How to Workout When You’re Morbidly Obese

How to Workout When You're Over 200 lbs at

Four years ago, I started P90X at 275lbs. I was clinically morbidly obese, and disgusted at how far I let myself go. I faced a unique set of challenges working out that heavy. My joints ached, I had a hard time even getting up off the couch, and I couldn’t even do a pushup. I know there are many of you who are reading this now who can’t do a pushup, either. And that’s okay!! I want you to know you are NOT alone in your struggle. I’ve been in your shoes. As a matter of fact, I’m working my way back to being in top shape again after having  a baby 10 weeks ago. The nice thing about my pregnancy this time was that I didn’t let myself go–I have a lot less to lose than previous pregnancies.

How to Workout When You're Morbidly Obese

Here are some tips on working out when you’re obese:

    • Start slow. Walk around the block, or to the mail box. Keep going a little further each day, stopping for rest as needed.
    • Most Beachbody programs use a modifier. You may need to even modify the modifier. I know I did.
    • Can’t do a pushup even on your knees? I couldn’t either. I did them against the wall. As I got stronger, I would slide my feet out further from the wall.
    • Keep pushing play! Guess what? Most people don’t ever make it through all of P90X the first time around. Yup, even fit people. You can only make it through five minutes of the workout? GREAT! Let’s go for six tomorrow! Or, better yet, shut it off, and try again in an hour! Before you know it, you’ll be completing that days workout in its entirety without stopping. And then, 90 days is there and gone!
    • Make sure you’re checking in with your doctor on a regular basis to be monitored. Your labs can be a great motivator to get moving.
    • Choose low-impact exercises like working out in water. It is much easier on the joints, especially when standing is an issue.
    • Get a workout partner. Somebody you trust, and will help push you.
    • Beachbody program suggestions: Ultimate Reset, Power 90 (P90), PiYo, Tai Cheng, 3 Day Refresh

    Get paid to lose weight

    Make sure you document your progress! Take before/after pictures. No matter how much you don’t want to–you’ll be happy to have those before pictures when you take your “after” pictures!

    >>Want 1:1 coaching support from someone who successfully lost 123 lbs in just over a year? Fill this out: MENTORSHIP APPLICATION. Please note, I only work with women who are COMMITTED to losing at least 50 lbs, are high vibe, and aren’t going to make excuses. My help is not free, nor is it cheap. I bring my best when you bring your best<<

    Do any of you have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear those below!

    If you liked this post, you may like these:

    How I feed a family of 5 for less than $200/mo at idyllicpursuit.comI Lost 123lbs and Found Love at



    How to Workout When You're Morbidly Obese
    How to workout when you're over 200 lbs at

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CommentLuv badge

    1. I LOVE this post- and it is speaking to me HUGELY. I am also very overweight. I have knee problems and have respiratory issues, so working out traditionally is extremely difficult. I love your suggestions for starting slow- and I CAN DO those !!!!! I can do those things !!! It will take me longer but I will get there !

      • I’m so glad you found this post helpful! And yes, YOU CAN DO THESE!!! Just take it one day at a time! If you need anything, I’m here to help! Thank you for stopping by!

    2. I enjoy this article because I have been scouring the edges of the internet to find SOMETHING for obese individuals who want to start at the basics. My mom and sister just decided to try out the gym and they are both heavier. I am the “fit” one in the family and I love working out and I actually want to get my Bachelor in Exercise Science. I work in a supplement store and help people change their goals and accomplish them daily at work. I have to say, I am very saddened by the limited resources out here for the obese. It’s like, the internet only sees people who are already at an intermediate to advanced level of fitness and they don’t have any idea or resources for anyone just starting out who maybe can’t get up and down on and off the floor or do squats because they have bad knees or touch their toes because they have limited flexibility. It’s nice to see someone who has been there and is reaching out to help others. This is a call to action for me. I am determined to create more for the people who really need it and want it but are intimidated on how to get started! You’ve empowered me without me even being your audience. Kudos and thank you.

      • Casey, thank you for this!! It means a lot to me. Having been on both sides of the issue of obesity, I can empathize with all! It’s not easy, and it isn’t always fun, but it is ALWAYS worth it!
        I’m going to send you an email –be on the watch for it today.

    3. Hi Kathy,
      Just reading your story has inspired me tremendously! I am struggling with weight issues however I have not been on the ball as I know I could be. I have an issue with meal preparation. I love veggies and fruits so if you could help me out on planning a meal plan that would be awesome. I also have low back pain…sometimes tear jerking pain that keep me from working out. Do you have any suggestions besides taking it slow? Or do you think it will get better with weight loss?


    4. Thanks for sharing your experience. I used to be HALF the size I am now and even then people made comments about my weight. I don’t ever remember my weight not being an issue for SOMEONE. I was never taught to love myself. When I was in the military, I was 168lbs at my heaviest. Unfortunately I am only 5’4″ which meant I was considered morbidly obese and I was reprimanded for “not following orders” and threatened with “destruction of government property”. I allowed myself to get beat down day in and day out professionally, personally, you name it I hated myself about it. Now, at age 40 and 276lbs I’m tired of not loving myself for who I am. I now hand several lower lumbar disk issues but nothing that requires surgical interventions. My son is almost 18 years old and want to be my workout partner. He is such an amazing kids. I’m a nurse and I am FINALLY surrounded by people who see ME and I love them for that. I feel like I have the perfect opportunity to start making the changes I’ve wanted to make for so SO long. Your information showed me that I’m not alone and I CAN make the changes I want to make. Thank you again for sharing your experience.

    5. Kathy,

      Thank you so much for these tips. I’m currently a sophomore in college and really struggling with weight. I’m 5’7 and weight 195 lbs. I’m at the point where I either need to change things now or they will only get worse. I have some knee problems and I’ve noticed them get worse as I’ve gained weight.

      My campus does have a rec center with a good amount of exercise equipment and even an indoor track. I never know how to get started working out. Also, eating healthily is really difficult with a Chick-fil-a, quesadilla place, Asian place, and a wing’s place on campus. We do have a salad bar and some other healthy options, but I never want to eat it because it’s not “exciting,” y’know?

      Do you have any tips specifically for college students? I would love to hear from you 🙂


      • Hi Carly,
        I will definitely be doing a post on how to make things work as a college student! In the meantime, I am having a free 5-day eat clean challenge starting Monday if you’re interested – you can find me on TTYS!

    6. Kathy,
      Thank you for this post! I am also overweight. I used to be the “fit” one in high school. I love sports and feeling fit, but I am also considered morbidly obese. 275lbs. The most I have ever weighed. I am facing ONE obstacle that makes me afraid to work out and I have already went to the doctor a few times for this “condition”? When ever I start to work up a sweat- clean the house, work out etc… I break out in hives. It has to do with the histamine in my body not being released? All I was prescribed was allergy medication to take before I go anywhere or work out. Which does NOT work all the time. BUT I am hoping by me starting this journey…they might just stop one day. I know your health has a lot of how your body is going to treat you so thank you for this post! It was something I needed to read. 🙂

      • Hi Codi,
        I’ve actually heard of something like this! Do you know if it’s considered a mast cell issue? I’m glad that you liked this post. If you’re looking for additional support – I’m having a free 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge starting on Monday. Find me on Facebook and we can chat!

      • I was getting stress hives a few years back and my doctor told me to take pepcid (pill form, generic works fine) and explained that it was originally developed for an allergy type issue and the side effect was that it reduced acid so well that they marketed it specifically for that. Talk to your doctor and see if that might be something that works for you. It is darn near immediate relief when i feel the hive(s) developing. They occur rarely now and I almost never have to take the pepcid, but man! It made an unbearable situation that i suffered with for over a year reverse course immediately for me.

    7. Thank you for your blog entry about exercising when obese. I am trying to make it past only 2 consecutive days of working out. I hurt so bad. I need to function at work and be able to exercise! What helped you get over the pain hump?

    8. Hi
      I too have been diagnosed as obese. Just seeing that word makes one feel like they are a beast or a huge rejection . I was diagnosed with this 2 yrs ago at the weight of 230. I tried losing weight with little success. 6 months ago at the age of 46 I had a heart attack. Anything you would expect to show up in the labs did not show up. Cholesterol level was good, BP was great. The only think that could have contributed was lack of exercise and my weight. I missed the warning signs fatigue, nausea, bloated tummy- no appetite, wheezing with exertion all things that began happening within 2 months of my MI. If anyone is reading this and has felt this way, get a checkup. Lastly, don’t feel insulted or beaten when you see the word obese on your chart. Instead, ask your doctor for help to change – alone we got to that point but with help we can overcome!

      • Thank you so much for your kind words for my readers! It is so encouraging hearing other people’s stories. I am a firm believer that if we are vulnerable with others, we’ll be able to show them they can overcome, too. <3

    9. Hi my name is Angelina I’m 5″1 and weigh about 200 lbs I have 4 wonderful children that I need to get in good health for would you mind helping me with a meal plan.

    10. Hi. My name is Reeca. I work in a hospital and I’m on my feet most of the day. When I get home I’m exhausted. I think my main problem is unhealthy eating. Can you suggest a meal plan for me too? I am 5’3″ and 218 lbs. I have a 13 year old daughter that weighs about the same. I want to make better choices so we can get fit together.

    11. I wish i could lose that kind of weight..i dont think it will ever happen for me. Congratulations to you though for changing your life in so many ways. That is amazing. You always see fit people telling you how to lose weight and get healthy, but rarely see ones who were overweight and really changed it around. Good for you!

    12. I found your story very inspiring. I have always been overweight and now am morbidly obese at 5′ 4″ and 280 lbs. Im finally taking action and starting to workout but i need help as far as the meal prep plans and maybe more weight loss exercises. I appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

    13. Hi Carly,
      I found your blog sooooo interesting, informative and encouraging of anything I have read in a very long time. I am as they say morbidly obese (way to make a person feel good about yourself) have both knees replaced, arthritis, degenerative disk disease, manor pain through my whole body 24/7 major depression due to all of it and on and on and on so with that said, you have given me the inspiration to start trying to work on me again and keep reminding myself ” one day at a time” Thank you Carly … You are an angel!