How to Workout When Morbidly Obese

How To Workout When You’re Morbidly Obese

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How To Workout When You’re Morbidly Obese

How to Workout When You're Over 200 lbs at


In 2010, I found myself close to 300 lbs. I sat in my living room while eating a sleeve of Oreo cookies – wallowing in self despair. I had let myself go. A few years prior, I was very fit.

The accumulation of an abusive marriage, PTSD, crippling depression, and anxiety fueled vitriol.
It was then that a commercial for P90X came on. I recalled hearing coworkers talk about it being difficult. Doing what any reasonable couch potato would do:
I dove head-first into all things Beachbody. And when I say head-first…I mean I ordered a $1,000 + package containing every program and supplement. I had tried every fad diet but the one thing I hadn’t tried was keeping accountable by coaching.
Within a year I lost over 100 lbs. By 18 months, I had reached my goal of losing 123 lbs. That’s an entire person!
I am no longer a Beachbody Coach and now focus on helping women launch and scale their businesses. It was like what I did as a TBB Coach, but much more niched.
It’s safe to say that I know a thing or two about working out when obese. I started P90X at 275lbs. I faced a unique set of challenges working out that heavy:
    • My joints ached
    • I had a hard time 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. Know that you are not your weight. You’re more than a number on the scale.

I want you to know you are NOT alone in your struggle. I’ve been in your shoes. And to be honest, there are still times that I need to be more conscious of food and exercise.

Here are some of my best tips for working out when morbidly obese:  

    • Start slow. Walk around the block, or to the mailbox. 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 your 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 check your health. 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.
  • 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!
 By incorporating these things into your life, you’ll be able to workout when morbidly obese. 

And if you’re looking for an extra push, check out the 28-Day Keto Challenge. Keto helped me lose a lot of weight in a short period of time — helping me jump start my journey. 


How to Workout When You're Morbidly Obese


Here are some Beachbody program suggestions:

    • Ultimate Reset
    • Power 90 (P90)
    • PiYo
    • Tai Cheng
  • 3 Day Refresh
Know that there will be days that you want to give up. A cheat day turns into a cheat week, then a year. Don’t beat yourself up, but get back in the saddle again. Your life can look radically different in just one year’s time.

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How to Workout When Morbidly Obese

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45 thoughts on “How To Workout When You’re Morbidly Obese”

  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 !

    1. 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.

    1. 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?


      1. Hey can you please sennd me a email too lol im ready to get started i have diabetes and high blood pressure and over 280 ive tried walking never can stay motivated i tried again 2 weeks ago and havnt been bk since smh this is my first time ever doing a comment its REALLY worth it

      1. I want to lose weight also. My weight has steadily increased over the last few years. I never have been as heavy. My weight is 210.
        I had major surgery on my back 2yrs.ago and was gaining before and after my surgery because of the pain. I also have a steel plate,and rod and screws.
        I really need help, can you help me too?

  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 🙂


    1. 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. 🙂

    1. 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!

    2. 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. Conniegockley

    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!

    1. 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!

  14. Hello, I find your story very interesting and motivating! I am 5′ 1″ 43 years old and at an embarrassing 256. I love to walk and feel strong…but right now I just feel like I’ve let myself get too far gone!
    I would love words of encouragement, meal plans & any suggestions you could give to help me get back on track!!

    Thank you!

  15. Hi Kathy, well done on your weight loss journey. I have a question, I roughly weigh what the same as you when you started and I’m classed as morbidly obese. I do go walking quite often. I was wondering whether you had a problem with excess skin when you started to lose your weight. I’m worried I will have baggy skin around my stomach. area.

  16. Thank you!
    We really need help, could you make a video with some exercises for curvy People? Or give a little bit of more information?
    Again, thank you for your help.

  17. Seriously this is so unbelievabley helpful. I’m on weight watchers and try to work out but find it so uncomfortable. Im definitely going to be using your tips!

  18. I have a sister that is over 300 pounds, I am really scared for her health now, I want to help her so bad,she is always making excuses why she can’t go on a diet, she was suppose to start weight watchers 8 months ago, was going to start swimming classes, nothing yet.Every time I mention something she gets very effensive, so scared she is going to have a heart attack, she is also a diebetic. Please I need some help,what should I do she is my only sister

  19. Some great tips! I would like to forward to my mom who is over 200 pounds, but the the use of the word “morbidly” would offend her so I will be copying and pasting the tips I like for her in an email so she won’t see the title. Just wanted to let you know in case you would want your article to be more shareable. Thanks!

  20. Thanks for sharing. I just turned 60 and weigh 250 pounds. I’m only 5’2. I’ve never weighed this much in my life. You are describing me perfectly in this article. My joints hurt and it’s hard to get up and down. The idea of exercise seems impossible. But I do feel encouraged to implement your ideas. Thank you for giving me the courage to try — again! Hopefully this time I can do it!

  21. Hi Kathy! I have been searching the internet for helpful tips. I find exercise to be a form of punishment. I really hate it but I know it is very necessary if I want to become healthy. I am 57 years old, Type 2 Diabetic and was in denial of my poor health for many many years. My doctor is going to put me on insulin injections when I go for my next checkup if I do not take control of my diet and exercise NOW! I am terrified of needles so this is the reality check (or kick in the butt) I needed.

    Now I am trying to educate myself on diet, exercise plus all the other problems people that are (or have been morbidly obese) have to deal with. I have been down this road so many times before. Unsuccessful I might add. I feel obesity is a self destructive addiction as bad if not worse than people struggling with other addictions. It is not easy by any means. Other people have managed to do what they needed to do to lose the weight… and keep it off. Losing it is half the battle. Keeping it off is a whole new ball game.

    I really could use some help as I feel I am running out of time.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      You’re right – it’s easy to lose weight but keeping it off will really require a lifestyle change for life. Find something you LOVE to do so it won’t feel like work. I recently discovered that I love hiking, which makes it easier to push through the pain that comes with my health issues.
      Please keep us posted, praying for you <3

  22. Thank you for this. I am morbidly obease and I am 32 days into turning my life around. The first 31 days I participated in a work out challenge and actually got 2nd place. The challenge just finished and I feel like I’m back at square one again and trying to figure out what to do. I have a goal to lose 108 pounds in a year. In this first month I lost 8lbs. Every inch of my body hurts. I shy away from workout partners because they are far more fit then I am and I’m afraid I will hold them back or make myself look ridiculous. I want to stop but I don’t want to be where I was. This tips I’m going to utilize for myself and continue to keep pushing.

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