A Week-Long Workout Plan to Help You Jump-Start Your Fitness Journey
If you're looking to lose weight, a week-long workout plan is a great way to start. Why? You probably know by now that a nutritious diet and a consistent workout routine are the best ways to help you lose weight and get fit, but few things are more intimidating than getting into exercise, whether for the first time or after some time off. That's why this seven-day workout plan can help. It feels doable (just seven days) and simple enough that you can start re-creating it once the seven days are up. You can also just repeat this plan for a few weeks until you feel ready to branch out, since some days have multiple workout options to choose from. (You'll see what we mean ahead.)
"Creating a definitive exercise plan each week ensures that you are taking a balanced approach to fitness, with adequate amounts of cardiovascular and strength training," NASM-certified personal trainer Sarah Chadwell told POPSUGAR. Chadwell has designed this balanced, seven-day workout schedule to put you on the path to creating a safe calorie deficit, which can ultimately help you to lose one to two pounds per week. Take your time, modify exercises when you need to, and stick to this plan to get a jump-start on your fitness and weight-loss goals.
Week Workout Plan
— Additional reporting by Maggie Ryan
Day 1: Legs and Cardio
You're well-rested, refreshed, and ready to take on a new week, so use that energy to squeeze in some cardio and work some of your largest muscles: your legs.
"Combining strength training with your cardiovascular training is time efficient; it incinerates fat and helps increase your muscular and cardiovascular endurance," Chadwell said. Try this cardio and lower-body circuit.
Day 2: Chest
"Women typically think of chest day as a man's favorite gym day, but it's equally important for women," Chadwell said. "Training chest helps to improve posture; it could even give the girls a lift, and you'll improve your upper-body strength."
Choose any six chest exercises from this list, and do three sets of 15-20 reps. Rest for one minute between each set. Each week, choose a different combination of exercises, or at least swap out two of them to keep variety in your workouts.
Day 3: High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT workouts are typically only 10-30 minutes long, but you'll go all out for the high-intensity portions of the workout, followed by rest or active recovery periods. "The pattern of bursts followed by rests is highly effective for fat loss and increasing your metabolism, so it's ideal to incorporate HIIT in your workouts one to two times per week in place of steady-state cardio," Chadwell told POPSUGAR.
Day 4: Rest
Rest and recovery are just as important as working out and eating well. By day four of your new training program, you may find you need some time to recover. In fact, at the beginning, you may need up to three rest days until your body acclimates to the stresses of working out. "Listen to your body! Even though I'm outlining a seven-day program, that doesn't mean you can't put more rest days into your weekly schedule if you need them," Chadwell said.
Day 5: Upper Body and Arms
Chadwell noted that many women shy away from training their upper body for any number of reasons, whether you find it intimidating or are worried that you'll "bulk up" (hint: you probably won't) — but it's just a matter of choosing the right workout.
Day 6: Circuit Training
Circuit training is an effective way to work your entire body in one session, with strength training to build muscle and cardio to melt away fat. Try this full-body circuit workout, a low-impact bodyweight routine, or this 10-minute, weight-optional workout from popular trainer Massy Arias.
Day 7: Back
"Let's all promise to never neglect our backs! Back training is essential because it aids in proper posture," Chadwell said. "A strong upper and middle back helps stave off lower back pain and prevent injury, and because it's part of your core, your back also helps you execute almost all other forms of exercise efficiently." You heard her — try this 30-minute core and back routine to work all the crucial muscles in the middle of your body.