Weight Loss - How to Get Started

Below is a simple weight loss program designed to help beginners get started.

This three step introduction to exercise and nutrition is intentionally easy because the end goal is habit formation. Consistency takes priority over intensity here. Stick to these simple steps for at least one month before moving on to more complicated programs.


Track Your Food

Download a calorie counting app (Lose It, Cronometer, MyFitnessPal) and track everything you consume for at least two weeks. All food and drinks.

Don’t change your diet during the first week. Instead, pay attention to your daily caloric totals and the macronutrient contents of your meals. Train your eyes to identify what’s on your plate and how much water you’re drinking per day. It’s easier to implement good dietary habits when we can reflect on bad ones.

Read this diet guide for more info.


Do Easy Cardio

Find a 1-2 mile loop in your neighborhood and travel it 3-4 times per week by walking and/or jogging it.

Slowly decrease your total time each week by jogging more and more of the distance. The walk versus jog structure is irrelevant. Cap your time for each session at ~40 minutes and keep your intensity level in the moderate range. Consistency is the most important thing here. I recommend you do this outside, but a treadmill is acceptable.


Add Resistance Training

Incorporate resistance training into your routine 2-3 times per week. Keep cardio days and resistance days separate. If steps one and two are initially overwhelming, add this step when you’re ready. But don’t leave it out. 

Below is a simple and effective full body workout to help get you started. Complete 3-4 rounds of this circuit in sequence, resting as needed. Each exercise should be performed for 30-60 seconds before moving on to the next. The entire workout should take less than 30 minutes. The only piece of equipment you’ll need is a suspension trainer or a pair of gymnastic rings. One is required. 

Check out the Beginner program for traditional strength training.

Warm Up
Full Body Circuit
Cool Down
Easy Cardio - 5 minutes
Squat (Bodyweight or Goblet)
Foam Rolling (Optional)
Dynamic Stretching
Row (Ring Row or Suspension)
Static Stretching
Push Up (Standard or Modified)
Plank (High or Low)
Superman Hold

Next Steps?

Before moving on to more complicated programs, make sure the routine you’re following looks somewhat similar to the one below.

Resistance Training
Resistance Training

Regarding nutrition, build your meals around specific macronutrient portions and stick to a consistent eating schedule. I recommended the 4X4 strategy outlined in the nutrition chapter, but a variety of tactics can work. Dialing this in for your specific needs will take some trial and error. Be willing to experiment.

Cardiovascular conditioning can also be progressed in a number of different ways. If you’re focused on weight loss and the initial two mile strategy has been working for you, keep at it until your progress plateaus. An uninterrupted two mile jog is a great long-term goal here. If you’re looking for general cardiovascular fitness, all Fitstra resistance training programs include a variety of interval work as well as steady state times. Use these programs as they are or modify them to fit your needs. However you choose to implement cardio, be sure to keep it realistic and sustainable.

For resistance training, start the Fitstra Beginner program. Practice the included compound exercises with barbells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight. Start with two days per week and maintain that frequency for at least a month, then advance to three. Keep running the Beginner program until you stop making strength gains. The Beginner program is covered in more detail below.

Need More Help?