|We can spin obesity into somewhat of a positive with this kind of thinking.|
Thankfully, I know tons of lifters who do not fit that stereotype, and many of them can walk stairs and push prowlers just fine--in fact, some have great physiques and can walk several flights of stairs and keep their breath.
I think the point of what I said was to note that I overlooked an audience of people who just want to look good, and don't really give a shit about competing in a sport that involves probably the narrowest set of movements around. Furthermore, not everyone likes the smell of ointment, or ammonia.
There is a reason for this gravitation and it is not without merit. If you take a beanpole of the street, and they get strong, that's a good thing. They get more lean muscle tissue, they'll get a faster metabolism, men and/or women might want to fuck them more, and they won't get sand kicked in their face like the old comic shows.
Take a larger person and you get them stronger, they lose fat, and generally feel better about themselves. Bonus: if they are a big son of a bitch who also happens to be really strong, they have a good physique hidden away.
That being said, there are more ways to get strong besides the squat, the bench and the deadlift, though I don't see any rational reason why a person wouldn't want a heavy ass deadlift.
Before I go further on that, let me just say that what follows will be an alternative. Hopefully, you will find it fun. But if you are of the mindset that you need to waste your life on a treadmill or an elliptical or anything that has you standing next to a motherfucker worse than you are, with horrible BO or hangover breath, or garlic smelling sweat, this is for you.
I am a fan of Paul Chek's primal patterns of movement--Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend, and Twist. It makes shit simple. PC said that those types of movements are what we start doing as infants. Squatting to stand up, lunging to get back up after falling after a few steps, pushing their weight up from a crawl to a stand, bending to pick shit up and so on.
Aside from the bowling pin fetish they seem to have, this is pretty good at demonstrating what PC was talking about. The good thing about these movements are is that you can make them as complex or as minimal as you have to depending on where you are. One of my favorite starting points for bigger people is the Turkish Get-Up. Before the RKC fucked it up and made it less efficient with extra hip bridges and shit, the idea was really simple. You press a weight, you stand up and get back down with it. It's a hybrid of several PM patterns, and the good news for big folk is that your body will be the heftiest thing you lift during it.
Here's a guy doing a TGU with a woman. Pretty rad. Here's a good starting point for moving. Getting up and getting back down. If you can't do it from the floor, a couch or a chair can be a good place to start (though it is my sincere hope that none of you reading are that bad off). Get better at it using minimal effort, then hold some weight. If you can't use a woman, a kettlebell, dumbbell, light backpack or anything similar will do. The main key point is don't drop the weight on your face, or otherwise hurt yourself. Always err on the side of caution.
For other movements, you can also squat. You don't need a barbell. Use your body weight. Can't get low? Get where you can, and you will be able to get low over time. Key points for that: push your butt back, drop between your legs and keep a douche bag chest for max efficiency. Fuck with it til it feels good, scale it back as needed. If you really need to, use a counter top, or a door handle to help.
If you want more lunging, you can actually do lunges. You need to throw in some twisting, you can lunge and twists. Need some minimal pushing movements? Push-ups are good. Can't do full push ups? Do half push-ups or the ill named "girl push-ups," which will be termed "knee push-ups" from now on.
Hopefully, you get the idea. Call it whatever you want--primal moving, animal movements, etc. The limit is your creativity. And if you are severely uncreative, here is an idea for you: take a twister game and lay it out. Spin the spinner 10 or 15 times and write out the spots it landed on a white board. Hit each spot as fast as you can, using the minimal effective amount of effort. Do this a few times. You might enjoy it. If you video it and send it to me I'll give you a handshake and some praise.
The take home point is that you can start your path to better by getting strong. It will pay off dividends over paying for a gym membership to walk or "eliptic." You can do this stuff in your home, or outside if you want. And if you must do steady state cardio, at least use God's treadmill (the earth).
And a final example of how complex and awesome human movement can be.