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Advice for Mom


My mom is trying to get in shape. She is 51 years old and probably would be defined as clinically obese but she's not a whale at all. She's just a bit fat. She's on the right track reading a women's powerlifting magazine for advice but she's still doing some things wrong.

First she has a bad knee but she's working her legs to try and help this. She wants to lose weight and gain muscle and I explained to her that she needs to stop walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes than. She asked me what she should do and thats where I get a bit stuck.

  1. What are some warm-ups to get her heartbeat up a bit faster that don't strain the knees. She suggested Elliptical and I told her it would definitely be better than walking. Do you all have another suggestion.

  2. She then told me she's doing 20 reps x 3 sets of her exercises. I told her thats pretty worthless and that she needs to increase the weight if she can do 20 reps. For someone her age to not push her to hard I suggested doing a weight that she can only do 3 x 12. Would you all agree on this?

  3. She's now concerned if she doesn't walk for 30 minutes and just does weights that she's gonna be done in like 20 minutes. I told her not to worry and that if she does a proper warm-up and then to increase the weight she's likely to go a bit slower on each exercise. But maybe she also isn't doing enough exercises.

Any suggestions or ideas would be great.

  1. Elliptical is lovely and so is the rowing machine. My mom does both.

  2. 3x12 is good ... or even lower reps and heavier weights if her form is fine.

  3. People will be able to help you better if you list what exercises she's doing.


For burning cals with no knee get her swimming or rowing.


Velocity Diet and the beginners-level workout plan that is prescribed with it. End of thread.


Can you imagine the rebound weight gain? Not to mention that a regular 51 year old is not going to be able to drink strait shakes for 4 weeks.


Agreed, V-Diet is too hardcore. I recommend a primal diet. (Meat, eggs, veg, a little fruit but not too much, mostly berries, a few nuts unless she is trying to drop fat, olive or coconut oil. No grains or sugar and if she can hack it, no dairy - but I have milk in my tea and some cheese. Just make sure any dairy is from non-hormone treated cattle).


Okay, first time poster here. Been lurking for all of Christmas vacation, happily, happily, love this place. I'm around your mom's age, on and off fitness enthusiast and occasional weight lifter since my 20's; middle age, new career, and bad habits and suddenly I found myself at 38BFP. Jan '07. Wrote down all the ugly numbers in a journal, measured 9 locations, weighed myself.

Entered numbers in lockonfitness.com and noted BFP and BMI. Ugh. I was obese. Blood pressure rising (duh!)so here's my advice/experience: Get a journal (a nice one), a tape measure, a decent scale and either start at least a modified eat clean or Forsythe's menus from NROLW.

Oh yeah, and take before pictures just for her and set reasonable 6 month goals and locate a pair of goal jeans/pants/dress (not those in the bottom of the drawer from age 26 - the bod just won't arrange itself quite that way).

The elliptical, row, and swimming are excellent ideas. If she can handle the treadmill why not do low intensity intervals? Change the heart rate. I really went slowly to build strength. I did DVD exercise videos (sparkpeople has all kinds of workouts she can view) and started back with low weights, but yes to a comfortable weight for 3x12's.

That may be 6 or 8 lbs to start, depending on the movement, of course. No bicep curls or anything like that. Exercise TV if available also has rotating vids. The common thread to the vids I watched were circuits (translate: MYA-Move Your Ass, or in my case, Move Your Fatass). EX: warm up 5 entire minutes is a must, pushups (off dresser or sofa back), planks (build slowly, start with 10 secs if necessary), overhead presses and rows and a whole body circuit 3 to 4 times a week, and must cool down a solid 5 mins. Cardio 5 to 6 times each week. Like me, she needs a jump start.

Here's the thing, all you fabulous fit beauties I've been drooling over for a few weeks now do not benefit from steady state cardio. For now, your mom will. She isn't at the point of being efficient yet. So, get 30 minutes in of whatever her knees will tolerate, increasing the intensity and duration.

She'll know when her body is getting too efficient and it feels too easy and her knees will allow other compound movements (like lunge presses). Any fun 'Y classes available? (I preferred to hide at home...)Whey protein after any weight session and multi-vitamin please. Have her log nutrition in sparkpeople-every morsel good or bad. Their nutrition reports will tell her everything.

I was shocked how little protein I used to eat. And how much bad fat and bad carbs. You guys know all this...

I went from 146 lbs 38% BFP 34 inch waist in January 2007 to 119 lbs 28 in waist and something like 28% BFP in November of same year. The tape measure was my best friend! Measuring all those points, something moved almost every week!

(Once I first went up and then got even more serious. All that exercise made me hungry so I over ate good food. Absolutely no low, low carb. Don't mess with a 50-something's blood sugar at poor fitness levels. We're fragile. :slightly_smiling:

I crept back up after slacking in Dec 2007 so I'm back at it. At least I'm not starting from such a bad place but I'm doing all those same things - logging nutrition, measuring (yay!) and weighing (boo!) weekly, followed a gorgeous hunky young bodybuilder friends' plan (my secret fantasy if to have naked posed pictures of him...drool, drool...never too old...)for 12 weeks then switched to New Rules of Lifting for Women.

Here I am now wanting to post some pictures of myself to my own online progress journal.

I'm a sincere, if not cottage-cheese riddled windbag, who got that sexy feeling back. More power to your mom for having the desire to make a change!


FF, hurry up and start that journal right here on Powerful Women. I'd love to read more about your kicking-of-ass and taking-of-names!