How to Exercise When You Weigh Over 200 Pounds

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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To lose weight and exercise when you weigh over 200 pounds can be a little different than doing so when you’re lighter.

Running might put unwanted strain on your knees and some other exercises might be difficult to perform, however, that shouldn’t stop you from being active and get your weight loss going.

Many people get discouraged when they can’t do things that they used to, or things that others are able to do, but not you.

Want to know why? Because you’re a champion, not a quitter.

In this article, we’ll cover how to exercise when you weigh over 200 pounds.

1. Use Low-Impact Cardio Machines

While running and jogging can be useful when losing weight, they can be a little difficult depending on how much you weigh.

Being over 200 pounds you don’t want to put too much impact on your knees, therefore you can try other activities that are easier on your joints.

Here are a few cardio machines you can use without putting unwanted strain on your knees:

  • Stationary bike
  • Elliptical
  • Arc trainer
  • Rowing machine
  • Glider

Other forms of cardio you can do are walking and swimming.

Here are 5 awesome tips to use walking for weight loss.

2. Add Weightlifting

Another great way to exercise when you weigh over 200 pounds is to do some weightlifting.

Weightlifting is actually a very good low-impact activity.

Some people get scared of weightlifting when they see the young kids doing crazy stuff, bodybuilders grunting, and CrossFitters doing jerky movements.

But you don’t need to do anything crazy.

You should focus on slow and controlled movements, feeling your muscles work while keeping great posture.

Also, aim to lift a weight that’s challenging enough for you but allows you to perform the exercise correctly.

Why is Weightlifting Beneficial to You?

Not only is it a low-impact form of exercise, but it often burns more calories than cardio and boosts your metabolism.

Muscle mass is crucial for keeping a fast metabolism and preventing injuries when you get older.

Muscle is a metabolic active tissue, which means it helps you burn calories even when you’re at rest.

Some women might be scared that weightlifting will make them look bulky, but that’s not really the case.

If you’d like to explore more, here’s a great article about why lifting weights won’t make women bulky.

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Which exercises should you do?

It might be tough at the beginning to do things like barbell back squats or pull-ups, but don’t worry, you don’t really need to do them.

If you’re new to the gym, you can focus on machines instead of free weights (dumbbells and barbells).

Machines will help you get familiarized with the movements and decrease your chances of injuries.

Machines often have a sticker with instructions on how to use them so don’t feel bad if you need to read them.

To be honest, there are some machines that look so weird I have to look at the instructions, no shame on that.

And if they don’t have instructions, just ask for help. People at the gym are often very friendly even if they look “tough,” so don’t be afraid to ask. 

3. Resistance Training at Home

If you can’t make it to the gym or just don’t feel confident enough to go, you can always do at-home workouts.

Again, I’d focus on more weightlifting/resistance training than cardio.

You can get some resistance bands with handles or a set of 10, 15, or 20-pound dumbbells and create your own at-home workout routine.

If you need some guidance, you can check out these at-home workout routines.

Here are some essential home gym equipments you can explore as well.

Just FYI, if you’re one of those people that isn’t confident enough to go to the gym, just know that we all start somewhere and you shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are.

Don’t worry about what others might think.

And if I’m completely honest, most people are just minding their own business. So I’d encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and go.

You’re awesome.

4. Don’t Forget the Importance of a Healthy Diet

While exercising is a great tool to lose some weight, the real key to weight loss will be in your diet.

Remember that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

So if you start exercising and not losing any weight it might be because you are still eating too much (or you’re building muscle while burning fat).

Yes, it’s possible to be losing inches, but not weight. I cover more of that in this article.

Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods such as potatoes, legumes, beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and lean proteins.

Make sure to get at least 3 servings of vegetables throughout the day, this will ensure that you get enough fiber, which will keep you full for longer and help you better absorb the nutrients in your foods.

I often recommend people to adopt the 80/20 rule for weight loss.

I hope you loved this article on how to exercise when you weigh over 200 pounds!

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