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A Trainer's #1 Weekly Workout to Lose Weight & Build Muscle

Trim body fat and sculpt lean muscle with a trainer's go-to workout regimen.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Embarking on a fitness journey that combines weight loss and muscle building requires a well-crafted workout plan. The simultaneous building of muscle and loss of fat is called body composition, and it's one of the most efficient fitness models I recommend to my clients. I've designed this weekly workout to lose weight and build muscle just for you. This regimen seamlessly integrates strength training and cardiovascular exercises to sculpt muscle mass while burning fat for maximum effectiveness.

Consistency is key in any fitness journey. This weekly routine brings together strength training, cardiovascular exercises, and rest days to optimize fat loss and muscle building. Remember to pair this workout with a balanced diet and sufficient hydration for the best results. Always consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.

Keep reading for my best-recommended weekly workout to lose weight and build muscle. And when you're finished working up a sweat, be sure to check out the 5 Most Effective At-Home Workouts for Weight Loss.

Day 1: Full-Body Strength Training

Full-body strength training contributes to fat loss by engaging multiple muscle groups, increasing calorie expenditure during and after your workout. It promotes muscle growth as compound exercises, like squats and deadlifts, stimulate the release of growth-promoting hormones, fostering muscle hypertrophy. The enhanced muscle mass resulting from full-body strength training further elevates your basal metabolic rate, supporting effective weight management and fat loss over time.

1. Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as if sitting on a chair, keeping your back straight and your chest up. Straighten back into a standing position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

2. Bench Press

barbell bench press illustration

Lie on a flat bench with a barbell at chest height. Lower the bar to your chest, and push it back up. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

3. Bent-Over Rows

woman doing barbell row demonstration to get rid of underarm fat

Hold a barbell with an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips, and pull the barbell to your chest. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

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Day 2: Cardiovascular Focus—High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) contributes to fat loss by creating an afterburn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where the body continues to burn calories post-workout, promoting a sustained calorie deficit. The intense bursts of activity during HIIT trigger the release of growth hormone, facilitating muscle growth and development. Additionally, HIIT stimulates the production of enzymes that enhance fat oxidation, making it an efficient and time-effective method for simultaneously burning fat and promoting muscle hypertrophy.

1. Sprint Intervals

treadmill sprints

Sprint at maximum effort for 30 seconds. Follow with 30 seconds of rest or light jogging. Repeat for five minutes.

2. Burpees

Start in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back, landing in a plank position. Perform a pushup, then jump your feet back toward your hands. Explosively jump into the air, reaching overhead. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

3. Jump Squats

jump squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest up. Explosively jump upward, extending your hips and knees. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

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Day 3: Active Recovery

downward dog

Recovery days are crucial when working out, as they allow for proper muscle repair and growth, preventing overtraining and reducing the risk of injuries. During recovery, the body replenishes energy stores and repairs micro-tears in muscle tissue caused by intense workouts, contributing to overall strength development. Adequate rest also balances hormone levels, promoting optimal metabolism and ensuring the sustainability of long-term fitness goals by preventing burnout and promoting mental well-being.

Engage in light activities such as walking, yoga, or swimming. Allow your body to recover while maintaining mobility by stretching. Drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep, and eat meals rich in nutrients and protein.

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Day 4: Core and Stability Training

Core-strengthening exercises contribute to fat loss by engaging multiple muscle groups, increasing overall calorie expenditure, and promoting a higher metabolic rate. Additionally, a stronger core enhances stability and allows for more effective performance in compound movements, leading to increased muscle growth. As the core muscles develop and become more defined, they contribute to an aesthetically sculpted physique while supporting functional strength and improved posture.

1. Planks

high plank

Hold a plank position with a straight line from your head to your heels. Aim for three sets, holding for 30 to 60 seconds.

2. Russian Twists

Sit on the floor, and lean back slightly. Rotate your torso while holding a weight or medicine ball. Perform three sets of 20 twists.

3. Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Lie flat on your back with your hands placed behind your head and elbows pointing outward. Lift your legs off the ground, and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while simultaneously straightening your right leg. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Day 5: Cardiovascular Endurance—Long-Duration Cardio

woman walking

Long-duration cardio contributes to fat loss by promoting a sustained calorie burn, creating a calorie deficit essential for weight reduction. Additionally, it enhances cardiovascular endurance, enabling the body to efficiently utilize stored fat for energy during extended aerobic activities. While not directly promoting muscle growth like resistance training, consistent long-duration cardio supports overall health, aiding in a well-rounded fitness routine that complements muscle-building efforts.

Engage in moderate-intensity cardio for 45 to 60 minutes (jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming).

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Day 6: Compound Movements for Full-Body Engagement

Compound movements engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to a higher calorie expenditure during workouts. This increased energy demand supports fat loss by creating a calorie deficit. Additionally, compound movements stimulate the release of growth-promoting hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, fostering muscle growth and enhancing the overall metabolic rate for sustained fat loss.

1. Deadlifts

barbell deadlift

Lift a barbell from the ground using a hip hinge movement. Keep your lower back straight, and engage your core throughout the motion. Lower the barbell back to the ground. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

2. Overhead Press

illustration of overhead press exercise

Grip a barbell or dumbbell in each hand and hold at shoulder height. Lift the barbell or dumbbells straight overhead, fully extending the arms. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

3. Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swings

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Hinge at the hips, keeping a slight bend in the knees, and swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Explosively thrust your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell to chest height. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down, and repeat for three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Day 7: Rest and Recovery

woman doing child's pose

This weekly workout to lose weight and build muscle wraps up with another rest and recovery day. Feel free to engage in light activities like yoga, walking, or swimming. Give your body the time it needs (and deserves!) to recover while preserving mobility through light stretching.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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