If you’re trying to lose weight, you may know that adding more workouts to your weekly routine is one of the best steps you can take. However, it can be tough to come up with a perfect plan on your own if you have no idea where to start. Whether you’re totally new to fitness or just need some guidance,you’re covered here. Celeb trainer Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body and C9 ambassador, came up with a plan for SELF readers to help guide you to success with any weight-loss goals you may have (when it’s paired with healthy nutrition choices and good sleep, of course).
“This plan is highly effective, but totally accessible to all levels,” says Rosante. Here, he plans out your Monday through Sunday–all you have to do is show up and work hard. This mix covers all of your bases, but if you need to swap something out, that’s NBD–this is just an example week of the types of workouts you can be doing. Consider it a baseline to help get you going.
Here’s how to use this plan:
- Check out the perfectly planned week of workouts tailored to weight-loss goals below. If you’re not trying to lose weight, that’s completely fine too–no matter what your goals are, this balanced fitness plan can be a great guideline.
- Schedule your workouts for the upcoming week on your calendar and book your classes in advance.
- If you need to replace a day with another workout, just be strategic about it. “Follow the spirit of each workout: Strength training, high-intensity cardio, mobility work and stretching, steady-state movement.” Maybe you swap out a sprint day with an interval training group fitness class, or you hit up a restorative yoga class on rest day.
Now go get ’em.
“Strength training is the key to weight loss and unlocking your inner badass,” says Rosante. “You’ll burn fat, shape your body, and increase the number of calories your body burns at rest.”
This is because the more lean muscle your body has, the more energy it takes to maintain. This increases your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, meaning your body burns more calories at rest. This is a calculation of how many calories you’d burn if you just laid in bed all day.
Rosante’s simple strength workout requires some floor space, a workout bench, and a set of dumbbells. The exact weight you use will vary, he says, but he does have some guidelines for choosing the right ones. “You want to be able to complete all of the reps without stopping, while keeping great form,” he says. “But your last few reps should feel very difficult to complete. You should feel like you could maybe do one or two more reps if you had to.” It may take some trial and error, and it’s better to start lighter when you’re just beginning. (Here are some more tips on choosing the right weight.)
Ready to get started? Here’s the total-body strength workout you’ll do three times a week.
- Bodyweight Squats–15 reps. Quick tip: Get low, keep your chest up, and don’t let your knees go over your toes during this lower-body move.
- Dumbbell Bench Press–12 reps. Quick tip: Position yourself so your head, back, and butt are all on the bench, your feet flat on the floor.
- Dumbbell Row–12 reps each side. Quick tip: If you don’t have a bench available, try a bent-over row.
- Lying Isometric Y–Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: You can keep your legs on the ground for this one if that feels more comfortable.
- Box Step-Ups–15 reps each leg. Quick tip: Alternate between your left and right leg, and for an extra challenge, step your lifted foot into a lunge as you come down from the box.
- Plank–Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: Make sure you’re keeping your core tight!
Do the circuit 3x, resting for 1 minute between each round.
Strength training is important for increasing your BMR, but the calorie burn payoff for high-intensity cardio workouts is more immediate. “Sprinting torches calories and gets the work done in a fraction of the time you’d spend jogging,” explains Rosante. This type of high-intensity interval training is especially effective because after skyrocketing your heart rate several times during a workout, your body uses more energy to get your body back to a resting state.
You can do Rosante’s simple (but tough as hell) sprint interval workout on almost any cardio equipment. So no worries if you just can’t with the treadmill sometimes–you can also use an indoor cycling bike, rowing machine, elliptical, you name it.
- 30 seconds: Full-out sprint
- 60 seconds: Moderate pace jog
- Do this 12x
“Your body needs to recover after two days of intensity, but you don’t want to sit around doing nothing,” explains Rosante. “Foam rolling and stretching will improve your mobility and actually help to improve the quality of your workouts, [because] good mobility will allow you to achieve full range of motion in the moves. Executing these moves with a greater range of motion will force your body to exert more energy, and the more energy you exert, the more calories you burn.” A bigger range of motion means you’ll be able to squat deeper and lunge lower while using proper form. When the right muscle fibers are firing, you’ll get more out of every exercise.
Now pair that mobility work with some walking. Walking is a low-impact movement that increases blood flow and will help speed recovery, Rosante explains. “Plus, the simple science of weight loss is this: Expend more energy than you intake. Walking counts!” So break out the activity tracker or down load an app on your phone around and aim to get a solid 12,000 steps in (a little more than the normally cited 10,000 steps). “If the goal is weight loss, an extra 2,000 steps per day helps you kick things up,” says Rosante.
Do the same workout you did on Monday.
“Do a high-intensity fitness class to kick up the calorie burn while keeping things fresh, interesting, and social,” says Rosante. Grab some friends and head to an indoor cycling studio, or sign up for the boot camp class you’ve been nervous to try. Having a strategic program like Rosante’s is important for efficiently moving toward your goals, but this where you have the chance to mix it up so you don’t get bored. No matter what you do, though, make sure you sweat–and have fun.
Do the same workout you did on Monday and Thursday.
Ah, rest day–you’ve earned it. Muscles aren’t built while you’re working them–in fact, when you strength train, you’re breaking down muscle fibers. That’s why it’s important to build in rest and recovery time, so they have a chance to repair themselves a little stronger than before, explains Rosante.
“You’ve worked your ass off this past week,” says Rosante. “Rest up and get ready to crush it again next week.”
Keep it up with this workout plan for three to four weeks, suggests Rosante. “Improve and progress with each workout, each week. Lift a little heavier. Push a little harder.” Even if you just focus on improving your form during every workout, that’s still progress, says Rosante.
After a month or so on this plan, it’ll be time to switch it up. “You don’t want to stay on it forever for a couple of reasons. First, you’d get bored out of your mind. And that’s a fitness killer right there,” says Rosante. “Second, your body is absolutely brilliant at adapting to stress. Eventually, it will find a way to make easy work of these sessions. When that happens, you’ll plateau and stop seeing progress. Change is essential.”