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Need to lose weight and tone your body? Do you want to know the best way? Try these cardio workout routines and strength plan, starting today!

Losing weight can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. To show you how easy a pound-shedding program can be for just about anyone, we sought the help of exercise physiologist Ray Browning, M.S., of Nederland, Colo., co-author of Serious Training for Endurance Athletes (Human Kinetics, 1996) and the mastermind behind Shape’s interactive online weight-loss program, iShape.

Browning put together this exclusive workout featuring a walking, walk/run or running program that requires just 15-45 minutes, three to five days a week, plus a set of muscular strength and endurance-boosting workout routines you'll do just twice a week.

For optimum results, Browning also incorporated a few stretches into the workout routines.

"The combination of cardio, strength and stretching not only burns a lot of calories, it also shapes and tones your muscles and protects your body from injury as it adapts to a new routine," Browning says.

The most exciting part: You likely will boost your confidence and self-esteem as you progressively improve your abilities while getting firmer and slimmer. Whether you're just starting your workout routines or are 5k-fit, you'll see results in just six weeks. So, get ready to walk or run your butt off -- without having to work your butt off.

Discover a cardio workout that really works – and more weight loss tips and fitness tips by Shape.

[header = Cardio workout routines: sculpt your body with a walking or running plan.]

The cardio workout plan: add two days or walking and/or running to your fitness schedule.

In addition to doing strength workout routines twice a week, choose a walking, walk/run or running program according to your ability level and the following guidelines:

>>Walking Workout Routines

You're just starting out or prefer walking to lose weight to running.

Week 1
Day 1: 15 min. easy walk
Day 2: 15 min. moderately easy walk
Day 3: 20 min. easy walk
Day 4: OFF
Day 5: OFF

Week 2
Day 1: 20 min. easy walk
Day 2: 15 min. moderately easy walk
Day 3: 20 min. easy walk
Day 4: 20 min. moderately easy walk
Day 5: OFF

Week 3
Day 1: 25 min. easy walk
Day 2: OFF
Day 3: 20 min. easy walk
Day 4: Moderately easy walk 4 min., speed walk 1 min.; repeat for 15 min. total
Day 5: OFF

Week 4
Day 1: 30 min. easy walk
Day 2: 25 min. moderately easy walk
Day 3: 25 min. easy walk
Day 4: Moderately easy walk 4 min., speed walk 1 min.; repeat for 20 min. total
Day 5: 25 min. moderately easy walk

Week 5
Day 1: 30 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 3 min., speed walk 2 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. easy walk
Day 4: Moderately easy walk 3 min., speed walk 2 min.; repeat for 20 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. moderately easy walk

Week 6
Day 1: 35 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 3 min., speed walk 2 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. easy walk
Day 4: Moderately easy walk 2 min., speed walk 3 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. moderately easy walk

Discover how to ramp up your cardio workout routines!

[header = Ramp up your cardio workout routines with a combo of walking and running.]

Ready to ramp up your cardio workout routines? Mix walking and running to lose weight -- and to firm up, shape and tone your body.

You like the variety of both walking and running, and you're already walking to lose weight at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week and want to add some running.

Walk/Run Workout Routines

Week 1
Day 1: 25 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 4 min., moderate run 1 min.; repeat for 20 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. easy walk
Day 4: 25 min. moderately easy walk
Day 5: OFF

Week 2
Day 1: 30 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 3 min., moderate run 2 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. easy walk
Day 4: 25 min. moderately easy walk
Day 5: OFF

Week 3
Day 1: 30 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 3 min., moderate run 3 min.; repeat for 18-24 min.
total Day 3: Moderately easy walk 2 min., moderately easy run 2 min.; repeat for 24-26 min. total
Day 4: 30 min. easy walk
Day 5: Moderately easy walk 2 min., moderately easy run 2 min.; repeat for 24-26 min. total

Week 4
Day 1: 35 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately easy walk 2 min., moderate run 3 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy walk
Day 4: 30 min. easy walk
Day 5: Moderately easy walk 2 min., moderate run 3 min.; repeat for 20 min. total

Week 5
Day 1: 40 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately hard run 2 min., easy walk 2 min.; repeat for 28-32 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy walk
Day 4: 30 min. easy walk
Day 5: Moderately easy walk 1 min., moderate run 4 min.; repeat for 25 min. total

Week 6
Day 1: 40 min. easy walk
Day 2: Moderately hard run 2 min., easy walk 1 min.; repeat for 24 min. total
Day 3: Moderately easy walk 1 min., moderately easy run 1 min.; repeat for 30 min. total
Day 4: 30 min. easy walk
Day 5: Moderately easy walk 1 min., moderate run 5 min.; repeat for 30 min. total

Step up your cardio workout routines another level with a running program.

[header = Lose weight by running with these excellent cardio workout routines by Shape.]

Weight Loss Tips: Lose Weight by Running


If you are comfortable running for at least 30 minutes at an easy pace, 5 times a week, then you’ll love this cardio workout where you lose weight by running.

Weight Loss Tips: If you're currently walking to lose weight and your goal is to lose weight by running, begin in the 4th week of the walking workout routines, continue through week 6, then progress to the walk/run workout routines before moving on to the running workout. If you're currently doing walk/run workouts and your goal is continuous running, begin with week 4 of the walk/run workout, continue through week 6, and then begin the running workout.

Daily cardio workout routines:

Week 1 Day 1: 30 min. easy run
Day 2: 25 min. moderately easy run
Day 3: 30 min. easy run
Day 4: 25 min. moderately easy run
Day 5: 25 min. moderate run

Week 2 Day 1: 35 min. easy run
Day 2: 25 min. moderate run
Day 3: 30 min. easy run
Day 4: 30 min. moderately easy run
Day 5: 20 min. moderate run

Week 3 Day 1: 40 min. easy run
Day 2: 30 min. moderate run
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy run
Day 4: Moderately hard run 2 min., easy run 1 min.; repeat for 21 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. moderately easy run

Week 4 Day 1: 45 min. easy run
Day 2: 30 min. moderate run
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy run
Day 4: Moderately hard run 3 min., easy run 2 min.; repeat for 25 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. easy run

Week 5 Day 1: 45 min. easy run
Day 2: Moderately hard run 1 min., easy run 1 min.; repeat for 24-26 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy run
Day 4: Moderately hard run 3 min., easy run 1 min.; repeat for 24 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. easy run

Week 6 Day 1: 45 min. easy run
Day 2: Moderately hard run 2 min., easy run 2 min.; repeat for 28-32 min. total
Day 3: 30 min. moderately easy run
Day 4: Moderately hard run 4 min., easy run 2 min.; repeat for 30 min. total
Day 5: 30 min. easy run

>>Warm-up Start each workout with 5 minutes of easy walking.

>>Cool-down Finish each workout with 5 minutes of easy walking, followed by the stretch moves on page 168. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing and repeat 3-5 times.

Now that you’ve established your cardio workout routines, discover how Shape’s strength plan will really help you tone your body.

[header = Workout routines: add a strength training component to cardio workout plans.]

You’ve found the best level of cardio workout routines for you -- and now it’s time to add strength training to your exercise program.

Do the strength workout routines twice a week, using more reps on one day (to help build muscle strength and endurance) and fewer reps on the second day (to really boost muscle strength), taking at least one day off between sessions, according to the set, rep and weight fitness tips below.

Warm-up Do a few minutes of easy walking to elevate your heart rate before you perform the strength moves.

Cool-down Follow the strength workout routines with the stretch moves on page 168. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. Repeat 3-5 times.

Fitness tips: choose your sets, rep & weight guidelines by your ability level.

Level 1: Never strength trained
Level 2: Consistently trained for at least 3 months
Level 3: Consistently trained for 6 months or more

SQUAT
Ability level:
1
Sets: 2
Reps: 15-25
Weight: Body wt.

Ability level: 2
Sets: 2-3
Reps: 15-25
Weight: 8-15 lbs.

Ability level: 3
Sets: 3
Reps: 15-25
Weight: 12-20 lbs.

WALKING LUNGE
Ability level:
1
Sets: 2
Reps: 10-15
Weight: Body wt.

Ability level: 2
Sets: 2-3
Reps: 15-20
Weight: 5-10 lbs.

Ability level: 3
Sets: 3
Reps: 15-25
Weight: 10-24 lbs.

AB CRUNCH
Ability level:
1
Sets: 2
Reps: 25-30
Weight: Body wt.

Ability level: 2
Sets: 3
Reps: 30-50
Weight: Body wt.

Ability level: 3
Sets: 3
Reps: 40-50
Weight: Body wt.

CHEST PRESS
Ability level:
1
Sets: 2
Reps: 10-15
Weight: 8-10 lbs.

Ability level: 2
Sets: 2-3
Reps: 12-20
Weight: 10-15 lbs.

Ability level: 3
Sets: 3
Reps: 12-20
Weight: 12-20 lbs.

BENT-OVER DUMBBELL ROW
Ability level:
1
Sets: 2
Reps: 15-25
Weight: 5-10 lbs.

Ability level: 2
Sets: 2-3
Reps: 15-20
Weight: 10-15 lbs.

Ability level: 3
Sets: 3
Reps: 15-20
Weight: 12-20 lbs.

Fitness Tips: On your second day of strength training, use the same number of sets, as above, decreasing reps to 8-12 per set, but increasing the weight and performing each rep slowly (4 counts in each direction) to fatigue muscles by final rep.

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