Weigh yourself at the same time of day for accurate results.
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If you want to lose that spare tire, you need a combination of cardio and strength-training to achieve your weight loss goals. Organized wisely, you can structure a routine around just three sessions a week. Stagger exercising your upper and lower body and finish each weight-training workout with cardio to make the most of a three-day workout routine.
You burn more calories lifting a weight than jogging, but the nonstop energy output of a cardio workout burns more calories than a weight-training session. It is better to do a cardio workout after a strength-training session because vigorous cardio can make you too fatigued to lift properly. Do two weight-lifting sessions a week followed by brief bouts of vigorous cardio and one longer session of vigorous cardio on a separate day to get a balanced routine in only three workouts a week.
Feel the Burn
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, but you can reduce that number to 75 minutes by ramping up your exercise to vigorous activity. This means you can do two 15-minute cardio workouts after each weight-training session and one 45-minute cardio routine to reach your aerobic goals if you train at a vigorous level. Exercises that count as vigorous are those that are so difficult you cannot maintain a conversation while performing, including jogging, running or fast cycling.
Upper Body Day
Devote one day a week to strengthening the major muscle groups of your upper body before your 15-minute cardio session. Your biceps can be targeted with curls, your triceps with kickbacks, shoulders with bench presses, rhomboids with dumbbell rows, chest with pushups, trapezius muscles with weighted shrugs and your back with pull-ups. Use an assisted pull-up machine if you are starting out and have trouble with pull-ups.
Lower Body Day
After a day to rest and recover, blast your abs and lower body with a targeted strength routine. Use crunches to firm your abdominals, squats to rock your glutes, lunges to build your quads and leg curls to isolate your hamstrings. The American Council on Exercise advises that one set of eight to 12 repetitions with a weight that fatigues the muscle by the last repetition is all that is needed for each muscle group. After one more day of rest, finish out your three-day routine by doing the 45-minute vigorous cardio day.
The Workout Ain't All
Regular physical activity will help build calorie-burning muscles and create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight, but researches from Loyola University Health System discovered that diet is the most important ingredient for weight loss. Don't undo all your hard work with an unhealthy diet. For your three-day workout to be effective in terms of weight loss, eat healthy.