This 4-Week Workout Plan for Weight Loss Can Help You Stay Consistent
Whether your goal is to lose weight or just stay healthy for life, there are two styles of training that are important to incorporate into your workout routine on the regular: strength training and cardio.
Why? For starters, the benefits of strength training "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," according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Strength training can help prevent injury, strengthen your bones, and allow you to safely execute movements that are part of your daily life, from carrying groceries to closing your car trunk. Not to mention, it can be modified for all levels.
Cardio, on the other hand, adds fun and variety to your workout routines. Plus, it benefits your heart health and cholesterol, helps prevent cancer and diabetes, and also gives you the energy and endurance you need to do things like play with your kids or explore a new city on vacation. And any type of exercise benefits your mental health and mood.
The beauty of this routine is that, even though it's pegged as a weight loss workout plan, it can be beneficial for anyone, whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, become consistent with training, or simply stay moving. Ready to get started? Keep reading for the full workout plan.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo
How to Follow the 4-Week Weight-Loss Workout Plan
This weight-loss workout plan is pretty straightforward; you'll do the following workouts consistently for four weeks, repeating each workout four times over a four-week span. This will help you learn the movement patterns and really be able to see your progress.
All the strength workouts in this weight-loss workout plan should be performed as supersets. A superset is when you do two exercises back to back, taking little to no rest in between moves. An example of this would be doing 10 reps of barbell squats immediately followed by 10 reps of push-ups.
I've also included compound exercises, which are exercises that work multiple groups of muscles (such as deadlifts), into each workout. They give you the most bang for your buck because they recruit more muscles, forcing your body to work harder to execute every rep.
You'll need some equipment for these workouts, including dumbbells and a bench, chair, or step. You'll also need a place to do pull-ups or an assisted pull-up machine; if you don't have either, we'll offer a move substitution that requires a cable machine or resistance band.
As you progress weekly, if you feel like the weights you're lifting are too easy, you can always increase the weight. (Here's how to choose the right weight for your level.) I recommend tracking how heavy you're lifting in order to see your progression over the four-week period, either on a notes app on your phone or by writing it down in a notebook.
If you're a beginner or coming back from a workout hiatus, don't be afraid to start with small weights or just your bodyweight (it's better to start slowly than to get injured!). And know that it's normal to use different weights for different exercises.
The 4-Week Weight-Loss Workout Plan
Monday: Strength Training
Core: Elbow plank: 15-second hold, three sets
It's day two, and I hope you're feeling good after yesterday's strength workout. Today, you're doing cardio. Whether you're doing this workout plan for weight loss, to build strength, or otherwise, you can choose whatever type of cardio you'd like. Lace-up your running shoes, swim, ride a stationary or road bike, row, crush some dance cardio, or even play an active virtual reality game — just spend 20-30 minutes getting your heart rate up while doing something you enjoy. Once you've completed cardio, it's time for abs.
Ab Workout: Complete two rounds of the following ab workout. If necessary, feel free to modify the amount of time you do each exercise.
Wednesday: Strength Training
You're almost through the week! You may be feeling slightly sore, and that's absolutely normal. For today, your mission is to do 10 to 20 minutes of cardio. Do a walking workout, sprint intervals, a bike ride, or laps in the pool — it's up to you. Most importantly, work hard.
It's time to finish the week strong. Today's workout is going to feel a little more challenging than the other strength workouts you did earlier in the week. Since this is conditioning day, you're going to be doing more intense moves with less rest. Don't worry! You're going to do just fine.
Saturday: Active Recovery
Today will be a light active-recovery day — enjoy it! Take a walk or a yoga class, or you can do one of the following flows:
Week one of this workout plan is officially over, and you should be proud of yourself. One of the most crucial things you can do to achieve your goals is to be consistent. Today, all you have to do is rest. Walk around, stretch, ride your bike, foam roll, or do something that makes you feel good and will prepare you for next week.
Repeat this exact workout plan for weeks two, three, and four. Remember, you can always increase the weight and/or decrease rest time between supersets for an added challenge.
What to Do After This 4-Week Weight-Loss Workout Plan
Way to crush these last four weeks. You're a badass, but I'm sure you already knew that!
If you're feeling great and want to keep going, you can start this workout plan again from the top. I recommend increasing the weight you're using, decreasing your rest time, and increasing the number of sets and reps of each exercise, so you continue to challenge yourself. This is called progressive overload, and it's the key to continuing to see progress from your workouts. For example, if you did three sets of 10 goblets squats with 10 pounds, try doing four sets of 12 reps with 15 pounds. Another option is to do a more advanced variation of the exercise. For example, instead of goblet squats, you could progress to a barbell back squat and also increase the weights, sets, and rep range. Whether you're doing this workout plan for weight loss reasons or otherwise, it'll serve you well if you want to stick with it.
If you want to move on to another workout plan or train toward another goal, more power to you. Hopefully, this workout plan got you hooked on all the mind-body benefits of movement, and you're feeling motivated to keep going, whatever your goal or ability.