Exercise for Weight Loss Print 4 Weeks to Health and Fitness for Yo-Yo Exercisers A combo of cardio and weight lifting can help you meet your goal By Paige Waehner | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician | Updated December 31, 2018 monkeybusinessimages/iStock More in Weight Loss Exercise for Weight Loss Basics Procedures Nutrition for Weight Loss Diet Plans Medications Supplements Do you want to lose weight? When you embark on that kind of goal, you probably spend a lot of time looking for results on the scale and in how your body looks. The problem is that the amount of exercise we need to lose weight is often more than we can handle, both physically and mentally. That's just one reason many of us become yo-yo exercisers. We start, we do well for a bit, we don't see results, and we quit. One way to avoid doing too much too soon and, thus, rendering your workout program completely intolerable, is to try a different approach. Start simple and, for your first 30 days, focus on establishing a solid workout schedule, building strength and endurance and improving your health. When you focus on the behaviors you need to do to lose weight, rather than the weight loss itself, you take the pressure off. You're not watching the scale all the time, so it doesn't matter if it moves or not. Start Small Keep in mind that starting small means the scale may not change from one workout to the next, but your health can change in just five minutes. In fact, just five minutes of outdoor exercise can boost your mood and self-esteem. Just 10 minutes can lower your blood pressure for hours and reduce your risk of a heart attack. The other upside is that it doesn't require as much exercise as losing weight, allowing time to ease into exercise, build strength and endurance gradually, and avoid the injury and burnout that can accompany too much exercise. So, just how much exercise do you need to be healthy? This four-week program incorporates the Physical Activity Guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These guidelines suggest: Moderate intensity cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week Vigorous cardio for 20 minutes, three days a weekEight to 10 strength training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week 4 Weeks to Health In this program, you'll get specific workouts and a schedule to follow, with new exercise goals each week. The workouts are simple and straightforward, slowly progressing each week so that you're ready to move on to more intense programs, taking your workouts to the next level. An Overview Week 1 - Your first week starts with these goals: three days of cardio, two days of strength training with one set of each exercise and two days of rest. Week 2 - Your goals are the same this week with just one small change. Your Thursday is no longer just resting, it's active rest. What does that mean? It means doing things to move around more than you normally do. Take short walks, stretch, stand up every hour, go up and down the stairs a few times a day, etc.Week 3 - This week, your cardio workouts increase in intensity and you have a new goal of adding in some walking on your active rest days. You'll also do two sets of your strength training exercises, which will help you slowly progress and get stronger.Week 4 - This week, we make more small changes with a longer cardio workout, an extra walking workout and an optional third set of strength training exercises. What You Need A cardio machine or a favorite activity you can do for 20 to 30 minutesA few sets of dumbbells: 5 to 15 pounds is a good range of weights to have. For beginners, start with three sets: light, medium, and heavyweights. For women, that might be 5, 8, or 10 pounds. For men, that might be 8, 10, or 12 to 15 pounds. An exercise ball A matFive to six days and 20-30 minutes of time on each of those days to complete your workouts Exercise Tips Don't be a slave to the workouts or schedule: This is just a sample program, so it won't work for everyone. If it's too much, take extra rest days if you feel sore, tired, or your performance suffers. Modify the schedule or workouts to fit your needs.See your doctor if you have any medical conditions, illnesses or injuries.Substitute your own workouts if you have other activities you enjoy. Your Workout Schedule Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Mon - Choose 1~20-Min Cardio~10-Min Cardio-2 times~Choose your own Mon - Choose 1~20-Min Cardio~10-Min Blast-2 times~Choose your own Mon - Choose 1~25-Min Cardio~10-Min Blast-2.5 times~Choose your own Mon - Choose 1~25-Min Cardio~Tabata Low Impact~Choose your own TuesTotal Body Strength - 1 set TuesTotal Body Strength - 1 set TuesTotal Body Strength - 2 sets TuesTotal Body Strength -2 or 3 sets Wed - Choose 1~20-Min Intervals~Choose your own Wed - Choose 1~20-Min Intervals~Choose your own Wed - Choose 1~25-Min Intervals~10-Min Blast-2.5 times~Choose your own Wed - Choose 1~30-Min Intervals~Choose your own ThursRest ThursActive Rest ThursActive Rest Thurs10 min walk Friday-Choose 1~20-Min Cardio~10-Minute Cardio - 2 times~Choose your own Friday-Choose 1~20-Min Cardio~10-Min Blast-2 times~Choose your own Friday-Choose 1~25-Minute Cardio~10-Min Blast-2.5 times~Choose your own Friday-Choose 1~25-Min Cardio~Tabata Low Impact~Choose your own SatTotal Body Strength - 1 set SatTotal Body Strength - 1 set SatTotal Body Strength - 2 sets SatTotal Body Strength - 2 or 3 sets SunRest SunRest Sun10-min walk Sun15-min walk Sources: Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Looking to lose weight? Our nutrition guide can help you get on the right track. Sign up for our newsletter and get it free! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources McGonigal, Kelly. Brief Bouts of Baby Steps. IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Number 7 July 2011. Continue Reading Exercise for Weight Loss Try This 4-Week Advanced Weight Loss Program for a Challenge Exercise for Weight Loss Get Fit Fast With a 4-Week Jumpstart Flexible Core and Cardio Routine Basics How to Use Recovery Heart Rate for Fitness Basics Your 20s Are a Great Time to Get the Body You Really Want Exercise for Weight Loss Ready to Get Back to Your Workouts? Fall is the Perfect Time Exercise for Weight Loss 12 Weeks to Weight Loss: Your Free Workout Program Exercise for Weight Loss Help! I'm Over 40 and I Can't Lose Weight! 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