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How to balance cardio and strength when I have lots of extra weight?

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So I'm very anxious to get started on a new workout plan/fitness regimine, whatever we shall call it- I'm ready to get my body back.  However, I know it is SO important to incorporate strength training into the workout, however I have loads and loads of extra fat.  Is it important to start with more cardio at first to try to pull off some of the excess fat? (I'm talking like 80lbs) or just dive right in with lots of weight baring activites? I want to get stronger and tone of course, but you've got to be able to get to the muscle through the fat, right?


Background- female, 28 years old.



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According to authors and contributors to this site, strength training is more efficient at burning fat that cardio. Good, better, best goes something like this: cardio, interval training, strength training.


I do the Begginers Body Workout M-W-F. The only modifications I include: BBW calls for inverted rows but I have a Bowflex and can do seated lateral rows. I also add a dumbell shoulder press because 1) I like shoulder work and 2) I can't do the lunges (which have nothing to do with shoulders) called for in the BBW because of bad knee. If pushups are too tough at first, start with inclined ones using the arm of your sofa, or a counter top, or a wall. I have stairs so I worked from sofa, then hands on 4th step and finally down to floor in about 3 weeks.


As for cardio, it appears that intervals are more effective than a long, constant effort programs. Instead of jogging for miles, you add in some sprints (adapting for current fitness level). Both will burn while you're doing them, but you want to still be burning after you're done. I use my Lifecycle for this, as it has a built in interval program.


Nothing will work without proper nutrition. You need to know what you're eating an how much you're eating. There are a number of programs/apps to assist. I use myfitnesspal.com as it has a huge database of foods, including restaurants, and it has a scanner option so you can just use your smartphone/iPad to scan barcodes of groceries in your house. You can set your current weight, target weight and rate at which you want to lose. It will tell you the number of calories necessary to maintain your current weight and the number you need to consume to lose at your determined rate.


As others have posted, make sure you get enough protein to maintain muscle while losing. Range of opinions is 1 gram per pound of body weight to 1 gram per pound of lean body weight. I try for the latter. If you have a lot of body fat, keep it simple and go for .7 X body weight.


Once you choose a routine, do it - and only it. You'll be tempted to add this or that, and for me, that led to lack of confidence in my routine. Second, keep it as simple as you can. A milk jug with sand in your basement is better than the lat machine at a gym you'll find some excuse not to drive to. More time than not, the sidewalk around your block will be more convenient than the treadmill at gym. Give it 6-8 weeks, then (and only then) re-evaluate.


Background - male, 52, down to 232 from 266 in June

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Whoiwas said it pretty well.  Don't be afraid to modify the beginner's body weight routine - I have a bad knee as well, so I started with split-squats and stepups in place of the lunges.  You can hold on to something while performing squats.  Since you're carrying what amounts to an 80-lb weight on your back you may not be able to do many of the lunges, squats or a long-duration plank.  Don't give up - do what you can do.  Send me a message if I can help get you started. 

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Agreed, strength training is a good way to go. Your muscles will work no matter how much fat you have, and modifications of stuff until you get to a point where you're comfortable doing them is perfect. Make sure you read/youtube the right way to do stuff too so you stay safe and get more benefits from the workout. And I'm also agreed that a diet to compliment your workout is so important. My whole workout is worse if I wat the wrong things

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