Sometimes, when you’re trying to lose weight, the biggest challenge to adopting a weight-loss workout plan is finding a regimen that fits seamlessly into your life. Lots of guys who are trying to lose weight try absolutely absurd workout programs that require tons of specialized equipment or instruction, only to give up months later because it’s just too difficult to keep pace.

But losing weight shouldn’t be complicated. That’s why we’ve created a four-week, calorie-burning workout program that you can do pretty much anywhere—indoors or outdoors, at home or in the gym, on a track or in your driveway—with only minimal equipment.

And remember: If you’re committed to losing weight, you need to commit to the proper nutrition program. You can’t exercise away a bad diet. Focus on the 13 best foods for weight loss, and check out our four-week, fat-burning meal plan.

How this workout program works

This workout program involves both weights and running, but the emphasis here is on quick, increasingly difficult workouts of between 30 and 60 minutes. These workouts will help you rev up your metabolism and, when combined with improved nutrition, help you lose weight. Along the way, you’ll improve strength, mobility, stability, and overall endurance.

That’s why we’ll begin each of these four-times-a-week sessions with five minutes of movement preparation to better mimic the movements of everyday life, improve flexibility and mobility, and reduce risk of injury. And, of course, it will serve as a warmup for the coming workout.

Directions

The four workouts will remain consistent throughout the four weeks, but we’ll increase the degree of difficulty by adding sets, reps, distance, time, or a combination of all four. You should work out four days a week (ideally Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), and designate Wednesday as active recovery.

Keep your weekends free. We should note, however, that any weight-loss program should encompass healthy eating, minimal or no alcohol, and an active weekend lifestyle of sports and outdoor activities that will complement your work during the week.

The workouts

Week 1 >>>

Week 2 >>>

Week 3 >>>

Week 4 >>>

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It seems like every other week there’s a new study touting the best way to work out. And, really, how you do it depends a lot on your goal—someone looking to gain muscle mass may hit the gym differently than someone training for a triathlon. A few specific trends have emerged in recent years regarding working out for general fitness, and more specifically how to elicit the optimal metabolic response—that “afterburn” effect of continued calorie consumption for up to 48 hours after a session—e.g., the biggest bang for your effort and time. What the studies have in common: taking a circuit approach to resistance training, using heavy-but-manageable loads, alternately working multiple muscle groups, and rotating through the exercises with little or no rest in between.

We asked exercise scientist Jeffrey M. Willardson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., associate professor of Kinesiology and Sports Studies at Eastern Illinois University to design a workout that incorporates these principles. Do each exercise for 10 to 15 repetitions, using weights that produce fatigue but not failure, and go from one move to the next without stopping. Willardson suggests repeating the circuit one to three times, every other day.

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When it comes to losing weight, burning fat, and building muscle there are two styles of training I always recommend. The first style of training I tell people to begin with is strength training. It helps you lower your body fat percentage and build lean muscle, and it can be modified for all levels. “The benefits of strength training for both men and women include an increase in bone mass and lean mass, improved body composition (due to decreased fat mass), cardiovascular fitness, strength, and an enhanced sense of well-being,” the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported.

The second style of training I recommend for fat loss is cardio. I like cardio because it’s been proven to help you burn fat, and it gives you variety in your workouts. You’re probably either like, “Yes, I love running!” or “Nope, I’ll pass.” But here’s the thing: running isn’t the only form of cardio. You can also get your cardio in by doing workouts like Spinning and swimming. There’s an option for everyone.

To help you reach your goal — burn fat, build muscle, lose weight, or all of the above — I created this four-week workout plan. It’s pretty straightforward, you’ll do the following workouts consistently for four weeks. You’ll repeat each workout four times over a four-week span. This will help you learn the movement patterns and really be able to see your improvement.

If on week two, three, and four, you feel like the the weights you’re lifting are too easy, you can always increase the weight! Here are a few signs your weights are too light. For an added challenge, you can also decrease your rest time. Finally, I recommend tracking how heavy you’re lifting in order to see your progression over the four-week period. You can do this with a notes app on your phone or simply write it down in a notebook.

If you’re ready to get started, keep reading.

How to Build Your Own Workout Routine for Weight Loss

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If you want to lose weight, there are two questions that immediately come to mind: What should I eat? and What should my workouts look like? For those who are the “diet starts on Monday” type, figuring out the fitness part of the weight-loss equation might seem like a good place to start. Deciding on the best plan of attack is easier said than done, though, since even fitness experts aren’t unanimous on how to lay out the perfect week of workouts. But there are some general guidelines that can help if you’re trying to piece together your own program.

First things first: Even if you are working out to lose weight, you still want to include some weight training instead of going overboard on cardio. “When you get done with weight training, your metabolism is up for up to 24 hours afterward, which is great for losing weight,” says Erin Oprea, trainer to Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini and author of The 4×4 Diet. (BTW, Oprea is referring to what’s called the afterburn effect.) “But when you do cardio, it doesn’t stay up as long.”

The Cardio-Heavy Weight Loss Workout Plan

Oprea suggests mixing the two if you’re trying to lose weight. For example, she might recommend a week with two days of full-body strength workouts, four days of cardio, and an active recovery day. On top of that, she stresses staying active outside of your workouts by getting in at least 10,000 steps a day, every day. During your full-body strength sessions, reach for the heaviest weight with which you can complete 12 to 15 reps without sacrificing form, she says.

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Similarly, Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody trainer and creator of 21 Day Fix, suggests a mix of cardio and weight training for anyone trying to lose weight. “I love to use cardio strength training when the goal is weight loss, meaning you’re using your weight training routine to build muscle but you’re moving in a way, and you’re lining your reps up in a way to allow your heart rate to stay up,” she says. That way you’re burning max calories while building strength-win-win.

The Total-Body Strengthening Weight Loss Workout Plan

A sample weight-loss routine from Calabrese includes full-body strength on Monday and Friday, cardio and abs on Tuesday and Saturday, legs and butt on Wednesday, and rest or active recovery on Sunday. (You might also be interested in Calabrese’s body-toning dumbbell exercises.)

When it comes to deciding on your workout length, quality is more important than the duration. “You could have an hour-long routine, but you could also accomplish the same amount for 30 minutes if you have less rest time in between and you’re really pushing to your max in between so you’re developing those muscles out faster,” says Calabrese. Oprea echoes this sentiment: “Everyone has this hour in their head, but realistically most people don’t have that kind of time. So I say fit in as much as you can. If you have an hour, do an hour. Otherwise, just do a good 30-minute workout, but then still move the rest of the day.” (Related: Natural Weight-Loss Tips to Help You Hit Your Goals Safely)

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The beauty of creating your own plan is that you can cherry-pick the workouts you find fun, which will make you more likely to stay on track. (Exhibit A: This #GoalCrusher who lost 40 pounds after taking up hula hooping.) “A lot of the time people get bored and they stop,” says Oprea. “So, find something that you can change regularly and that you love.” Whether you’re penciling classes or creating a gym routine plan, make sure you’re choosing workouts you’ll actually want to follow through with.

The Best Exercises to Lose Weight and Stay Active

Cardiovascular workouts (or simply cardio) elevate your heart rate. These are some of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss because the greater your heartbeat, the more fat you’ll burn, explains Multazim Shaikh, a fitness trainer and nutritionist with FamFits.

To lose weight or maintain weight loss, you’ll need up to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. This averages about 60 minutes, five days a week.

If you’re busy, split up your cardio into three smaller workouts a day. One example: Exercise 20 minutes in the morning before work, walk 20 minutes on your lunch break, and exercise for 20 minutes after dinner.

Great cardio workouts to help you lose weight include:

1. Low-intensity cardio

You don’t have to exercise at a high intensity to lose weight. If you’re a beginner or have physical limitations, low-intensity cardio can also help you burn calories and drop pounds.

These workouts include jogging, bicycling, power walking, swimming, and aerobics. Start slow and gradually up the intensity as you adjust to your new routine.

Aim for 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio five days a week. As you become more physically fit, carry hand weights while jogging, walking, or doing aerobics.

2. Jump rope

Jumping rope not only improves coordination and cognitive function, but the intensity of this workout elevates your heart rate, helping you burn about 1,300 calories per hour, explains Shaikh.

  1. Warm up with 8 to 10 jumps.
  2. Then jump continuously for 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Rest for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat.
  4. Complete 3 sets.

You can switch up your routine, too. Jump one set on a single leg, one set with both legs, and one set while running in place.

3. Burpees

Burpees combine squats, jumps, and pushups. It’s an effective workout because you’re burning fat from your overall body, and you’re training multiple muscle groups like your chest, legs, and core, says Shaikh.

  1. Do 10 reps in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds.
  2. Repeat for 5 minutes.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This cardio workout has increased in popularity due to its ability to maximize calorie burn and fat loss. It involves intense bursts of exercise to elevate your heart rate, followed by 15 seconds of rest.

HIIT is great if you don’t have a lot of time. You’re able to exercise for a shorter length of time, yet complete a more intense and strenuous workout. As a result, you’ll continue to burn calories for hours after the workout, notes Shaikh.

Here’s an example of a HIIT routine:

  1. Complete butt kicks for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
  2. Next, perform jumping lunges for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
  3. Complete burpees for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 seconds.
  4. Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. You can also incorporate other movements like mountain climbers and jump squats.

Or, you can try to complete a HIIT workout on a treadmill:

  • Warm up for 5 minutes.
  • Then sprint at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
  • Walk for 30 seconds, and then sprint again at a high-intensity speed for 1 minute.
  • Complete 8 to 10 sets.

Weight Loss Program: DAY-BY-DAY WORKOUT PLAN

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To transform your body, to get fit, to be healthy and to feel great you gotta exercise. Just like the air you breathe, your body needs physical exercise. And it needs exercise in a way that is so far-reaching that scientists are only just starting to unravel some of the amazing effects exercise has on our bodies. Did you know, that exercise can actually reprogram your DNA? And while you may think that by not doing exercise you’re not doing any harm, lack of exercise itself can alter your DNA – but unfavourably!

Putting aside all the complicated, scientific reasons to exercise, exercise offers benefits that dieting just can’t. Exercise allows you to boost your metabolism and turn your body into a fat blasting furnace. Exercise builds muscle in the places you want, improves body shape and gives you a firm, toned body. Dieting, on the other hand, doesn’t promise a firm body – you can lose weight dieting and still be jiggly! And of course, in conjunction with diet, exercise speeds up the whole weight loss process, and who doesn’t want that?

This workout plan is between 4 and 12 weeks long, depending on how much weight you want to lose. Follow this workout plan and practice healthy eating and portion control, which means eating the right food in the right quantities at the right times, and you’ll be able to burn off at least a pound or two of body fat each week. But remember, you’ll also be doing resistance training to gain muscle in all the right places, so you’ll want to keep track of your progress with body measurements and, if you can, body fat percentage.

WEIGHT LOSS WORKOUT PLAN: CARDIO

This weight loss workout plan consists of both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. The name of the game is to blitz fat, which means to burn as many calories as you can. Cardiovascular exercise burns a lot of calories, as such this weight loss workout plan is centred around cardio. And to really blitz the fat, you’ll be doing two types of cardio, steady-steate cardio and interval training.

Steady-state cardio (referred to as simply “cardio” on the weight loss plan below) means you’ll be exercising (e.g. power walking, jogging, running, cycling) at about the same level of intensity for the duration of the workout. Steady-state cardio workouts tend to be longer. Cardiovascular interval training (IT) and high intensity interval training (HIIT), on the other hand, are a shorter workout, but alternate between higher levels of intensity and recovery intervals. Interval training is a proven technique to massively boost metabolism and torch body fat. HIIT (short bursts of all out exercise e.g. sprinting) is a more intense form of interval training, so beginners should start with regular interval training.

You can do any type of cardiovascular exercise, just make sure it’s something you like – or if you have no particular preference just stay away from those actives you know you do not enjoy. Cardio is an integral part of this weight loss workout plan and it is important that you like what you are doing in order to stick with it, not just for the duration of this program, but also afterwards. You can do your cardio workouts outdoors or on cardiovascular machinery indoors. If you are carrying a lot of weight, it’s best to start with low impact exercise such as walking, swimming or using the elliptical machine. If you have access to an elliptical machine/ cross-trainer, give it a try. I love this piece of cardio equipment, as it allows you to burn as many calories as jogging/ running, but is low-impact. Exercising on the elliptical also “feels” much easier than jogging/ running, allowing you to exercise for longer and burn more calories.

This workout plan has a lot of variety and gets progressively harder. Why? Not just to make you stronger and more fit, but to make sure you keep losing weight. When you do a workout over and over again, it eventually gets easier, which means your body doesn’t have to work as hard and therefore burns fewer calories. So your motto is always better. Every week you want to be better than the previous week.

WEIGHT LOSS WORKOUT PLAN: RESISTANCE EXERCISE

The other part of this plan is resistance exercise. This is important because it’s the part that focuses on building muscle. During weight loss, not all the weight lost is fat, some of it is muscle. Resistance training will ensure that you avoid the loss of muscle that usually occurs and will actually help you build muscle. You’ll be doing 3 resistance workouts per week:

  • Core (abs and back)
  • Upper body (arms & shoulders)
  • Total body workout

As you get more advanced, these workouts will be followed by a short cardio workout, for maximum fat burning.

In terms of equipment, you only need the bare necessities: a stability ball, a resistance band, and two pairs of dumbbells. A pair of light dumbbells (5-10lbs) and a pair of heavier ones (10-20lbs). Each workout only takes about 30 minutes.

FITNESS LEVEL: BEGINNER TO ADVANCED WORKOUT PLANS

There is a plan for beginners and for more advanced exercisers. If you haven’t exercised for a long time start with the beginner weight loss workout plan. If you have been exercising regularly for the last few months several times a week and been increasing your fitness levels, try the more advanced weight loss program.

If in doubt, start at a lower level. You can always skip ahead if you feel it is too easy or switch to a more difficult plan. The great thing is that all of the plans burn calories and all of the plans require commitment. As long as you give it your best at every workout (and watch your calorie intake!), you will make progress, will burn calories, will drop the pounds and will get stronger.

Remember:

  • Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition.
  • Don’t forget to warm-up for 5 – 10 minutes before you start your workout and to cool-down. Stretch after your workout.

See next page about how to follow this workout plan and for the more advanced workout plans.

Here are the workouts:

  • Total body workout
  • Upper body workout (arm & shoulders)
  • Core workout (abs and back)
  • Beginner weight loss workout plan (this page – see immediately below)
  • Intermediate weight loss workout plan
  • Advanced weight loss workout plan
  • How hard you should exercise

Note: IT = interval training, HIIT = high intensity interval training

WORKOUT PLAN: BEGINNERS

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How Much Do I Need to Exercise for Weight Loss?

Do the math: You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound. So if you’re burning 300 calories in one workout, it will take you nearly 12 workouts to lose one pound. If you cut your calorie intake by 300 calories in addition to burning 300, it will take you half as long to lose a pound.

If you want to lose weight, shoot for at least 200 minutes (more than three hours) a week of moderate intensity exercise with everything else consistent, says Church. If you cut calories and exercise, he says, you can get away with a minimum dose of 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) a week.

If you’re a beginner, says Gaesser, start with 50 minutes of exercise a week and work up to 200.

“You didn’t put on that 20 pounds in the last six months; you’re not going to take it off in six months,” says Church.

“People don’t want to hear about the patience aspect,” he says. “They want instant gratification. But the cold, hard reality is if you want to lose weight and keep it off, it’s work. No one loses weight and keeps it off without trying.”

Here are eight tips to help you adhere to a weight loss workout and meet your goals.

  1. Have an exercise buddy or partner. This is a must, according to the experts who spoke with WebMD. Having accountability to someone else, even if it’s your Labrador, keeps you honest. “It’s much easier to say no to yourself than to someone else,” says Gaesser, who goes for bike rides regularly with friends.
  2. Schedule your workouts. Keep a calendar that lists specific times for your workouts, says Gaesser. Make an appointment with exercise ahead of time, and you won’t have the excuse of running out of time.
  3. Weigh yourself daily. This is one of the best tools to see if you’re slipping up, Church says. Weighing yourself daily can keep you on track so that you don’t let 300 extra calories a day or one missed workout set you back.
  4. Don’t do too much, too fast. Don’t get over-motivated, warns Quist. Lifting weights that are too heavy or starting out with six days a week of aerobic exercise is a mistake, says Quist. “People end up hurting themselves in the first week and then they give up,” he says.
  5. Log your steps. Logging the time that you work out will help you achieve your weekly goal, even if you get off track one day, Church says. It will also inspire you at the end of the week, when you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished.
  6. Cook more often. Portions, and calories, are out of control when you eat out, says Church. You’ll almost always consume fewer calories in a meal cooked and eaten at home. Save restaurants for special occasions, and get together with friends for a walk instead of a meal.
  7. Don’t turn water into wine. Not only does a glass of wine or beer add a couple hundred extra calories, after a few glasses, you’re not as conscious of consuming more calories in your meal. You don’t have to give up drinking, says Church, but do cut back.
  8. Beware the one-way valve. You walk past the hors d’oeuvres at a party, grab some cheese and crackers, and quickly consume 300 calories before dinner even starts. “We have no problem randomly over-consuming extreme amounts of calories,” says Church, “but we never randomly, sporadically have extreme bouts of caloric expenditure.”

The women’s fitness expert revealed how much you should be exercising to lose weight and shared an inside look at the best workout for each body type.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS NEEDED FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND TONING?

As a rule, Attard said consistent weight loss requires five days a week commitment.

“If you really want to see results and continue to make progress, I would recommend that you work out around five days a week with one or two rest days,” she said on her blog.

To shed those last stubborn pounds and tone up all over, Rachael recommended a combination of cardio and resistance training, some low-intensity and some high-intensity exercises.

Low-intensity workouts like swimming, jogging, power walking and cycling burn fat and help you stay lean. High-intensity workouts like weight training, interval training, sprinting and long-distance running build muscle and tone the core, arms and legs.

“One without the other leaves a huge gap in your fitness routine,” Attard explained.

Slideshow: 30 things you should never, ever do at the gym (Provided by Women’s Health)

THE BEST WORKOUTS FOR EACH BODY TYPE

Ectomorph: Ectomorphs are naturally slim with little body fat, which means they don’t need much cardio to stay lean. However, because cardio is good for overall body function and cardiovascular health, Attard advised fitting in two to three low-intensity cardio sessions a week alongside three to five resistance workouts. Ectomorphs should focus on body weight exercises and HIIT sessions with at least one recovery day a week.

Mesomorph: Mesomorphs can lose and gain weight relatively easily, which means their bodies respond quickly to diet and exercise. Attard recommended regular low-impact cardio for mesomorphs to keep them lean, as well as three resistance training sessions a week to help shed fat fast. Mesomorphs should have one recovery day per week.

Endomorph: Endomorphs naturally have a higher fat and muscle content than their ecto and meso counterparts. Endomorphs build muscle easily, but also find fat difficult to lose which means a large dose of low-impact cardio like walking is important to keep weight off. Attard said endomorphs should avoid running or other high-intensity cardio exercises, as this can build unwanted bulk in the legs. She advised combining this with three sessions of resistance training per week, using light weights with high reps. Endomorphs should avoid heavy exercises like squats, lunges, dead lifts and burpees. One active recovery day is recommended.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ms Attard said sustained weight loss requires a full-time commitment of five days a week

RULES FOR FIRST TIME FITNESS ENTHUSIASTS

While it might be tempting to dive head first into six days a week of rigorous training, Attard said it’s best to ease into a new fitness routine. To start, she recommended three to four days a week of solid exercise taking one or two days rest in between.

“This lets your muscles recover and gives you a chance to start making strides without pushing yourself to the point of injury,” she said in a blog post on the subject.

For first time fitness enthusiasts, Attard suggested trying yoga or mid-intensity hiking as an efficient method of burning calories without straining the body.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ms Attard said it’s important to ease into a new fitness routine, taking rest and recovery days in between high-intensity workouts

EXERCISING TWICE A DAY – YAY OR NAY?

According to Attard, upping your exercise game with two workouts a day is all fine, depending on your fitness levels.

She said while twice daily sessions might be too much for beginners, adding a second workout could help more seasoned gym bunnies overcome a frustrating weight loss plateau.

For those injecting a second workout into their day, Attard recommended a low to moderate intensity cardio session in the morning followed by an evening of resistance training.

Video: Exercise makes people happier than money, study says (Courtesy: Cooking Light)

When you’re looking to drop pounds, the basic formula is pretty simple: eat less and move more. But there are obviously ways you can optimize this formula.

When it comes to moving, “two types of workouts will burn more calories than the ‘traditional’ workout,” says Franklin Antoian, personal trainer and founder of iBodyFit.com. “Endurance-type workouts—think a marathoner or long-distance swimmer—burn a lot of calories, simply because it takes a lot of energy to work out for 2 hours or so.” The other type is a little easier on your schedule: short, high-intensity bouts, which burn calories both during and after, thanks to that metabolism-boosting effect known as the “afterburn.”

These 10 workouts—from Antoian and coach Lisa Reed, M.S., C.S.C.S., owner of Lisa Reed Fitness in the Washington, D.C. area—get your calorie burn up and your waist size down. Plus, they don’t require two hours—except for maybe the last one!

Before your session of choice, Reed recommends a simple dynamic warmup to get your muscles ready and help prevent injury.

WARMUP

Do 25 yards or 20-30 seconds each of:

  • Skips (traveling or stationary)
  • Buttkicks (traveling or stationary)
  • Frankenstein walks/kicks
  • Walking (or stationary) knee hugs
  • Walking (or alternating) lunges
  • Walking (or alternating) lateral lunges
  • Walkout pushups

1. Basic Bodyweight Workout

“No gym? No problem. Speed up this circuit of bodyweight exercises to burn calories anywhere, anytime,” says Antoian. Do the circuit of exercises for one minute each four times through, resting for 30 seconds before repeating, for a 30-minute session.

Do this circuit 3–4 times. Do 1 minute each of:

  • Pushups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Forward-backward lunges (30 seconds each leg)
  • V sit-ups
  • Side-stepping squats (30 seconds each leg)
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers

2. Beast Mode Bodyweight Workout

“This bodyweight circuit workout raises your body temperature and increases your metabolism,” Reed says. Do the main circuit two or three times through, resting as little as possible. Then finish with the cardio burnout.

Do this circuit 2–3 times. Do 30 seconds each of:

  • Isometric squats
  • Squats
  • Sumo squat jumps
  • Wide-hand push-ups
  • Renegade rows with pushups between
  • Side plank rotations with reach
  • Reverse lunges (right)
  • Reverse lunges (right)
  • Plank tricep get-ups (right-arm lead)
  • Plank tricep get-ups (left-arm lead)
  • Windshield wipers

Then do 30 seconds each of:

  • Speed squats
  • Quick feet
  • Skater jumps
  • Speed jumping jacks
  • High-knee stationary sprint
  • Burpees

3. Classic Gym Circuit

“If you’re short on time and are happy with a basic workout, try this tried-and-true circuit,” Antoian says. Do the whole thing 3 to 5 times through, with little to no rest in between exercises and sets, and use a heavy enough weight that it’s tough to finish the last few reps.

Do the following as a circuit 3–5 times:

  • 20 leg presses
  • 15 dumbbell squats with shoulder press
  • 15 hamstring curls
  • 15 bench presses
  • 25 cable rows
  • 10 dumbbell bicep curls
  • 10 tricep pressdowns
  • 25 crunches

4. Tabata

The definition of high intensity, tabatas have you alternating 20 seconds of hard effort with 10 seconds of rest, straight through for four minutes. “The best thing about the Tabata workout is that you can perform these short, intense routines with your own body weight in the comfort of your own home,” Reed says. “Tabata raises your heart rate, pumps up your muscles, and increases your fitness level.” These ones will have you alternating two exercises targeting the same muscle groups, and going from one to the next provides a kickbutt workout in 24 minutes.

A. Lower-body tabata #1 (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of speed squats
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds isometric squat hold
  • 10 seconds rest

B. Lower-body tabata #2 (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of walking lunges
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of squat jumps
  • 10 seconds rest

C. Upper-body tabata #1 (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of dumbbell bentover rows
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of dumbbell chest press
  • 10 seconds rest

D. Upper-body tabata #2 (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of dumbbell bicep curls
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of dumbbell tricep kickbacks
  • 10 seconds rest

E. Cardio tabata (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of skater jumps
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of frog jumps
  • 10 seconds rest

F. Tabata abs (do circuit 4 times)

  • 20 seconds of bicycle crunches
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of supermans

5. Battle Ropes

“If you’ve never incorporated battle ropes into your training, you’ll soon find out why they burn so many calories so quickly,” says Antoian. “Repeat this workout four times for an ultra kick-butt 20 minute workout.”

  • 1 minute of rope alternating arm waves
  • 30 seconds of pushups
  • 1 minute of rope double-arm slam jumping waves
  • 30 seconds of bicycle crunches
  • 1 minute of rope outside circles
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds of rest

6. Killer Kettlebells

“Training with kettlebells is very beneficial because they improve your body composition, generate total body power, and build strength simultaneously,” says Reed. “Due to how the weight is distributed, kettlebells force your muscles to counterbalance, improving your stability and balance as well.” These exercises should all be performed unilaterally, meaning with one arm at a time, which further engages the core. Go from one move to the next, then rest for a minute or two before repeating the whole thing two more times.

Do 10 reps each arm or leg. Perform the complete group of exercises as a circuit, doing 3 circuits total.

  • Single-arm swings
  • Squat to single-arm overhead press
  • Single-arm bentover rows
  • Single-leg Russian deadlifts
  • 1-2 minutes rest

7. TRX Training

TRX workouts not only increase total body strength to burn more calories throughout the day, but will also increase your heart rate to help improve body composition. In addition, the TRX engages more muscles of your core. With all of your core muscles being worked, you will condition your entire body and get tight lower abs at the same time!

Perform each exercise on the TRX for 30 seconds each:

Set 1 (do 3 times)

  • TRX squat jumps
  • TRX push-ups
  • TR pull-ups

Set 2 (do 3 times)

  • TRX reverse lunge to knee up (each side)
  • TRX tricep extensions
  • TRX bicep curls

Set 3 (do 3 times)

  • TRX hamstring curls
  • TRX pike-ups

Set 4 (do 3 times)

  • Side oblique crunches (each side)

8. Fiery 50

“The combo of sprinting, getting down to do abs, and then jumping as high in the air as you can for the burpees is a sure way to tear through some calories,” Antoian says. Repeat the workout five to 10 times with no rest between exercises and just one minute between rounds.

  • 50-yard sprint
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50-yard reverse sprint (run backwards)
  • 50 reverse sit-ups
  • 10 burpees

9. Metabolic Strength

“A metabolic workout increases your strength and stamina, burns fat, and increases your metabolism to boost energy and weight loss,” Reed says. The secret is not scrimping on the load and going from one exercise to the next with little break.

Do each move for 45 seconds with enough weight that you’re pretty wasted as the time runs out—Reed suggests using the same amount on the first four exercises, and the same (lighter) load for the last three. At the end of the circuit, rest for two to three minutes before doing the whole thing another time or even two.

Do the circuit 2–3 times

  • Barbell squat
  • Barbell push press
  • Barbell front squat
  • Barbell bentover row
  • Pushups
  • Barbell skull crushers
  • Barbell standing bicep curls
  • Barbell walking lunges

10. Try-a-Tri

We’d be remiss to totally ignore those long-duration workouts Antoian mentioned. “Hit the road, trails, and water for this long-duration calorie-burning workout,” he says. “As a bonus, you’ll be prepping yourself for a beginner triathlon.” Take only as long a break as it takes for your to transition between events (swimsuit to biking clothes, etc.).

  • Swim a quarter mile (in a pool, lake, ocean)
  • Bike 10 miles (outdoors or in)
  • Run 3 miles (outdoors or in)

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