Fat Loss Workout Plan For Women (4 Weeks, 8 Weeks, and Beyond)

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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.

Table Of Contents

  • 4-Week Weight Loss Workout Plan
  • 8-Week Workout Plan and Beyond
  • Strength Training Tips
  • How Strength Training Helps Weight Loss
  • Diet and Supplements
  • FAQs

women's fat loss exercise plan

4-Week Weight Loss Workout Plan

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.

Weekly Workout Plan:

  • Monday: Workout A (Upper Body)
  • Tuesday: Workout B (Lower Body)
  • Wednesday: Rest Day
  • Thursday: Workout C (Upper Body #2)
  • Friday: Workout D (Lower Body #2)
  • Weekend: Active rest

Monday: Workout A (Upper Body)

  • *Bench Press: 3 sets x 12-10-8 reps
  • *Bent Over Barbell Row: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Dumbbell Lat Raises: 3 sets x 12
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets x 12
  • V-Bar Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets x 12
  • Planks: 3 sets x 60 second hold
  • Zone 2 Cardio:20-30 minutes

Tuesday: Workout B (Lower Body):

  • *Squats: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Leg Press: 3 sets x 12
  • Dumbbell Walking Lunges: 3 sets x 12
  • Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets x 12
  • Lying Leg Raises: 3 sets x 12
  • Zone 2 Cardio:20-30 minutes

Thursday: Workout C (Upper Body #2)

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Lat Pulldown Machine: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • *Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls: 3 sets x 12
  • EZ-Bar Skull Crushers: 3 sets x 12
  • Crunches: 3 sets x 12
  • Zone 2 Cardio:20-30 minutes

Friday: Workout D (Lower Body #2)

  • Kettlebell Squats: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets x 12-10-8
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 12
  • Dumbbell Step Ups: 3 sets x 12
  • Seated Calf Press: 3 sets x 12
  • Medicine Ball Crunch: 3 sets x 12
  • Zone 2 Cardio:20-30 minutes

*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.

fat loss workout plan female

Workout Routine Basics

  • Zone 2 Cardio refers to cardio workouts done in the 70% max heart rate range. There are five zones in total, with five being the most intense. To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220, then take 70% of that number. For example, if you are 50 years old, you would do 220 – 50 = 170 beats per minute. 170 x 0.70 (70%) = 119. Therefore, your heart rate should stay around 119 for the entire cardio workout. To learn more about the different zones of cardio, check out our articleWhat Is The Fat Burning Zone and How Does It Work?
  • Always do the strength training session before the cardio exercises. If you do the cardio before you lift, your body will be depleted of energy and unable to lift as much.
  • The compound exercises at the beginning of the workouts (bench, shoulder press, squat) where the rep scheme is 12-10-8 indicates you should increase weight for each set.
  • Each workout ends with one bodyweight ab/core exercise.
  • Never train more than three days in a row without a rest day.
  • Spend no more than 60-90 seconds between sets.

8-Week Workout Plan and Beyond

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.

Weeks 5-8:

  • Monday: Workout C
  • Tuesday: Workout D
  • Wednesday: Rest Day
  • Thursday: Workout A
  • Friday: Workout B

female workout routine for weight loss

Other ways to mix up your routine include:

  • Use different equipment: Most exercises can be done using dumbbells, barbells, Smith Machine, or a machine. Alter the types of equipment for certain lifts, but remember that free weights will always be superior to machines because they engage the core and stabilizer muscles.
  • Change the angles/hand positions: Altering the angle at which a lift is performed (decline, flat, incline) can completely alter the exercise, making it a great way to shock the muscles. You can change your grips for certain exercises (lat pulldown, rows) to underhand or overhand.
  • Exercise variations: For the primary exercises of deadlifts, bench presses, squats, and shoulder presses, you can use variations of the exercise. For example, you can do goblet squats, hack squats, front squats, or Bulgarian split squats.
  • Switch exercises: Once you do a full four weeks, mix and match exercises from each workout to create your own. As long as your workout routine contains two to three compound exercises at the start of the workout, it is fine to mix and match or use variations.

Strength Training Tips

  • Compound exercises:An efficient fat-loss workout plan for females should be centered on compound exercises. Compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, are weight-training exercises that target multiple muscle groups. Fat loss benefits include burning calories, time efficiency, and more significant muscle activation.
  • Focus on form: Always start with a weight that you can control with proper form. From the starting position of an exercise, slowly lower the weight while taking a deep breath.
  • Active Recovery:An active recovery day is when you do a light workout with low intensity, such as yoga, walking, dancing, swimming, or playing a sport. If you overdo training volume or intensity, you can cause injury or muscle loss, so active recovery is a great way to stay busy.

women's fat loss workout plan

How Strength Training Helps Weight Loss

The main ways strength training can help you lose weight include:

  • Burn calories: Plain and simple, you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Lifting weights, especially high-intensity training, is one of the best types of physical activity for burning calories. Strength training burns roughly 90-125 calories every 30 minutes, depending on various factors like weight and intensity.
  • Increase metabolism:Your metabolism is measured by basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories the body burns at rest. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, so adding lean muscle mass is crucial to speed up your metabolism. One study had inactive adults perform a strength training program for ten weeks to measure its effect on weight loss. After ten weeks, lean muscle mass increased by 3 lbs, metabolism (BMR) increased by 7%, and they lost 4 lbs of body fat.¹
  • Afterburn: Strength training causes a unique effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Also called the afterburn effect, your body burns calories at an elevated rate after completing the workout, leading to greater fat loss. This can only be achieved with a high training intensity, like strength training.
  • Improve Body Composition: You have likely heard the old cliche “muscle weighs more than fat,” and it’s true. You may not notice a difference on the scale, but strength training helps build muscle mass, which helps lower your body fat percentage and improve your body composition.
  • Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Strength training has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. An improved insulin sensitivity helps prevent fat storage and helps promote fat loss.

workout plan for weight loss and muscle gain female

Diet and Supplements

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).

  • One pound of fat = 3,500 calories
  • 7 days x 500 calories a day = 3500 calories burned = 1 lb lost

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 articleEverything 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:

  • Lean proteins
  • Whole-grain complex carbohydrates
  • Healthy fats
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

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.

Supplements

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:

  • Protein powder: Protein, ideally whey protein, is one of the best supplements to help build muscle and lose weight. Protein helps the muscles recover quicker and improves muscle protein synthesis, which helps build mass. It’s also great for meal replacements because it helps make you feel fuller longer.
  • Multivitamin: A good multivitamin, particularly one with a full serving of Vitamin D, is excellent for promoting overall health and fat loss. Studies have shown that Vitamin D significantly helps women lose weight, decrease waist circumference, and lower body mass index (BMI).²
  • Fat Burner Supplements: Fat burners are one of the best products for weight loss. The top products typically contain multiple natural ingredients, including caffeine, green tea extract, magnesium, alpha-lipoic acid, and Capsimax, a patented red chili pepper extract.

To learn more about how supplements can help your weight loss journey, check out our articleEverything You Need To Know About Fat Burner Supplements.

FAQs

How many calories do I need to burn to lose fat?

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.

With so many strength training exercises, how do you know what exercises to do for weight loss?

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.

Is HIIT the best workout for women’s fat loss?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best methods for losing weight. To learn more, check out our article6 Best Fat Burning HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss.

What is the best exercise for female fat 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.

What workout will help you lose belly fat?

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.

training programs for women's weight loss

Outro

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!

References

  1. Westcott, Wayne L. “Resistance Training Is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health.” Current Sports Medicine Reports, vol. 11, no. 4, 2012, pp. 209–216,journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2012/07000/resistance_training_is_medicine__effects_of.13.aspx,https://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8.
  2. Khosravi, Zahra Sadat, et al. “Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Weight Loss, Glycemic Indices, and Lipid Profile in Obese and Overweight Women: A Clinical Trial Study.” International Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 9, 20 July 2018,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6071442/,https://doi.org/10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_329_15.

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