How Does a 430 Lb Man Start an Exercise Program When he Can Barely Walk or Stand?
As a former athlete and collegiate wrestler, Corey Dillaha gradually slipped into a sedentary lifestyle for 20 years due to his dedication in driving for the family trucking business.
To compound the situation, a year and a half ago a serious motorcycle accident resulted in 6 weeks of hospitalization.
The debilitating pain and muscle atrophy caused Corey to slip even further down the spiral of inactivity and weight gain. Long after healing, with a body weight that teetered 450 lbs, he found that he was unable to regain his former abilities.
The good news is that even for a 430-pound man, exercise is the medicine for fitness and weight loss. The answer to how training should begin for a person of any age or condition is to assess and then progress. Corey’s first week of progress should encourage just about anyone who faces the challenge of regaining health and fitness.
Almost immediately upon beginning his live-in weight loss program, Corey is seeing dormant muscle and motor movement reactivating. Daily personal bests are occurring with each workout. Each day’s workout progress is astounding. The human body craves and thrives on movement. With a tentative approach, my goal as his personal trainer is to discover his capabilities beginning with the least challenging exercises and progressing until he reaches a level of reasonable effort. A positive sense of accomplishment builds for the next successful achievement. Each approach is a revelation for Corey to learn that he can actually activate dormant muscle and realize capabilities he hadn’t used in years.
The UBE upper body ergometer or arm bike was his first exercise session. Seated in his special chair (rated for 500 lbs) he works a bilateral hand crank with adjustable resistance varying his RPMs. This method of cardiovascular conditioning is said to be 50% more beneficial than treadmill exercise. The best thing about it is that it allows him to work in a non-weight bearing position and still increase his heart rate for conditioning. The catalyst for increased benefit is the addition of oxygen. Corey hand bikes while breathing concentrated oxygen. Clinical recommendation is 20 minutes for energizing and recovery. First thing upon arising and after each workout, he exercises while on oxygen.
Basic Kettlebell technique was learned with two-handed swinging practiced first with ten pounds, then progressing to 18 and 26-pound kettle bells. Short bouts of all exercise drills followed by sitting on the exercise ball allowed Corey to recover from the leg fatigue under his 429 lbs. He seems to do better during locomotion drills rather than static standing. This could be that he is preoccupied with the motor coordination or it could be that weight shifting is just enough change of leg pressure to allow him to continue longer. Both concepts are positive factors in getting him to increase activity duration.Continued on the next page