How much running OK for the normal weight obese?

I have a low average BMI and extremely small bones but have always had a squishy, wobbly, weak body all over. I had dinnerlady arms by the time I was fourteen. I don't have any weights to lift or want to spend much money, but I've been doing squats, wall push ups, holding a floor push up position for 50 seconds, etc., 3-4 times a week after my new five minute high intensity run (very new - started four days ago). The resistence exercises normally take about 35 minutes when the flexibility and balance work is subtracted.

How much more than five minutes running can I let myself get up to all the time I haven't yet achieved a tight, athletic body, without endangering my muscle gains? I want to take part in a fun run in October without having to walk any of it. Would the amount of cardiovascular training I'd have to do necessarily halt my progress if I don't increase my current levels of resistence training along with it, and would focusing on speedy short and middle distance running for several months give me the endurance to run non-stop for 5K?

Thanks image


  • If you want to change your body composition you have to look to your diet first. Don't restrict calories as you're not overweight. Avoid sugary foods like the plague, and then basically just eat a variety of 'real' food.

    If you want to improve endurance to run your 5k then you need to do slow and steady paced running. (Why high intensity running when you are just staring out?) Build up the time on your feet slowly but surely. How much can you do without it being too much? A lot more than you are doing at the moment! Half an hour, an hour, two hours - I wouldn't worry about it at this stage.

    I would suggest separating your runs from your strength workouts. If you fancy exercising 6 days a week, how about 3 runs a week and 3 strength days and one day rest? If that is too much, then 2 of each on different days would be better than what you are doing.

    sinkingthinking wrote (see)

    and would focusing on speedy short and middle distance running for several months give me the endurance to run non-stop for 5K?

    If you slow down your running and build up to running for 30 minutes non-stop three times a week, then you will be ready for your first 5k in much less than several months.

  • Also known as 'bingo wings,' I believe.

  • Thanks for the reply! image

    I've already cut out sugar except from fruit, occasional mustard etc. I'm trying to make sure I get a lot more of my energy from protein too. I've been a fan of 'real food' for a long time luckily, I don't find it difficult to be disciplined about that.

    I googled your suggestion of separating cardiovascular days from resistance days and found things that back you up there, so I will try that.

    What do you think about also mixing it up between proper sprint training (which is faster and shorter than what I'm doing now, with walking intervals, but I want to work up to it) and slow runs on other days? Do a lot of hobby runners do that? I don't really like the idea of exclusive long distance training, because sprinting is supposed to be superior for overall health and specifically for muscle mass as well, however I do want to be decent at endurance running for the fun and community opportunities. Sprinting does improve breathing etc. but the focus on fast-twitch muscles limits its endurance effects somewhat, as I understand it. I also think I'd likely get bored doing one kind of running all the time, I'm that kind of person.

  • LOL, yes, 'dinnerlady arms' is how my family refers to 'bingo wings'. I assumed it was a common term but it might be just us for all I know. Implication is the same: when the fat hangs flatly and swings about underneath a waving/wiping upper arm.

  • I think that you need to be really clear about what your goals are. Do you want to improve your endurance, be a sprinter, get stronger, improve your overall health, get 'huge', etc? Once your goals are clear it will become obvious to you what type of training you should do. Generally it's a mistake to over complicate these things.

    Originally I thought you were saying you wanted to be able to run a 5k and to improve your body composition ("tone up").

    By the way, if your goal is essentially to be a body-builder (which is what it is starting to sound like) then you wont make much progress without lifting heavy weights.

    I would disagree that "sprinting is supposed to be superior for overall health". There is nothing better for overall health than cardiovascular fitness, and the best thing for that is endurance exercise and a good diet.

    So anyway my advice is to decide on one or two easy to define goals and go from there.

  • Kryten wrote (see)


    Originally I thought you were saying you wanted to be able to run a 5k and to improve your body composition ("tone up").


    Those, and a few other things. I don't want to be a body builder, but I also don't want to settle for the weak, soft body that girls are sometimes told is good enough. I'll know I'm healthy when I can see muscle definition and when nothing wobbles or changes shape when pressure is applied.  I have many reasons for wanting to exercise, so a multi-faceted exercise programme would seem most appropriate.


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