Weight loss is not an easy process, but it can be done with the right knowledge and commitment. The first step in weight loss is to understand what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight fast? Or do you want to lose weight slowly and maintain your results? Once you know what your goals are, it will help determine which diet plan or exercise program is best suited for you.

One of the best ways to lose weight quickly is by joining a gym. Gyms offer many different types of equipment that can help shed pounds fast. One example of this would be stair climbers. Stair climbers are great because they allow you to burn calories while working out your lower body muscles at the same time. This type of exercise helps tone up those legs while burning more calories than other types of cardio exercises like running on a treadmill or jogging outside with no incline on hillsides.

Another great way to lose weight quickly is by using resistance bands during workouts at home or at the gym instead of dumbbells or barbells because they are much lighter (so less weight equals less strain on joints) yet still give you enough resistance where your muscles will start burning after about 15 minutes!

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Gym Workout For Weight Loss Female Beginners

The gym is a perplexing place for many people, especially beginners. What exercises should you do? How many sets and reps? How much weight should you lift? And what type and how much cardio do you need to lose weight?

But it doesn’t need to be confusing. Any type of gym workout will help you lose weight, and the best routine is one you ​enjoy​ doing. That being said, when it comes to how to lose weight at the gym, there are a few types of gym workouts that stand out among the rest.

How to Lose Weight at the Gym

The first thing to note is that the best exercise to lose weight is one that challenges you. But sprinting right out the gate (literally and figuratively) can leave you burned out, discouraged, and worse, injured.

To start seeing results as soon (and sustainably) as possible, you need a balanced strength-training and cardio routine, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a California-based strength coach. From there, incorporate a little progressive overload by increasing your workout intensity, weight, sets or reps little by little each week.

“A weekly resistance routine with some cardio on the side is the key to weight loss in the gym,” Araujo says.

Start your workouts with dynamic stretches to loosen up your connective tissues. Perform side bends, heel lifts, arm crossovers, shoulder circles, forward leg swings, reverse lunges and alternating toe touches to target your whole body.

You can also perform these kind of gentle movements on their own. Remember, when you feel less stressed, you may find it easier to stick with healthy eating and exercise. Consider yoga or stretching on your days off from cardio and weight training. These practices improve your flexibility and mobility and give your muscles time to recover.

Resistance Training for Weight Loss

Resistance training builds muscle mass, which not only strengthens your body, but increases your metabolism. Muscle is responsible for up to 20 percent of your daily calorie burn, while fat accounts for less than 5 percent, according to the University of New Mexico. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn doing day-to-day activities.

There are many different types of resistance-training programs for a variety of goals, whether it’s building muscle size, strength or endurance. And any one of these programs is beneficial for fat loss, as long as you’re increasing the challenge over time.

Beginners can start their weight-loss resistance plan with just their body weight, according to Araujo. Compound exercises (like squats or deadlifts) are the best place to begin, because they work multiple muscles at once. Perform 10 to 12 reps and 3 to 4 sets of each move. Keeping your rest to 60 seconds or less can help keep your heart rate up.

As you grow more comfortable with your workouts, you can start to add resistance bands, dumbbells or kettlebells to your routine.

“Start with 4 to 5 days of gym strength training per week,” Araujo says. “To promote weight loss, make sure you’re progressively overloading week after week and try to hit your minimum cardio requirements, too [more on that below].”

Resistance Training for Beginners

This beginner-friendly circuit is a great place to start. As you advance, you can increase the weight or reps of each exercise.

Calories Burned While Resistance Training

Your calorie burn depends on a lot of factors, including your weight, age and fitness level. But after 30 minutes of circuit training, you can expect to burn about 240 calories or more, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

1. Incline Push-Up

SKILL LEVELBeginner

REPS12

  1. Place your palms on a step, exercise bench or seat of a chair.
  2. Walk your feet back until you’re on your toes.
  3. Come into a high plank with your core and glutes engaged. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your hips should be in line with your head and heels.
  4. Bend your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your torso and lower your body toward the bench.
  5. On the way down, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  6. When your chest hovers just above the bench (or however far down you can go), press into the ground and push back up to the starting position.

2. Air Squat

SKILL LEVELBeginner

REPS12

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and brace your core. Focus on keeping your feet rooted into the ground and your core tight the entire time.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to lower toward the floor. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as far as is comfortable).
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, reverse the motion by pressing through your heels to return to standing. As you stand, lower your arms back to your sides.

3. Forearm Plank

SKILL LEVELAll Levels

TIME30 Sec

  1. Lie face down on the floor, with your forearms on the ground, elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
  2. Extend your legs straight behind you, toes tucked.
  3. With your core braced, press into your toes and forearms and lift your body off the ground.
  4. Keep your back flat and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  5. Hold here for 15 to 30 seconds. Try working up to 60 seconds over time.

4. Reverse Lunge

SKILL LEVELAll Levels

REPS12

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Hold a pair of light dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Step with your right leg 3 feet behind you and bend both knees until they form 90-degree angles. Your back knee should hover an inch above the ground and your front thigh should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Keep most of your weight in the front leg as you press into your left heel and straighten your left leg.
  4. Bring the right leg back to the starting position and stand up.
  5. Repeat the motion with the opposite leg.

Tip

If reverse lunges feel too challenging with weights, drop the dumbbells, Araujo recommends. Focus on your form above all else.

5. Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

SKILL LEVELAll Levels

REPS12

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing each other.
  2. Push your hips back and soften your knees to lean your torso forward until it’s nearly parallel with the ground and your weight is centered in your heels. Let the weights hang straight down in front of your knees.
  3. Brace your core and focus on keeping your back flat.
  4. Leading with your upper back, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull through your arms to raise the dumbbells up toward your ribcage.
  5. Pause at the top of the movement.
  6. Keep your core and spine stable as you reverse the motion, extending your arms to lower the dumbbells so they hang by your knees.

Tip

“Start with a light pair of weights as you perfect your bent-over row form,” Araujo says. “You can even record yourself on your phone to make sure your back stays in a flat line as you do the move.”

6. Sumo Squat

SKILL LEVELAll Levels

REPS12

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. (If the position feels uncomfortable, move your feet in a little closer).
  2. Clasp your hands together at your chest.
  3. Keeping your back straight, push your hips back and bend your knees out over your toes to squat down. Thinking about sliding down a wall, keeping your back as straight as possible and avoiding leaning forward or sticking your butt out.
  4. Lower until your your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  5. Activate your core, glutes and quads to propel your body back upright, driving your weight through your feet to return to a standing position.
  6. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and repeat.

7. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

SKILL LEVELAll Levels

REPS12

  1. Sit on a bench with your feet rooted to the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height with your forearms vertical, hands in a neutral grip with fingers toward your face. Your arms shoulder be just slightly in front of your body. Brace your core.
  3. On an exhale, press both dumbbells up and in toward each other.
  4. Lower the weights back to the starting position with control.

Cardio Training for Weight Loss

Alongside a strength-training routine, cardio can boost your total calorie burn, Araujo says. For general heart health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week, like walking, jogging or using the elliptical.

Pick the cardio machine you like best. Perform a cardiovascular workout about 4 days a week to meet the minimum requirement. Step onto your machine and begin exercising at a light pace for 5 minutes to slowly raise your heart rate and core body temperature. Increase your speed to a point at which you’re breaking a sweat and stay there for the rest of your workout.

You can also opt for 75 minutes of vigorous cardio each week, which includes high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT kicks up your heart rate and incorporates muscle-building exercises like burpees and jump squats.

Interval training not only saves time, but it’s also more effective for fat loss than steady-state training. Interval training can help you burn almost 30-percent more total fat mass than moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio, according to an April 2019 review in the ​British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers noted that fat loss isn’t just about the number of calories you burn during a workout, but also about how your body reacts to training afterward. Because HIIT is so challenging, your body needs more energy to repair and recover. So, you continue burning calories at a higher rate after a HIIT workout than after a steady-state workout, according to the American Council on Exercise.

As its name implies, HIIT is intense. If you’re just starting out, don’t feel like you need to go from 0 to 100, Araujo says. A mix of walking and running might be just your speed. But do increase the intensity week after week. And don’t do HIIT every day — your body needs time to recover after tough workouts, so it’s best to space these workouts a couple of days apart.

Cardio Exercises for Beginners

Here’s a sample treadmill HIIT workout you can try:

  • Warm up at an easy pace for 5 minutes.
  • Increase your pace to an all-out effort for 30 to 60 seconds minute.
  • Return to an easy pace (4 mph on the treadmill) for 2 minutes.
  • Repeat both intervals 5 more times, trying to work a little harder during each sprint interval.
  • Cool down at an easy pace for 5 minutes.

You can also structure your HIIT workouts in a circuit, according to the ACE. Circuit training involves doing several different exercises back-to-back with no rest in between sets. You do a certain number of reps for one exercise, then immediately move to the next. At the end of one round, you’ll rest for 1 to 2 minutes, then repeat the round as many times as you’d like. You can rotate between almost any gym machine or exercise.

Tabata training is another type of structure you can try for your HIIT cardio workouts, according to the ACE. For Tabata, you do an exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat that for 8 rounds. After 8 rounds (which is 4 minutes), switch to your next exercise. Just like with interval sprints, the idea is to ​really work​ for that 20 seconds, then enjoy the following 10-second rest.

Beginner Gym Workout Plan for Women

Starting a gym routine for the first time is daunting. Not only is the gym full of seemingly complicated, high-tech equipment, but it’s also often packed with people that look like they know exactly what they’re doing.

But for women wanting to start exercising at the gym, walking in with a plan is the best way to combat any nervousness, have the most positive experience and enjoy a safe and effective gym workout.

So before you head to the gym, check out this expert-built beginner workout routine for women. It has everything you need to get started: a flexible weekly schedule, beginner gym workouts for your whole body and feel-good recovery routines.

The Beginner Gym Workout Plan for Women

Whether for strength training or weight loss, using this women’s beginner workout plan to guide your gym workouts and exercise schedule is a great way to keep yourself on track toward your fitness goals.

Set on a week-long schedule, this workout plan includes three strength training, one cardio and three rest or active recovery days.

  • Day 1​: full-body strength training
  • Day 2:​ cardio
  • Day 3: ​rest or active recovery
  • Day 4:​ full-body or upper-body strength training
  • Day 5:​ rest or active recovery
  • Day 6:​ full-body or lower-body strength training
  • Day 7:​ rest or active recovery

You’ll notice that no workout type is assigned to specific days of the week. It’s not necessary to do a given workout on a specific day. To build consistent gym habits, it’s important that your workout routine fit ​your​ needs, says California-based certified personal trainer and strength coach, Carolina Araujo, CPT. You can shift around your strength training, cardio and recovery days to fit your schedule and lifestyle.

If you need to move your workout routine around or miss a day, aim to get at least two to three full-body strength-training days per week and about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio (walking, light jogging and easy hiking), per the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Rules for Planning Your Gym Workout Routine

As a general guideline, avoid back-to-back strength training days over the first few weeks of training, Araujo says. Later, simply avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row. So instead of scheduling two full-body strength training workouts in a row, you could do an upper-body workout one day and a lower-body workout the next.

Before your cardio and strength workouts, set aside time to run through a dynamic warm-up to reduce the risk of injury and help you move and feel your best. Upper-body activation and lower-body activation exercises will warm up your muscles, ensuring your body is moving properly during your training session.

Finish up your schedule with two to three days of rest or active recovery (which can count toward your cardio minutes for the week).

During your active recovery or rest days, include some sort of stretching or mobility work to keep your muscles healthy and injury-free (more on that below), says Sam Becourtney, DPT, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City.

Beginner Gym Cardio Workouts

As part of a balanced gym workout routine, aim to meet the minimum cardio exercise requirement to maintain a healthy heart. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio like brisk walking or hiking or 75 minutes of vigorous activity like jogging, running or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) a week.

High-intensity interval training is a great for strength building and weight loss, while elevating your heart rate, Araujo says. However, HIIT can also be taxing on your nervous system and joints, which is why you should limit HIIT to one or two days a week, per the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

On your cardio days, plan your routine around one of the following beginner workouts:

  • Treadmill Workout: This workout is perfect for anyone who’s new to exercise, enjoys walking and wants to keep their cardio exercise on the moderate side.
  • Elliptical Workout: Elliptical workouts like this one are ideal for anyone who wants to do cardio with minimal impact on their joints.
  • Rowing Machine Workout: Although they may look complicated, rowers are pretty easy to use and are a great cardio machine for anyone who wants to work their entire body at once. This workout is a little challenging, so start with only the rowing portion and progress to incorporating dumbbells.
  • Stepmill Workout: The stepmill is a great machine to try if you want a challenging workout. Because this machine can be tough on the lower body, avoid using it the day after a strength workout, Araujo says.
  • Swimming Workout: While you should take swimming lessons before you jump into the pool, swimming is an excellent low-impact workout.
  • Indoor Cycling: You don’t need to break the bank with an expensive cycling class, you can do your own indoor cycling workout at the gym.
  • Boxing: You don’t need any equipment at all to complete this beginner 15-minute boxing workout.

Beginner Strength-Training Workouts for Women

Female novice and veteran lifters alike will agree that the weight room can be a male-dominated area. But try your best not to let that diminish your confidence in the gym — after all, you deserve to be there just as much as anyone else.

Familiarizing yourself with the equipment will help you feel more prepared in the gym. As a beginner, some of the most important pieces of strength-training equipment to know are free weights like dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls as well as cable machines and resistance bands.

In your first few months of a beginner workout routine, prioritize full-body or compound exercises over isolation exercises, Araujo says. Compound exercises work more than one muscle at once and tend to involve movement patterns that carry over to everyday life. (Think: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull.)

By working muscles throughout your entire body, you’ll also increase your heart rate more than doing isolation exercises that work a single muscle at once, according to the ACE. You can also combine upper-body and lower-body exercises in one workout to build full-body strength.

As you progress from a beginner to intermediate level, you can start using a barbell to increase the weight you’re lifting. However, barbell exercises can be quite technical, and working with unfamiliar equipment can increase your risk of injury. The Mayo Clinic recommends professional supervision when learning barbell exercises.

To get started with strength training, choose from one of these workouts for beginner women:

  • Resistance Band Upper-Body Workout: Before you start using weights, work your upper body with a resistance band.
  • Resistance Band Lower-Body Workout: This workout sculpts your lower body in just 10 minutes.
  • Resistance Band Full-Body Workout: These moves target your entire body with just a band.
  • Dumbbell Upper-Body WorkoutThis workout is perfect for those who are starting to experiment with free weights and want to train their upper body.
  • Dumbbell Lower-Body Workout: These dumbbell exercises are all you need to build lower-body strength.
  • Dumbbell Full-Body Workout: Strengthen your whole body with this beginner dumbbell workout.
  • Kettlebell Upper-Body Workout: Once you can get through your dumbbell workouts comfortably with good form, try training your upper body with kettlebells.
  • Kettlebell Lower-Body Workout: Thanks to the top handle, kettlebells are less stable than dumbbells and will help strengthen your deeper stabilizer muscles, Araujo says.
  • Kettlebell Full-Body Workout: All you need is four kettlebell exercises to strengthen your entire body.
  • Cable Machine Total-Body Workout: The cable machine is another tool you can use to build full-body strength, challenging your muscles against constant tension.
  • Medicine Ball Abs Workout: On days you want to give your core a little extra attention, grab a medicine ball and try this workout.
  • Free-Weight Full-Body Workout: You can do this beginner workout with whatever free weight you want.
  • TRX Workout: These seven beginner TRX moves make the perfect workout for gym newbies.

Try This Full-Body Beginner’s Workout for Women

Full of compound exercises, this dumbbell workout is a good place to begin, especially if weight loss is your goal, Araujo says. Start with comfortably challenging weights, focusing on your form. You can do this workout 2 to 3 times a week, adding resistance as you grow more comfortable with the moves.

Move 1: Body-Weight Squat

SETS3

REPS10

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and brace your core. Focus on keeping your feet rooted into the ground and your core tight the entire time.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to lower toward the floor. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Lower down as far as comfortable or until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, reverse the motion by pressing through your heels to return to standing. As you stand, lower your arms back to your sides.

Tip

Although you may see people squatting pretty low at the gym, it’s not necessary right for beginners, Araujo says. With body-weight squats, only lower as far as is comfortable while keeping your chest up and weight in your heels.

Move 2: Dumbbell Chest Press

SETS3

REPS10

  1. Grab 2 dumbbells and lie flat on a bench or the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing your feet), at chest level.
  3. Exhale as you press the dumbbells up and slightly in until your arms are almost fully extended and the dumbbells nearly touch.
  4. Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows again, slowly lowering the weights back to the starting position.

Tip

You may be tempted to grab a heavy pair of weights, but that’s not necessarily the best choice, Araujo says. Start with a pair of 5- or 10-pound dumbbells. To modify this exercise, she recommends doing it on the floor. This shortens the range of motion and makes it a little easier.

Move 3: Dumbbell Deadlift

SETS3

REPS10

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body.
  2. Push your hips back behind you and soften your knees to lower the weights toward the middle of your shins.
  3. Check your posture: Your back should be straight and long with your shoulders pinned back and down. The dip in your lower body should be very minimal. Brace your core to maintain this position.
  4. With your weight centered across both feet, drive into the floor to stand up tall. Imagine you’re trying to push the floor away.
  5. Reverse the motion to lower the weights with control and repeat.

Tip

Mastering deadlift form can be tricky but is crucial, Araujo says. To make this move a little easier, practice a hip hinge instead. Basically, you do the same motion with no weights so that you can focus on building strength and improving the movement.

Move 4: Forearm Plank

JW Player placeholder image

SETS3

TIME30 Sec

  1. Lie face down with your forearms on the floor and your elbows beneath your shoulders. Keep your feet flexed with the bottoms of your toes on the floor.
  2. Press into your forearms and rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor. Your body should hover off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet.
  3. Look at the floor to keep your neck comfortably aligned.

Tip

If holding a plank for 30 seconds feels too long, start with just 10 or 15. Then add on more time week after week. You can also bring your knees down to the ground, focusing on keeping your upper body in proper low-plank position.

Move 5: Dumbbell Row

SETS3

REPS10

  1. Adjust an exercise bench to a 45-degree angle.
  2. Lean against the bench, facing the back with a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. With legs extended, root your heels into the ground and put your weight into your torso against the bench.
  4. Extend your arms straight down toward the ground along the sides of the bench.
  5. On an exhale, bring the weights up toward your chest.
  6. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  7. Lower the weights with control toward the ground.

Tip

“I like the chest-supported row for beginners, because it takes the pressure off the lower back, allowing you to focus on the upper back, which is what you’re trying to work,” Araujo says. She recommends beginners start with lighter weights (about 5 to 10 pounds).

Beginner Recovery Workouts

The time you spend recovering is just as important as the time you spend training. Giving yourself enough time to rest between gym workouts will help you stay free of injury and energized for the training sessions to come, Araujo says.

But even on your rest days, don’t spend all your time on the couch, per the ACE. Aim to do at least some kind of physical activity, regardless of your gym schedule, Araujo says. And tailor that movement to the day of the plan.

Fundamentals of Recovery Training for Females

For instance, on your full rest days, avoid intense activities and prioritize ones that promote recovery. That includes stretching, mobility training and foam rolling, Araujo says. At the start, you should have more full rest than active recovery days throughout the week.

As you adapt to your beginner gym workout plan, though, you can start to include active recovery days in your weekly schedule, Becourtney says. These days may involve a hike, walk or bike ride, which can count toward your weekly cardio goals.

Bottom line: Your rest and active recovery days are yours to customize, depending on how your body is feeling. If Thursday’s strength session leaves your lower body feeling sore, make Friday a rest day with a 20-minute foam rolling or stretching session with some mobility exercises for beginners.

On your next rest or active recovery day, give one of these gentle routines a try:

  • Rest Day Routine: This guide will walk you through an ideal rest day, including food to eat to movement to do.
  • Active Recovery Routine: Practicing mobility is a great way to improve your movement. Plus, it’s a low-impact activity that will help you recover.
  • Beginner Yoga Poses: Improve your full-body flexibility with these beginner-friendly yoga poses.
  • Deep Stretching Routine: This deep stretch workout releases tight muscles in just 10 minutes.
  • Total-Body Beginner Mobility Moves: These mobility exercises can help you build the range of motion in all your joints.
  • Foam Rolling Routine: Release tight muscles with a foam rolling session.
  • In-Bed Stretch Routine: This gentle sequence is perfect for mornings you wake up sore.

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