Too fat to exercise?

Well, that was officially the most embarrassing, deflated experience of my adult life. :embarassed:

About 2 weeks ago I got a copy of the New Rules of Lifting for Women and read about how the exercises I'd been doing (circuit weights) were fairly pointless for anything other than just burning calories and that they were designed by fitness centers for people to feel like they are weight training, but in reality they are just herding them around the room from station to station and out the door.

I've already lost 20 lbs in 13 weeks doing that stuff and modifying my diet. I've started including more protein for muscle growth because I read about how muscle burns more than fat, and that by weight training I'm preserving and building new muscle vs. cardio alone which burns both muscle and fat fairly indiscriminately. I was feeling enlightened and motivated!!

I finished the book and finally got up the nerve to get out of the circuit weight room and into the free weight section of the gym. I considered paying for a personal trainer to make sure I was doing the exercises correctly and make sure I use the right weights, etc. I sent off emails to every trainer advertising on Craigslist in my area. All but one of them were not interested in working with an overweight soccer mom (not their exact words... they came up with a variety of excuses for why they couldn't work with me even though I responded to their ads the day they posted.)

Somewhat discouraged I decided to make an appointment with the trainer at my gym (Planet Fitness). My membership says it comes with unlimited fitness training, but when my appointment time came, she said "haven't I already seen you?" I said yes, but I want to change my workout. "Change?" The idea seemed preposterous to her, but I told her I want to start a free weight program and told her the lifts that I needed to learn to start with.

She basically told me I was too overweight to do them and proceeded to stick me in a corner (not the free weight section) and show me a variety of "modified" exercises for "people like me."
I needed to learn the squat... she taught me a wall squat with a swiss ball.
I needed to learn the deadlift with a long bar..... she taught me some sort of exercise where I lower my upper body while holding 10 lb barbie bells.
I needed to learn a prone jackknife.... she bit her bottom lip and said I needed to replace it with an ab twist exercise on the swiss ball.
I was supposed to use weights for the lunge... she said to do them without the weights because these things were "too advanced" for me.

I did the things she showed me and I think perhaps they did some good because my legs hurt something fierce. But the whole experience left me on the verge of tears. I was mortified to basically be told I'm too fat to do this.

I'm sure if I pay a trainer I could get him to show me how to do the exercises in the book, but now I'm wondering if maybe I shouldn't try to lose some more weight before I bother with exercise. I don't want to do the stupid treadmill like the other pudgy 40-somethings in my gym. I can walk around my neighborhood for free. I have a Wii Fit, and Xbox Kinect. I can burn calories doing pointless stuff at home.

Or maybe I should just give up accept the fact that I've crossed over into the realm of being too fat to exercise :cry:


  • visiri
    visiri Posts: 173 Member
    Nobody's too fat to exercise and it sounds like you're doing great too!

    My thought is that the trainer is worried about liability if you get hurt at the gym. Sounds like she gave you some good starter exercises, so do them, keep at them and get her to add more to your routine on a regular basis.

    I'm doing that for myself - too many times I've tried to do too much and then got injured and had to stop. I know it's frustrating to go slow, but remember this is for the long haul and building a good foundation is really important for long term success.

  • chachadiva150
    chachadiva150 Posts: 482 Member
    You are not too fat to exercise. However, the NROLFW may be a fit advanced if you haven't been doing strength training for a while.

    It sounds like you have a good starter program outlined for you. Do you find the routine challenging? If it's challenging, then what's the problem? You can always slowly add some of the stuff from the book.
  • Jellyphant
    Jellyphant Posts: 1,400 Member
    Maybe she was just worried about starting out too hard? Personal trainers aren't too kind once they get going, maybe she was just taking your current weight into consideration! Weightloss is about patience, and if you continue with it, you won't need to modify anymore from the strength you gain! Just my take on it. Don't get discouraged! You're making an effort to get healthy! :flowerforyou:
  • albinogorilla
    albinogorilla Posts: 1,056 Member
    Just as an dont have to exercise to lose weight. By maintaining a deficit, you can lose weight just as easily with or without it. There are exercises, mainly those involving impact (running, jogging), that should be avoided if you are very heavy though. It is safer to lose weight first, rather than go out and try to push yourself and risk an injury. If there is a will, there is a way.
  • NWCountryGal
    NWCountryGal Posts: 1,992 Member
    This is so true, you can lose weight not exercising. I know because I did it, just by using the deficit mentioned by this man:)

    Just as an dont have to exercise to lose weight. By maintaining a deficit, you can lose weight just as easily with or without it. There are exercises, mainly those involving impact (running, jogging), that should be avoided if you are very heavy though. It is safer to lose weight first, rather than go out and try to push yourself and risk an injury. If there is a will, there is a way.
  • HonkyTonks
    HonkyTonks Posts: 1,193 Member
    Wow, that really sucks. I can't believe the PT was rude to you like that. I would have said "just don't worry about it". I shopped around for a PT because I wanted someone who would be willing to help me with learning techniques for squats, deadlifts, chest press etc. I didn't want to just be shown the generic set of exercises with the machines.

    Maybe your PT just didn't know how to do those things you wanted to learn.
  • NancyNiles
    NancyNiles Posts: 145 Member

    Yes, I know I can lose weight without exercising. That's why I wonder if I shouldn't just give up on the whole exercise thing until I lose some more weight. I'm 267 now (sw 288). I just wonder if there is a point when you get too fat for exercising and should I just focus on losing weight until I can exercise without special modifications. But exercising is more fun than munching on a celery stick. I also swim 3x a week now that the weather is nicer.

    I was just so excited and motivated and now I just want to cry! I thought I was doing so good and now I feel like a big fat hog!

    I would just go back and do what I was doing before (circuit weights) because it was working I think, but that seems silly now that I read about what a waste of time those machines are.
  • BigBoneSista
    BigBoneSista Posts: 2,389 Member
    Nancy I know you were upset by the way she spoke to you but what I do believe she is doing is giving you a foundation to build upon. Like someone else said earlier go slow. Build up your strength & technique and once you've found that what you're doing isn't challenging enough you will probably be ready to attempt the other strength training exercises. Right now it seems she is having you use your own body weight as resistance and that is truly a workout. I was 324lbs and I remember doing burpees, wall squats, modified push ups and planks. All body weight resistance training and I was hurting but it definitely help strengthen me.

    You are doing fantastic. Don't get discourage.

  • chachadiva150
    chachadiva150 Posts: 482 Member
    When I started, I weighed more than your starting weight. I exercise pretty much every day. I started with Leslie Sanson video and now a few months later, I do Cathe Friedrich videos and log a few hours on the arc trainer in the gym.

    Exercise helps with more than losing weight. It helps with flexibility, mobility, and cardio endurance.

    Get in your exercise.
  • visiri
    visiri Posts: 173 Member
    I don't think the circuit weights are silly - they are getting you moving, and giving you a foundation. Keep doing them and the new moves the PT showed you and slowly move away from the circuit to the free weights as your foundation gets stronger.
  • housegirl2
    housegirl2 Posts: 79 Member
    I started lifting weights when I was more than 100 lb over weight using THE FIRM DVD workouts and learned good form as a result. There are other good programs out there as previous posters mentioned. However there are some safety and good form, rules and lessons you do need to practice so working with a trainer, live class, or good DVD program is important or you could injure yourself. No one told me I was too fat to use weights! If someone had talked to me the way that trainer talked to you I would have broken down in tears too. When I met some of the people who make the training videos they were so supportive and encouraging and I discovered I loved live classes. Most good training DVDs and trainers will advise you to start out with 2, 5, and 8-10 lb free weights to start. I've heard good things about circuit training but you are clearly wanting to try something that challenges you more. I just started a women and weights class at the local YMCA and it kicks butt and my thighs are a good sore today and I'll be going back for more! Working on my last 50lb and love live classes. So look around for a live class or check out some of the great DVDs out there. BTW I'm 66 years old and proof that you are never too fat or too old to be doing something that challenges you physically.
  • PghCLTGal
    PghCLTGal Posts: 10
    Wow, it sounds like you had a deflating experience ... but keep your chin up. Keep at it and you will show them you can do it!!

    Don't be discouraged. I know that trainers start you out with the basics and once you master them, you move on to harder things.

    Do you do any cardio? I started out just doing the treadmill or elliptical until I was in better overall shape.

    Keep at it!!
  • cblackc
    cblackc Posts: 12 Member
    I don't believe that circuit training is a bad option.. I just signed up for curves and there has been many success stories... I do believe it is what you put into it... The ladies there have said the harder you work the machines the harder they work you!!! In 2 weeks I have lost 9lbs and 8inches off my body... That to me doesn't seem like they are a waste of time... Hang in there...
  • meshashesha2012
    meshashesha2012 Posts: 8,326 Member
    You are not too fat to exercise. However, the NROLFW may be a fit advanced if you haven't been doing strength training for a while.
    nr was actually written primarily for women who have no experience in strength training or whose experiences with "strength" training just involved using a 5 pound weight to do a zillion bicep curls and trillion shoulder presses. the moves are neither advanced nor simple, most of them are just typical moves you'd see in any strength training program , even the ones targeted to men.

    sounds like the trainer was making all kinds of assumptions about your fitness level. oftentimes, people look at large people and assume that they are weaklings without really thinking about all the strength and muscle you'd have to develop to carry that weight around. so no, you ARENT too fat to exercise or weight train.

    i'm really sorry that happened to you and i know how embarrassing it can be. my advice is to ignore that trainer. you CAN start NROL4W now and you wont need to modify the exercises just for being large.

    there are a bunch of doing the program on this site, the group is here
    there's a diverse group of people. some people at their goal weight and just looking to build more muscles and others are very overweight looking to slim down (like me teehee).
  • Ge0rgiana
    Ge0rgiana Posts: 1,649 Member
    Report the b!tch to management. Demand some money back.

    Oh, and lifting can only help you if you do it properly. That means the appropriate amount of weight and proper technique. If you just rely on deficit you're probably losing muscle as well. This is bad.

    I've been overweight, weak, and hypothyroid for a while now. I've been lifting heavy for a couple of months. It's done wonders. I can carry a gallon of milk up stairs and not feel like I'm dying. Now I'm starting to add more weight. (Don't tell ME I can't lift weights.)

    I have a good trainer. Keep looking. You'll find one. Demand to learn weight lifting, and if you're told no say NEXT!
  • hazelnut861
    hazelnut861 Posts: 390 Member
    Forget about them! Find the right weight for you, perfect your form (squats on the Swiss ball are good to make a good habit of good form forit squats), and if you're not sure how to do an exetcise then look it up on youtube. Don't give up on weights.
  • Qarol
    Qarol Posts: 6,171 Member
    Perhaps you need to have a little "chat" with the management at Planet Fitness. Seriously uncool.
  • fitniknik
    fitniknik Posts: 713 Member
    DO NOT STOP WORKING OUT! For gods sake, DONT DO IT! She gave you some really good exercises to start with. Ive been weight lifting now for 5 months and I have just now done a "normal" pushup this week! It sometimes takes modified work outs to get us to the point where we can try the more complex ones. I wouldnt take it as a slam at all! She wants you to succeed and she was trying to give you the best tools to do that. Maybe she didnt approach it the right way or maybe you were feeling sensitive. Keep up the good work! My best advice- DONT STOP!
  • wftiger
    wftiger Posts: 1,283 Member
    I weigh more than you and I didn't get that attitude from my gym. I would certainly call Planet Fitness management and discuss with them. No one is too fat to exercise and weight training is the best way to keep your metabolism moving along and losing weight.

    Don't be discouraged because of that narrow minded idiot.
  • Debbe2
    Debbe2 Posts: 2,071 Member
    You're doing great and should keep on the same path. I understand how frustrating that is! As you meet other people at your gym you can inquire about another trainer by asking around. Good luck and keep going!