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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 December 28, 2020

How to Build Muscle Fast: 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

How to Build Muscle Fast: 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

Building muscle isn’t rocket science. All it takes is repeatedly doing the things that are proven in the lab and gym to work. This article provides 5 great ways to build muscle fast.

None of them requires you to spend lots of money on fancy fitness equipment or nutritional supplements. All you have to be willing to do is make a few adjustments to your diet, workout, and supplement routines. Put forth the effort, and you’ll be able to gain 5-10 lbs. of muscle in a month or two.

1. Eat Enough Protein Every Day

Contrary to what advertisements for protein powders say, you don’t need to eat and drink hundreds of grams daily to build muscle. The truth is, eating this amount won’t help you build muscle faster. It can actually be stored as fat.

All you really need is enough to meet your body’s daily needs and then a little more to stimulate muscle gain. This works out to about .8 grams per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs., you need to eat about 120 grams of protein daily.

Don’t stress too much over exactly how many grams of protein are in everything you eat. Use the eyeball method instead. 

This is done by looking at the protein on your plate and picturing an amount that’s the size of the palm of your hand. This amount contains about 28 grams of protein[1]. Do this every time you eat, and you’ll easily be able to make sure you eat enough.

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What does 25 grams of protein look like?

    You also need to know which foods are protein rich. They include: beef, eggs, poultry, pork, and seafood. Drink a protein shake if you’re having trouble eating enough of these foods. The best type of shake for building muscle is one that uses whey and casein proteins as its primary sources.

    Research shows these are the best protein powders for building muscle. One study also shows that drinking a shake that contains casein protein before bed can actually turn on the muscle building process[2].

    2. Do “Big” Lifts

    Forget exercises like curls, shoulder presses, and flyes and training individual body parts (chest, back, biceps, etc.) if building muscle is your goal. Instead, perform strength training exercises that train several muscle groups at once. Scientific studies show that exercises that do this are better for building muscle than the aforementioned isolation movements[3].

    Exercises you should do often include: dips, deadlifts, farmers walks, kettlebell swings, military presses, and pull ups. These are the movements that will really stimulate your body to build muscle fast.

    This video below will teach you how to perform my favorite muscle building exercise: farmer’s walks.

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    3. Train Hard Often

    You don’t have to work out every day for hours at a time to build muscle fast. What you need to do is train using the exercises I mentioned above often enough to stimulate muscle growth. Lifting weights 3 to 4 times a week is plenty. Give yourself a day’s rest after every 1-2 workouts.

    Your workouts only need to have 4-6 of these exercises. Choose an exercise for every major muscle group at each workout, and you’re set. This includes your legs (squats, deadlifts, lunges), chest/shoulders/triceps (bench press, dips, military press, push ups), and back (bent over rows, pull ups).

    I like to include a total body exercise every workout, too. I find that they are the best exercises for building muscle fast. This includes exercises like kettlebell swings, kettlebell throws, and farmer’s walks.

    Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for 6-10 reps. Use a weight that makes it difficult to do the last rep of each set but not so hard that you cannot do it without using good form. Increase the weight you use when you can do every rep of each set.

    4. Rest and Recover Between Your Workouts

    Working out breaks down your muscles and eats into your ability to recover. You build muscle when you aren’t exercising. Therefore, proper rest and recovery can speed the muscle building process.

    The best way is to get enough sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night will enable you to train harder and longer, and build muscle faster. If you can’t get this much sleep daily, take a 45 minute nap during the day to make up the difference.

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    Another way to recover faster and build muscle fast is to back off a little bit with regard to the number of sets and reps you do at each workout every once in awhile. Studies show that reducing the workout volume (sets and reps) by about 50% every 8-12 weeks can help you make progress significantly faster[4].

    This means that instead of doing 12 total sets at a workout, you’ll only do 6 using the same weight. Do this for a week, and then go back to your normal routine.

    Cutting back every once in a while will help you stay mentally fresh, too. This, in turn, gives you more energy to put into your future workouts.

    5. Take Nutritional Supplements That Are Proven To Work

    Once you have the four other tips in place, you can consider taking nutritional supplements to help you build muscle fast. The key thing is to use products that work. Through my research, I have found that there are three that work best: branched-chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil.

    The first supplement, branched-chain amino acids, are shown in several research studies to give you energy during your workout, decrease muscle soreness, and “turn on” the muscle-building process within your body. I find that they help me increase my energy and decrease post-workout soreness. You should take about .05 grams per pound of body weight before and after working out for the best results.

    Next is my favorite, creatine monohydrate. If you’re only going to take one supplement to build muscle, this is the one. This is because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of scientific studies that show it safely helps you build muscle and get stronger[5].

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    If you decide to give it a try, make sure you buy a product that is tested and guaranteed to include nothing but creatine monohydrate to ensure its purity. When you take creatine, follow what’s referred to as the loading phase, which is taking 10-20 grams a day for 5-7 days for the best results.

    Research shows this is the best way to get as creatine into your cells as quickly as possible. You can then back off to 5 grams a day to keep getting benefits[6].

    Last but not least is fish oil. In addition to being good for the health of your brain and heart, it can also help you build muscle fast. In one study, subjects taking 2 grams of fish oil daily for 6 weeks added a couple pounds of muscle[7].

    They lost body fat, too, and all without changing their diet or exercising at all. When shopping for a fish oil supplement, make sure you buy a concentrated source that’s tested to be free of impurities and pesticides.

    The Bottom Line

    Getting fit and building muscle doesn’t happen overnight, but with some simple changes to your diet and exercise routine, you can still build muscle fast when you build from a place of motivation and persistence.

    Whether you’re working out at home or at the gym, apply the above tips and watch your muscles grow week after week.

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    Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

    Reference

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