Six-Week Fitness Program
A six-week fitness program is a great jumping-off point when you're starting out on your fitness journey or preparing for a particular event. It's important to train regularly, targeting each part of your body and managing the rest of your lifestyle so your hard work in the gym is not wasted. After six weeks of working out five or six times a week, you will see significant changes in your body and fitness level. It's reasonable to expect fat loss of around 2 pounds per week. If you're looking to gain muscle, you can expect an increase of around 1 pound per week, provided you're eating a lot of healthy meals on top of your training.
Working out your upper body twice a week, say on Mondays and Thursdays, will give you more sculpted arms and a stronger back and chest. Focus on the primary lifts -- bench press and overhead press -- and then add in secondary exercises like the triceps dip, lateral raise, lat pulldown, biceps curl and triceps pulldown. Perform eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise for three sets per workout. Work with weights that are heavy enough to make it a challenge for you to reach the end of the rep count.
Working out the lower body twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, for example, will develop the strength and tone in your legs and buttocks. This has the added benefit of developing core stability and balance. The key exercises to focus on for your lower body's development are the barbell squat, the deadlift and lunges. Add Bulgarian split squats, leg press, leg extension and calf raises into the mix as well. Again, aim for eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise per set, with three sets per workout, and work with weights that are heavy enough to make it a challenge for you to reach the end of the rep count.
Cardio is an important part of any workout program as it increases your heart's strength and work capacity, which in turn affects the impact of all your other workouts. Your cardio sessions don't have to be long, and twice a week is enough. A quick sprint session on Wednesdays and Saturdays, followed by a 20-minute walk, will get your heart rate right up and improve the rate at which you are burning fat and building lean muscle. A typical sprint session is 20 seconds of all-out running, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. Walking at a leisurely pace afterward will also help regulate your stress and improve your recovery times.
There are three more considerations when undertaking a fitness program like this: your diet, your sleep and your ego. All are vital to your success. Eating a diet of lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, lot of vegetables, some fruits, dairy and whole grains will give you all the nutritional support your body needs to meet the demands of your training. Sufficient sleep -- eight to nine hours a night -- as well as one to two days off from training per week, will allow your body to recover and restore itself after each workout as well. Finally, it's important to put your ego aside. Maintaining good form is more important than how much weight you're lifting. Push yourself, but listen to your body and be realistic about what you're currently capable of. It's key that you don't go overboard: training twice a day, every day, or skipping your rest days, will quite possibly lead to injury from overtraining.