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Transform Your Body With Only Three Workouts a Week

Updated on December 11, 2013

I have been doing a lot of research into exercising to go hand in hand with my diet. Weight loss comes

mainly from cutting out calories so you can lose quite a significant amount without doing any exercise. However there are many benefits to exercising that make it something well worth doing:

1) Exercise will help speed up weight loss by burning a few extra calories.

2) Any exercise that turns fat into muscle will raise your resting metabolic rate meaning you burn more calories even when you are doing nothing as muscles require more calories than fat.*

3) Exercise that turns fat into muscle will make you look slimmer as muscle, although heavier than fat, is more compact.*

4) Exercise will help to prevent sagging skin from weight loss and stop you looking wobbly. Simply losing weight will not necessarily make you look better- especially not naked- exercise will.

5) Exercise has many health benefits and can help prevent diseases.

6) Exercise will make you feel happier.

7) Exercise will make you feel more positive about your whole weight loss journey and will keep you motivated with your diet too.

8) Exercise will make you physically stronger.

9) Exercises can be used to target certain problem areas so you can improve the way your body looks.

* Note fat cannot actually transform into muscle what I mean is exercises that increase your muscles will then make you burn fat so you are adding muscle and losing fat.

So with all that in mind it seems like exercise is definitely a good idea and something we should all be doing. Some people love exercise and even get addicted to it but for others it's a real struggle. I'd say I'm somewhere in the middle- I don't love it but I don't hate it and I always love it after I've done it if you know what I mean. For me the main problem is finding the time and the energy to get on and do it. I know everyone should be able to find 20-30 minutes to do a workout but for me the problem is when I have the time (on an evening when the kids have gone to bed) I don't have the energy. When I have the energy (during the day) I don't have the time as I've got all the kids with me. So the solution is I just have to suck it up and get on with it. Fortunately though I only have to workout 3 times a week!

Cardio Vs. Strength Training

Let me be clear I am talking about strength training not cardio. I believe cardio is over hyped when it comes to weight loss but at the same time I think you should still do some but this doesn't have to be in the form of a formal workout. I get my cardio from walking- usually with a double buggy. I certainly don't pay £50 a month to drive to the gym and then sit on a stationary bike and cycle no where. So for your cardio just do something active that you enjoy. Go for a swim, go for a walk somewhere nice on a weekend. Do some gardening, take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a few stops early. You don't need to be doing formal cardio workouts unless you really want to.

New research suggests that while doing some cardio is good for you, doing any more than 30 minutes at a time could be bad for you and shorten your life expectancy. Many experts are now suggesting the best thing to do is a short intense blast of 10 minutes and then very low impact cardio the rest of the time through your everyday life.

Cardio doesn't really burn that many calories- if you are looking to create a good calorie deficit you are going to have to bite the bullet and cut back on what you're eating. Strength Training- i.e. lifting weights will usually burn even less calories than cardio but it will gradually turn your fat into muscle and this is what you want. Fat under your skin make you look wobbly, muscle under your skin makes you look firm and toned. Strength Training will transform your body- it will change the shape of it. The best bit of all this is that muscles require more calories than fat so someone with more muscle will burn more calories simply by being alive. There is another benefit.

Think about this common weight loss problem:

  • To lose weight you cut your calorie intake;
  • You lose weight
  • Now that you have lost weight you need less calories
  • To maintain your weight loss you have to slash your calories even further
  • You are not getting the nutrients you need because you are eating so few calories
  • You cannot keep up with the low calorie regime so you start eating more and put the weight back on

Now if part of your weight loss involves converting fat into muscle you will be able to eat more not less as you get fitter. You may find that you weigh a bit more with a toned body than you did with a skinny fat body (a body that is not toned) but you will still be in the same size clothing, or even in small clothing. This is because muscle is denser than fat. For this reason make sure you take measurements as well as weighing yourself. It's never good to feel bad about adding a couple of pounds so knowing at the same time you've lost a couple of inches will make you feel better.

OK so now you are convinced you should be strength training you'll be relieved to know you only have to squeeze in three workouts a week.

How Often Do You Workout?

See results

Get Fit with Just Three Workouts a Week

Some people may think this is not enough but I have done my research and I have discovered that for a beginner (which I'm guessing most of us probably are) this is the best way to get the quickest results.

You want to be lifting the heaviest weight you can lift and still have perfect form for about 8 reps. Lifting a light weight over and over again is long and boring and won't give you any real benefits. Don't worry about bulking up either. Professional body builders who actually want to bulk up have to do a lot of work, eat a LOT of food and probably take some dodgy 'supplements' to do so. If you are cutting back on calories through diet and following this program you will not bulk up.

For the best results you want to be doing a total body workout rather than isolating one body area and doing 'leg day', 'chest day' and so on.

You MUST leave a day's rest in between your total body workout as your muscles need to repair to create that toned look you are after. So good news- you have a day's rest in between each workout.

As you only need to workout three times a week for optimum results you might want to follow a schedule like this:

Monday- Total Boy Workout

Tuesday- Rest Day

Wednesday- Total Body Workout

Thursday- Rest Day

Friday- Total Body Workout

Saturday-Rest Day

Sunday- Rest Day

Now that looks totally doable!

Studies have shown that the best way to get fast results is to workout big muscles groups with 20-40 reps per workout and small muscle groups 10-20 reps per workout.

Big Muscle Groups





Small Muscle Groups

- Shoulders

- Biceps

- Triceps

- Abs

So with this in mind if you wanted to do 3 sets your reps would look like this:

Chest exercise- 7 reps x3 sets =21 reps

Back-7 reps x3 sets =21 reps

Quads- 7 reps x3 sets = 21 reps

Hamstrings- 7 reps x3 sets=21 reps

Shoulders- 5 reps x3 sets = 15 reps

Biceps- 5 reps x 3 =15 reps

Triceps- 5 reps x3 = 15 reps

Abs- 5 reps x3 =15 reps

Once you find you can do 12 reps on the big muscles and 7 reps on the small muscles up your weight.

Learn How to Deadlift

How Many Of Each Exercise Should I do?

Big Muscles
Reps & Sets
Small Muscles
Reps & Sets
7 Reps- 3 sets
5 Reps- 3 Sets
7 Reps- 3 sets
5 Reps- 3 Sets
7 Reps- 3 sets
5 Reps- 3 Sets
7 Reps- 3 sets
5 Reps- 3 Sets


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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great tips...and I agree...riding a stationary bike and going no where does not work for me. My main exercise is walking but I will give a try some of the other suggestions you have mentioned.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • Meg Moon profile image

      Meg Moon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Nell it might not be all that bad. There is growing research that eating your food in windows and then fasting the rest of the day gives your body a break from processing food and allows it to repair cells etc! I know what you mean though- it's sitting down and relaxing that makes you want to start munching!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hiya, great ideas, I did laugh when I took your poll and very proudly pressed the 'I do them every day'! but, here's the thing, its not that heavy on the muscles, I really do need to try harder! lol! my diet is also pretty bad, I don't eat in the day, but munch on snacks all evening! yes I know, wrong time of the day!

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 4 years ago

      Hmm, interesting ideas here.

      I think the key that most people are looking for is not so much weight loss as visible fat loss.

      Eating a balanced, healthy diet and building muscle strength may make little difference to weight but you are right that it will help you sculpt your shape as, over the course of several months of dedication to your regime, you exchange fat for lean muscle mass.

      Thanks for sharing! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I work out about 5-6 days per week and find it to be so energizing. Great tips on how to get the best from a workout.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      You have some workable and practical suggestions here! I do follow 30- 40 minutes of physical activity everyday, whether it is brisk walk or Yogasanas or other flexibility cum strength training exercises. I am going to try your suggestions because sometimes we do miss these activities due to various reasons.

      Thanks for sharing this useful hub!

    • Meg Moon profile image

      Meg Moon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good for you!- Yes strength training is good for the old batwings too ha ha

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I do 3 workouts a week (when granny duties allow!) but mostly I go to fitness classes. If they aren't on, I go the gym. Most of the classes I go to are circuit types, with weight lifting included. I LOVE those classes and after that I really love strength training. It makes you feel very good. Even though I am retired, I can still lift my 28 pound toddler granddaughter onto my shoulders and walk with her or else carry her in a rucksack for a couple of miles. Strength training keeps you fit and healthy and keeps those "batwings" away too!


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