Can you do high-intensity workouts if you’re overweight?
This is the fifth question that I’m answering this month of the 24 most commonly asked questions Mark and I receive.
The Short Answer
High-intensity workouts are effective for all athletes of varying sizes, shapes, ages, and genders.
But, it does pose a higher risk of injury.
The Longer Answer
Last Christmas, my brother-in-law (sports surgeon in New Mexico) and I had a discussion on this topic. His point was that running, squatting, and jumping placed too much pressure on the knee joints of a morbidly obese individual. And if I encouraged someone to do workouts at a high intensity (as opposed to just going on a walk), I increased their injury risk.
But then again, isn’t that obvious?
Running, squatting, and jumping places more pressure on the joints for any person — not just the overweight. That pressure is just compounded for someone who weighs more.
At RxFIT, consistency has always taken precedence over intensity. In other words, the number of times you show up to workout in a week are more important to us than how hard you pushed yourself in those workouts. It’s the toothbrush analogy: Brushing your teeth for two minutes every morning and night is better than brushing your teeth for fifteen minutes once a week.
If you’re overweight, please don’t be paralyzed by this topic. Too often I see overweight individuals that know just about everything there is to know about exercise and nutrition… but don’t ever implement it.
I’m interested in my athlete’s habits. Eat right and move every day — I’m less concerned about the method.
Keto, intermittent-fasting, and weight watchers are great options if you stay consistent to them. So are long bike rides, walks on the treadmill, and HIIT workouts.
Just know that everything poses an injury risk (and everyone seems to have an opinion about it).