We all know that nutrition is an important part of weight loss and so is having an exercise routine. Working out consistently throughout the week can increase your calorie deficit in a way that doesn’t lead to cutting more calories and will help you see those numbers fall on the scale. Sometimes, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to working out and creating a plan. This 4-week weight loss workout plan for women will break it all down for you!
Before getting started, make sure you’ve talked with your doctor about your health and what might be safe for you. Also, thinking about your own experience level with exercise, equipment, and proper form will be a good idea. This might let you in on what your starting point is and what kind of help (trainer, more experienced friend, a gym tour, etc.) could get you started. It’s important to remember, as well, that this is a process. Going too hard too soon could cause more harm than good and result in injury rather than weight loss. Trust the incremental increases in your fitness and listen to your body.
To assess how hard your body is working, you’ll want to pay attention to your heart rate. You can also pay attention to how many words you’re able to speak at a time. Short sentences while you’re exercising might be more the activity is moderately intense, whereas, only a word or two at a time might be more vigorous. If you can belt out a song you’re listening to on the treadmill, that’s a good sign to step it up a notch. As you scroll through the plan below, you’ll see a mix of intensity levels from walking or other moderate cardio to high-intensity interval training as well as strength training and active rest days. This mix not only helps to keep things interesting but is a strategic way to workout different parts of your body while other parts rest, build and tone muscle, as well as promote weight loss.
Before diving into the plan below, reflecting on your nutrition will be important. Calories are like our bodies’ gasoline. They fuel us and help keep us going. Do we need to reduce them to lose weight? Yes. But there is a delicate balance we have to keep in mind. If we don’t take in enough calories we risk having ineffective workouts that leave us feeling light headed. The type of calories and the time timing of these calories is also important when starting an exercise plan. Finding out what works for you when it comes to your carbs, fats, and proteins, as well as, when you eat them. There is a lot of information out there on how “you should”do this but what’s crucial is that you find what works for you.
4 Weeks of Workouts: A Weight Loss Workout Plan for Women
No this isn’t a new holiday song but it could turn into your new losing weight tune. This weight loss workout plan for women, will combine some of the most effective exercises to help you lose weight, build muscle, and manage your calorie deficit. Remember, when you start your plan that the calories you take in will become even more important. To make sure you’re fueling well, check out these Pre Workout Breakfasts to help get you going. This weight loss workout plan is a blueprint to help you get an idea of what to do but can be easily modified in terms of what days for weights, cardio, and rest work best for you. For safety and effectiveness, incorporate a 10 minute warm up and cool down each workout session.
As you get started you’ll want to allow a minimum of 2 days active or full rest between strength-training sessions. Active rest days might include walking, light biking, yoga, or stretching and give your muscles time to recover and repair themselves.
- Monday – This will a total body strength-training day. Start with exercises that utilize your own body weight such as squats, planks, and push-ups, or resistance bands and complete these exercises in sets of 12-15 reps. Aim for 2-3 sets of each exercise. Rest for at least 1 minute between sets but take more time if needed.
- Tuesday – Active rest day. This will be a great day for moderately intense cardio such as a 30 to 60 minute walk at a brisk pace or hopping on an elliptical or stationary bike for those need lower impact movements.
- Wednesday – True rest day. Take this day to do some light stretching or foam rolling at home.
- Thursday – A high-intensity interval training day is next. This will include circuits of strength-training and cardio exercises maximizing effectiveness. Start with a class or video that you feel comfortable with and keep in mind that it’s okay to go at your own pace.
- Friday – Next is another total body strength-training day. This will include body weight strength-training exercise as well as hand weights to get you used to using some equipment. Find a weight amount that feels comfortable for you and gives slight resistance.. Aim for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise. Rest for at least 1 minute between sets but take more time if needed.
- Saturday – Active rest day number 2. Find a cardio activity that you enjoy such as walking, biking, or swimming. A weekend Gentle Flow yoga class might also be a nice option for recovering muscles.
- Sunday – True rest day. Practice light stretching or foam rolling at home in preparation for another week of movement.
Those more experienced in exercises involving strength-training or cardio might alternate body groups or allow a minimum of 1 day between strength-training workouts due to having more conditioned muscles.
- Monday – This will be an upper body, back, and core day for a strength-training workout to kick off your week. Choose a weight that will challenge you to get in 10-12 reps but still feels doable for you, aiming for 3 sets. Rest 1 minute between each set. These ab exercises might include medicine balls or planks in 1 minute increments.
- Tuesday – Next is a lower body day. While you let your upper body rest, you’ll workout your legs and target your lower core. These exercises will include traditional squats, sumo (or plié) squats, calf raises, glute raises, glute bridges, varying types of lunges, flutter kicks, and oblique exercises. Hold hand weights for increased resistance and aim for 15 reps of each exercise, and 3 sets, resting 1 minute between sets.
- Wednesday – Enjoy an active rest day. You might practice some mid-week yoga or get in some foam rolling. These days are always opportunities to get in light to moderate cardio.
- Thursday – High-intensity interval training will be your Thursday session. These workouts or classes will feel more intense than your usual gym session combining cardio fitness with strength-training strategies. These circuits are sure to an effective way to encourage fat loss to help you lose weight.
- Friday – Repeat Monday’s workout.
- Saturday – Repeat Tuesday’s workout.
- Sunday – Now for a full rest day. Enjoy letting your muscles recover and remember to get in plenty or water. Light stretching is encouraged.
Repeat week 1 to start to set the tone for building your routine and muscular endurance. Focus on how your body feels and what works (or doesn’t) for you. Continue to be your own gym and build your workouts for another week with a focus on form.
Repeat week 1 and take note of any modifications you might need to make. Think through your level of soreness from the previous week and adjust as needed. Know that this soreness will lessen the more you condition your muscles.
This week, your routine will stay similar to weeks 1 and 2, but this time you’ll be adding in some additional weight with equipment like dumbells or machines if you’re visiting a gym. Remember the amount of weight you choose to use for each exercise so that this can become your new baseline. The weight you choose should ideally challenge you but still allows you to do 12 reps of an exercise in good form. If you have to break form to complete the movement, the weight you chose is too heavy. Here are some examples of how you might incorporate these into your regular routine:
- Hold a 10 pound kettlebell with both hands while doing squats.
- Hold a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand while doing lunges.
- Swap resistance bands for a 5-10 pound weight in arm and back exercises, such as bicep curls, overhead press, tricep extensions, and lateral raises.
- Hold a 5 pound medicine ball for floor core exercises or 5 pound weights for standing oblique crunch.
Those more familiar with weight loss workouts will keep your routine similar to weeks 1 and 2, but this time you will increase your equipment’s weight by 1-2 pounds. Your number of reps and sets should remain the same to help continue to tone your muscles and encourage fat loss.
We are now starting to work into alternating the body groups you train, similar to a more experienced exerciser. By this point, you’ve been doing your weight loss workout plan for about a month and have learned a lot about your routine, body, and the art of exercising. Start this week using the same amount of weight for resistance from Week 3, but perform the Experienced Week 1 workout to target specific muscle groups.
Continue to use the same amount of weight for your workouts from Week 3. After a month of consistently practicing strength-training and getting in high-intensity interval training workouts you might be feeling ready for a new challenge. If this is the case, replace your Friday and Saturday repeat workouts with either high-intensity interval training, vigorously intense cross-training such as biking, running, or swimming, or a power yoga class.
As you continue to progress in your fitness and weight loss journey remember that it’s okay to go at your own pace and feel out what’s right for you. It can also be important to add in a mix of different activities and find what you really enjoy. For more exercises that could be incorporated into a weight loss workout plan for women, check out the Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast.