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Old 09-16-2019, 10:10 PM
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How much harder is it for an overweight person to exercise?


Iím overweight and I work with people that like to climb stairs throughout the day. As someone that weighs 280 pounds, walking up 4 flights of stairs is quite a workout. The rest of the group do it 3 or 4 times.

Iím trying to determine, to the extent that itís possible, how much harder it is for me than it is for one of my 150 pound co-workers. I donít think that itís as simple as putting a 130 pound backpack on them because Iím pretty sure that none of them could handle it. I also doubt that Iím that much stronger than they are.

If this were a high school physics problem, it could probably solved pretty easily with some answer in foot pounds. But when part of the extra mass is doing some of the work, Iím now sure what the answer is.

Sorry that this is rambling. The real question is in the title.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:35 PM
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Actually, you are that much stronger than them. Your legs need to be that much stronger to move your weight around.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:42 PM
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It's exactly as much more work as you are carrying more weight. The fact that some of that weight is muscle will make it easier for you than if you could just hang the equivalent dead weight on them, of course. There is also the problem of cardiovascular health to consider. It might be that their cardio fitness would balance or even outweigh (sorry!) the effect of the muscle disparity.

Likewise, if they are gym goers and regular weight lifters, they may well have the musculature to handle it. There is no way to tell.

But it is definitely asking far more of you than it is of them. Don't let them guilt you into spending your days sweaty, breathless and uncomfortable. Also remember that taking the stairs down is substantially harder on your knees and hips. Unless you are quite young, go for a walk at lunchtime instead. Or if you don't have a family waiting for you, try a walk around the office environs in the evening instead of sitting in traffic. Getting into the commute a little later may be beneficial all around.

Last edited by TruCelt; 09-16-2019 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:02 PM
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It isn't rambling but it is hard to know in what manner to answer the question,

In physics work it is a simple physics problem. But that likely isn't what you are after.

Another way of thinking about is the metabolic work you are doing. Each of you expend one metabolic equivalent (MET) at rest. One MET is defined as the energy you spend sitting at rest. Now that amount is more for you than for them. A rough rule (and very rough) is based on 1 Cal/2.2 lb/hr. Reality is based on how much of the weight is what but that gets complicated fast (but there are calculators for that). So at rest you are doing more metabolic work than they are and if each of you are doing an activity that is rated at say 6 METs (moderately brisk stair climbing) then you are also doing that amount more calories of work times six than they are. Maybe more as the same activity for someone more fit is less METs than for someone who is not.

So yes you are doing a lot more work than they are. I'd suggest you pick a level of intensity (say breathing heavy but able to complete a sentence) and a length of time, and do that intensity that long without worrying about comparing yourself to those who are doing less work per flight.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:32 PM
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Just a little clarification so that you guys don’t get the wrong impression. The people that walk the stairs aren’t pushing me into anything. They’re all good people and give me nothing but support in whatever I do.

Not that it’s relevant to the original question but I wanted you to know.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:59 PM
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Something else to consider: Excess weight carried in the torso/abdomen makes breathing more difficult by literally reducing the amount of room into which one's lungs can expand. So the degree of breathlessness can actually be greater if the weight is endogenous, as opposed to (say) in a backpack.

Source: My PCP, last month. (Gotta drop another 80 lbs.)

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Old 09-17-2019, 12:01 AM
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I’m overweight and I work with people that like to climb stairs throughout the day. As someone that weighs 280 pounds
Unless you're 7 feet tall, officially that's not "overweight": it's obese. The distinction is important, I've been officially overweight since the day my hips realized I had XX chromosomes but I've spent about half a year on the lower range of obese and the difference was noticeable. I've had coworkers who were at your weight range (heights between 5'8" and 6"4') and the shorter one didn't so much get up from his chair as roll sideways and up out of it: he started what would eventually be an epic weight loss precisely during the time we worked together and one of the high points was being able to walk up to our office without visible effort. Things such as your build, how much of the extra weight is muscle vs fat and where is the fat located also make a big difference; the same amount of fat distributed more or less evenly between knees and elbows or piled up on the gut, distributed on a frame that's built like an outhouse or on a beanpole, will have different consequences.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:18 AM
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Just a little clarification so that you guys donít get the wrong impression. The people that walk the stairs arenít pushing me into anything. Theyíre all good people and give me nothing but support in whatever I do.

Not that itís relevant to the original question but I wanted you to know.
Thanks. And apologies for the assumption. I guess I was picturing my former colleagues.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:13 AM
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FWIW I assumed the pressure to keep up was self imposed.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:34 AM
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I don't think this would be possible to solve because you can be overweight, but also have the ability to do pretty decent cardio. Have you ever seen that documentary about the guy that can swim for days on end (he's pretty overweight, but he can just keep stroking).

Way too many variables to consider.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:38 AM
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Unless you're 7 feet tall, officially that's not "overweight": it's obese.
I'm just barely 1 foot shy of being 7 feet tall.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:59 AM
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Iím overweight and I work with people that like to climb stairs throughout the day. As someone that weighs 280 pounds, walking up 4 flights of stairs is quite a workout. The rest of the group do it 3 or 4 times.
Forget about weight, walking up stairs is a very intense workout because you're going against gravity. Based upon winning times of races it's 15-20 times harder than a comparable distance on a flat track. You won't burn tons of overall calories because you don't do it for too long but while you're doing it your exertion is huge & your calorie per minute rate is off the charts.

As TruCelt stated; going down is much harder on the joints than going up. If possible, take the elevator down before climbing back up.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:10 AM
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I'm just barely 1 foot shy of being 7 feet tall.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:13 AM
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It’s not just the extra weight. Hence how are used to exercise you are. My wife barely weighs 105 pounds, and she would be hard pressed to walk up four flights of stairs four times.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:40 AM
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To add to what everyone else has already said, yes it's harder. You probably don't need to be doing stairs anyway as it isn't in the best range for weight loss, as far as VO2 max goes. Weight loss is a primarily low grade cardio for longer periods. So want to effectively lose weight, walk, fast, for longer than 30 minutes
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:51 AM
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One contributing factor that makes it harder is that the less you work out, the less efficient your body is at working out. Your weight is definitely a major component, but the ease of walking up the stairs would be different if you regularly worked out compared to being mostly sedentary. It's the same at lower weights as well. A 150lb person who regularly works out will have a much easier time walking up stairs than a 150lb person who is sedentary. The person who works out will have additional metabolic efficiencies which makes effort easier compared to someone who doesn't work out. For you, this means that the stairs would probably be easier if you walked an hour a day even if your weight was still 280.

Essentially, a sedentary person just starting to take the stairs will initially feel it is a very hard task and their heartrate will be very elevated. But after weeks or months of taking the stairs, they will find it much easier. It might never feel easy, but they won't be breathing as hard, their heartrate won't get as high, etc. once their body gets adapted to it.

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Old 09-17-2019, 10:38 AM
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Iím trying to determine, to the extent that itís possible, how much harder it is for me than it is for one of my 150 pound co-workers. I donít think that itís as simple as putting a 130 pound backpack on them because Iím pretty sure that none of them could handle it. I also doubt that Iím that much stronger than they are.
If you magically lost 130 pounds of fat overnight, you would likely have a much easier time going upstairs with a 130lb pack than they would. Your body is already adapted to carrying 280lbs, so your cardiovascular system, joints, tendons, and muscles would be much better able to handle that load than they would.

I wonder if they strapped 130lb and walked up stairs, how would their heartrate, blood pressure, effort etc. be compared to yours? I wouldn't be surprised if you're more efficient at carrying 280lbs up stairs than they are.
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Old 09-21-2019, 04:53 PM
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Congratulations on your effort to exercise and improve your conditioning. I'm glad to hear that you have some supporters to work out with. These individuals can make a real difference! You have a rather long road ahead of you, but you have certainly taken steps toward your goal. Keep going, don't quit!

I know you didn't mention weight loss, but at 280, I'm sure this is on your mind.

Exercise has very little to do with weight loss. Ingesting 500 calories is almost effortless (a 6 inch Subway sandwich, 4 strips of bacon, a plain bagel with cream cheese or many other similar food choices) , but burning 500 calories is anything but effortless. A brisk four mile walk, a hour of moderate bicycling, or a 45 minute swim all only burn about 500 calories.

Its all about eating less calorie dense foods.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:19 PM
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I can’t give you a specific number, and in any case how much harder depends on the exercise. It is a lot harder to do many exercises if one is heavy.

One approach is to look at the people who are successful in a given sport at any level. Gymnasts, 400m runners, power lifters or basketball players all practice very different sports. But with some minor variations tend towards a similar body habitus. Being very good at one sport does not usually make you competitive at unrelated sports.

Many power lifters are large. Although almost all are obese because of the way BMI is calculated, yet most are probably carrying too much fat by other objective measures, such as height to waist ratio. Many are very strong but also struggle with walking up stairs.

I was skinny and gained a lot of weight after years of lifting weights. Exercises like chin-ups are much more difficult for heavy people. Exercises like swimming may be somewhat more difficult but the factors involved are different. Chin-ups depend on shoulder, grip and arm strength versus mass and overcoming gravity. Swimming depends on arm strength and drag, which tends to be proportional to exposed surface area and not volume, although there are other complications. And gravity is less of an issue due to the direction of movement.

I have a great book on physics in sports somewhere. If you have a more specific question I could look at it.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:04 PM
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If you wanted a physics approach, letís ask how much harder it is for someone with mass 2M to climb stairs compared to someone with mass M. These are approximations.

The kinetic energy relates to velocity, 0.5mv^2. If you have mass 2M and travel up and down at half the speed as M, say your speed is V and your lighter friend has a speed of 2V. Your kinetic energy is MV^2. Your lighter friend has a kinetic energy of twice this.

The potential energy relates to work against gravity, PE=mgh for height h. Going up the stairs of height h once would result in your PE of 2Mgh. Your lighter friend has a PE of Mgh, and needs to go double the distance to equal yours, as in fact happens.

Four flights of stairs at 45 degrees might be a height of 25 metres. A slow walking speed is 4 km/h. You could work out values.

So is your lighter friend using more energy, since energy is the sum of these values? And travelling twice the distance with half the weight gives the same potential energy and smaller kinetic energy?

Probably not. In mechanical systems, you also need to overcome friction, which is proportional to mass. Biological systems are much harder to measure, so physiologists use approximations like oxygen consumed. One general thing, though, is the more you do something and get more efficient at it, the LESS useful it might be for burning calories. The inefficiency is a major contributor to work done, in a manner kind of analogous to friction. Any gym has people who spend a lot of time on treadmills who have not achieved the results they hoped for. And anyone on a diet knows they can be less effective with time beyond the ď 3500 calories per pound of fatĒ trope.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:23 PM
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So here's a related analysis I worked out recently.

Let's suppose you wanted to lose weight. The only method known to work is you must expend more calories than you consume.

How can you do this? Well, one way would be to work out your basal metabolic rate, and then, with the help of a tool like My Fitness Pal, eat less than your daily estimated metabolic consumption.

How much less? Well, it seems that the difficulty is more or less proportional to size of the daily caloric deficit. -100 calories you probably would barely notice, -1000 calories you'll probably feel hungry most of the day. (unless you use hunger reducing drugs)

Well, what about burning those calories off with exercise? This is actually counterproductive.

Case A: Your BMR is 2500 kcal per day. You eat 1500, making the count -1000. You will lose almost 2 lbs per week.

Case B: Your BMR is 2500 kcal per day. You eat 2000 but do 500 calories of exercise each day, making the count -1000. You will lose almost 2 lbs per week, but you also have to exert the mental effort to perform the exercise.

Either A or B you feel just as hungry, but in the B case you also had to do effort to exercise. B is mentally harder to do than A, and you are not losing weight any faster. (and this is true for almost any set of numbers you can make up. You could also exercise in case A, or just eat even less)

Does it mean you shouldn't exercise when losing weight? No, you should, but for health reasons (and the scientific evidence is in favor of a relative modest amount of exercise each week, nothing that would burn 3500 calories weekly). It is not making you lose weight faster. The weight loss is coming from not eating.

Last edited by SamuelA; 09-21-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:49 PM
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It is true that to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you expend at rest and through light and vigorous activity.

But while it is good to simplify these discussions, it is difficult to keep complexity when needed. If you eat more calories to cover all expended during exercise, you won’t lose more weight. But this does not have to happen, and the discussion is much complicated by:

A) The protein/fat/carb composition of calories

B) When nutrients are consumed in relation to exercise, affecting storage and partition

C) Whether the exercise builds muscle; the goal of losing fat and losing weight are different

D) How efficient someone is at the exercise

E) The degree of non-vigorous exercise (e.g walking a dog) which may not stimulate appetite in the same way

F) The length of time on the diet may change the basal metabolic rate as bodies evolved to survive and find efficiencies when there is less food, eg: reduce activity levels.
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:19 PM
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It is true that to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you expend at rest and through light and vigorous activity.

But while it is good to simplify these discussions, it is difficult to keep complexity when needed. If you eat more calories to cover all expended during exercise, you wonít lose more weight. But this does not have to happen, and the discussion is much complicated by:

A) The protein/fat/carb composition of calories

B) When nutrients are consumed in relation to exercise, affecting storage and partition

C) Whether the exercise builds muscle; the goal of losing fat and losing weight are different

D) How efficient someone is at the exercise

E) The degree of non-vigorous exercise (e.g walking a dog) which may not stimulate appetite in the same way

F) The length of time on the diet may change the basal metabolic rate as bodies evolved to survive and find efficiencies when there is less food, eg: reduce activity levels.
A is correct because if you are restricting calories, the calories you do consume need to have enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

B, C, D, E, F have little relevance to none.
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:39 PM
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Theyíre all pretty relevant, some more than others. But I guess weíre not going to agree on this. Life goes on.
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Old 09-21-2019, 10:00 PM
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They’re all pretty relevant, some more than others. But I guess we’re not going to agree on this. Life goes on.
Well, I've read that B is bullshit because time of feeding doesn't actually matter much in clinical trials. Just total calories, as expected. C is irrelevant and wrong, if you are at a caloric deficit you lose weight, you will never gain it. Recomping is rather difficult when at a severe deficit. D is irrelevant, the deeper the deficit the hungrier you will feel. E is probably not too relevant, most likely long term hunger is the same regardless. (even if the exercise suppresses hunger for a few hours the person will feel it later). F is limited, if the body had unlimited throttling no one would die from starvation.

Most likely life doesn't agree with you.

Last edited by SamuelA; 09-21-2019 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:06 AM
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A. The protein composition makes a difference due to its thermic effect, it takes more calories to burn it. Protein is often more sating/filling as well. The fat composition makes a difference since the body does not turn fat into sugars, which are preferred by the brain and may affect insulin levels.

B. Exercise and nutrition trials are often underpowered or not designed for specific populations. But the work of John Berardi shows a benefit to consuming carbs just before, during or just after a workout. It’s also why eating large meals before bedtime is not recommended. In fact, eating the same amount of food, but early in the day (large lunch, small dinner) by itself results in less weight gain, since calories are more likely to be used than stored. Not all studies show an affect, but enough do.

C. Many people who want to lose weight would be happy if they looked like The Rock or were less fat and more buff. Muscle weighs more than fat and it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat with a good exercise program and diet. Your analysis is not bad but is too simple and minimizes the effect exercise can certainly have on improving body composition and weight loss as well.

D. Exercise efficiency matters. For climbing the stairs, a larger person might initially find it difficult. In a mechanical system, it can be difficult to start moving (static friction) and keep moving (dynamic friction). A biological equivalent means it is harder for a heavy person climbing steps to start moving and keep moving so they use more energy than simple equations would say. Once you get good at running 10 km races, it is surprising how few calories that burns.

E. If appetite always depended on calorie deficit, no one would lose weight. But people do. Cutting weightlifters and fighters do it predictably using known sports nutrition principles. This includes nutrient timing, cycling carbs and activity levels and paying attention to macronutrient profiles.

F. Peoples bodies do adjust to lower intake levels over time. This makes weight loss tougher than anticipated. The basal metabolism rate changes and this makes a difference to how long one might need to reduce calories. I agree a small reduction over more time adds up, though.

You don’t need to agree with me. I’m willing to argue once to educate people. Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes it isn’t worth feeding trolls, or looking for a consensus. Life agrees with me just fine.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:21 AM
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A. The protein composition makes a difference due to its thermic effect, it takes more calories to burn it. Protein is often more sating/filling as well. The fat composition makes a difference since the body does not turn fat into sugars, which are preferred by the brain and may affect insulin levels.

B. Exercise and nutrition trials are often underpowered or not designed for specific populations. But the work of John Berardi shows a benefit to consuming carbs just before, during or just after a workout. It’s also why eating large meals before bedtime is not recommended. In fact, eating the same amount of food, but early in the day (large lunch, small dinner) by itself results in less weight gain, since calories are more likely to be used than stored. Not all studies show an affect, but enough do.

C. Many people who want to lose weight would be happy if they looked like The Rock or were less fat and more buff. Muscle weighs more than fat and it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat with a good exercise program and diet. Your analysis is not bad but is too simple and minimizes the effect exercise can certainly have on improving body composition and weight loss as well.

D. Exercise efficiency matters. For climbing the stairs, a larger person might initially find it difficult. In a mechanical system, it can be difficult to start moving (static friction) and keep moving (dynamic friction). A biological equivalent means it is harder for a heavy person climbing steps to start moving and keep moving so they use more energy than simple equations would say. Once you get good at running 10 km races, it is surprising how few calories that burns.

E. If appetite always depended on calorie deficit, no one would lose weight. But people do. Cutting weightlifters and fighters do it predictably using known sports nutrition principles. This includes nutrient timing, cycling carbs and activity levels and paying attention to macronutrient profiles.

F. Peoples bodies do adjust to lower intake levels over time. This makes weight loss tougher than anticipated. The basal metabolism rate changes and this makes a difference to how long one might need to reduce calories. I agree a small reduction over more time adds up, though.

You don’t need to agree with me. I’m willing to argue once to educate people. Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes it isn’t worth feeding trolls, or looking for a consensus. Life agrees with me just fine.
A. Cents not dollars. If you're eating at -1000 it doesn't matter if it's really -900 or -1100

B. Cents not dollars

C. If you want to look like the rock, you first need to stop being obese, and then you need to take anabolic steroids and combine this with high dietary protein and exercise. In that order.

D. Cents not dollars

E. Cents not dollars

F. A person's body cannot make a -1000 calorie deficit into neutral or a surplus.

The flaw in all your analysis is that you are focused on negligible effects and missing the forest. The thing that actually matters is maintaining a large caloric deficit. If you can do that, you will lose weight rapidly. I have done this personally with a mix of protein drinks as they seem to have the maximum satiety:calorie ratio (about 4-6 hours satiety for a mere 100-150 calories) and a drug that suppresses appetite as a side effect. (it's taken off-label by many physicians and people in silicon valley)

Once you are no longer overweight, if you want to get buff, well, if you're under 25 and male and your father had big muscles, you can lift weights, going for increased lifts and eat a lot of protein. If not, you are going to probably either need to lower your expectations (Hollywood muscle requires steroids) or you're going to need to obtain some synthetic testosterone of some type and inject it.

Last edited by SamuelA; 09-22-2019 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:11 AM
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And the problem with your analysis is that it is simply not true exercise isnít an important factor in losing weight or improving body composition. Diet is more important, but hardly everything.

But most people eat a horrible diet, and could make smaller and beneficial changes: eating more vegetables, reducing portion size of unhealthy snacks, eating less sugar and pastries, giving up non-diet soda, drinking less alcohol.

All it takes to improve at lifting weight and get strong is to start to do it, to make an effort to slowly increase weights or reps, and to consistently do it. No special genetics or drugs required. I donít really have anything more to discuss with you.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:46 AM
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Just focusing on calories to lose weight is typically insufficient since it doesn't address the mental desires and compulsions around food and eating. It would be like telling a smoker to just smoke less or an alcoholic to just drink less. While those techniques will work in a theoretical sense, they often fail in the real world because the person struggles to control their urges.

Just answering the title of the thread "How much harder is it for an overweight person to exercise?", it is typically much more difficult for the overweight person to exercise and it has nothing to do with the activity. Although the added weight is definitely a factor, the real difficulties are often overcoming the mental struggles. An overweight person will likely have many issues to deal with such as lack of motivation, self-doubt about their ability, criticism from friends and family, high levels of discomfort, etc. The thermodynamic difference of the activity is trivial compared to the difference in how a fit person approaches exercises versus an overweight person. Someone who works out 4x per week can do a long, strenuous workout without any internal issues to overcome. But an exercise newbie may have long internal discussions with themselves just trying to get out the door for a short walk. It is much easier mentally for a fit person to do a 1000 calorie workout than it is for a sedentary person to do a 100 calorie walk.

If someone is just starting out, they should primarily be focused on overcoming their lack of motivation. For the first 6-8 weeks, they should exercise on a fixed schedule without wavering. Set up fixed times 3x per week where they exercise. Don't be so concerned about the level of effort or what activity is done. The important thing at first is to develop the habit of exercise and minimize the self-defeating behaviors which cause someone to quit. Over time exercise will be come a habit and will be much easier to do on a regular basis.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Kearsen1 View Post
You probably don't need to be doing stairs anyway as it isn't in the best range for weight loss, as far as VO2 max goes. Weight loss is a primarily low grade cardio for longer periods.
Actually, High Intensity Interval Training (Tabata etc.) is very effective at fat loss and aerobic conditioning, it is "high grade" cardio for very short periods, and climbing stairs can be an effective form of interval training.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:39 PM
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... Just answering the title of the thread "How much harder is it for an overweight person to exercise?" ...
The op? Someone actually cares about answering a GQ op? Huh. Wonders never cease!

It is a interesting question to try to answer, and yes the psychological is very real ... but not what I think the op was asking about.

FWIW I've been mulling it around some more.

In terms of work being done the answer is the physics work and the op is indeed accomplishing the work of carrying 280 pounds up and down those flights, lots more than a 150 pound coworker is carrying. And that is a very valid answer.

And our op produces that work with less perceived effort expended compared to what 150 pound coworker would experience carrying that same total weight, even one who has been climbing stairs for a while (so has muscles well adapted for that activity). Put 130 pounds in a backpack on that coworker (or a 130 pound teenager carried piggyback style) and that coworker would struggle more getting up and down than our op would.

Of course that is both because that a while a significant portion of the op's weight is fat, there is also a fair amount of the op's weight that is muscle mass adapted to carrying that mass around, and because the mass in a backpack (or teenager) is not distributed in a way that makes carrying it as efficient.

That perceived effort (sing/talk test as one simple way to keep track) would fairly tightly follow the actual amount of metabolic work being done, which could be measured in a lab condition as the amount of oxygen consumed per minute which in turn correlates with calories expended.

But there is no clear formula to quantify that based on the weight information alone.


As to all the hijacks. Yeah simplistic assumptions lead to simplistic conclusions.

Calculated estimates of BMR and RMR based on body weight alone, even BMI alone, are +/- huge amounts, often reported as 20%, and sometimes much more (in comparison with the gold standard of indirect calorimetry).

RMR varies in response to body weight and composition changes and in response to sorts of exercise done. So even if an accurate RMR was obtained at the start it changes in a nonlinear fashion that is hard to predict, inconvenient to measure, and impossible to calculate.

Calories listed for foods are often very off from their net metabolic impact. A decent discussion of how that happens here but yup, often off by as much as 25%, with the real net to the body calorie impact of higher protein and fiber foods being overestimated.

No question that exercise impacts body composition to great degree (% body fat and how much fat is located in the most health damaging areas), has less impact on total weight loss per se, is of tremendous impact on health regardless of weight loss, and is a key part of maintaining a weight loss achieved.

Not going to go through all those letters but slavish attention to calculations (even if the numbers going in were good, which they are not) misses the key confounder: the role of the brain in all this, and I am not talking about "will power". Not the psychologic as much as the neurophysiological. The brain is the boss of our metabolism and the brain responds to both the pleasure ("hedonic") value of food, and its ability to give a sense of having had enough ("satiety"). Any given person will be able to achieve and maintain weight loss better eating a larger proportion of foods of moderate hedonic and high satiety values and relatively little of high hedonic and low satiety level. The former includes higher protein and fiber foods, the latter more highly processed crap. Good review here.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:28 PM
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Just focusing on calories to lose weight is typically insufficient since it doesn't address the mental desires and compulsions around food and eating.
Which is why one of the best pieces of advice I've heard re. food is "learn to enjoy what you're eating; if you're not enjoying what you eat, stop". Did wonders not just for a then-extremely-obese coworker but for everybody in the team. The second key piece was "eat when you're hungry (even if it's not supposed to be 'a time to eat'), do not eat when you're not hungry (even if it's somebody's birthday)".
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:40 AM
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As a fat person myself, I can state that those of us who have Frequent Discount cards at Big & Tall stores are likelier to have bad backs, knees and ankles, which has to figure into this. OTOH, serious athletes seem prone to at least two of those three in their later years.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:56 PM
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Which is why one of the best pieces of advice I've heard re. food is "learn to enjoy what you're eating; if you're not enjoying what you eat, stop". Did wonders not just for a then-extremely-obese coworker but for everybody in the team. The second key piece was "eat when you're hungry (even if it's not supposed to be 'a time to eat'), do not eat when you're not hungry (even if it's somebody's birthday)".
One of my ballet teachers told us about dessert: "You really only taste the first three bites. After that, you are just mechanically shoving food into your mouth, and gaining only more calories, never more enjoyment."

By and large my observation is that she was correct. This knowledge doesn't erase the instinctual urge to continue consuming a high-calorie food source, but it really helps the brain override the instinct when I have words for what is happening, and can watch for it.
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