60-Day Workout Plan

A 60-day training plan allows you to plan your workouts well in advance. This takes the guesswork out of figuring out which exercise to do on a particular day, and it also ensures you include a good deal of variety in your training regimen. Variety is the key to avoiding fitness plateaus, not to mention it keeps your workouts from getting boring. The structure of this plan is to exercise five times per week, most likely Monday through Friday, for 12 weeks -- a total of 60 days. The premise behind this 60-day plan is to progressively increase exercise intensity levels to maximize your muscle tone and fat loss.

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A healthy lunch, notebook, pencil, measuring tape and dumbbells on a table. (Image: Martinina/iStock/Getty Images)

Weeks 1 to 4

This time frame is designed to get your body back into the groove of exercising regularly -- muscle soreness is inevitable. Schedule 40 minutes to exercise each day -- 10 minutes for warming up, cooling down and stretching; 30 minutes for the actual workout. Choose any cardio workout -- walking, elliptical, treadmill, inline skating, cycling or any other. Exercise at a moderate pace for 30 minutes per workout. Five cardio workouts will complete your first week. For the next three weeks, include two resistance training workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cardio days on the other three days. Body-weight resistance exercises are effective for beginners. A sample plan could include pushups, exercise ball crunches, calf raises, exercise ball back extensions, pullups, chinups and squats.

Weeks 4 to 8

Time to increase the intensity a bit. Continue doing cardio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and resistance training on Tuesday and Thursday. If you have access to weight-training equipment, use it. Effective exercises include bench press, leg press, shoulder press, dumbbell bicep curls, tricep extensions, seated cable rows and lat pulldowns. The optimal resistance level is when the final repetitions of the set is difficult to lift -- aim for 10 to 12 reps per set; do two or three sets per exercise. Increase the intensity of your cardio workouts by adding resistance or speed. Also, increase your cardio training time to 35 minutes per workout. Challenge yourself each time you exercise; it’s the only way to keep progressing.

Weeks 8 to 12

By now, your body is shaping up. Keep it going by adding some high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, for your three weekly cardio sessions. HIIT involves alternating short bursts of vigorous exercise with short rest periods done at a light-to-moderate pace. You can use any cardio exercise to get it done. Warm up for five minutes at a light-to-moderate pace, go at a nearly all-out effort for 20 seconds, slow down to a light-to-moderate pace for 40 seconds, and repeat this pattern at least 10 times but no more than 15. Finish each HIIT workout by cooling down at a light-to-moderate pace for five minutes. During the first week of doing HIIT, take your Tuesday and Thursday resistance training days off to allow for extra recovery time. Include resistance training for Weeks 9 to 12. Continue to increase the resistance level slightly each week during your weight-training sessions to keep challenging your muscles.

Expectations

Of course, everyone’s body reacts differently to exercise, but you should generally notice several pounds of fat loss and tighter muscles by the end of the 60-day training plan. Don’t be unrealistic about your expectations, such as wanting to lose 20 pounds and look like a fitness model after 60 workouts. A more realistic goal is to average a half pound of weight loss per week. Achieving this goal would net you 6 pounds of weight loss by the end of the training regimen, not to mention more lean muscle mass and a tighter body overall. This is a goal worth shooting for. Possibly the most beneficial aspect of this 60-day plan is that it will get you in the habit of continuing to exercise three to five times per week. If so, your long-term health prospects should improve.

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