Weight Loss Workout Plan for Women to Reach Your Goals

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 04/30/2024

Incorporating more movement into your day is an important part of weight loss, but it’s not always easy to know what that looks like. 

Are we talking cardio workouts? Weightlifting? Pickleball? 

When it comes to exercise, the options are almost endless — but don’t let that overwhelm you. The most important thing is that you find ways to fit movement into your day. Ideally, you’ll mix it up throughout the week with a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching. 

For a lot of people, following a workout plan helps take the guesswork out of exercise. This means you can spend less time thinking about working out and more time actually doing it.

Read on to learn more about the weight loss workout plan for women we created to help get you started.

Basically, a holistic workout plan is a combination of strategies that, together, help you reach your weight loss goals. 

Our weight loss plan for women combines a few different types of exercise. Here’s what they are and how they can help you lose weight:

  • Cardio. This includes anything that gets your heart pumping, like jogging, cycling, and swimming. Also called aerobic exercise, cardio helps burn calories, increase energy, and improve mood. 

  • Strength training. Strength training is great for building and maintaining muscle mass. It also helps boost your metabolism. Head to the gym to train on the machines, pick up some resistance bands, or skip the equipment and use your own body weight — think squats and push-ups. 

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is when you do short bursts of high-intensity movement, like sprints, followed by rest and recovery periods. It’s great for improving body composition (reducing body fat percentage and increasing lean muscle). 

Research suggests that combining cardio and strength training may be more effective for weight loss and cardiorespiratory fitness than aerobic exercise or strength training alone.

HIIT exercises, which often combine cardio and strength (think bootcamp) are also great for cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic problems in people with excess weight or obesity. HIIT can also help reduce waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

While not as essential to your immediate weight loss goals, no holistic workout plan would be complete without flexibility and balance training

Incorporating activities like yoga, pilates, and tai chi into your routine will help keep your muscles and joints healthy. Improving your balance and flexibility may also reduce your risk of injury — and nothing sabotages a workout plan faster than pulling a hammy.    

Ideally, you should aim for at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity throughout the week. 

Alongside this, you should aim for at least two strength training sessions a week.

All that sounds like a lot, no? Before you panic, know that you don’t need to jump in the deep end right away — especially if you’re just starting out. 

Try gradually incorporating more movement into your day and increasing how much you do as your fitness level increases. 

Here are a few tips to make the most of your workout routine: 

  • Spread your aerobic activity throughout the week. For example, you could do an hour of activity three days a week, or you could do 30 minutes a day, five days a week. 

  • Spread your strength training sessions out, too. This will give your body time to recover. 

  • Don’t forget about rest days. Rest days are just as important as your most active days. Listen to your body. If you feel tired and sore, consider taking an extra rest day. On your rest days, consider gentle movements like walking and stretching. 

  • Don’t worry if you get off track. Let’s say you work late Wednesday and can’t squeeze in a workout. You don’t need to throw out the whole plan. See if you can get Wednesday’s workout in on Sunday instead. And remember, a missed workout isn’t going to derail your overall progress.

  • Don’t be afraid to switch things up. There’s no single workout that’s best for all women looking to lose weight. This plan isn’t meant to be prescriptive — it’s meant to provide some inspiration. So switch it up if you get bored! The more you enjoy your workout routine, the more likely you are to stick to it. 

With all that in mind, here’s what a workout routine for women to lose weight could look like each week.

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Weight loss treatment that puts you first

Monday

30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity such as: 

  • Brisk walking 

  • Jogging

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Hiking

  • Playing a sport like tennis, basketball, or volleyball

  • Taking a gym class like CrossFit or Zumba  

If you’re doing moderate-intensity cardio, aim to work out on the longer side. If you’re getting your heart rate up with high-intensity aerobic activity, you can work out for a little less time.

Tuesday 

Strength training. 

Over the week, you want to aim to do muscle-strengthening exercises that incorporate all major muscle groups — like your upper body, lower body, and core. You could do a full-body workout each time you strength train or focus on legs on one day and core and arms on another day. 

A strength-training session could include a mix of: 

  • Squats 

  • Walking lunges

  • Deadlifts 

  • Sit-ups 

  • Plank 

  • Bicep curls 

  • Push-ups 

  • Shoulder press 

  • Pull-ups 

  • Tricep extensions

To start, pick a few exercises and try five sets of 10 reps — that means performing an exercise 10 times, taking a short break and repeating for five rounds. 

But don’t forget to warm up before jumping into your workout.

If you’re new to weight training (welcome!), consider getting some advice from a certified personal trainer. They can help you discover the best home and gym workouts for beginners looking to lose weight. 

Today, along with strength training, consider adding in some aerobic exercise, like cycling to the gym or taking your dog on a long walk. 

Wednesday 

30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity such as: 

  • Brisk walking 

  • Jogging

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Hiking

  • Playing a sport like tennis, basketball or volleyball

  • Taking a gym class like CrossFit or Zumba

If you didn’t get any HIIT-style movement into your day on Monday, consider adding some here. That could mean incorporating a few high-intensity bursts into your run, hitting the rowing machine, or going to a HIIT workout class. 

Thursday 

Rest day. 

Consider active recovery, or limit yourself to a low-impact, low-intensity activity today. That could include going for a walk or doing some gentle yoga. 

Friday 

Strength training. Either include total body exercises to target all muscles or focus on muscle groups you didn’t work out on Tuesday. 

Exercises may include: 

  • Squats 

  • Walking lunges

  • Deadlifts 

  • Sit-ups 

  • Plank 

  • Bicep curls 

  • Push-ups 

  • Shoulder press 

  • Pull-ups 

  • Tricep extensions

Consider adding in some aerobic exercise as well. Today that might look like a yoga class after strength training or swimming a few laps. 

Saturday 

30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity such as: 

  • Brisk walking 

  • Jogging

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Hiking

  • Playing a sport like tennis, basketball or volleyball

  • Taking a gym class like CrossFit or Zumba

Sunday 

Rest day. 

Get some general movement into your day, like walking. 

You did it! *The crowd goes wild.*

Once you’ve completed this seven day workout plan, it’s time to keep the party going.

You could either start from the top and complete it again or mix it up to incorporate different types of exercise, just to keep things interesting. 

If you’re feeling good, you can also slowly increase the amount of aerobic exercise you do and increase the amount of weight you use in your strength-training sessions as your muscle strength increases. 

To maintain weight loss, you might want to aim for 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s about three hours and 20 minutes to five hours. 

It sounds like a lot, but remember, every type of movement counts — your workouts and all the other movement you get in your day, like walking. It all adds up.

Exercise is a key part of a weight loss journey, but that doesn’t mean your only options are hitting the gym or lacing up your sneakers for a run. Daily movement beyond exercise is also important. 

Here’s how you can get more movement into your day: 

  • Add a walk into your morning routine 

  • Get up from your desk now and again to do some bodyweight exercises or stretches 

  • Take the stairs over the elevator 

  • Take walking meetings 

  • Do some physical chores like gardening

  • Set yourself achievable goals, like getting 2,000 more steps a day  

Your workouts also don’t need to be structured gym sessions or set blocks of aerobic activity all of the time. 

You can: 

  • Play catch with your kid (or fetch with your pet)

  • Meet friends for a hike 

  • Join a dance class 

  • Cycle to work 

  • Join a sports club 

Along with following a weight loss program for women — or increasing your overall movement in your own way — here’s what to keep in mind when you’re working towards a healthy weight: 

  • Eat nutritious foods. Healthy eating can boost your weight loss efforts. Stock up on fruits, veggies, lean protein like chicken or tofu, and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. Healthy snacks like dried fruit, nuts, and seeds can also fuel you before or after exercise.   

  • Drink more water. Water can also help to regulate your appetite and promote the breakdown of fats. Check out our guide to drinking water for weight loss.

  • Get enough sleep. Prioritizing sleep can help you recover from your workouts and have enough energy to keep at it, but sleep loss can mess with your hunger hormones, making getting your beauty sleep even more important.

For some people, weight loss medications, like semaglutide and metformin, can play a pivotal role in the weight loss journey. 

A holistic weight loss program incorporates so much more than just diet and exercise. At Hers, we offer a personalized weight loss program designed to help you achieve your health goals.

Weight loss medications can help regulate your hunger hormones and quiet the food noise in your mind. Cognitive behavioral exercises can help you break free from unhealthy patterns and routines. And support from a healthcare professional can give you the push you need to start making big changes.     

There are so many workouts for women that can help you lose weight. Having a training program to follow can give you motivation and inspiration to reach your weight loss goals. 

Here are our top tips: 

  • Aim for a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training. You can follow a structured plan like the one above or mix and match different exercises each week to spice things up. 

  • Think about daily movement beyond exercise. Try incorporating more movement into your day as a whole. Cardio and strength workouts can be a part of this, but so can taking a walk after work or walking while on the phone. 

Don’t forget food, water, and sleep. Beyond exercise, aim to eat whole foods, drink more water and get plenty of shut-eye to lose weight and feel your best while doing it.

9 Sources

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  5. Ho, S. S., Dhaliwal, S. S., Hills, A. P., & Pal, S. (2012). The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trial. BMC public health, 12, 704. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-12-704
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