Creating your weekly routine is critical in staying focused and reaching your health and weight loss goals! Workout plans vary depending on if you’re training for events, want to burn fat, or simply just want to stay active.
Here’s my handy-dandy guide on designing your weekly workout plan:
3 Important Elements of a Weekly Workout Plan
When designing your workout plan, these three elements are key for creating a plan that effectively burns fat and speeds your metabolism:
- HIIT. Instead of steady state cardio, do HIIT! Read my Ultimate Guide to HIIT here for more info.
- Cross-training. Yoga, bike riding, hiking, swimming, surfing — there are so many different ways to cross-train! Not to mention that cross training helps to work muscles that maybe get forgotten about or aren’t used enough. Cross-training also helps prevent injury because doing repetitive exercises like running without a variety of cross-training can lead to overuse of those muscles.
- Strength training. This is such a critical part of your workout plan! Strength training helps speed your metabolism and burn fat. You can’t just do cardio, or else you’ll lose muscle mass. With strength training it’s also important that you cycle your workouts (i.e. do upper body muscle groups, lower body muscle groups, and total body on a separate day) instead of doing total body strength training every day. You can read my beginner’s guide to strength training here.
Know that your workout plan won’t “work” at all if you don’t eat clean! Read more about clean eating here.
How Many Rest Days Should I Have Per Week?
It depends on the intensity of your workouts and what your goals are. When I’m training for a half marathon, I have about two rest days a week: one on Monday after my long run, and one on Friday. When I’m on my normal workout schedule, I have anywhere from 2-3 rest days per week because my circuit training workouts require more recovery.
If you’re just looking to do higher intensity workouts, you should work out 3-4 days per week. You can get away with a minimum of about 20-30 minute workouts here. The more intense your workouts you do (i.e. HIIT and circuit training) the more effective this plan is.
If you’re training for an event, you should work out 4-5 days a week. The number of rest days depends on how you feel each week and whether or not your resting heart rate increases or decreases in the morning. (Tip: if your resting heart rate is INCREASING over time, this could be a sign of overtraining. If that’s the case, you need to back off because you’re working too hard.)
If you’re looking to do low-intensity workouts, you should work out 5-6 days per week. If you enjoy low intensity workouts like walking, casual bicycling, and other easy workouts, try and shoot for 5-6 days a week. Intense workouts aren’t for everyone, but in order to stay healthy and in shape, you need to up the number of days and the amount of time you’re being active each week. Know that low intensity, steady-state cardio isn’t effective for fat loss, but it IS effective for staving off disease and helping you stay healthy. Not everyone enjoys exercise, but finding fun ways to stay active is important for longevity.
Design a plan that works for your life!
Example Workout Plans
Here are examples of different workout plans based on different goals! Keep in mind that these are just examples. Change them to work for you.
HIGH-INTENSITY FAT LOSS PLAN:
This plan is my go-to for tough workouts in under 30 minutes. It’s super effective in burning fat when paired with clean eating.
- MONDAY: HIIT cardio
- TUESDAY: rest
- WEDNESDAY: Total body circuit training
- THURSDAY: rest
- FRIDAY: strength training — upper body
- SATURDAY: your choice of cross training (yoga, swimming, something of the like) or add in another rest day here
- SUNDAY: strength training — lower body
This is a good plan if you’re not a fan of exercise but want to do a little bit of it to stay healthy. It’s a good way to get started with fitness, and you can slowly build your way up to a harder plan if you wish.
- MONDAY: walk two miles
- TUESDAY: rest
- WEDNESDAY: one mile leisurely bike ride, 20 minutes of yoga
- THURSDAY: rest
- FRIDAY: walk one mile
- SATURDAY: swim for 30 minutes minutes
- SUNDAY: stairmaster, elliptical, or other gym cardio machine for 30 minutes
Good luck! Leave a comment if you have any questions 🙂