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  1. #1
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Elliptical HIIT for the Morbidly Obese

    Hi all,

    I have been reading up for the past few days and I am motivated to lose weight.

    I have been doing the elliptical machine for about 30 minutes everyday for the past 3 days, with resistance set to 5/10.

    Today, after stretching, I did 5 minutes of 20spm as a warm up and then I attempted to do 15s of burst at about 70 spm then recovering for 45s at about 18 spm, for about 8 reps, before finishing off with another 5 minutes of cool down.

    Is there anyone that is able to help me with my routine?
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  2. #2
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    regardless of the routine your doing, you need to set goals.
    more than just a goal to lose weight you need immediate goals.
    increased distance, resistance, time, or i guess a specific distance in less time.
    you need to make sure your making athletic gains to keep you moving foward in the gym instead of just spinning your wheels doing the same thing everyday.
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  3. #3
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    How do you feel after your workout?

    Get your body into a comfortable rhythm so that the time slips away under your nose. Raise the speed/intensity as you're already doing, but work it into your rhythm, and do it subtly so you can still do as much work as possible in those 30 minutes.

    Having a good diet of complex carbohydrates and good proteins will provide you a clean energy uptake. Make sure to get in plenty of fiber and healthy fats with it.

    It's good to do weights also if you can find the time to include it into your workout. A good way to work most of your muscles is to do compound exercises that mainly target your chest, upper-back, and legs. Such exercises, respectively, would be the bench/chest press, the lat-pulldown, and squats. Just do 3-5 sets of each of those, plus other exercises here and there, every other day, but do enough weight to tire out your muscles by the end of your workout.
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  4. #4
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    How do you feel after your workout?

    Get your body into a comfortable rhythm so that the time slips away under your nose. Raise the speed/intensity as you're already doing, but work it into your rhythm, and do it subtly so you can still do as much work as possible in those 30 minutes.

    Having a good diet of complex carbohydrates and good proteins will provide you a clean energy uptake. Make sure to get in plenty of fiber and healthy fats with it.

    It's good to do weights also if you can find the time to include it into your workout. A good way to work most of your muscles is to do compound exercises that mainly target your chest, upper-back, and legs. Such exercises, respectively, would be the bench/chest press, the lat-pulldown, and squats. Just do 3-5 sets of each of those, plus other exercises here and there, every other day, but do enough weight to tire out your muscles by the end of your workout.
    I was really tired out right after the workout but right now, after about 6 hours, I feel quite alright...

    Am considering to do another set of the above routine, and then take your suggestion of doing some weights...

    @firefox: I am hoping to eventually get into a 15/30 cycle, as I am really obese I am not sure when my body might just fail on me... Therefore I am here to hopefully be able to track my progress as well as getting some useful tips from everyone here.
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  5. #5
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    I was really tired out right after the workout but right now, after about 6 hours, I feel quite alright...

    Am considering to do another set of the above routine, and then take your suggestion of doing some weights...

    @firefox: I am hoping to eventually get into a 15/30 cycle, as I am really obese I am not sure when my body might just fail on me... Therefore I am here to hopefully be able to track my progress as well as getting some useful tips from everyone here.
    Another question, am I supposed to feel any physical change after HIIT? Since my body is supposed to be burning fats faster than usual...?
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  6. #6
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    HIIT isn't some miracle exercise to incinerate fat. Contrary to popular belief. Think of it as what it is: a higher intensity form of cardio.


    I don't know what all you've done up till now, but your first priority should be fixing your diet. It is very hard to out train a bad diet. If you're ingesting more than you're burning, you can do all the HIIT you want and not lose weight.
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  7. #7
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    HIIT isn't some miracle exercise to incinerate fat. Contrary to popular belief. Think of it as what it is: a higher intensity form of cardio.


    I don't know what all you've done up till now, but your first priority should be fixing your diet. It is very hard to out train a bad diet. If you're ingesting more than you're burning, you can do all the HIIT you want and not lose weight.
    I have been cutting down my intake of carbs by about 50% and I guess right now it is too early for me to tell anything, so I am kind of trying my best to lose weight by exploring the different ways, thank you (:
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  8. #8
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    I have been cutting down my intake of carbs by about 50% and I guess right now it is too early for me to tell anything, so I am kind of trying my best to lose weight by exploring the different ways, thank you (:
    I'd say head to the nutrition section and read the stickies they have there. Excellent info can be had. I haven't really been, but i know I've heard that the cutting fat section has excellent stickied threads as well.
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  9. #9
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    I'd say head to the nutrition section and read the stickies they have there. Excellent info can be had. I haven't really been, but i know I've heard that the cutting fat section has excellent stickied threads as well.
    Will do so right now, thank you!
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  10. #10
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Smile Update

    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    Will do so right now, thank you!
    Hmmm..

    Update with my program:

    I am up to warm up with 5 min of 25spm, then 8 reps of 15/45 where 15s is at about 50spm, 45s recovery at 25spm... then remaining 7 min to complete 7km as shown on my elliptical cross trainer.

    My timing used to be 21min-ish and now I am beginning to reap a little bit of rewards by aiming for a 10s improvement in time everyday...

    I just managed to clock 7km at 19:40 today.

    As for my diet, I am keeping every meal below 500cal, 3 meals a day...
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  11. #11
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Awesome!

    To say, you can probably eat much more than 1500 calories and still lose weight plenty fast. If you feel just fine and not hungry with your current plan, then by all means, stick with it. But at your current weight, I am near positive you could cut with 2500 calories and be fine for quite awhile.

    If you haven't begun to lift weights, have you thought about incorporating it into your routine as well? It doesn't have to be major, but doing a solid 3x a feek full body routine (such as all_pro's beginner routine) would be excellent and help speed along your results.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    Hmmm..

    Update with my program:

    I am up to warm up with 5 min of 25spm, then 8 reps of 15/45 where 15s is at about 50spm, 45s recovery at 25spm... then remaining 7 min to complete 7km as shown on my elliptical cross trainer.

    My timing used to be 21min-ish and now I am beginning to reap a little bit of rewards by aiming for a 10s improvement in time everyday...

    I just managed to clock 7km at 19:40 today.

    As for my diet, I am keeping every meal below 500cal, 3 meals a day...
    Is your bodyweight dropping yet?

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the cardio you're doing; if you're liking it and sticking with it then don't change it. The thing that's more sensitive, and requires constant mindfulness, is what you're eating. Educate yourself on that as much as you can, and keep up the good work.

    Building strength plays an important role, too, beyond having a few muscles to show off as your fat melts away. Higher muscle mass raises your basal metabolic rate, so it's sort of like doing light cardio all day every day. A little weight training, even if you don't have any strength-related or muscle-related goals, will make weight loss easier to accomplish.

    Consistency and persistance are your best friends here. My wife and I lost 110 pounds between us in the past year. It didn't take extreme measures; it took doing the right things like you're starting to do, and it took all year. Stick with it.

    -Andrew
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  13. #13
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    Awesome!

    To say, you can probably eat much more than 1500 calories and still lose weight plenty fast. If you feel just fine and not hungry with your current plan, then by all means, stick with it. But at your current weight, I am near positive you could cut with 2500 calories and be fine for quite awhile.

    If you haven't begun to lift weights, have you thought about incorporating it into your routine as well? It doesn't have to be major, but doing a solid 3x a feek full body routine (such as all_pro's beginner routine) would be excellent and help speed along your results.
    ohohoh i forgot to include!

    I started on the weights too, not much but about 5.5kg per side (dumbbells), rear lunges, calf raises, squats, dead lift, dumbbell flys, flat dumbbell press, chicken press, hip press, bent over row, arnold press and bicep curls, in the order, each about 11 reps taking 2 seconds of exertion, then 2 seconds of relaxation.

    Chazzy would you suggest any weight lifting routines to me, or to add on to my above repertoire? When should I consider adding on more weight?
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  14. #14
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    It is very simple but an excellent program:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=4195843

    7 exercises, 4 sets each, 3x a week. It lays out the reps and when to progress in weight.
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  15. #15
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nerd_power View Post
    Is your bodyweight dropping yet?

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the cardio you're doing; if you're liking it and sticking with it then don't change it. The thing that's more sensitive, and requires constant mindfulness, is what you're eating. Educate yourself on that as much as you can, and keep up the good work.

    Building strength plays an important role, too, beyond having a few muscles to show off as your fat melts away. Higher muscle mass raises your basal metabolic rate, so it's sort of like doing light cardio all day every day. A little weight training, even if you don't have any strength-related or muscle-related goals, will make weight loss easier to accomplish.

    Consistency and persistance are your best friends here. My wife and I lost 110 pounds between us in the past year. It didn't take extreme measures; it took doing the right things like you're starting to do, and it took all year. Stick with it.

    -Andrew
    Thanks for the encouragement Andrew! It may be too early to say, since I am barely past the 1 week mark, it's too early to say but I feel so much more... healthy? Just today, my friends were munching on their McDonald's Meals and I decided to go for canteen food instead, and left half the rice untouched! I feel like I've changed after reading up a lot on nutrition and such...
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  16. #16
    Registered User elrosan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    It is very simple but an excellent program:


    7 exercises, 4 sets each, 3x a week. It lays out the reps and when to progress in weight.
    Thanks Chazzy!
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  17. #17
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    If you're obese, I'd say to just do long slow distance for hours and hours.

    The thing about HIIT is that it improves VO2max rapidly, doesn't take much time and is generally sparing on the muscles - excessive (read: a fooking lot, like marathon status) long duration, low intensity cardio will eat away at your muscles as well as your fat, which is counterproductive for somebody trying to get jacked.

    If you are genuinely fat, there is no specific reason you need to do HIIT. Good old fashioned plodding away will probably lean you out faster.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    If you're obese, I'd say to just do long slow distance for hours and hours.

    The thing about HIIT is that it improves VO2max rapidly, doesn't take much time and is generally sparing on the muscles - excessive (read: a fooking lot, like marathon status) long duration, low intensity cardio will eat away at your muscles as well as your fat, which is counterproductive for somebody trying to get jacked.

    If you are genuinely fat, there is no specific reason you need to do HIIT. Good old fashioned plodding away will probably lean you out faster.
    I fail to understand why hours of cardio is better. HITT and weight training seems like a good expenditure of time rather than low intensity for hours on end.
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    I fail to understand why hours of cardio is better. HITT and weight training seems like a good expenditure of time rather than low intensity for hours on end.
    I agree 1000000 %. On my cardio days, I do 25-30 minutes, max. Cardio sucks balls.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by adamdavidson47 View Post
    I agree 1000000 %. On my cardio days, I do 25-30 minutes, max. Cardio sucks balls.
    screw cardio
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    I fail to understand why hours of cardio is better. HITT and weight training seems like a good expenditure of time rather than low intensity for hours on end.
    I agree, but anecdotally everybody I've ever met IRL who endorses HIIT as being superior to normal cardio for leaning out was... well, fat. Their preference for HIIT seems to be more a justification for their lack of discipline for normal cardio than knowledge of a superior fat loss method.

    I would suggest normal cardio for somebody who's fat because normal cardio promotes discipline. It sucks and yet you force yourself to do it anyway. On that note, everyone I know IRL who does normal jogging/endurance cardio is lean. I know a guy who plays college rugby who's lean as crap. His routine consists of lifting and running 3 miles a day, not lifting and HIIT. He has an 8 pack and bulging bicep veins.

    I'm not saying that the whole HIIT theory is wrong, I know for a fact that HIIT kicks your ass and burns a lot of energy, I'm just saying that one way or another it just seems like out in real life it seems like most people who promote HIIT are fatter than people who just get on a treadmill and run for a longass time.

    I personally think it's because when people do HIIT they don't do enough of it. I don't think a few tabata intervals, no matter how brutal, add up to the same total caloric expenditure as a half hour of plodding away on a treadmill or elliptical. The absence of an equivalency ratio between HIIT and long slow distance caloric expenditure saddens me, because until that is found no meaningful discussion of "HIIT vs. normal cardio" can ever get anywhere.

    I have to say to the OP's credit, he at least does a good half hour of HIIT, which is a LOT fking more than most people do in HIIT training, so he's likely actually getting something out of it.

    Perhaps he'd get more out of his training if he did his normal HIIT workout and then added in some long endurance stuff afterwards, like a half hour of hard intervals and then a 30-45 minute "cooldown" instead of 5 minutes. More is better in this department.

    I agree with what people say, if I were in his boat and just trying to lean the F down by any means necessary, I'd be hardcore about it and do lots and lots of everything for lots of volume: Compound lifts for 4-6 sets of 12-20 reps followed by isolations for 5 sets of 20 per body part, then HIIT and then long slow distance stuff. That would lean ANYBODY the fuq out.
    Last edited by IDrinkBloodLOL; 04-26-2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: formatting
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    I agree, but anecdotally everybody I've ever met IRL who endorses HIIT as being superior to normal cardio for leaning out was... well, fat. Their preference for HIIT seems to be more a justification for their lack of discipline for normal cardio than knowledge of a superior fat loss method.

    I would suggest normal cardio for somebody who's fat because normal cardio promotes discipline. It sucks and yet you force yourself to do it anyway. On that note, everyone I know IRL who does normal jogging/endurance cardio is lean. I know a guy who plays college rugby who's lean as crap. His routine consists of lifting and running 3 miles a day, not lifting and HIIT. He has an 8 pack and bulging bicep veins.

    I'm not saying that the whole HIIT theory is wrong, I know for a fact that HIIT kicks your ass and burns a lot of energy, I'm just saying that one way or another it just seems like out in real life it seems like most people who promote HIIT are fatter than people who just get on a treadmill and run for a longass time.

    I personally think it's because when people do HIIT they don't do enough of it. I don't think a few tabata intervals, no matter how brutal, add up to the same total caloric expenditure as a half hour of plodding away on a treadmill or ellpitical.

    I have to say to the OP's credit, he at least does a good half hour of HIIT, which is a LOT fking more than most people do in HIIT training, so he's likely actually getting something out of it.

    Perhaps he'd get more out of his training if he did his normal HIIT workout and then added in some long endurance stuff afterwards, like a half hour of hard intervals and then a 30-45 minute "cooldown" instead of 5 minutes. More is better in this department.

    I agree with what people say, if I were in his boat and just trying to lean the F down by any means necessary, I'd be hardcore about it and do lots and lots of everything for lots of volume: Compound lifts for 4-6 sets of 12-20 reps followed by isolations for 5 sets of 20 per body part, then HIIT and then long slow distance stuff. That would lean ANYBODY the fuq out.
    All valid points, especially the last bit, but I would add that if you're morbidly obese, the best exercise program is always going to be the one you do consistently and persistently. Any workout regimen that kicks your ass bad enough that you quit after a few weeks is pretty much valueless. If you're morbidly obese, you have to figure out how to settle in for the long haul. I'm not sure whether that's a vote in favor of HIIT or LISS cardio; personal preference obviously plays a big role here.

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    What people need to realize is that this isn't the Biggest Loser. It's real life. We don't have the luxury of working out all day, every day. Most of us have a limited amount of time to spend in the gym, and want to use that time to it's maximum potential. That's why, to me, 30 min of cardio is enough, if you do it properly.
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    I agree, but anecdotally everybody I've ever met IRL who endorses HIIT as being superior to normal cardio for leaning out was... well, fat. Their preference for HIIT seems to be more a justification for their lack of discipline for normal cardio than knowledge of a superior fat loss method.

    I would suggest normal cardio for somebody who's fat because normal cardio promotes discipline. It sucks and yet you force yourself to do it anyway. On that note, everyone I know IRL who does normal jogging/endurance cardio is lean. I know a guy who plays college rugby who's lean as crap. His routine consists of lifting and running 3 miles a day, not lifting and HIIT. He has an 8 pack and bulging bicep veins.

    I'm not saying that the whole HIIT theory is wrong, I know for a fact that HIIT kicks your ass and burns a lot of energy, I'm just saying that one way or another it just seems like out in real life it seems like most people who promote HIIT are fatter than people who just get on a treadmill and run for a longass time.
    LISS works great for me to cut fat without impacting my weight training efforts
    HIIT and High / Mid Intensity protocols work better for me once I am already lean and eating at maintenance for that
    2-3 15-20 minute High Intensity sessions a week during a cut, for me:
    -Works great for the first week or 2. I look better. But after that....
    -I end up being ridiculously hungry all day. Intense carb cravings.
    -I start needing extra recovery time for weight training throwing me off schedule or just doing the weight training anyway and end up plateauing everywhere
    -Plateauing (strength) all over the place in the weight room, because I'm hungry and not getting enough nutrients.....but if I start tossing in more food, I stop losing weight, and basically end up spinning my wheels.


    That's why I don't advocate any High Intensity protocols on this board at all until you are already lean.
    I'm not saying they won't work for you, but I have never been able to do HIIT or High Intensity during a "cut" without screwing myself over.

    Once I am lean, I can do a few 20-30 min jogs during the week, eat carbs in the range of 250-300g a day, and not be affected hardly at all other than getting a pump and muscle fullness.
    Doing that during the "Cut" keeps me bloated and looking like sh**. My body tolerates carbs much better when lean.
    I don't care about the "whys", the but "logically it shouldn't be that ways" that's just "what is".

    That's how it affects me from experience, I rather walk around an outdoor track 10-12 times at 3mph listening to music, or do the elliptical with an iPad atop the display for 30-45 minutes, watch videos, and zone out than huff and puff through HIIT and have to fight myself on the diet.
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    if you're that over weight, baisically anything you do is going to be helping a lot, so keep that up. As long as your diet is in check too.

    You could mix some HIIT in on some days just as a change of pace, when you do HIIT you really dont need to be doing more than about 10 mins when you first start off and build up to around 20 mins.

    Also i'd definatly recommend some resistance/weight training too, its an awesome aid to fat loss, If it's done intensely you are essentially doing HIIT if you think about it (heart rate goes up during set, rest, repeat) just some full body routines at first would work fine. Increasing your muscle mass aids in fat loss because you burn more calories for maintenance on a daily basis as your muscle mass increases.
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    Wow... Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone for your input. I will be taking all of the points into consideration...

    Right now other than my normal routine, I am also trying to do about 30/40 min of cardio on the elliptical as well, every other day right after I wake up.

    As for the hardcore lifting, I am not sure if I should be putting on so much stress for my knees, as they tend to hurt if I push myself too much over squats... perhaps I will be more intense with weight lifting after I start shedding some weight.

    As I am in Singapore, the population density if very high and people here tend to be very judging; an obese guy like me out running in the streets definitely isn't a pleasing sight. Moreover, with my weight, I was advised by my doctor to keep to the ellipticals for now to prevent impact to my knees.

    I have a medium term goal: Once I am below 100kg I will start running/jogging outside and/or at the track, I guess this is an issue of the confidence in the way I look, haha.

    As for the diet, I am putting up a hard fight, taking in foods with low GI and switching to whole grains instead of the "white" stuff. Not being racist but instead of taking the enriched white bread in the morning, my breakfast consists of wholemeal bread and eggs which tend to last me for about 4 hours before I feel hungry. As for hunger, I don't find it affecting me that much yet, so perhaps when the hunger kicks in I would do something about it. My belief for me right now is to do whatever I can, whenever I can, without putting too much stress on my body and to tackle issues one by one, as and when they start popping out.
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    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    Wow... Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone for your input. I will be taking all of the points into consideration...

    Right now other than my normal routine, I am also trying to do about 30/40 min of cardio on the elliptical as well, every other day right after I wake up.

    As for the hardcore lifting, I am not sure if I should be putting on so much stress for my knees, as they tend to hurt if I push myself too much over squats... perhaps I will be more intense with weight lifting after I start shedding some weight.

    As I am in Singapore, the population density if very high and people here tend to be very judging; an obese guy like me out running in the streets definitely isn't a pleasing sight. Moreover, with my weight, I was advised by my doctor to keep to the ellipticals for now to prevent impact to my knees.

    I have a medium term goal: Once I am below 100kg I will start running/jogging outside and/or at the track, I guess this is an issue of the confidence in the way I look, haha.

    As for the diet, I am putting up a hard fight, taking in foods with low GI and switching to whole grains instead of the "white" stuff. Not being racist but instead of taking the enriched white bread in the morning, my breakfast consists of wholemeal bread and eggs which tend to last me for about 4 hours before I feel hungry. As for hunger, I don't find it affecting me that much yet, so perhaps when the hunger kicks in I would do something about it. My belief for me right now is to do whatever I can, whenever I can, without putting too much stress on my body and to tackle issues one by one, as and when they start popping out.
    And... I lost 1.4kg!
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    Nutrition is key
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    Lost 1.2kg this week

    Hmmm, I lost 1.2 kg last week, and about 4% Body fat according to my scale, unlikely to be accurate though...
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    Originally Posted by elrosan View Post
    Hmmm, I lost 1.2 kg last week, and about 4% Body fat according to my scale, unlikely to be accurate though...
    The bad news is you definitely didn't lose 4% body fat in a week.

    The good news is that at 1.2 kg per week, you're on the fast track to achieving your goals. Keep it up.

    -Andrew
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