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

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.

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.

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.

  • 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.

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!

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better.

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way.

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH.

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”.

This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

More About Intermittent Fasting

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