The Maximize-Your-Metabolism Plan
Begin every strength and cardio workout with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio.
Do your strength workout 3 times a week, taking a day off in between each.
Set, rep and weight guidelines
LEVEL 1 If you've been weight training for less than 3 months, do 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps of each of the 5 core moves in the order listed. Increase resistance by 10 percent after every 4 or 5 workouts. After 4 weeks, progress to Level 2 guidelines, adding the advanced moves after you've increased your resistance twice more.
LEVEL 2 If you've been weight training consistently for 3 months or more, do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of each core move. Increase resistance by 10 percent after every 4th workout. After 4 weeks, add the advanced moves.
For your abs After each strength-training workout, do 2 sets (15 reps each) of bicycles or any other ab move of your choice.
Cool-down End every strength and cardio workout with static stretches for all major muscles, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds without bouncing.
The Fat-Blasting Cardio Workout
Use this weekly cardio calendar to gradually boost your metabolism and track progress. Perform the aerobic activity of your choice, and gauge your intensity using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) chart below. Don't forget to warm up and cool down according to "The Maximize-Your-Metabolism Plan" above.
Week 1 This week, do a total of 3 steady-state (aka even-paced) workouts, ranging from 20-45 minutes in length. Determine your intensity based on the length of your workouts. (20-29 minutes: RPE = 6; 30-45 minutes: RPE = 5)
Week 2 This week, do 2 steady-state workouts according to the directions in Week 1, and 1 interval workout. For the interval workout, do 1 minute at RPE 7 (example: fast running), then recover for 3 minutes at RPE 4-5 (example: brisk walking); repeat 5-6 times. (Total workout time: 20-24 minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down)
Week 3 Do 1 steady-state workout and 2 interval workouts, per the directions in Weeks 1 and 2.
Week 4 Do 1 steady-state workout and 2 interval workouts. Do 1 of the interval workouts according to the directions in Week 2. For the other interval workout, do 1 minute at RPE 7-8 and 2 minutes of recovery at RPE 4-5; repeat 7-8 times. (Total workout time: 21-24 minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down)
After 4 weeks Continue mixing interval and steady-state workouts of varied intensity and duration 3 times a week. When you feel ready, add another day of steady-state cardio at RPE 6.
The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
RPE 1-2 Very easy; you can converse with no effort.
RPE 3 Easy; you can converse with almost no effort.
RPE 4 Moderately easy; you can converse comfortably with little effort.
RPE 5 Moderate; conversation requires some effort.
RPE 6 Moderately hard; conversation requires quite a bit of effort.
RPE 7 Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort.
RPE 8 Very difficult; conversation requires maximum effort.
RPE 9-10 No-talking zone