When it comes to weight/fat loss, you don’t necessarily need cardio machines and other fitness tools to accomplish your goal/s. Unlike with resistance training where you’ll likely benefit more from having a few pieces of equipment.
Now, of course, it’s definitely nice to have an elliptical, treadmill, or whatever we use for indoor cardio. But that’s just not an option for most of us right now. So today, we want to guide you through a 6-week bodyweight-only regime that’ll strip the pounds away (if your diet and other lifestyle choices are in check) while getting you stronger and more toned simultaneously.
The goal is to not let the current situation drag us back into old, bad habits, but rather, to create new ones as a result.
These workouts are strictly bodyweight-only. Each week will involve the same exercises and exercise duration to keep the routine simple. The workouts will be done in EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute) fashion to maintain a productive session structure. You’ll do 12 reps per exercise and then you can use the remaining time to rest until the next minute/exercise.
Some exercises will have a time requirement because counting reps is not possible.
The workout will consist of seven exercises with variations noted for every level. We recommend doing this routine 3-4 days per week, although, you can obviously adjust according to your schedule and experience level. But all we ask is that you make it a priority to stick to the routine without excuses (if you’re able to do so).
Weight loss details
As far as how much weight/fat you can lose, well, that depends on how big of an energy deficit you are in overall, spanning the next two months.
But if you’re strict with your diet, losing 1-2 pounds per week is very possible. This is also a recommended, safe amount of weight to lose per week, as well for most people.
This workout won’t take up much of your time either because the key to weight loss is keeping the intensity up. As a result, your heart rate will remain elevated and you’ll have to consume more oxygen to keep up. In turn, your body will burn more calories during and even after the workouts.
This is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. (1)
Following physical activity, the body has to use more oxygen to restore back to homeostasis/basic metabolic function. The higher the intensity during the workout, the more effectively this process can occur.
Now, to maximize this process and do everything right from the beginning, you should take a minimum of five minutes to do some warm-up activity to optimize the mechanisms which optimize EPOC. Do some light jogging, jumping jacks, jump rope, and anything similar.
This gets your blood flowing, increases the heart rate, and conditions your joints in preparation for the workout. Also very important is to have some water or a quality sports drink close by as well to stay hydrated during the session.
6-week workout plan
Here we’ll provide the workout with the exercises and instructions. Remember, the workouts are to be performed EMOM style. Do 12 reps of each exercise and use whatever time you have left to rest, or do light cardio activity in between. For some exercises, you’ll have to count a specific time (e.g. 20 seconds instead of 12 reps) as you won’t be able to count reps.
Do one set of each exercise and then move onto the next one. You’ll only have to do this workout once and done. Keep the intensity up and make sure you give a full effort for each exercise. And again, remember to do at least a 5-minute warm-up.
Minute 1 – Basic burpee
Burpees are a top choice for calorie-burning exercises that works the upper and lower body in an explosive manner. Now, depending on your current level of training experience, you can do the push-up that’s involved in the burpee or you can leave it out. This way, most people can do it.
To do it:
- With a hip-width stance, bend down and place your hands flat on the floor just inside the width of your feet.
- Kick your feet back so that you’re in a push-up position.
- Perform one push-up or don’t if you can’t.
- Hop your feet forward and then jump straight up into the air.
- Land softly and then repeat the movement.
Minute 2 – Mountain climbers
A very common bodyweight cardio exercise, the mountain climber is lower impact than jumping exercises. But, you’ll definitely burn lots of calories. It’s also effective for the core muscles. Now, you probably won’t be able to count twelve reps on each side. So instead, count 20 seconds.
To do it:
- Get on your hands and feet in a high position.
- Keep your core tight and then quickly move one foot forward toward your elbows.
- As you move that foot back to where it was originally, move your other foot forward toward your elbow.
- Repeat this in rapid fashion.
For those who may have difficulty with this exercise, elevate your upper body a few feet off the floor and try to do the exercise the best you can.
The plyo push-up is an explosive upper body movement that works the chest, shoulder, triceps, and even core muscles. And it’s more difficult than a basic push-up because your hands leave the ground momentarily. That means you’ll have to press with more force to accomplish this.
Now, we understand this isn’t possible for everyone. It may also not be challenging enough for certain people. That’s ok though, there are a few different variations you can do to address either one. We’ll explain each one below the workout instructions.
To do it:
- Get into a push-up position.
- Keep your torso neutral, tighten your core, and retract your shoulder blades.
- Lower yourself down, and then explosively push-up yourself back up and try to clap at the top.
To make the exercise easier for those who can’t do these, either do it on your knees, on an elevated surface or use a wall depending on your level of strength.
To make the exercise more difficult, elevate your feet onto a platform (e.g. bench, chair, bed, etc). Or, do the basic plyo push-up but jump your feet up as you clap your hands.
Step up jumps are a great lower body builder and endurance exercise. You will need something to step up onto like a bench, chair, or anything similar.
To do it:
- Place one foot on the platform, then jump up with that foot while bringing the other foot up onto the platform, bringing the other one back to the floor.
To make the exercise more difficult, hold some light weights in your hands. For those who cannot do this exercise, simply step up onto the platform and alternate without the jump. But do it at a relatively quick tempo.
Side kick through
There’s really only one way to do this exercise but it’s doable for those who have decent upper body strength and balance plus lower body mobility. Do this exercise as fast as you can!
To do it:
- Get into a high push-up position and bend your knees so that your feet are closer to your knees.
- Balance with one arm and extend the same side leg under and in the opposite direction while rotating your torso. Keep your core tight and allow the non-working foot to move with your body.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
You could do this on an elevated platform to make it a little less challenging.
Planks are a great core strengthening and full-body stability exercise. But if we can add some upper body movement we’ll also build overall strength in the top half of the body.
- Begin in a plank position but lift your butt slightly higher.
- Raise up and place one hand on the floor so your arm is extended, followed by the other arm.
- Move the arm you started with back into the plank position on your forearm followed by the other one.
Each time you return to the plank position, that’s one rep.
You can do this on your knees if you find this to be too difficult.
Literally anyone can do jumping jacks. It’s a great full-body exercise that has been around forever. Do 20 seconds of jumping jacks to finish off this bodyweight cardio workout.
To do it:
- Stand with feet together and arms down by your sides.
- Jump out and bring your arms overhead to where you can clap your hands together.
- Jump your feet back together and bring your arms down to your sides.
- Repeat for the duration of the set.
There’s nothing fancy to see here!
Is That It?
If you keep the intensity up, you won’t be able to do much more unless you’re a very experienced athlete. But if your goal is weight/fat loss then we’re going to assume you could use a little push. Well, we’ve just given you a very effective fat-burning plan that should help you not only drop lbs but develop new habits too.
Remember, nothing changes with this routine. You’ll do it the same for 6 weeks straight several times per week. Consistency is key here.
We also recommend you choose an activity of your choice (and that you really enjoy) and do it for at least 30 minutes per day. Whether that’s tennis, basketball, boxing, or anything else, give an effort that you and others around you will be proud of.
Then before you know it, you’ll be a super fat-burning machine! But you’ll also reduce stress and become much more functional as a result.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I reach my weight loss goal with only bodyweight workouts?
Absolutely! You don’t need any equipment to lose weight and reach your weight loss goal. Sure, cardio machines such as ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, etc are nice to have access too. However, they aren’t necessary.
You just have to make sure you keep up the workout intensity when doing bodyweight exercises to get the best results possible.
How long does it take to lose weight with bodyweight workouts?
That’s not such a simple question to answer. You see, weight loss occurs when you’re in an energy/caloric deficit.
In other words, you have to expend more energy than you take in. Everyone has a certain caloric requirement in order to lose weight based on their metabolism. However, you also have to consider your voluntary activities which manipulate this number as well.
Refer to our calorie calculator to determine an ideal caloric intake for your goals.
What are the best bodyweight exercises for weight loss?
Gosh, there are truly so many great ones. However, we recommend exercises that involve the entire body.
For example, burpees, and any movement involving jumps are some of the best you can do to burn tons of calories which will help you to your weight loss goals that much faster.
Also remember, the intensity and tempo of which you train will largely contribute to the calories you burn overall. So, you can do any exercise but make sure you’re keeping your heart rate up.
Are there easier variations of bodyweight exercises for those less experienced?
There definitely are. You can make an exercise easier by doing any of the following…
- Perform it slower
- Do it on your knees
- Elevate your upper body
- Eliminate one part of the exercise if possible
- Hold onto a sturdy object for balance and assistance
Can I lose a noticeable amount of weight in 6 weeks?
You certainly can. But the real question is, should you? It’s generally accepted that a 1-2lb weight loss per week is realistic and healthy.
This is an ideal range for someone who only needs to lose a few pounds to reach their goal or who is slightly overweight. Someone who is dangerously obese may be able to lose a bit more than 1-2 pounds per week more safely.
We can’t tell you how many pounds you should or will lose, but with this information, you can make a smart decision that won’t compromise your health.
But 6 weeks is not long and we think most people can lose at least 5-8 pounds (just an average) if everything else is on point (e.g. diet, stress, sleep, other physical activities).
We think this 6-week fat-burning regime is possible for most people to do. We’ve even noted variations to make this possible. So, we expect you to follow through and hold yourself accountable if you decide to go ahead with it.
Weight loss and getting in shape isn’t easy as is nothing truly worth having. So dig down deep and put in the effort. Just make sure your diet and other important factors are up to par and you’ll see maximum results.