A workout plan is a key component for sustainable, long-term weight loss. Even weight loss of five to ten percent of body weight is shown to provide health benefits such as improved blood pressure and blood sugar regulation. This amount of weight loss may take weeks or months, so consistency is important to reach your weight loss goal.
Even if you do not have a gym membership or exercise equipment, you can still workout for weight loss. Starting a workout plan if overweight can even be done at home with no equipment.
Losing weight can seem like a challenging hill to climb if overweight. Follow this guide to help get yourself set up for success.
Easy Workout Routines for Weight loss
Before starting a workout routine for weight loss, consult your healthcare team. If taking certain medications or managing any health conditions, your healthcare team will advise on the best exercises for individual needs. For individualized workout plans, consult a personal trainer or another exercise specialist.
Guidelines for exercise suggest 150 minutes (ex. 30 minutes five days a week) of moderate exercise per week for general health. However, some exercise is always better than none.
Start with 5 to 10 minutes at a time if needed and work your way up to 30 minutes or more per day. Note that working out past the general guideline of 30 minutes per day most days of the week may be needed for continued weight loss.
The best workout plan if overweight is one that you will stick with and can maintain long-term. There is no "one size fits all" for best exercises for weight loss. Workout plans should be easy on your joints and able to modify as needed.
Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Cardio or aerobic exercise is any intentional movement that keeps your heart rate elevated, and you can still carry on a conversation with someone. On a scale from one (lying on the couch) to ten (max effort), moderate exercise is considered feeling around a four.
Walking is arguably one of the most accessible aerobic exercises most people can do. It can be done at a gym or outside. Other examples of cardio workouts for weight loss if overweight includes dancing, biking, or using an elliptical. A recumbent bike is an alternative to biking outside with access to one at a gym or at home.
It does not matter how fast or far you can go at first. Start with 10 minutes of walking to a certain point from your house and back. As this gets easier, gradually add a few more minutes or further distance each week to achieve 30 minutes or more throughout the day.
Strength Training Workout for Weight Loss
In addition to cardio exercise for weight loss, add strength training to your workout plan. Strength training is key to build muscle strength with weight loss as it supports a healthy metabolism and accelerates calorie burn even when at rest.
Aim to strengthen major muscle groups of the lower and upper body (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, quadriceps, and hamstrings) on two non-consecutive days per week. Do each exercise 8 to 10 times to start and increase weights or repetitions gradually as strength increases.
Set a Schedule
It is important to schedule your workouts throughout the week instead of relying on exercising only when you feel like it. Which days can you fit in cardio and/or strength workouts? Each week might look different, and that is ok.
Set aside time in your week for your workout routine even if it is in 10-minute increments. If you miss a day or have an off week, just get back on track the following week.
Monday: Walk 30 minutes at lunch
Tuesday: Strength train with bodyweight exercises at home before work
Wednesday: Walk 30 minutes at lunch
Thursday: Walk 10 minutes, strength train with body weights at home after work
Friday: Bike 30 minutes after work
Saturday: Walk 20 minutes in the morning
Sunday: REST DAY
Home Exercises to Lose Weight
Aerobic exercise can be done from home. You can walk, jog or bike from your front door. You could also use a recumbent bike or elliptical in your home gym if desired. Strength exercises can also be done at home with or without exercise equipment.
Many workout videos or apps provide guidance on technique and progression for both strength and cardio exercises. They can help ensure exercising with proper form while adding some motivation and fun to workouts.
Body Weight Exercises
No workout equipment at home? No problem!
Still get in an efficient full-body workout using the following bodyweight exercises. These are just some examples of bodyweight exercises you can do almost anywhere even without getting on the floor.
• Push-ups from your knees or standing at a counter
• Arm circles
• Plank with hands on a counter or on the ground
• Side lunges
• March in place
• Arm raises
• Bicep curls with cans or gallon milk/water jugs
Home Workout Equipment
At-home exercise equipment can add variety and challenge to your workout plan. While not necessary, these pieces may help you challenge and motivate yourself along your weight loss journey:
• Set of dumbbells
• Medicine ball
• Yoga ball
• Jump rope
• Treadmill/cardio machine
• Some sort of app/program/workout guide to follow*
*From a certified personal trainer or other fitness professionals when possible to ensure safety and efficacy
Also, always do your research before working out with equipment and start slowly to build up strength.
The Bottom Line
Overall, exercise is helpful to burn fat, support a healthy metabolism, and improve overall health. If just getting started, ease into exercises slowly and stay consistent with efforts.
In addition to exercise, though, adopt and develop healthy eating habits. The synergy of positive lifestyle habits will lead to both short and long-term weight loss success.
ACSM Resistance Training for Health and Fitness. https://www.prescriptiontogetactive.com/static/pdfs/resistance-training-ACSM.pdf.