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Sample Weekly Workout Routines for Weight Loss

By Lau Hanly

Losing weight requires a significant amount of challenging activity on a regular basis. The exact amount varies between individuals, but training four to five times a week at a challenging level should help reduce your body fat. Remember, though, that your diet must also support the goal. Focus on eating natural, healthy foods in sensible portions to really speed up the weight loss process. Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and make sure you are consistent with your training.

Weight Training and Cardio

Weight training is a very effective method for reducing body fat. Four weight training workouts per week, combined with two to three cardio sessions afterwards, will help you lose weight while also developing good strength and muscle definition. For example, on Monday and Thursday you could perform upper-body workouts: do three sets of eight to 10 reps, using exercises such as the bench press, bent-over row, overhead press, biceps curl and triceps kickback, and then follow the weights session with 20 minutes on a treadmill or bike. On Tuesday and Friday do lower-body work, (again with three sets of eight to 10 reps) including squats, deadlifts, lunges, calf raises and leg presses. Round out the week with a brisk walk or run on Saturday morning.

Body-Weight Exercise and Cardio

Body-weight training is a practical alternative to weight training as it still uses significant amounts of resistance, which can help you to shed excess fat. You can perform upper-body workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, doing four to five rounds of 10 pushups, 10 triceps dips, a 30-second plank, 10 hand walkouts, 20 mountain climbers and 10 burpees. Conclude the workout with a fast-paced 20-minute walk. On Tuesdays and Thursdays do lower-body work, with four to five rounds of 10 squats, 10 walking lunges, 10 toe-touch jacks, 10 lateral lunges and 10 superman raises. On Saturday, do a full-body workout, combining exercises from the upper- and lower-body workouts, and then follow it up with a brisk 20-minute walk.

Swimming

Swimming provides a very effective way to improve your fitness and lose weight without putting pressure on your joints. This is a particularly useful option if you have injuries or are uncomfortable in gyms. Swimming three to five times per week for 30 to 60 minutes per session will help you burn significant calories while increasing your strength and endurance. You can swim at a consistent pace for the duration of each session -- just doing simple laps -- or you can perform drills. For example, swim intervals in which you work hard for a set amount of time and then swim slowly for a few minutes to recover.

Cardio

Cardio on its own can be very effective for burning fat. On Monday and Thursday you could do interval-style cardio, during which you work very hard for a set period of time and then move at a much lower intensity as you recover. For example, you could run or cycle as fast as possible for 20 seconds, then walk for 10 seconds and then repeat the pattern seven more times. This is known as a Tabata sprint, which is very effective for fat-burning. On Tuesdays and Fridays you could go for a 20- to 40-minute run, swim or cycle. Round out the week with a brisk 20-minute walk on Saturday morning.

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