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Have you ever felt frustrated with a fat loss program or bored with the same endless cardio workouts? Strength training, or lifting weights, is an amazing alternative proven to be one of the most efficient ways to lose weight and shed body fat. A major deterrent for women is the misconception that strength training will make them gain weight and appear too bulky or “manly.”
The truth is that strength training helps women build muscle, lose weight, improve body composition, and improve overall health. Adding strength training to a weight loss program can help you build lean muscle mass and lose weight in just four weeks. In this article, we will break down a strength training fat loss workout plan for females that can be used for four, eight, or twelve weeks and beyond.
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One of the most common mistakes that all lifters, not just women, make is having a four- or five-day workout routine divided by each muscle group (chest, arms, etc). While a split routine may be great for some people, a weight loss program should be split into upper-body workouts and lower-body workouts. We will do four different workouts for this workout plan - two upper body and two lower body. At the end of each workout, you will do 20-30 minutes of light cardio at 70% of your max heart rate.
*These exercises should be performed with free weights, but feel free to use the Smith Machine for safety purposes or until you are more comfortable.
Usually, workout routines are only performed for four to six weeks rather than a prolonged period. You need to switch up your routine once in a while because the body can adapt and hit a plateau. However, since the goal here is fat loss and being in a calorie deficit, it’s not as important to change routine so quickly. The four-week routine above is perfectly fine for eight weeks as well.
Listen to your body - if you hit a plateau after four weeks, simply tweak the schedule. For example, for an 8-week program, you can flip the order of the workouts after week four.
The main ways strength training can help you lose weight include:
When it comes to a fat loss program, the diet is arguably the most important part. You can train endlessly for hours, but you will gain fat if you consume more calories than your body requires. Science shows that one pound of fat is around 3,500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of fat, your body must have a 3,500 calorie deficit. A typical weight loss program calls for a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories, which should equal roughly one pound a week (3500 calories total).
In order to figure out your ideal daily calorie intake to lose weight, you need to calculate how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Several factors affect this, including body fat percentage, body weight, age, fitness levels, lifestyle factors, and diet. Women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men because fat plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and reproduction. If you are new to the idea of counting macros or could use a refresher, check out our article Everything You Need To Know About Counting Macros.
Once you determine your daily calorie intake, following a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods is essential. You should avoid junk foods, like sugary items or processed food. A healthy diet should contain a balance of:
Different diet plans call for different breakdowns, but a typical weight loss diet would be roughly 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% healthy fats (40/30/30). To learn more about the best meal plan options, check out our article, The Best 4-Week Meal Plan For Weight Loss.
There are several great supplements that can help you lose weight and shed pesky belly fat. The most basic supplements that women should consider when strength training include:
To learn more about how supplements can help your weight loss journey, check out our article Everything You Need To Know About Fat Burner Supplements.
To lose one pound of fat, the body has to have a 3,500-calorie deficit. Therefore, you need to have a daily calorie deficit of 500 to lose roughly one pound a week.
Compound movements, such as the bench press and squats, that work multiple muscle groups are the best exercises for female fat loss. Isolation exercises are more for sculpting a specific muscle group.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best methods for losing weight. To learn more, check out our article 6 Best Fat Burning HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss.
Squats are the best exercise for weight loss because they are essentially a full-body workout. Squats stimulate several muscle groups, producing a greater hormonal response and leading to a higher metabolic rate.
Unfortunately, we can’t specifically target belly fat. However, if you work your ab muscles, eat fewer calories, and do cardio exercises, you can shed body weight and promote fat loss.
Weight loss diets and operating in a calorie deficit can be extremely challenging, especially if you aren’t losing weight. If you want to lose fat and burn more calories, adding weight training to your routine can help you take the next step in your weight loss journey. Aside from burning more fat and building muscle mass, the health benefits of resistance training include better bone health, blood flow, blood pressure, stronger joints, improved energy levels, and prevention of chronic diseases. Some women think that building muscle will hurt their appearance or make them appear bulky, but the truth is it’s amazing for female fat loss.
If you have access, a certified personal trainer can improve your training session and ensure all-out effort. Adding a cardio workout in zone 2 after you lift weights will help you burn calories and lose fat in just a few weeks. You can follow the routine above for four weeks or eight weeks, but we recommend making minor adjustments beyond that to maximize fat loss. The key to losing weight is consuming fewer calories, lifting weights, doing cardio, and following a clean diet. With this workout routine, you will be on your way to building muscle and losing weight!
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