Boot for 6 Months


GOAL:  weight loss - conditioning. I am 48, 5' 3", 128 pounds (female).

First lets say I have gained 10 pounds in the last year and a half. I have had tests done and all and I am healthy!

Problem... I work out 5 - 6 days a week, I'd say at a good pace.   I usually run 30 minutes 4 times a week, mix it up with a class or two, weight train 5 days per week.

I have (had) a trainer but I just couldn't get the weight down. My diet is good, could be better. Only drink probably once, twice the most a glass a wine.

Now, it gets worse. I sprained my ankle, it's just about healed and hopefully I can get back to my cardio this week.

I'm having bunion surgery in a month and half, what can I do to keep the weight off and, what kind of work out can I do?

I'll be in a boot for six months. I'm thinking I should start dieting now to get some weight off, I'm afraid I'm going to blow up....

I know this is a long winded question, I would really appreciate your help. 

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


Wow, that is a lot of activity for someone in your age group. Having a bunion is very painful and six months in a boot is going to be very frustrating.   Hopefully it wasn't a result of all your activity.

If it was a result of too much physical activity, that may explain your inability to lose the weight which you wanted to lose. Even if this is not the case, you didn't mention an important factor to weight loss, avoiding injuries and getting results in general.


Exercise is considered eustress or positive stress to your body, but it is stress nonetheless. All exercise breaks down the body. It is up to diet and rest to build it back up stronger, leaner and more fit.

If you do not give your body proper time to recover your body will not build itself back up and improve, i.e. gain lean mass, lose weight, better performance, etc. It could also lead to many different kinds of injuries.

You do not lose weight, tone up, gain muscle, etc. during exercise, ever, period .

Since your activity levels is so good, this is the first thing you should ask yourself.

Are you getting enough rest from exercise, which includes a 7 day break from structured (gym-like) physical activity every month or 2?

Are you getting enough sleep every night?

There are numerous studies out which correlate the inability to lose weight with lack of sleep or disruptive sleeping patterns, you can research them on the National Library of Medicine database of medical journals.

Hopefully your weight loss could be achieved simply by eliminating your nightly dose of Conan O'Brien!


Being hydrated is another important aspect of weight loss that sometimes falls by the wayside when you train and try to eat right. It can be compounded by healthy diet, which usually contain high amounts of fiber as well as a little extra protein.

Sometimes you may consume extra food and calories because your body has mistaken dehydration for hunger as well. Caffeine and alcohol increase water needs as well.

There really is no magic formula. Drink a lot of water at all times, especially when you're exercising.

Workout Out

With the boot your activities will be limited. First and foremost ask your doctors what you should and should not do.

While in the boot you can perform upper body weight training exercises, abdominal and some core exercises. Probably perform your exercises in a circuit fashion to get some sort of cardiovascular benefit.

For cardio an idea is to take up boxing or Tae Bo. It may seem odd but is really a good cardio and it is the only thing which will get up your heart rate up significantly without using your legs.

Good luck with the surgery!


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