrong.com:

Step 1 Stop making excuses. Rid your mind of all the negative chatter that’s been holding you back from getting in shape.

Step 2 Get your gear together. Buy yourself the best running shoes you can afford. If your feet hurt from ill-fitting sneakers, you won’t look forward to putting them on. The same goes for your workout clothes. If they’re dingy or have holes, you won’t want to be seen in them and that can be a de-motivator. Purchase, rent or borrow anything you might need to kick-start your fitness plan – that means everything from a yoga mat, workout DVDs, water bottle or gym bag. Having all your tools at the ready will give you less time to ponder and more incentive to road test your gear.

Step 3 Start slow. Even though the Centers for Disease Control advocates 150 to 300 minutes every week, or 20 to 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity, you can start getting back in shape by working out for 10 minutes at a time.

The emphasis is to start out slow - you want to give your body a chance to slowly adapt to your higher physical activity level and build for a more "normal" baseline level over time.

Finally, you need to get your diet under control. Eat healthy portions to prevent excess calories. Per LiveStrong:

Step 4 Change your diet to reflect your commitment to getting in shape. Swap out the prepackaged, overly sweet or salty foods for healthier ones.

A combination of better diet and increased physical activity should help you shave off weight to a more healthy level.

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