Ever tried to lose weight in six weeks? It’s not easy. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably failed. Why? Because losing weight requires commitment and depriving yourself of most unhealthy habits, which you’ve grown accustomed to for years. That’s why the 6-week challenge workout is about more than putting in the work at the gym. Your success depends on how well you understand the role of nutrition, sleep, and hydration in burning fat and building muscle. Reaching your weight loss goals with the 6-week 20-pound challenge isn’t impossible, but it won’t be easy either. You’ll have to work hard, eat right, and follow an effective plan. That said, we’ve compiled for you everything you need to know to get started on the 6-week full-body workout challenge.
The 6-Week Challenge Workout Plan
Your workouts will vary from one week to the next. You can increase the frequency and intensity after week 3, but it’s advisable to start slow and progress steadily.
For starters, here’s an example of a weekly schedule on the 6-week full-body workout challenge:
Day 1: Cardio And Stretches
Workout 1: Cardio
Length: 30 minutes
You can do this workout using a treadmill, stationary cycle, skiing machine, or elliptical trainer. You can also choose to do it while running, cycling, or walking.
Workout 2: Stretches
Equipment required: Resistance bands
Length: 10 minutes
Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Hamstring stretch
- Side stretch
- Kneeling quad stretch
- Lying hip stretch
- Inner thigh stretch
Day 2: Full Body Strength (Basic)
Equipment required: Light dumbbells, an exercise mat, chair, and ball
Length: 20 minutes
Do two sets of 12 reps each for every workout.
- Assisted lunges
- Bird dog (one rep includes both sides)
- Wall pushups
- Seated triceps extensions
- One-arm row
- Seated rotation for abs
Day 3: Interval Cardio
Length: 30 minutes
You can choose between a Tabata cardio workout, elliptical interval workout, high-intensity aerobic intervals, or an outdoor circuit.
For an outdoor circuit:
- Steady-state: Walk or run for a period while keeping your intensity moderate and steady.
- Short bursts of speed: Increase your pace or run up a hill to move out of the aerobic zone.
- High-intensity workouts: Stop during the workout, and then do push-ups, long jumps, or other high-impact exercises that push you completely out of your comfort zone.
Day 4: Full Body Supersets
Equipment required: Barbells, different weighted dumbbells, an exercise ball, and a weight bench or step.
Length: 40 to 60 minutes
Do 1-3 sets of each. Rest for about 15 to 30 seconds between each set.
- Barbell squats – 16 reps
- Deadlifts – 16 reps
- Push-ups – 16 to 20 reps
- Sumo squats – 16 reps
- Barbell rows – 16 reps
- Chest presses – 16 reps
- Tricep dips – 16 reps
- Walking lunges – 2-4 laps across room
- One-arm triceps push-ups – 8-10 reps before changing sides
- Single-leg hammer curls – 12 to 16 reps before switching sides
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Total Body Workout
You will need an exercise ball, dumbbells, a resistance band, and a weight bench or step.
Length: 30 to 45 minutes
- Squat with dumbbell – two sets of 15 reps
- Chest Presses – two sets of 15 reps
- Sidestep squats – two sets of 12 to 16 reps before switching sides
- Triceps kickbacks – two sets of 15 reps
- Pushups on the ball – two sets of 15 reps
- Double arm dumbbell rows – two sets of 15 reps
- Deadlifts – two sets of 15 reps
Day 7: Light Cardio
Length: 20 minutes
- Rocket jumps – two sets of 15 reps
- Star jumps – two sets of 15 to 20 reps
- Squats – three sets of 12 to 15 reps
- Burpees – two sets of 15 to 24 reps
- Tap backs – two sets of 15 to 24 reps; jog for 15 to 45 seconds to recover
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Other Factors To Consider For The 6-Week Challenge
Along with a solid 6 week workout plan, you’ll factor in the following elements of a successful weight loss program:
Your diet can boost or derail your weight loss efforts. During the six weeks of this challenge, you’ll have to go on a clean eating diet. You’ll do away with processed foods, and turn to whole, organic foods such as (2):
- Grains: brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, etc.
- Vegetables: carrots, lettuce, spinach, etc.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, etc.
- High quality, lean proteins: chicken breasts or thighs (no skin), grass-fed beef or Bison meat, etc.
- Healthy fats: nuts, seeds (like chia and flax seeds), avocados, and oil (like olive or coconut oil) should form a major part of your diet.
Drinking plenty of water is an integral part of any weight loss program. It speeds up the digestion process and helps flush out toxins from your body, giving you more energy to work out while making your skin look healthier (14).
Your water intake should be half your body weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs, your daily water intake will be 90c oz/day (90 ounces). You can track your hydration progress easily by using a water tracker.
Studies have proven that people who don’t get their share of shut-eye tend to put on more pounds than those who sleep enough (5). Lack of sleep boosts stress hormones such as cortisol, which is responsible for storing belly fat in the long run (13). To get better results from your 6-week challenge full body workout plan, you should aim for 7-9 hours of sound sleep each night.
How Much Weight Can You Lose In 6 Weeks?
The recommended rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. According to the Centers for Disease Control, such a target is safe and sustainable (6). If you aim at slow and steady progress, you’re more likely to keep the weight off over the years.
However, many factors can influence weight loss. External and internal elements in a person’s life come together to determine their success or failure at weight loss. These forces are not mutually exclusive, but rather, they often interact, work in conjunction with one another to either promote or hinder weight loss efforts.
External factors include social and cultural influences that can contribute directly or indirectly to weight gain. Internal factors, such as individual sensitivities, may also play a role in how individuals respond to external pressures and impacts in their life that could be detrimental towards achieving successful long-term weight management goals.
The following list of common factors shows the important ways people lose weight:
Sleep Quality And Quantity
Research has shown that lack of sleep correlates with increased obesity risk (11). This is a particularly important factor to consider, especially for those who may be following a low-calorie diet. Studies show that lack of sleep led to decreased leptin levels in the body, which is a hormone responsible for satiety. This can lead individuals to eat more than they need when they are sleep deprived because their bodies are not able to signal that they have had enough food (9).
Sleep also plays an important role in physical activity. Individuals with poor quality sleep often demonstrate lower overall energy levels, as well as increased fatigue. Both mentioned factors can contribute to difficulty exercising or participating in physical activity outside of work hours if it interferes with the work schedule. Lack of exercise increases the risk for obesity and further perpetuates unhealthy weight loss behaviors such as crash dieting and chronic dieting (4).
Genetics plays a role in weight loss. Research suggests that obesity is most influenced by an individual’s environment, but they must have certain genetic predispositions for this to happen (12).
For example, Asians tend to have lower body fat percentages at a given BMI than Caucasians, even though they have higher BMIs due to their increased muscle mass. This means that Asians may rely less on dietary intake rather than physical activity for their energy needs.
The relationship between stress and obesity has become increasingly popular within the last several decades as scientists have been studying the link between stress and food cravings.
Stress can have a tremendous impact on eating behaviors because there is an increase in the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which also increases appetite for high carbohydrate, sugary foods that provide quick energy boosts (1). This may explain why many people have reported binge-eating after stressful experiences such as breakups or major life events like death in their family.
While moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with certain health benefits, it may contribute to weight loss failure within this population due to lack of eating during drinking episodes.
A study shows that individuals who drink alcohol before a meal tend to eat more than those who don’t, and, therefore, recommend they eat 3-4 hours before having a single drink and even up to 6 hours if over 3 drinks (10). Those who drink excessively are at an increased risk for health-related issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, and diabetes.
As individuals age, they tend to lose muscle mass due to a natural decline in testosterone, which leads the body to decrease the production of the protein responsible for muscle maintenance. This can affect resting metabolic rate, which is the total number of calories burned while asleep or sedentary (8).
As a result, it will require less food intake as well as physical activities for weight maintenance or loss since fewer calories are required by the body. In addition, people often become less mobile with age making exercise options more limited, thus, an increase in their risk for obesity.
In general, women tend to have higher levels of fat than men, and it is often stored in the butt and thighs, while men tend to store fat in their stomachs (3). This tendency occurs due to sex hormones present during puberty, which affect body composition, muscle mass, fat distribution throughout the body, as well as metabolism.
The 6-week challenge can be tough, but if you follow exercise and nutrition guidelines to a tee, you’ll be able to burn fat and have the body you’ve always wanted. Remember that getting a lean toned body requires discipline and hard work. Your success with this six weeks challenge will be determined by the changes you make to your lifestyle as a whole.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Eating behavior and stress: a pathway to obesity (2014, frontiersin.org)
- Food as Fuel Before, During and After Workouts (2015, heart.org)
- Genetic and Environmental Factors Contributing to Visceral Adiposity in Asian Populations (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Losing Weight | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2020, cdc.gov)
- Overtraining Syndrome (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physiology, Testosterone – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Short term effects of alcohol on appetite in humans. Effects of context and restrained eating (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Social and Environmental Factors Influencing Obesity – Endotext – NCBI Bookshelf (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals? (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water, Hydration and Health (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)