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Overweight on the Frances?

RevGreg

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Summer/Fall 2024
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
 
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TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Well there’s overweight and overweight. Heavyweight boxers can weigh 110kg nowadays and can’t imagine they would have any problems doing a Camino!!! If you are running half marathons, and doing 20k steps (approx 15kms) i think you should be fine! Key is doing day after day so maybe see if you can do 20k steps for say 7 days or so and maybe some inclines!

I never train but pretty much do 20k steps everyday as I don’t drive a car so that’s my way of keeping fit. I don’t think the CF is overly difficult for a person of average fitness but of course we are all different!

Irrespective it a lovely environment, very relaxed and non threatening! Lots of bars, restaurants, hotels, scenery, iconic cities, and so on. I have done a few treks that feel very harsh compared to this.

It’s a long way away (2024) so use it as an incentive to ‘lose a bit of timber’ as we say in London!
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
At 6’ and 250lbs, I did the CF just fine. However, I had a very physical profession and was used to long, strenuous days. If you are able to run half-marathons and walk 20km regularly, you are likely fit enough for the Camino.

The key is to go at your own pace! I’ve seen a 93yo moving at a snail’s pace, but was going to finish it. Similarly, I met a young, special forces military guy who lasted two days before hurting himself for pushing too hard. Plenty of unfit folks out there who successfully make their way to SdC.

Lose weight because it’s the healthy thing to do. When you put on your backpack to walk, look how easy it will feel since it’ll weigh less than what you have lost!
 

hawkeyepierce

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances July 22
I’m on the CF right now, currently in Santo Domingo de la Calzada having (mostly) walked here from SJPDP.

I’m 5’8” and 260lbs, so very overweight, and I had a pretty sedentary life back home. 32yo.

I’ve definitely struggled, but I feel like I’ll be able to finish. I do wish I’d taken the first few stages easier. I spent the night at Borda and then Burguete, after which the descent in Zubiri did a number on my ankle and I took the bus ahead to Pamplona and rested a couple days.

Had I known better, I would’ve done Borda-Roncesvalles-Espinal-Zubiri. I think my weight was a big factor in my struggle on that section. Take those first stages easy while your body adjusts. I would say it took about 10 days to for me to feel like my body was used to this much daily walking.

My other advice is to train, stretch and strengthen your ankles. I started training 3 months before I began, starting with 6mi days and working up to 15mi. You’ve got even more time to build up your stamina.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
It is harder on your knees and ankles when you are carrying more weight, but it can be done. If it gives you more motivation to lose weight before the journey, you can think about your joints and how they will thank you. Otherwise, just pace yourself. Use hiking poles to take some of the weight off your joints.

I am overweight and my biggest problem was finding a new shirt to fit me when I lost one once on the Camino and with another wore out. You may also need to think more carefully about your shoes. My husband's shoes wear out more quickly due to his weight and his desire to have the kind with a cushiony supportive sole.
 
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Hi Greg.
I think you'll be fine.
Just plan for extra days and walk at your own pace and BOOK PACK TRANSPORT in the beginning stages, at least from SJPP to Pamplona or even Puente la Reina, or all the way if you want. It's inexpensive and there's no law saying your should carry your pack.

I met a woman a few years ago who was quite obese (which you don't seem to be).
She literally walked just a few kilometers a day - 5 to 8 - and took taxis if she didn't find lodging. She gradually increased her kilometers and by the end, she was walking full stages. She'd also lost quite a bit of her weight and/or changed it into muscle.

I'd strongly suggest you book a room in SJPP, then book a spot in BORDA (immediately because it will fill up).

Book Roncesvalles - if you can afford it, book a ROOM at La Posada or Casa Sabina instead of the albergue because you'll be exhausted and currently, the method to get into the Albergue there is exhausting. You have to wait in a long line for a long time. Easier just to go to a private room, get your shower, and rest, imo.

From Roncesvalles to Pamplona are many small villages where you can book - breaking the stages into shorter ones - 1/3 or 1/2 stages. Then just gradually increase your distances.

I also did a slow Camino with a lady a few years ago who could barely walk a kilometer without being out of breath. We did very short stages and she did fine.

If you have the time, then take the time - you can do this - just do it slow.
Buen Camino.
 

alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Time of past OR future Camino
2017
CF is full of overweight pilgrims that succeed!! I have often started at a 'fit' 35 bmi (do 10k volkswalks and half marathons regularly) and end at around 28.
But I do have the following suggestion:
  • Keep up your exercise and weight loss program; camino may be motivation now but the heathier at the start, the healthier during and at the finish.
  • Listen to your feet, arches, shins etc!! they bear the brunt of too much body or pack weight.
  • Use poles: aids balance, posture, and distributes weight.
  • Watch diet/nutrition on Camino; the level of fried foods and carbs nearly destroyed me. Trick was to order 2 primero (lentils then a salad). Also tortilla patatas for second breakfast helped me.
  • Consider starting in Pamplona. Easier gateway city for public transit and avoids making what is arguably the hardest day into the first day. My motto became 'start slowly then taper off". Use planner on godelsaco.com. My only 'enjoyable' walk over Lepoder was when I started in LePuy so it was about the 38th day.
  • If you start SJPdP, try Valcarlos route orif Napoleon, stay at Hunto or Orisson or Borda.
  • It takes 7-10 days to get camino legs. My diary shows happy body days after Logrono on standard stages--and much pain before. Camino is 5-8 hours of walking EVERY DAY. And our bodies are not prepared for that. (My other motto is that "I will do discomfort but I do not do misery."
The tone of your question tells me you have everything to succeed. Listen to your body. and buen camino
 

peregrin peregrina

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
april 2022
i did the french way about 40 lbs overweight and it was extremely challenging even as a long-time walker/hiker and otherwise very healthy despite overweight. the weight of the pack plus extra weight on your joints takes a toll. take it super easy and don't try to keep up with others. i found it very challenging but did finally finish with major injuries- it's not a walk in the park snd dont let anyone lead you to believe that it is. That being said you have plenty of time to train. it would be great to consult with a physical therapist before you go -they'll know what you need. it was still fantastico! buen camino.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I think it's great that you desire to walk the Camino and it sounds like you are well on your way with training. My only suggestion is that as you get closer to your starting date that you consider having your family doctor give you a thorough pysical to make sure you have no underlying issues that should be addressed before you leave.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I think that you will be fine mate. As others have said, go slow at the start, it is not a competition.

Listen to your body and you will find your own pace

I predict that you will get more and more nervous the closer you are to starting and then once you are walking and get settled in a rhythm then you will relax and absolutely love it.
 
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Deacon Jason

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Caminho Português (2023?)
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Greg,

Before I started prepping for the camino back in 2015, I was 285lbs (at 5'11") and working a desk job. I lost 25 pounds by the time I walked the Frances in September 2016, but 260 lbs is still a 'big guy'.

I made it, and had a great time. You will, too.

Some thoughs:

- Plan time for your body to adjust: I huffed and puffed over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, and by Pamplona my body wanted a day off. I listened and gave it time to recover instead of stressing about my itinerary. I'm glad I did. By SdC, I was walking over mountains like a goat.

- I took more breaks than others. I never passed a red umbrella at a cafe I didn't like :) So, I just accepted I needed to wake up early and would show up late to wherever I was staying that night...I always found a place to sleep.

- I came back 30lbs lighter afterward. And I ate whatever I wanted/needed to along the way.

- I saw very fit people 'break' due the mental stress of adjusting to the early stages of the walk. So remember waist size and muscles aren't everything.

Buen Camino!

-Jason
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I came across people of all shapes and sizes. Also noticed young, old and everything in between doing the camino. Here's my two cents:
  • Go at YOUR pace,
  • Take care of your feet-(good shoes/massage your feet/use foot moisturizers/also icy hot or similar if needed),
  • Take short breaks when necessary,
  • Try to pack light and...
  • Use trekking poles. Learn to use them and you'll most likely find them indispensable. They will help you with ascents/descents, they're great for transferring weight when your feet, hips or ankles hurt, and they can also keep dogs or an attacker away. I must say... all the dogs I ran into on the camino were quite docile and I never encountered hostility that needed a good whack from a stick. Best of luck on your camino.
 

Packinglight

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
(2014)
July-August 2019, Pamplona-Santiago
I was 93 kg, 5’4” and 49 years old when I walked the Camino and I agree with go slow, listen to your body. Yes to poles and being willing to occasionally send your pack ahead.
It’s doable, really doable.
Like you, I am generally active. I don’t work a desk job, and my normal monthly steps is about 200 km. For a few months prior to my Camino I raised it to 300 km per month.
Your poles, pack weight, and fierce water consumption will make it possible to manage this. Your general fitness seems pretty high so I think you need to combine sensible small increases in activity with understanding that you have to walk at your own pace and allow others to barrel past you if they want to, especially at early stages.
I was amazed at how many pilgrims I met who were in much better shape than I (assumptions based on weight, appearance of fitness and age) who were suffering terribly because they underestimated the effort and overestimated their fitness.
You’ll be fine.
Keep your pack light, trust your body, do your thing.
 

Gringazolana

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés
Dear, I’m fat and out of shape (about 50 pounds overweight!) but I am planning on doing the CF next spring. Good shoes and poles help. My pack will be heavier than most, since my clothes are bigger and I have to carry my CPAP and knee braces, etc etc etc so I’m already accepting that I may need to send it ahead. But I will be out there walking!!
 

Pilgrim1960

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/Frances 2021
Future- del Norte 2022
I walked the Madrid then to Santiago. I weighed about 245 when i started and was at about 200 when I finished. For a long time, I thought it was due to the walking. After some sober thought it occurred to me that it was portion control. While on the Camino I ate the pilgrim's meal and it was not a huge amount of food. I also would not eat in the morning and generally had something light at lunch- I was not hungry. I think you will be fine but pace yourself and don't expect to lose weight from the walk- you will through portion control. Walking helps in that your glucose levels are used up and you step into ketosis pretty fast. Once in ketosis you will experience what I did- a complete loss of appetite. You won't be eating much!! In all reality, walking does not consume that much energy- but it will lower your glucose levels and you will lose your appetite.
If you want to know how you will feel, fast for two days- that is how you might feel on the Camino.
Others may have different stories- that was mine.
Buen camino
 
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Nick Barlow

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: April 2022
So, according to BMI I was morbidly obese when I started the Camino this April. By the time I finished, I was just obese and had gone from not much over 35 to not much below it (and BMI isn't a good measure for an individual, anyway).

I'm 49, about 6'3 and 125kg, and managed the Frances from SJPDP without any major problems - first day (via Valcarlos) was tough, but I was back walking the next way and the main problem I encountered was how my knees felt after long descents (down into Samos was a killer), but that's always been a problem for me. I wore light knee supports throughout, which I've found useful in preventing any problems but not being too restrictive of movement.

I was walking around 10-15,000 steps a day from last August, and had done long walks etc before, but I've always been in some kind of overweight category. I was up at about 140kg this time last year before tackling my mental health but I don't think being overweight is much of a problem on the Camino, being physically unprepared is. I might not have much pace, but I've developed a lot of stamina over the years, and that's more important on the Frances, IMO - there are a handful of days that are physically tough/steep ascents and descents but the real test of it is being able to keep going and covering the distance day after day.

It sounds to me like you're capable of walking it and don't need to make any major changes as long as you keep up your current level of activity and exercise - maybe do more long walking days back-to-back, just to give yourself the experience of not having a recovery day after bit of exercise, but you've got plenty of time if you're not planning on going before 2024.

And this is how I looked in Santiago:

20220509_123652.jpg
 

Jim Porter

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Hi and Welcome,
You can definitely do this. On our Camino (2014) I was at 5'10" / 240lbs. In Santiago, I was at 208lbs. After a week "layoff," as I arrived home, I was at 218lbs. BTW, I was 56 years old.

I am from one of the mountain regions in the US and nothing (NOTHING) we encountered on the Camino was even close to what we were used to in our local hiking. If the pilgrim is from Miami, of course, it's a different story.

Whether you drop the weight or not, you can do this if all other parts of your health are in order. Just enjoy, and only go as far each day as your conscience tells you.
 

Petsu

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1996, -97,-98, 2001, -02, -07, -11
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
On one of my Caminos there was a young spanish man. He was very overweight, and not usedbtobwalning at all. The walking was really tough for the start. He walked slowly and long days, but managed to do 20k a day. Slowly it started to be easier and easier.

For my self - 173 cm - I have been 100 to 117 kg when starting the camino. At best I have lost about 10 kg on my caminos.

We have a saying in Finland, that it is the speed and not the length of the trail that kills.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Yes, it can be done, or at least started, by those who are overweight or unfit. It is also more likely for overuse injuries and musculoskeletal injuries like sprains, broken ankles, and severe joint pain to happen. Not to mention hyperfatigue and discouragement and leaving the Camino early to occur.

So work on weight loss without being drastic about it. If you increase your activity level by 800 calories per day, drop calorie intake to normal recommended levels, weight will drop without feeling deprived.

Walking is good, walking stairs or uphill is great, and doing this during the course of your normal day will see the benefits add up.
 

CPURKS

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future Camino Frances
Yes, it can be done, or at least started, by those who are overweight or unfit. It is also more likely for overuse injuries and musculoskeletal injuries like sprains, broken ankles, and severe joint pain to happen. Not to mention hyperfatigue and discouragement and leaving the Camino early to occur.

So work on weight loss without being drastic about it. If you increase your activity level by 800 calories per day, drop calorie intake to normal recommended levels, weight will drop without feeling deprived.

Walking is good, walking stairs or uphill is great, and doing this during the course of your normal day will see the benefits add up.
All the advice is sound, I would recommend wearing your pack with avg of 10# on your days off when you are walking around doing stuff etc. I did to aid in my training and it not only helped me lose some pounds but also got me use to wearing the extra weight and doing stuff with my pack (going up and down stairs numerous times, gardening, cleaning etc). I looked a little funny to some but I felt more sure of myself each day I did. Unfortunately I did not lose weight doing the camino due to too many carbs but I truly enjoyed the meals knowing I was walking so much to worry about them. Buen Camino.
 
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Future Camino Frances (2022)
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
If possible avoid the extreme heat of July and August.
Everybody trains legs and body for uphills and steps, but it’s the downhills that will test and strain your joints, and more so for the “big and talls” so factor that into to your training. I started at 220lbs and lost about 20lbs over the 779km. Some of the loss was upper body muscle mass as my body adjusted for the increased lower limb load/activity.
 

Shazenalan

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2018
Well go you! Starting to plan now and consulting with all the experienced pilgrims here seems perfect first steps. Carry weight does not mean anyone is unfit - and your marathon runs are testament to that 👏👏👍
Ijust completed my second Camino - and I actually gained weight!! This was because the Spanish diet on the CF is mostly carb based - and my diet is keto ( protein mostly) so depending on your weight loss plan that may be helpful info for you.

I saw other pilgrims walking to lose weight - obviously carrying more weight makes walking harder especially uphill - but i also saw slim people drop out due to blisters, or over reaching in the first few days.

Your determination is your key - decide to let nothing stop you getting there - even if you do it in sections - get there and start. This will do wonders for your anxiety I’m sure. Everyone on Camino has challenges - not all are visible and you will meet with support and respect for giving it a go. 👣👣👣🙏😍
 

frjuliangreen

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés (2018)
Camino Portugués (2019)
Vía de la Plata/Camino Sanabrés (2020)
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
From personal experience, yes it's perfectly attainable. Stamina is the thing that's needed and that isn't necessarily linked to athletic agility.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portugués (from Oporto to SdC), July 2022
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
There is overweight and there is oversize. There were some tiny bathrooms and shower stalls in some of the places I stayed in on the Portuguese Camino. Focus on getting fit and toning up. The Camino has room for everyone and you go at your own pace. Good luck!
 

CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?
Well.... if Jost can do it.... 😁

Seriously -
First of there is nothing wrong with planning far in advance'. I started planning in early 2019 for what was suppose to be end of may 21 (and wound up being mid-May 22) - due to COVID restrictions
with that I did train but not overly vigorously and mostly trained "for distance" (i.e. my highest achievement was 24.5 miles but it was all on flat ground).
Thus I showed up in SJPdP all of my glorious 62yo (I turned 63 on the day I walked into Cee on Finisterre Camino) 5'8" and 195lbs.... which i did drop from 210 in the course of said 2 years but still... overweight
The beginning stages were quite rough and I did struggle. But as the days went on I did notice the weight coming off and somehow it was 'getting easier'. I am not one of the 30+km\day folks and those few that I did - I found quite challenging and truly do not wish to ever repeat.
THAT SAID, while consuming 3-4 meals a day on the average (1 cena and rest Desayunos ;)) I walked into Santiago at about 179lbs

Its quite doable. I agree with others who mentioned Will, Stamina and overall wellbeing.

Good luck and Buen Camino
 
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AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
@RevGreg I have no doubt you will do it.

You are being very prudent and have given yourself plenty of time to the day of departure. I was ready for spring of 2020 and we all know what happened. But I kept walking if for nothing else than to vent my frustration at the situation, fast forward to present time and I leave at the end of August to do my long awaited Camino Frances from SJPP.

My advice to you is just keep up and build on the long walks from a few times a week to every day increasing the length until you reach 20-25 km/day. Follow the routine you would on the Camino, to get your body used to it, that is leave by 8 am and continue walking until about 3-4 pm allowing for lunch, rest & water breaks. Then begin increasing the weight of your backpack to the desired weight you'd be carrying which should not be more than 10% of your body weight ... your feet will take a beating if you carry too much; listen to them and if they are sore, pull up at the nearest albergue and spend the night. There is no point of ruining your chances of completion even if you are walking with a nice group - do not compromise your feet over friends pace. Once you start the Camino start slowly first few days do 5-10 km, then by day 7 you should be doing about 15-20 km and after that you would be on your way and get the feeling that you can complete it and enjoy the experience. So many have done it, so can YOU and this would be the crowning moment of your efforts ... Buen Camino.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
So, according to BMI I was morbidly obese when I started the Camino this April. By the time I finished, I was just obese and had gone from not much over 35 to not much below it (and BMI isn't a good measure for an individual, anyway).

I'm 49, about 6'3 and 125kg, and managed the Frances from SJPDP without any major problems - first day (via Valcarlos) was tough, but I was back walking the next way and the main problem I encountered was how my knees felt after long descents (down into Samos was a killer), but that's always been a problem for me. I wore light knee supports throughout, which I've found useful in preventing any problems but not being too restrictive of movement.

I was walking around 10-15,000 steps a day from last August, and had done long walks etc before, but I've always been in some kind of overweight category. I was up at about 140kg this time last year before tackling my mental health but I don't think being overweight is much of a problem on the Camino, being physically unprepared is. I might not have much pace, but I've developed a lot of stamina over the years, and that's more important on the Frances, IMO - there are a handful of days that are physically tough/steep ascents and descents but the real test of it is being able to keep going and covering the distance day after day.

It sounds to me like you're capable of walking it and don't need to make any major changes as long as you keep up your current level of activity and exercise - maybe do more long walking days back-to-back, just to give yourself the experience of not having a recovery day after bit of exercise, but you've got plenty of time if you're not planning on going before 2024.

And this is how I looked in Santiago:

View attachment 130803
Great Post. Yes BMI is a funny one. It’s hugely supported by the medical profession in the UK but trying to get into the ideal weight category is a tough game. I’m 183cm 88.9 kg but still classify as overweight with a BMI of 26-27!! I guess it can’t tell difference between muscle and fat!
 
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CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
There is no point of ruining your chances of completion even if you are walking with a nice group - do not compromise your feet over friends pace.

that is perhaps one of the greatest advices one could give, crazy and cold-hearted as it may look to some.

in San Xulian do Camino being nicely ensconced into the comfort of my Albergue I came across a newbie Peregrina (who started in Sarria but was in the bar catching a break) She was walking with her "friends", started that morning from Portomarin and basically they pretty much abandoned her and continued onto Melide (mind you I am not talking someone whom she met on The Way - these were ladies she knew back in US!)
She was a mess... blisters, shin splits, sprained ankle... you name it... and she was hell-bent on catching up to them and was insisting on continue walking to Melide.....
Thankfully she heeded my (rather strong and somewhat admonishing) advice and got into a taxi
Hopefully she also took Part 2 of that advice which was to get up next morning, assess herself and at the very best walk 10km, these 'friends' be D*******
And hopefully she made it to Santiago (reckon I should've ask for her phone #, but I was not comfortable doing so with the ladies lest some may get wrong ideas)

Anyways - FEET first FRIENDS later!
 

Philip Nelson

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May (2018)
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I went somewhat overweight and much older. No problems really. I was hoping to lose weight but pretty much stayed the same all the way through. But, I did finish nearly everyday with a couple of big cold Spanish beers. Also, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted. As I say, maintained my weight. What was really good is blood sugar came way down and my blood pressure improved noticeably. My doctor very happy!
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
I went somewhat overweight and much older. No problems really. I was hoping to lose weight but pretty much stayed the same all the way through. But, I did finish nearly everyday with a couple of big cold Spanish beers. Also, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted. As I say, maintained my weight. What was really good is blood sugar came way down and my blood pressure improved noticeably. My doctor very happy!
That is awesome! I am sure you feel much better for it, don't you?
 
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Sharonih

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
As a plus I did it with 25 years on you. I used 2 poles , my pack weight started at 14 lbs, ended with 12 1bs. Each person is different, I started with lower kms in the beginning though I knew I could walk 20-30 km a day I didn’t know if my body could handle it day after day as that is a totally different thing. Walk as much as you can before hand, walk with a pack before hand and slowly increase the weight as your body has to get use to that as well. Walk as much as you can before hand, weight loss always a benefit. If you want to do this you can.
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
All of the excellent words above and ...
When walking in the Himalayas I asked my guide about the secret to success in those amazing mountains. His answer was - It's all in the mind. So as best you can let go of the anxious thoughts. Allow them to come and go. They are not the Truth. As per above posts - you will be fine.
Feet and ankles - get the shoe /boot that suits your feet but perhaps consider lightweight hiking boots that support your ankles and feet. The boot spreads the load a bit in the same way as poles. I find the boot more helpful than shoes with cushiony soles. But all that is personal,preference.
Knees - elastic support, kinesiology tape and perhaps professional advice.
Buen Camino ❤️
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
@RevGreg
I have walked the Camino 3 times overweight.
Like BMI 35 and 20 kgs overweight.

Did I make it? Yes.
Would I walk at that weight again? NO! :oops:

It detracted from my journey big time.
It just hurt way too much.
And too much of my focus was on 'holding it together', and constantly managing injury.
It has also caused me permanent damage to tendons and knees.

Can it be done very overweight?
Of course it can, and many do.
Personally I don't want to do it that way again.

Here is my experience...........

 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
All of the excellent words above and ...
When walking in the Himalayas I asked my guide about the secret to success in those amazing mountains. His answer was - It's all in the mind. So as best you can let go of the anxious thoughts. Allow them to come and go. They are not the Truth. As per above posts - you will be fine.
Feet and ankles - get the shoe /boot that suits your feet but perhaps consider lightweight hiking boots that support your ankles and feet. The boot spreads the load a bit in the same way as poles. I find the boot more helpful than shoes with cushiony soles. But all that is personal,preference.
Knees - elastic support, kinesiology tape and perhaps professional advice.
Buen Camino ❤️
Yes agreed. Thankfully the Camino carries much less risk than Himalayas though with its altitude issues! I wouldn’t recommend that trek for folks who are seriously overweight!
 
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Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
Yes agreed. Thankfully the Camino carries much less risk than Himalayas though with its altitude issues! I wouldn’t recommend that trek for folks who are seriously overweight!
Yes. When I was in the Himalayas I looked back on my first Camino and thought it was a doddle compared to trekking in altitude up some very steep ascents- although on my first Camino I thought those first days in particular were going to kill me. And again similar thoughts on my second Camino trying to keep up with my speedier partner. That’s what I meant by - all in the mind.
There are the practical considerations as well.
So I guess my over arching advice to everyone one would be - think positive - plan well - train sensibly - walk well within your capacity- bail out when needed. The last bit of advice is the hardest for me But possible the most important. Too many stories of long term injury otherwise.
Buen Camino
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May to July, 2014
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
It’s realistic. Start slow and you’ll get there! Hike your own hike. Buen Camino
 

vwzoo

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
You can absolutely do it and you will be so glad you did. It will change your life. Make a plan to get your self physically ready, build your self up, day by day, week by week. Get good shoes and just make steady progress to get your self ready for it. I was 56 when I walked it in Sept 2018. I started prepping about 2 years earlier. I was 100 lbs overweight with two replaced knees. I start slowly, 10,000 steps, 15,000 steps, 20,000 steps. I got to the point the Summer before I went I would twice a week walk 15 miles straight, no stops with a backpack with a 20 lbs bag of dog food in it. I found my work place had a gym and because there is not much for hills where I live the month prior each day before work I would get to work early and walk a treadmill at max incline. Eat healthy the weight will come off and make sure you get good comfortable shoes. You will be so happy you did this because it will change your life. I walked it with no blisters and no rest days in 28 days because I wanted to get to Muxia and finally Finnesterre. I didn't feel I rushed. I just walked until I felt done physically or it was too hot. I had two half days because of a stomach bug. I just was locked into the energy of the Camino. Buen Camino
 

RevGreg

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Summer/Fall 2024
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the stories! If folks on the Camino are half as encouraging as they are on this thread, I'm in for a real treat.

Here's what I'm hearing: Let weight motivate you to train. But don't let it discourage you from walking.

I can work with that.

I'll continue to read every story and am grateful for the walks you've shared.
 

dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
I am an overweight 114km pilgrim (and my husband was technically BMI-obese). We're both kicking 60, but from different directions. ( I married a younger man 😉). We shipped bigger packs, but we both made it.

You actually know all of the below from your half-marathons (I jog/walk those, I don't run them). But be comforted in what you already know:

Train with the gear you'll wear.
Train, but not to the point of injury.
Like the poster above said, too much speed will kill, the Way won't .
And it's all a mind game after that. Its fine to be nervous- we all were. But if you think you'll fail, you will.

We think you'll succeed. Buen Camino.
 
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AKCaminoDuck

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019, Camino Frances 2022
This topic speaks to me deeply. I’m overweight and completed the Camino from St John in 2019. I was having the exact concerns you are when I embarked, and I’d training (strength training and walking) for 6 months before leaving religiously. For me, I decided what was important was to focus on my Camino…which meant shipping my bag and having a smaller pack and easing into the mileage. It was hard…I often experienced pain in my feet…and some days I was bone tired at the end. I also experienced other hikers surprise I was on the trail…and I had to let go of my reaction to that (most was very well intentioned you can do it for what it’s worth). But I agree with the other posters…it’s all about the mind. Stay focused, listen to your body and take rest days…and you can do it. I’ll be back on the trail in September for #2, and I can’t wait.
 

OZAJ

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
My first Camino I was early 50s, unfit and overweight - 180 cm, 100kg. I started from Malaga. 1300 km later I felt fabulous and weighed 85 kg. I was still early 50s though.
 

steve 217

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
CF is full of overweight pilgrims that succeed!! I have often started at a 'fit' 35 bmi (do 10k volkswalks and half marathons regularly) and end at around 28.
But I do have the following suggestion:
  • Keep up your exercise and weight loss program; camino may be motivation now but the heathier at the start, the healthier during and at the finish.
  • Listen to your feet, arches, shins etc!! they bear the brunt of too much body or pack weight.
  • Use poles: aids balance, posture, and distributes weight.
  • Watch diet/nutrition on Camino; the level of fried foods and carbs nearly destroyed me. Trick was to order 2 primero (lentils then a salad). Also tortilla patatas for second breakfast helped me.
  • Consider starting in Pamplona. Easier gateway city for public transit and avoids making what is arguably the hardest day into the first day. My motto became 'start slowly then taper off". Use planner on godelsaco.com. My only 'enjoyable' walk over Lepoder was when I started in LePuy so it was about the 38th day.
  • If you start SJPdP, try Valcarlos route orif Napoleon, stay at Hunto or Orisson or Borda.
  • It takes 7-10 days to get camino legs. My diary shows happy body days after Logrono on standard stages--and much pain before. Camino is 5-8 hours of walking EVERY DAY. And our bodies are not prepared for that. (My other motto is that "I will do discomfort but I do not do misery."
The tone of your question tells me you have everything to succeed. Listen to your body. and buen camino
I second the poles observation saves your joints and ankles
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
If you're used to covering distance on foot and you keep that up to 2024 then you shouldn't have any trouble in theory. There are a few tough sections but in general most of it isn't that hard physically (mentally is something else). Historically the route was to get as many people as possible to Santiago as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Pilgrims made Santiago rich so there was no point making it unnecessarily hard for them to get there. It's probably the risk of injury and balancing covering enough distance every day with giving yourself a chance to recover that is going to make the difference rather than being physically fit enough for it. Good luck with it, it's certainly doable and it sounds like your journey to the start is going to be as meaningful for you as the actual walk.

Well there’s overweight and overweight. Heavyweight boxers can weigh 110kg nowadays and can’t imagine they would have any problems doing a Camino!!!

I used to run a lot and was about 75kg until I started doing crossfit and strength training and gained a lot of muscle mass. I'm a fairly lean 95kg now and honestly weight is still weight regardless of how you are carrying it. I do a lot of hillwalking and mountain trips and I really feel it now. Your knees and hips and feet notice it, especially on multi-day trips. Quite the opposite while actually doing the trip, carrying a pack up a hill is at lot easier now, but at the end of the day it hurts a hell of a lot more than it used to. You're still getting all that same wear and tear from the added load.
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
This topic speaks to me deeply. I’m overweight and completed the Camino from St John in 2019. I was having the exact concerns you are when I embarked, and I’d training (strength training and walking) for 6 months before leaving religiously. For me, I decided what was important was to focus on my Camino…which meant shipping my bag and having a smaller pack and easing into the mileage. It was hard…I often experienced pain in my feet…and some days I was bone tired at the end. I also experienced other hikers surprise I was on the trail…and I had to let go of my reaction to that (most was very well intentioned you can do it for what it’s worth). But I agree with the other posters…it’s all about the mind. Stay focused, listen to your body and take rest days…and you can do it. I’ll be back on the trail in September for #2, and I can’t wait.
I hope I see you on trail. I will be starting my first Camino from SJPP on Sept. 3rd, which I have been waiting for since 2019 to do. I am so excited and ready to immerse myself into the experience. Buen Camino to you
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
When I was that young, I would always lose weight on a Camino, but now that I'm double the age, it's a lot more difficult, though the weight does still slowly drop off.

With experience, I'd suggest that the longer term key to it would be to find out exactly what foods lead you to pile on the pounds, and get rid of them - - but as there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet, that is far more easily said than done.

A general recommendation would be "the" Mediterranean diet, but as to this, there is now a ton of misinformation about that one, as some journalists and nutritionists and others have redefined it to mean any and every local food tradition from anywhere around the Mediterranean Sea. Whereas in fact the diet in question is the one from the South West of France, including BTW on the Atlantic side towards Toulouse, Gascony, and the Landes. And it's high fat, lots of sausage and other charcuteries, veg mostly (but not solely) cooked in meat stews, various types of preserves, and BTW in this context, "meat" refers to meat, fish, poultry, charcuterie, eggs, and dairy. Very little bread or other cereals. Wine etc.

Then there's keto, but that is most certainly not for everyone.

I'm forced into a carnivore diet, which again is NOT for everyone, but - - anyone can try it purely as an elimination diet, 2 to 4 months as the case may be. Again it's mainly fat-based, so fatty "meat" (see above), eggs, dairy, etc. Same as above really, you just cut out the veg during that time - - and a "cheat day" every week or so.

Among other things, it can give you a clue as to what foods outside of the diet are piling themselves onto you, though the cereals and the industrial processed foods are often to blame - - but even this varies greatly from one person to the next.

Vegetarian does work for some people, but as that is totally outside my own need, I can't advise about that possibility.

One thing though - - I did get rid of a LOT of weight in pre-Camino training when I was about your age, but it involved a very aggressive fasting régime, started eating only once every four days, mostly a large steak with chips, then one in three, then every other day - - lots of water, and an occasional glass of red wine to keep me going, and about 150-200 K in training hikes every week. Then a 40K/day 1,800K Camino from Paris.

I am not suggesting anything that extreme - - I certainly could do nothing of the sort myself today !! But something in that spirit might help, though the dietary element is something that you'll actually need to work out individually for yourself.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Oh, one thing that does actually help, whatever your diet - - metabolically, if you fast from about 6PM and every morning, walk in the morning, then have your pilgrim menu, rinse and repeat, that will assist the transformation of body fat into muscle. It's actually a keto trick but it's not dependent on that diet.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I guess it [BMI] can’t tell difference between muscle and fat!
No it can't and muscle is more dense than fat. And the M stands for Mass, not differentiating between what is making up the mass. BMI works okay for statistical measurements but not so well for individuals.

A stout man I knew in the military nearly got thrown out of the service for being overweight due to his high BMI number. He protested enough to be sent to a special medical facility where they performed tests (including measuring his lung and external volumes). He got to stay in; he was found be all muscle and no fat.

High or low bone densities possibly could have an effect too.
 
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mvanert

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014, 2016, 2018, 2023
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I was 64, 6'2" 290 lbs on my 2014, 2016, and 2018 Caminos. Next year I'll be a bit lighter, 275, and will be there again. You can do it, just listen to your body.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Whereas in fact the diet in question is the one from the South West of France, including BTW on the Atlantic side towards Toulouse, Gascony, and the Landes. And it's high fat, lots of sausage and other charcuteries, veg mostly (but not solely) cooked in meat stews, various types of preserves, and BTW in this context, "meat" refers to meat, fish, poultry, charcuterie, eggs, and dairy. Very little bread or other cereals. Wine etc.
Can you give a reference for this - i.e. that this is THE recommended Mediterranean diet?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Can you give a reference for this - i.e. that this is THE recommended Mediterranean diet?
It's the one that years ago some journalists started going on about, so no sorry, these are 20-30 years old newspaper references that I would be quite unable to link to.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2022)
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I was to walk the Camino Frances in Apr 2021 for my 60th but it was postponed until Apr 2022 due to Covid. During that 12 months I went from 90kg to 75kg, still overweight, but not obese. I have a desk job and work long 12hr shifts so only walked on my days off. In the Dec leading up to my walk I broke my foot. I wasn't able to walk long distances or consecutive days until March. I managed to walk 3 consecutive days of 20-25kms, with my pack, just before I left for Spain. I was so anxious about my foot holding up, my specialist assured me I would be fine and I was. I broke that 1st day into 2 and had 3 rest days. Pamplona, Burgos and León. I averaged 22kms a day, longest was 31kms and shortest was 16kms. I set off thinking, just one step at a time, 1 day at a time. I didn't want to think about the 800kms ahead. Each morning I'd tell myself I was just going for a walk. After about 5 days I realised I was doing it! I'm sure losing 15kg helped, as did a light pack and comfortable shoes. But I truly believe it was my hiking poles that gave me the greatest assistance. I used them every day, on the ups, downs and flat. If used correctly (watch YouTube videos) your arms will do a lot of your leg work, whatever the terrain. I was absolutely amazed that other than tired feet at the end of the day, I had no other issues, not even one blister! You've got this!
 

CAJohn

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
Take it slow. If starting in SJPDP, plan on 2 days to get over the mountain. There are multiple options for turning that into 2 days. Stopping at one of the 2 albergues on the way or walking so far and take the mountain shuttle back to SJPDP. Then the next day start again from where you stopped.

Plan on sending your pack forward. The way that I look at it, if you are overweight, you are already carrying more pounds than the fit person with their back pack. Use a small pack with just your essentials for that day and send everything else ahead. It will increase your likelihood of success significantly and decrease your risk of injury.

You will probably lose weight on the Camino, but you will have a hard time measuring it because I never saw a scale during my Camino. In the end, I lost 20 lbs. but I only figured that out about one week later in Barcelona. Remember, it is about the journey not the destination.

I did see young fit people get injured and have to stop their Camino, But I was also present when a very large, relatively young man tragically died of a heart attack. Accidents happen and cannot always be avoided, but going slow and not pushing too hard can decrease risks of accidents, strains and other injuries as well as acute medical events.

Please do not let my last paragraph put you off. Just pay attention to your body and walk your own Camino. Don't worry about keeping up with others. Don't worry about carrying as much weight as others. And don't worry about walking as far as others. I wish you a fulfilling Camino.
 

skevin

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept/Oct 2015 - SJPP to SdC
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I recently went from 105kg to 92kg in 6 weeks on Camino Madrid then Frances - I seem to drop weight fast when away walking - I’m not so interested in the bar meals ( insane calories actually) and am more interested in the physical challenge. Checked my blood pressure when arrived back home last month , and, hey presto it’s in the normal range.

Do drop some weight before you go if you can - knees will thank you on the donwhills.

Short answer - yes walking overweight is absolutely possible ! Go well
 
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Risky

Member, Brisbane Australia.
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese, VDLP, Le Puy, Del Norte, Primitivo, Vezelay, Frances & Via Francigena - C'bury to Rome
G'day RevGreg,
How good is this forum? Always encouraging us on. Whilst we all carry some burden, I think the biggest challenge is between our ears. I am a larger person (6'2" and 140 kilo's) but my weight has never stopped me from doing what I want to do and over a 5 year period have walked over 8,000 kms across Europe. Yes, I've lost weight every time I walk but I'm not clever enough to keep it off, so I always have to start to build up the training about 3 months out, culminating in three 20km (hilly) walks the week before we leave for Europe. As so many members have said listen to your body, manage the challenges and enjoy the moments. (And yes that is a picture of me on the ground, laughing in the merde) Bon chemin!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May to July, 2014
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Just to toss in a couple more ideas. I'm a fan of the "Hiking Rev" on YouTube. He did the Pacific Crest Trail at 67, after he retired, and he has a ton of good advice, most of which is applicable to the Camino. I'm 70, so I'm especially careful when it comes to the joints. Anyhow, here's a sample of what the Rev has to say, though not specifically about weight. All good though:
 

Pilgrim1960

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/Frances 2021
Future- del Norte 2022
They say the camino provides.....I think you would prefer the camino take away.... a few pounds.

We can obsess over these matters- you will be more than fine.
 

staucher

Camino junky
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Via de la Plata
Portuguese
Primitivo
I lost about 20 lb walking from SJPP. You can definitely do it, but that first day over the Pyrenees is pretty tough. Just walk up those steep climbs as a slow steady pace. As others have suggested, you can do it over two days. I'll be catching the CF in Sahagun, and am dreading that climb up to O Cebreiro about a week later.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I must say... all the dogs I ran into on the camino were quite docile and I never encountered hostility that needed a good whack from a stick.
Anyone who goes to Perú should be warned it's different there. 90+% of dogs there are hostile, and there are several on every block in poorer neighborhoods. However, they will back off if you face them—and bite you if you don't. I was bitten three times before I learned that. I also learned that they will run away fast if you pretend to pick up a rock. Only encountered a single exception. Fortunately on that occasion, I happened to be standing next to a big stick when it decided to attack.
 
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pjacobi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
Did I make it? Yes.
Would I walk at that weight again? NO! :oops:

It detracted from my journey big time.

That's why I strongly recommend training at home for many months before your Camino. This allows you to test out all gear, clothing and to resolve any health problems. Even a normal heathy young person will likely encounter some health issue during training. At home, most health issue can easily be resolved by calling a friend or spouse to pick you up in a car or to take you to the family doctor.

All that hard work in training will make your Camino so much more fulfilling and enjoyable.


-Paul
 

WanderstheWorld

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
When I walked the Camino Frances form SJPDP in fall 2019 I called myself (not in a derogatory way, more an accurate description of myself) as the “short, slow, fat pilgrim” (I do carry a lot of extra weight but it hasn’t held me back). Plus I walked for my 50th birthday. Was I in shape? Moderately, I suppose. I did go see my doctor and she did my physical and I was healthy and good to go. I did both strength training and walking however, I could have done more walking. The strength training was geared specifically for walking and I did walks on various terrains. I already do walk to places and my job requires me to be on my feet 75% of the time so I had that but still wish I had done more training regarding walking. I also stretched regularly after workouts. Building up your walks with training also helps prevent overuse injuries like tendinitis and shin splints. I learned that the hard way and had some unexpected rest days as a result. Fortunately, I did recover. On my Camino I did carry my pack the whole way and I had not problem with it. I selected one that was comfortable and had it fitted at the store for my my short frame. That proper fit was crucial and my pack was never a burden to me (though that baggage service is handy if you want to use it). I also used trekking poles and learned to use them properly (YouTube is great for that). The poles were such an asset. I did start out walking shorter days (12-15 km) as I did struggle at first, as mentioned above. Plus blisters. Though as time went on I increased my endurance (the flatness of the Meseta helped too). With my rest days included, I finished in 39 days. I did have a bit of schedule to keep so on the rest days I bused ahead but still walked 600 out of 789 km and I am happy with that. Sounds like you have plans set in motion and are accustomed to training so I think you got this. I’m a firm believer in body inclusivity and health at every size so some planning, plenty of training, and going at the pace your body requests would be my suggested recipe for the Camino. And stay hydrated. Buen Camino!
 

jgiesbrecht

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2020
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I completed 898.2 camino kilometers just under 2 years ago at 5 foot4 190lbs. I did not train before hand and have never hiked before. I did have my bag transfered for me almost every day, so I know that's a but different, but nonetheless, my body took me from SJPDP to Santiago, then on to Fisterra and Muxia, in 45 days, without a day off (though I did have a few short distance days).


You can be super fit and die of a heart attack "out of nowhere" and you can be overweight and accomplish it. You can train like crazy and have a fluke injury end your camino, or you not train and complete. Obviously the people who train and are fit usually have better odds, but it is doable. I only got blisters on my second day and none after that. So really, while you can prepare anything can happen. And when it comes to preparing, you are way ahead of where I was when I went. Do what you can to take care of yourself (esp make sure you have the right gear, etc) and your odds to finish will be good. I would never have completed without walking sticks, though I know not everyone uses them.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
frances
I walked with a big guy this summer and he was an expert at seeing the water pumps along the CF. He had to be, because he drank a tremendous lot of water.
One of his worst days was a morning on the Meseta when the wind was freezing his arms. We eventually found a sports store and he paid $40 for a XXL jacket that would still not close in the front but would cover his arms.
 
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RussB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Still planning
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
I’m not a doctor , but go for it . You will know how you feel and can adjust distance and pace to suit. I’m 58 walked 1,640 km in 55 day , Almeria to Fisterrea, and enjoyed the physicality of everyday. If it’s too much dial back.
 

BrigetteS

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2008 Pamplona to Santiago
Camino Aragones 2010 Somport to Estella
Camino Notes 2019
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
My family are all stoutly built. The average weight was 100kg plus and we all walked successfully. Just make sure you have done walking training in the shoes you plan to walk in.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I need a miracle...maybe two;

1) For the life of me, I cannot find how to start a thread.

2) The miracle I need is to lose 100 lb. I have not attempted the CF since 2018 and have had to cut short my Caminos due to being overweight. I was 220 lb in 2018, but that was pre-covid.
Not feeling the greatest about this lately.
 
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Paul Roby

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016 France :-)
2019 Portuguese Never happened :-(
I'm planning (yes, this far in advance!) for a 2024 trip, Camino Frances, starting in SJDPD. I'm pretty overweight (6'1, 265lbs; 185cm, 120 kg). I began at 285lbs. I'm also youngish (30) and in decent shape for someone my size (I've run a few half-marathons and comfortably walk about 20,000 steps a few times a week). But I'm very, very nervous.

So my question is: Is it realistic for an overweight person to successfully complete the Camino?

Also, one of the reasons I'm planning so far in advance is because I feel it's important I drop some of this weight--for the Camino and a whole host of other reasons. I'm still figuring out how much I need to lose to set myself up for success, but I'm committed to doing whatever's needed.

So, I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone lose a ton of weight for the Camino? Anyone wish they'd lost a ton of weight? Anyone successfully complete the journey with excess baggage?

Hearing your stories will help me figure out my own. Thank you!
Three weeks before leaving, I couldn't walk around the block (Plantar fasciitis). I could have delayed, but I decided to walk; this was the best decision I have ever made. I was about 140kg and very unfit in 2016; I lost about 17 kilograms on the walk (I'm not sure of the weight as I was on a more extended holiday as well. I walked slow, and it was life-changing for me. I also carried my luggage (a 15kg backpack). Yes, when you write it down, it looks silly; I wouldn't change a day of it.
Go for it, come back and inspire others.
Buen Camino
Paul
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
In the lead up to my Camino in 2015 I lost the equivalent of my pack weight…22 pounds. I’m glad that I did. When I walked I was at 230 pounds (6’-2”). I don’t think I would have had to to complete my Camino, but it helped I’m sure. I lost another 12 on the Camino.
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
Three weeks before leaving, I couldn't walk around the block (Plantar fasciitis). I could have delayed, but I decided to walk; this was the best decision I have ever made. I was about 140kg and very unfit in 2016; I lost about 17 kilograms on the walk (I'm not sure of the weight as I was on a more extended holiday as well. I walked slow, and it was life-changing for me. I also carried my luggage (a 15kg backpack). Yes, when you write it down, it looks silly; I wouldn't change a day of it.
Go for it, come back and inspire others.
Buen Camino
Paul
As you inspire us now. Thank you. Buen Camino
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
I need a miracle...maybe two;

1) For the life of me, I cannot find how to start a thread.

2) The miracle I need is to lose 100 lb. I have not attempted the CF since 2018 and have had to cut short my Caminos due to being overweight. I was 220 lb in 2018, but that was pre-covid.
Not feeling the greatest about this lately.
Baby steps. Do not think of the 100 lbs to lose, think of it in small amounts ie., 5 lbs, walk around your neighborhood ... again start small and short distances, reduce your intake of food (small breakfast muesli w/yogourt). After the 1st week, you will feel better and lighter and you can increase the distances you walk. Remember to drink plenty of water. I am 10 kg overweight and have been training for the past 5 years to do this as I was going to walk the Camino in 2020 and we all know what happened, but I kept walking waiting for the time when the world would reopen and in 2021 I was well motivated to continue walking. The point is just get out and walk and you will build your strength to the point when you will feel fit enough to do the Camino. I have and I am leaving Aug. 30th for my first Camino ... yay me! So can YOU!!!
 

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