Are you looking for a meal plan and workout for weight loss female? If yes, then this article is for you. In this article, I am going to share my experience and the tips that will help you lose weight fast.

I am sure that you are searching for it because many people are looking for the same thing. You may not know how to go about it or which one will work best. You may also be wondering if there is such a thing as a meal plan and workout for weight loss female that actually works.

Well, let me tell you something: There are many things out there that claim to be the best way to lose weight fast. But none of them worked for me! In fact, some of them even made me gain more weight than before using them!

So why did this happen? It happened because those plans were made by people who were not experts in their field or professionals in the health industry. They just wanted to make money off of people like me who wanted results fast without having to work hard at getting those results.

Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on top weight loss tips for women, 4 week workout plan for weight loss, best strength training exercises for beginners, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Free Meal Plan And Workout For Weight Loss

There are plenty of diet programs and meal plans out there, including many designed specifically for women looking to lose weight.

However, not all meal plans are equally effective when it comes to weight loss.

In fact, although many diet plans are safe, healthy, and sustainable, others can be ineffective, hard to follow, or downright dangerous.

Here are 7 of the best weight loss meal.

How to choose a weight loss meal plan

It’s important to keep a few factors in mind when selecting the meal plan that’s right for you.

For starters, be sure to consider your personal needs and preferences.

While some people may enjoy structured diet programs, others might prefer plans that are a bit more flexible.

Certain meal plans may also require more time and effort than others, which can be an important consideration for women who might not want to measure portion sizes or track their food intake.

Be sure to avoid diets that eliminate entire food groups or are overly restrictive. Not only are these meal plans more difficult to follow long-term, but they can also make it much more difficult to get all the nutrients you need.

Finally, be sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making any big changes to your diet. This is especially important if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

How we chose

The meal plans featured in this article were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Nutritionally balanced. Plans are well balanced, meaning they prioritize nutrient-dense foods rich in carbs, fats, and proteins and provide a good mix of vitamins and minerals.
  • Effective. Plans are backed by research and have been shown to promote weight loss.
  • Sustainable. Plans are not overly restrictive and can be followed long-term.
  • Easy to follow. Some plans provide clear, straightforward guidelines, while others are flexible and simple, with no nutrient tracking or food logging required.
  • Offers additional resources. We included a link to a book or website for each plan, many of which provide recipes, grocery lists, and sample meal plans to help you save time.

Best meal planning app

PlateJoy

  • Who it’s best for: those who have a busy schedule and are looking to simplify meal planning

PlateJoy is an app that helps simplify weight loss by providing custom meal plans and recipes tailored to your needs.

After you answer a series of questions about your diet, lifestyle, and health goals, PlateJoy builds a personalized menu for you and your household.

It also provides optimized grocery lists based on your meal plan. You can order the groceries and have them delivered directly to your door using a third-party delivery service.

In addition to adjusting the portion sizes automatically to fit your weight loss goals, PlateJoy makes it easy to prepare more tasty and nutritious homemade meals.

Studies show that eating more homemade meals could be associated with improved diet quality and reductions in body weight and body fat.

Additionally, one study found that adults who ate only home-cooked meals had 26% lower odds of obesity than those who did not eat any home-cooked meals.

While the app typically costs $12.99 per month, Healthline readers can subscribe to PlateJoy for just $4.99 per month.

Not sure if PlateJoy is for you? See what Healthline editor and registered dietitian Kelli McGrane, MS, thought of PlateJoy in this comprehensive hands-on review.

Pros

  • provides personalized meal plans
  • suitable for many dietary restrictions
  • adjusts portion sizes based on your needs

Considerations

  • requires a subscription
  • cost of ingredients not included
  • can be time consuming to prepare meals

Best for a plant-based lifestyle

Whole foods, plant-based diet

  • Who it’s best for: individuals looking for a flexible way to lose weight and improve overall health

Plant-based diets consist mostly of foods derived from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Animal products — meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy — are also sometimes included in small amounts.

Several studies have suggested that following a plant-based diet could be an effective strategy for helping reduce body fat.

One review found that people who followed a plant-based diet experienced less weight gain over 4 years than those who followed other diets.

Additionally, eating more fruits and vegetables, both of which are key components of a plant-based diet, has been linked to increased weight loss and decreased belly fat.

Not only that, but some research in women has found that eating more fruits and vegetables may be linked to a lower risk of obesity and weight gain.

For more information about following a plant-based diet, check out “The Plant-Based Diet for Beginners” by Alice Newman, which includes a sample 21-day meal plan to help you get started.

You can also check out our whole foods, plant-based diet guide.

Pros

  • adaptable
  • easy to follow
  • doesn’t require counting calories or tracking nutrient intake

Considerations

  • may require careful planning to ensure nutritional needs are met
  • no clear guidelines on specific foods to eat or portion sizes

Best for hormone balance

Low carb diet

  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer structured diet plans with simple, straightforward guidelines

Low carb diets involve limiting your consumption of added sugars and foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains and starches.

Although there are various types of low carb diets, most restrict carb consumption to less than 26% of your total daily calories.

A review of 17 studies found that low carb diets were more effective for short-term weight loss than low fat diets, although the difference between the two slowly decreased over time.

Some research also suggests that low carb diets could increase the number of calories your body burns throughout the day, which may contribute to weight loss.

What’s more, other studies have found that low carb diets may offer some benefits specifically for women, including improvements in hormone levels and menstrual regularity.

However, keep in mind that very low carb diets may not be a good fit for everyone, especially women who have certain medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you find that a very low carb diet is too restrictive or difficult to follow, you may want to consider trying a moderately low carb diet — with 36–44% of calories from carbs — instead.

For an in-depth look at how to follow a low carb diet to promote hormone balance, check out “Women, Food, and Hormones: A 4-Week Plan to Achieve Hormonal Balance, Lose Weight, and Feel Like Yourself Again” by Dr. Sara Gottfried.

Pros

  • provides recommendations for foods to eat and avoid
  • could support hormone balance and menstrual regularity

Considerations

  • not suitable for everyone
  • some versions may be more restrictive

Best for community support

WW (Weight Watchers)

  • Who it’s best for: people who need additional support to stay motivated

WW is a popular weight loss program that was founded in the 1960s.

It uses a points system, which assigns foods a certain number of points based on their nutritional value and gives users a daily budget of PersonalPoints.

It also encourages regular physical activity, provides various workout guides specifically for women, and offers options like group workshops and personal coaching for an additional fee.

Plus, it helps teach you how to make healthier food choices, so it may be a good fit for women seeking long-term, sustainable weight loss.

One large review of 39 studies found that people who used WW for 1 year lost 2.6% more body weight than a control group.

Another study showed that people who followed WW for 1 year lost more than twice as much weight as those who received a self-help booklet and 5 minutes of general nutrition advice.

The WW group also maintained a greater overall weight loss than the control group, even after 2 years.

However, keep in mind that this study was partially funded by WW, though the researchers note that this did not affect the design, analysis, or final results of the study.

WW offers several plans, starting at $22.95 per month. It also provides several sample meal plans and a variety of recipes on the WW website and app.

Pros

  • offers peer support and coaching
  • encourages healthy habits for sustainable weight loss
  • uses simple points-based system tailored to your needs

Considerations

  • some subscription plans can be expensive
  • requires food tracking on app

Best for heart health

DASH diet

  • Who it’s best for: those looking to lose weight and lower blood pressure

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an eating plan designed to help lower blood pressure levels.

The diet encourages eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources while limiting red meats and foods high in added sugar or salt.

Not only has the DASH diet been shown to improve heart health, but some research suggests that it may help facilitate weight loss as well.

One study in 293 female nurses found that greater adherence to the DASH diet was associated with a lower risk of obesity and excess belly fat.

A review of 13 studies also found that people following the DASH diet lost significantly more body weight and belly fat in 24 weeks than a control group.

In another study, older adults who followed a low calorie DASH diet for 12 weeks experienced a 6.3% reduction in body weight and a 2.5% decrease in body fat percentage.

You can read more about the DASH diet in “The Complete DASH Diet for Beginners” by Jennifer Koslo, which includes two 7-day meal plans with shopping lists and 75 heart-healthy recipes.

Pros

  • supports heart health
  • provides simple guidelines
  • flexible

Considerations

  • doesn’t offer organized support
  • may be difficult to maintain
  • requires logging food intake

Easiest to follow

Mediterranean diet

  • Who it’s best for: people seeking a simple diet plan that isn’t overly restrictive

Based on the traditional diets of countries such as Spain, Greece, and Italy, the Mediterranean diet is often considered one of the healthiest eating patterns.

Though it isn’t as structured as many other plans and doesn’t have any strict rules or regulations, the Mediterranean diet scored our top spot as the easiest meal plan to follow because it’s simple, sustainable, and not overly restrictive.

The diet involves eating lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats such as olive oil.

As part of this diet, processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, and refined grains should be limited.

Several studies suggest that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is tied to a lower risk of weight gain and abdominal obesity and a greater likelihood of weight loss maintenance.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out “The Complete Mediterranean Diet” by Dr. Michael Ozner, which provides a 2-week meal plan and 500 nutritious recipes to try making at home.

Pros

  • easy to follow
  • sustainable
  • associated with numerous health benefits

Considerations

  • some may prefer more structured plans
  • can be time consuming
  • allows alcohol, which some people may choose to avoid

Best for personal coaching

Noom

  • Who it’s best for: individuals seeking an effective way to build healthy habits

Noom is a mobile app that helps users build healthy habits to support long lasting, sustainable weight loss.

Although no foods are off-limits with Noom, the program focuses on foods low in calories but high in nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables.

The app also offers support from a virtual health coach, access to an extensive library of nutritious recipes, and tools to help log and track your progress.

In one study that included nearly 36,000 people, about 78% of participants experienced weight loss while using Noom over an average period of 9 months.

Another small study showed that women who used a virtual coaching program like Noom for 8 weeks experienced significant weight loss and improvements in behaviors such as emotional eating.

Plus, Noom encourages members to eat mostly foods with a low calorie density, which has been shown to support both weight loss and fat loss.

Noom membership starts at $60 per month. The program also offers a Premium Bundle for a one-time fee of $49, which includes an online consultation and a customized meal plan and workout guide tailored to your needs.

Pros

  • includes access to virtual coaching team
  • no foods are off-limits
  • promotes behavior changes

Considerations

  • relatively expensive
  • requires users to log food intake
  • not suitable for certain health conditions
  • initial calorie recommendations might be too low for some people

Example 7-day meal plan for women

Below is a 7-day menu with some ideas for simple meals and snacks that you can enjoy.

Keep in mind that this specific meal plan may not be suitable for you, depending on your dietary restrictions and preferences. You can also add snacks as desired to meet your needs.

BreakfastLunchDinnerSnack
Day 1omelet with veggies and cheesestuffed bell peppers with ground beef, cheese, rice, and tomato saucesweet potato chili with side saladhomemade trail mix
Day 2oatmeal with fresh fruit and walnutsbaked salmon with herbed quinoa and Brussels sproutsgrilled chicken salad with goat cheese and avocadoapple slices with peanut butter
Day 3avocado toast topped with egg, tomatoes, and feta cheeseturkey and spinach lasagna with chopped saladlemon butter cod with steamed broccoli and brown ricefruit salad with yogurt
Day 4smoothie with spinach, fruit, and protein powdertaco salad with ground beef and veggiesveggie burger with sweet potato friesair-fried chickpeas
Day 5Greek yogurt with berries and chia seedsturkey wrap with cream cheese, spinach, and tomatoespasta with meatballs and roasted veggiespita chips with hummus
Day 6scrambled eggs with toast and turkey baconcrab cakes with herbed potatoes and coleslawpesto grilled cheese with tomato souproasted edamame
Day 7tofu scramble with sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and avocadobaked chicken with rice and lemon-garlic sauteed kalepork chops with roasted carrots and cornbreadveggies with guacamole

Time-saving tip: This plan was designed with variety in mind. However, to cut down on the cooking and prep, you can make large batches of each dinner and enjoy the leftovers for stress-free lunches.

Tips for meal planning

Though meal planning may seem like a challenging and time consuming task, there are plenty of strategies that can make it much easier.

Here are a few tips for meal planning:

  • Consider each food group. Make sure each food group is represented in your menu by including a protein, a heart-healthy fat, and a fiber-rich carbohydrate in every meal.
  • Set aside time. Scheduling a specific time slot for meal planning each week is a great way to stay on track and meet your goals, especially if you’re busy throughout the week.
  • Start a recipe collection. Make a habit of saving recipes you’d like to try, and then incorporate them into your weekly menu.
  • Try meal prepping. Batch cooking your meals or preparing ingredients in advance can help you save time throughout the week and make it easier to enjoy more healthy, homemade meals.
  • Make a grocery list. Decide which meals you’d like to prepare and what ingredients you need before heading to the store. This can help ensure that you get everything you need without spending extra money on things you don’t.
  • Stock up on time-saving tools. Several kitchen tools can help streamline meal prep. A slow cooker, such as the Instant Pot, is great for hands-off recipes, and gadgets such as a rice cooker, food processor, and panini press can help shave off time in the kitchen.

Frequently asked questions

Does calorie counting work for weight loss?

For some people, counting calories can be beneficial. This is because it can help increase awareness about food choices and make it easier to reduce your daily calorie intake, which could lead to weight loss.

However, keep in mind that counting your calories or tracking your food intake may promote disordered eating patterns and could foster an unhealthy relationship with food.

If you experience feelings of guilt or shame regarding your food choices, consider reaching out for support. The National Eating Disorders Association offers a free helpline, along with a variety of resources online.

Where can I find free meal plans?

There are a variety of meal planning apps and websites that provide free recipes and ideas to help get you started. You can also check out this article for some tips on meal planning for weight loss.

What’s the best subscription meal plan for weight loss?

Several subscription meal plan services are available, including PlateJoy, which curates a custom menu for you and your household based on your needs.

You might also consider trying a meal delivery service for weight loss, many of which provide meal kits or fully prepared meals to help you reach your goals.

The bottom line

There are a variety of meal plans for women that can help support long-term, sustainable weight loss.

When looking for a meal plan that works for you, consider your needs and preferences and the amount of time and effort required.

Steer clear of overly restrictive plans, and talk with a healthcare professional before making major changes to your diet.

Top Weight Loss Tips For Women

Diet and exercise may be key components of weight loss for women, but many other factors play a role.

In fact, studies show that everything from sleep quality to stress levels can have a major impact on hunger, metabolism, body weight, and belly fat.

Fortunately, making a few small changes in your daily routine can bring big benefits when it comes to weight loss.

Here are the top 23 weight loss tips for women.

1. Cut Down on Refined Carbs

Refined carbs undergo extensive processing, reducing the amount of fiber and micronutrients in the final product.

These foods spike blood sugar levels, increase hunger, and are associated with increased body weight and belly fat.

Therefore, it’s best to limit refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and prepackaged foods. Opt for whole-grain products like oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley instead.

2. Add Resistance Training to Your Routine

Resistance training builds muscle and increases endurance.

It’s especially beneficial for women over 50, as it increases the number of calories that your body burns at rest. It also helps preserve bone mineral density to protect against osteoporosis.

Lifting weights, using gym equipment, or performing body-weight exercises are a few simple ways to get started.

3. Drink More Water

Drinking more water is an easy and effective way to promote weight loss with minimal effort.

According to one small study, drinking 16.9 ounces (500 ml) of water temporarily increased the number of calories burned by 30% after 30–40 minutes.

Studies also show that drinking water before a meal can increase weight loss and reduce the number of calories consumed by around 13%.

4. Eat More Protein

Protein foods like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, and legumes are an important part of a healthy diet, especially when it comes to weight loss.

In fact, studies note that following a high-protein diet can cut cravings, increase feelings of fullness, and boost metabolism.

One small 12-week study also found that increasing protein intake by just 15% decreased daily calorie intake by an average of 441 calories — resulting in 11 pounds (5 kg) of weight loss.

5. Set a Regular Sleep Schedule

Studies suggest that getting enough sleep may be just as crucial to losing weight as diet and exercise.

Multiple studies have associated sleep deprivation with increased body weight and higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.

Furthermore, one study in women showed that getting at least seven hours of sleep each night and improving overall sleep quality increased the likelihood of weight loss success by 33%.

6. Do More Cardio

Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, increases your heart rate to burn extra calories.

Studies show that adding more cardio to your routine can result in significant weight loss — especially when paired with a healthy diet.

For best results, aim for at least 20–40 minutes of cardio per day, or around 150–300 minutes per week.

7. Keep a Food Journal

Using a food journal to track what you eat is an easy way to hold yourself accountable, and make healthier choices.

It also makes it easier to count calories, which can be an effective strategy for weight management.

What’s more, a food journal can help you stick to your goals, and may result in greater long-term weight loss.

8. Fill up on Fiber

Adding more fiber to your diet is a common weight loss strategy to help slow the emptying of your stomach and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Without making any other changes to diet or lifestyle, increasing dietary fiber intake by 14 grams per day has been associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake and 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) of weight loss over 3.8 months.

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all great sources of fiber that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

9. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating involves minimizing external distractions during your meal. Try eating slowly and focusing your attention on how your food tastes, looks, smells, and feels.

This practice helps promote healthier eating habits and is a powerful tool for increasing weight loss.

Studies show that eating slowly can enhance feelings of fullness and may lead to significant reductions in daily calorie intake.

10. Snack Smarter

Selecting healthy, low-calorie snacks is a great way to lose weight and stay on track by minimizing hunger levels between meals.

Choose snacks that are high in protein and fiber to promote fullness and curb cravings.

Whole fruit paired with nut butter, veggies with hummus, or Greek yogurt with nuts are examples of nutritious snacks that can support long-lasting weight loss.

The Bottom Line

Many different factors play a role in weight loss, and some extend far beyond diet and exercise.

Making a few simple modifications to your lifestyle can help promote long-lasting weight loss for women.

Including even one or two of these strategies in your daily routine can help maximize results and promote healthy, sustainable weight loss.

4 Week Workout Plan For Weight Loss

All the strength workouts should be performed as supersets. A superset is when you do two exercises back to back, taking little to no rest in between moves. An example of this would be doing 10 reps of barbell squats immediately followed by 10 reps of push-ups.

I’ve also included compound exercises, which are exercises that work multiple groups of muscles (such as deadlifts), into each workout. They give you the most bang for your buck because they recruit more muscles, forcing your body to work harder to execute every rep.

The 4-Week Workout Plan

Before every workout, be sure to warm up and cool down. Here are a dynamic warmup and a cooldown I like.

Remember to choose your weights carefully, and know that it’s normal to use different weights for different exercises. And if you’re a beginner or coming back from a workout hiatus, don’t be afraid to start with small weights or just your bodyweight (it’s better to start slowly than to get injured!). Try not to take more than 60 seconds of rest in between each superset.

Monday: Strength Training

Superset 1:

  • Exercise 1: Goblet squat: 12 reps
  • Exercise 2: Lat pull-down or pull-up (you can use the machine or a resistance band): 12 reps for lat pull-down or five reps for pull-up
  • Do four sets

Superset 2:

  • Exercise 1: Step-up: 10 reps each leg (to make this more challenging, hold two five- to 10-pound dumbbells by your sides)
  • Exercise 2: Single-arm row: 12 reps each arm
  • Do four sets

Superset 3:

  • Exercise 1: Single-leg glute bridge: 10 reps each leg
  • Exercise 2: Bicep curl: 10 reps
  • Do four sets

Core: Elbow plank: 15-second hold, three sets

Tuesday: Cardio

It’s day two, and I hope you’re feeling good after yesterday’s strength workout. Today, you’re doing cardio. Whether you want to lace up your running shoes, swim, ride a stationary or road bike, row, crush some dance cardio, or even play an active virtual reality game, just spend 20 minutes getting your heart rate up while doing something you enjoy. Once you’ve completed cardio, it’s time for abs.

Ab Workout: Complete two rounds of the following ab workout. If necessary, feel free to modify the amount of time you do each exercise.

  • Left side plank: 20 seconds
  • Russian twist: 20 seconds
  • Right side plank: 20 seconds

Wednesday: Strength Training

Superset 1:

  • Exercise 1: Romanian deadlift: 12 reps
  • Exercise 2: Dumbbell bench press: 10 reps
  • Do four sets

Superset 2:

  • Exercise 1: Back extension or Superman: 12 reps with a one-second hold at the top
  • Exercise 2: Shoulder press: 10 reps (for back support, do this seated on a bench)
  • Do four sets

Superset 3:

  • Exercise 1: Dumbbell walking lunge: 10 reps each leg (20 total)
  • Exercise 2: Push-up: 10 reps
  • Do four sets

Thursday: Cardio

You’re almost through the week! You may be feeling slightly sore, and that’s absolutely normal. For today, your mission is to do 10 to 20 minutes of cardio. Do a walking workout, sprint intervals, a bike ride, or laps in the pool — it’s up to you. Most importantly, work hard.

Friday: Conditioning

It’s time to finish the week strong. Today’s workout is going to feel a little more challenging than the other strength workouts you did earlier in the week. Since this is conditioning day, you’re going to be doing more intense moves with less rest. Don’t worry! You’re going to do just fine.

Superset 1:

  • Exercise 1: Squat to overhead press: 10 reps
  • Exercise 2: Jump rope: 30 seconds
  • Do three sets

Superset 2:

  • Exercise 1: Weighted glute bridge or barbell hip thrust: 12 reps
  • Exercise 2: Dumbbell bench press: 12 reps
  • Do four sets

Superset 3:

  • Exercise 1: Plank with row or reverse-grip bent-over row: 10 reps on each arm
  • Exercise 2: Seated knee tuck: 15 reps
  • Do three sets

Saturday: Active Recovery

Today will be a light active-recovery day — enjoy it! Take a walk or a yoga class, or you can do one of the following flows:

  • Yoga flow for weightlifters
  • Beginner-friendly yoga flow
  • Yoga sequence for tight hips

Sunday: Rest

Week one of this workout plan is officially over, and you should be proud of yourself. One of the most crucial things you can do to achieve your goals is to be consistent. Today, all you have to do is rest. Walk around, stretch, ride your bike, foam roll, or do something that makes you feel good and will prepare you for next week.

Remaining Weeks

Repeat this exact workout plan for weeks two, three, and four. Remember, you can always increase the weight and/or decrease rest time between supersets for an added challenge.

What to Do After You Finish the 4-Week Workout Plan

Way to crush these last four weeks. You’re a badass, but I’m sure you already knew that!

If you are feeling great and want to keep going, you can start this workout plan again from the top. I recommend increasing the weight you’re using, decreasing your rest time, and increasing the number of sets and reps of each exercise, so you continue to challenge yourself. This is called progressive overload, and it’s the key to continuing to see progress from your workouts. For example, if you did three sets of 10 goblets squats with 10 pounds, try doing four sets of 12 reps with 15 pounds. Another option is to do a more advanced variation of the exercise. Instead of goblet squats, you could progress to a barbell back squat and also increase the weights, sets, and rep range.

If you want to move on to another workout plan or train toward another goal, more power to you. Hopefully, this workout plan got you hooked on all the mind-body benefits of movement, and you’re feeling motivated to keep going.

Best Strength Training Exercises for Beginners

Strength training can be intimidating for beginners, but the benefits can’t be beaten: more muscle, higher calorie burn, stronger bones and joints, better endurance, and reduced risk of injury during another workout.

Remember to pair strength workouts with cardio as you plan your exercise routine, and try these tips and top-tier strength training exercises for beginners when you’re ready to kick-start your journey to being stronger.

Start with body weight to learn basic movement patterns.

Personal trainer Annie Brees says bodyweight exercises are a great place to start if you’re new to strength training.

Pro Tip: Do yourself a favor and get these bands. It’ll be a game changer.

“Mastering the various movement patterns before you add an additional load, like dumbbells, should always be a top priority, as it helps decrease your risk of injury and will help you lift more weight down the road,” she explains.

“There are five basic moves: squat, hinge, push, pull, and core work. There are many variations of each of those movements, but for beginners, I tend to gravitate toward a bodyweight squat, glute bridges, push-ups (on an incline if needed), inverted rows, and planks.”

Jeffrey Siegel, a personal trainer based in Boston, breaks it down a bit further. He says there are five primary maneuvers, in addition to movements, such as throwing, crawling, and climbing:

  1. Hip-dominant (deadlifts, hinges, and swings)
  2. Knee-dominant (squats and lunges)
  3. Pushing movements (pushups, dips, and presses)
  4. Pulling movements (rows and pull-ups)
  5. Gait patterns, such as walking and running

“Body weight allows you to focus on form first, so you can set yourself up with a solid, safe foundation and address any muscle imbalances,” says a top trainer at Drive Train Hustle. “A lot of clients want to jump right into advanced tactics, but it’s better to start small and build off that momentum than to be out of the gym for a few weeks with a nagging injury.”

“We all have imbalances and weakness that prevent us from moving optimally,” Siegel says. These bands will help with that as well.

“It is important to address these before adding a significant external load to your workouts or else you’ll just be layering strength on top of dysfunction. Working with a trained professional who can take you through some basic assessments will help you determine what muscles might be over/underactive and how to begin correcting these issues.”

Building a certain type of strength may also serve as an asset to your regular physical activity. “If your chosen sport or activity demands a particular strength, then work backward from the desired movement patterns you’ll be using,” Siegel suggests.

“If you’re an avid hiker, then exercises like step-ups or lunges with added weight can be a great way to develop single-leg stepping strength.”

Then, prioritize five key strength training exercises for beginners.

After you’ve built up strength using the power of your own body weight, move on to these five strength training exercises for beginners that work your entire body, with room for modifications or levels of intensity.

Squats

Our experts agree: Squats are the best strength training exercises for beginners in terms of bang for your buck.

“Squats not only work your legs but your core and upper body, too,” says personal trainer Jillian Bullock.

“Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, feet facing forward. Look straight ahead with your arms out in front of your body. With chest out, shoulders back, and abs tight, slowly lower your butt down as far as you can. Make sure your knees do not push forward past your toes. Weight should be in your heels, not your toes. Return to starting position, without rounding your back as you stand, and complete 15-20 reps.”

To amp things up, add a dumbbell at each side or heart center for more resistance. You can also use a stability ball to test your form and stability, experiment with sumo squats, or incorporate lunges.

Push-ups

Luckily, there are a million push-up variations to meet any beginner at their comfort level.

Bullock says to start in a plank position with arms extended, and then lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Keep your body in a straight line, with elbows close to your sides, and then push yourself back up. Strive for as many reps as possible.

Plank

Planks: Some of us love to hate them, but they accelerate strength throughout your body whether you do them from your hands, sides, or forearms. Place your body in a pushup position, arms shoulder-width distance apart.

Hug your belly toward your spine to engage your core, so it doesn’t drop down or stick up in the air. Stack shoulders over wrists and heels over ankles. Hold for 30 seconds, working up to a few minutes over time.

This move is preferred by trainer Natalie Carey, who says, “If you can’t hold a plank for one minute, your body will have a lot of trouble properly completing any other exercises. Master this move, and you’ll have a strong, stable core that will keep you injury-free and ready for more challenging exercises.”

Deadlifts

Deadlifts, either single-leg or from a standing position, help keep your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back happy, Carey says. They also allow you to increase strength for heavier lower-body lifts down the road.

Rows

“Almost everyone sits at a desk for their job, and our back muscles weaken as we hunch over our computers,” Carey says. “A row of some sort—cable row, body weight, bent over—will give you better posture and prevent upper back and shoulder tightness in the long run.”

Want to see results? Try to hit every major muscle group at least once a week and set reasonable goals.

“General guidelines suggest adults should strength train two times a week at a moderate to high intensity for health benefits,” Brees says. “But when it comes to a good lifting program, something is usually better than nothing.

As a trainer, I see individuals online and in person fall into the harmful mindset of, ‘If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,’ and that keeps them from doing anything! Although strength gains may take longer to achieve, they can still be made lifting even one day a week.”

Carey recommends setting small goals to focus on consistent progress and checking in with yourself every couple weeks. If you’re able to do more reps or lift more weight, you know you’re stronger and ready to switch it up.

Siegel also likes to remind people to find their “why” in light of all other elements related to physical fitness.

“Ask yourself: What do you want to be doing three months from now? Is that realistic? How much time are you willing to commit to strength training? What obstacles do you see getting in the way? What structures and supports will help you stay on track? How will you respond if you’re not making the progress you want? Answer these questions first before getting into the nitty-gritty of setting specific movement or weight goals,” he says.

“Strength is important, but it is only one component. Don’t forget to also think about your cardiovascular endurance, flexibility with a good stretch, power, speed, coordination, agility, and balance.” Protein and supplementation are important too!

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