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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

4-Week Weight Loss Exercise Plan to Shed Pounds Fast

4-Week Weight Loss Exercise Plan to Shed Pounds Fast

It happens to all of us: life gets busy, free time is limited, and many of us spend the majority of our days sitting behind a desk. Suddenly, we find we’ve gained a bit of unwanted weight. This can be a discouraging discovery, but luckily, there are steps we can take to get back in shape. Read on to find a weight loss exercise plan that works for you!

How Can I Lose 20 Pounds in a Month?

Is a 20 lb weight loss goal attainable in 1 month? Yes, it can be possible if done safely and correctly. It can be done if you are truly willing to hold yourself accountable and are willing to manifest your vision or goal to its full potential. It will be your mentality that will make or break you here. In short, you will have to make some serious changes all around.

Steps to Take in Your Weight Loss Exercise Plan

1. Set Your Goals

I recommend writing down your end goal, what you plan to do to get there, and when it will happen. Here’s How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

2. Get Support

Once you have this complete, I recommend notifying your family and/or friends that you are going to make this happen for yourself. It makes things easier if the people around you are aware and understanding of your goals so they can make the journey easier for you and make sacrifices as well if need be.

3. Focus on Food

Once this is established, you need to get to work. Remove all the “junk food” from your kitchen, desk drawers, or wherever you hide those goodies. Remove the temptation altogether. Walk into the grocery store with a list in hand. Spend most of your time in the produce isles. Think fresh and raw.

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Also, you need to be willing to increase your protein intake. Protein such as lean meat and seafood, and fiber such as legumes, nuts, and seeds are very good sources that will satisfy you and decrease the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger.

4. Start Moving

Next, begin or alter your current workout routine. Incorporating strength training and aerobic training is a MUST. I recommend performing 30-40 minutes of strength training and 25-30 minutes of cardio each day. For your strength component, stick to full body or compound movements – movements that will target more than one joint and muscle group. These types of exercises will elevate your heart rate quicker, burn more calories, and strengthen your muscles and joints simultaneously.

For cardiovascular training, I recommend performing a variety of types, such as steady-state at a moderate intensity level on machines such as the stair climber, elliptical or treadmill, and also moderate- to high-intensity interval training using bodyweight, free weights, jump rope, and battle ropes.

Here you will see a variety of compound movements broken down into unilateral and bilateral:

What Exercise Is Best for Losing Weight?

It is nearly impossible to select just one exercise that aids in weight loss. However, if you want to get more bang for your buck here, you may want to look into performing an exercise that won’t just elevate the heart rate.

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It’s not always about cardio for achieving weight loss. It is strength training that will increase your basal metabolic rate, and that means you’re not just burning calories during your workout, but days after as well ( this is known as EPOC – Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or the after-burn effect).

Our bodies require functionality and mobility to make our day-to-day lives a little easier. Therefore, try to perform strength exercises that are multi-functional and multi-compound (targeting more than one muscle group and more than one joint).

Main movements or lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench, bodyweight push-ups, and pull-ups and their variations should be at the heart of your training. Use your body to its maximum potential, use it effectively, and be more productive with your time.

Try this combination of back-to-back exercises at the end of your workout:

Begin with 5 sets of 5 rounds, with a 15-30 second break after round.

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  • 2 Walking Lunges
  • 2 Romanian Deadlifts
  • 2 Push-Ups
  • 2 Renegade Rows
  • 2 Plank Taps
  • 2 Reverse Walking Lunges

What Exercise Burns the Most Belly Fat?

There is not just one exercise that will burn your belly fat. To get those rock hard abs, you have to put in the work. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get around it. First, let’s break the 80% diet and 20% exercise misconception. Everybody is different, and the weight loss exercise plan that is best for you will depend significantly on your fitness goals.

For example, if you’re looking to lose fat and sculpt abs, you will most likely need to be in a caloric deficit (reducing calories in vs. calories required).

What Should You Eat?

In addition, you will need to focus on eating specific types of foods. Consuming raw, whole, and nutrient-dense foods is a must to aid not only in aesthetics and body composition, but also in the overall process of digestion. In other words, reduce or eliminate your consumption of simple carbs, trans fats, processed and pre-packaged foods. This diet will also help you in achieving hormonal balance, increasing energy levels, and maintaining mental clarity.

Your Go-To Exercises

In conjunction with eating nutritious foods in a caloric deficit, exercise is crucial. We recommend incorporating moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise along with a strength-training program. To target the midsection specifically while increasing the heart rate, these exercises may be your best bet:

  • mountain climbers
  • burpees
  • leg raises
  • bicycle crunches
  • flutter kicks
  • high knees
  • front and side plank hip dips.

In terms of frequency and duration of these workouts, it all comes down to your schedule and dedication. However, if your goal is to acquire a 6 pack, you will need to train your abdominals frequently, if not daily. Also, when discussing belly fat, you need to take into account the other vital components our bodies require, such as getting a good night’s sleep, proper hydration, reducing stress levels, and keeping hormones in balance. If these are not tended to, they can be the ultimate trigger for belly fat.

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Is Working out 30 Minutes a Day Enough to Lose Weight?

What most people tend to forget here is that life is unpredictable. It isn’t easy to juggle our obligations, work, family, physical fitness, and our social, emotional, and mental well-being. Sometimes, we can be very hard on ourselves, pressuring ourselves to do and have it all. But that simply isn’t sustainable. If you can only commit to a 30-minute workout each day, then do it. If you can commit to a 15-minute workout, then do it. If you can commit to a full hour, well, that’s fantastic! Regardless of the duration, a workout is a workout. A run is a run. A walk is a walk. As long as you are getting movement in daily, you are ahead of the game.

Use Your Time Wisely!

However, if you have limited time to exercise, you need to make use of the time you have wisely. If you can only make it to the gym 2-3 times per week to perform strength training, that is more than enough. On the days you cannot make it to the gym, or on your off days, perform some bodyweight cardio or stretches such as yoga or mobility training in the comfort of your home. Where there is a will, there is always a way! Remember this the next time you say you never have time to work out.

Be Prepared!

Going into a workout prepared is a definite must if you have a busy or high-stress lifestyle and are pressed for time. Devising a workout plan is essential to see optimal results. Write everything down and be sure that you follow through. Adjust your program as required to ensure that your body is receiving the exercise it deserves and manage your time as you go.

In addition, you can always seek advice from a health professional on what is the best option for you and your situation. Of course, the prescribed workout plan and duration of training may differ depending on the individual. Depending on whether you are an athlete, competitor, beginner, or an elderly individual, the prescribed exercises and/or rehabilitation training and frequency will vary.

The Bottom Line

The prospect of adding diet and exercise to your routine can be daunting, but a step-by-step approach will make it doable. Simply choose a weight loss exercise plan that works with your lifestyle, using the tips above to guide you.

And remember, once you find time to exercise, the healthy habits you develop will stick with you long after you’ve hit your goal weight!

Featured photo credit: Free To Use Sounds via unsplash.com

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Sergio Pedemonte

CEO and Certified Personal Trainer of Your House Fitness

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

Benefits of Static Stretches

Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

Improved Flexibility

If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

Prevent Injuries

If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

Think of it this way:

When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

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However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

Improvement in Recovery

If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

  • Improved relaxation
  • Increased movement efficiency
  • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
  • Reduction in muscle tension
  • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
  • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
  • Relief from cramping

15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

1. Neck Stretch

    While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

    Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

    2. Chest Stretch

      Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

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      3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

      Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

        Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

        4. Triceps Static Stretch

          Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

          Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

          5. Biceps Stretch

          Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

            Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

            6. Wrist Stretch

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              While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

              7. Side Stretch

                Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

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                8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                  Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                  9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                  Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                    Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                    Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    10. Knees to Chest

                    Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                      Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                      11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                      How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                        Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                        12. Figure 4 Stretch

                        How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                          Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                          13. Standing Quad Stretch

                            Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

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                            Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                            14. Hamstring Stretch

                              Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                              Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                              15. Calf Stretch

                                Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                The Bottom Line

                                Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

                                Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                More Tips on Stretching

                                Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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