Weightlifting & Exercise/Swimming for weight loss ?


QUESTION: Hello there Karen. How are you doing ? My name is Chris, I have two questions to ask. I am a heavy set guy I weight around the 290-295 lbs. I am at a crossroads on which should I sign up at my local gym, I was wondering would swimming help me withy weight loss ? Or should I just hired a person trainer, for now and lose some weight then try swimming ?

My second question is there a difference in doing cable weight machines vs free weights will one get you toner quicker ? Thank you so much Karen.

ANSWER: Hi Chris,
I think you are headed in the right direction, and I'm sure people would flip out to see my response....I think a personal trainer is a good idea but choose them carefully. More often than not they begin a training routine like you are a ninja warrior already. I firmly believe that to err on the side of caution is a better way to attack beginning fitness.  

To answer the last question....there is no real difference between the machines and the Dumbbells.  Dumbbells are cheaper...along with tires...as many people are using, but it doesn't make them better.  Let me back up a bit.  

The plan of attack has to be at your plate first.  The food you eat is key...I believe food is 70% of the answer.  Buy yourself a 6x9 spiral notebook and begin to monitor what you eat and HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL AFTER.   The basics I teach my clients is this...believe nothing you hear the government and magazines say about recommended foods or diets.  Listen to your body. Eat vegetables...all you want. Grilled, steamed, raw...with sauces like holindaise or cheese...no worries. Meat, dairy (if it doesn't make you feel bad---this is one food many people have allergic responses to). Fish, eggs, bacon etc... All good.  Limit fruit a little until the weight comes down. You can have berries like raspberries and blackberries at first.  Try to stay clear of bananas at first.  Do not eat grains: cereal, bread, pasta, and no Suger. (That's one reason we are restricting the fruit a little at first.)

Monitor the NET grams of carbohydrates you eat.  Look at the label and take the carbs in a serving and subtract the fiber and you have the net grams of carbs. That is the carbohydrate you will be able to digest and use.  Don't worry about counting the vegetables like leafy green lettuces, broccoli...but count anything you eat like corn on the cob, beets, potatoes (pretty high so be careful) Try to keep your totals between 40-70 to lose weight. Get a carbohydrate counter that has fiber listed too. Apps have to be set up differently because they all follow the government advice of the food plate.  Ignore that and if you can figure out how...reset the app to count net grams of carbs and not the other stuff.

Then with exercise if you are disciplined you can begin to walk or ride a bike daily. If you choose a gym ask for free week trials to see if you like it and if they will teach you the machines and let you try them....at no extra cost.  Ease into it... My son recently joined a Planet Fitness which has "free" workouts you can do with your membership.  See if there is one in your area. Remember your trying to help your body...beating it up with too much exercise too fast isn't going to help.  

Stay in touch and feel comfortable writing back.  
Be Well!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Karen, but can you explain the net gram ratio you were explaining early ? For a example I am looking at my can of Quaker Oats right now.
Serving size 1/2 cup
Servings per container about 30
Cal 150
Total fat 3g
Total carbohydrate 27g
Sugar 1g
Protein 5g
So how would I find my daily carbs again ? And should I weight myself daily then to see if my nutrition is going in the right direction ? If so what body scales would you recommend me buying ?

Look for the fiber too

Take carbs per serving and subtract fiber and that equals NET carbs. Try getting a book with carb counts of look up a chart on the Internet.  That will help with foods that have no label. Vegetables  that grow below the ground like potatoes, carrots, beets, any root vegetables. Have higher carbs in them.    They also have good fiber so adjust your diet to include some of those too.   The hardest thing everybody has about this is eating so many eggs and eating all the protein and everybody freaks at first about fat that they're doing too much fat. But that really is not an issue the best book I can recommend for you to read is one by a man named Gary Taubes.  The title is why we get fat.

Regarding the scale that's really a personal preference. I don't do scales I measure with a tape measure or look at how my clothes fit. I have a history of being bulimic so I can't get on the scale because it sends me into a tizzy    Bed bath and beyond has some pretty good scales am just get a basic one that's going to tell you how much you weigh. Don't do all that body fat and whether you're hydrated or not just spend money on a good skill if you feel you need it. It's just a measuring rod.

All the best! Karen  

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Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. http://karenfilisullivan.com. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on http://karenfilisullivan.com


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

A few.

Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market. https://squareup.com/market/body-restoration-by-karen/zen-of-weight-loss-in-mo

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

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Past/Present Clients
Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.   Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on www.shaklee.net/BodyRestoration

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