These workouts for women over 40 were designed with weight loss in mind, but you'll also get the added bonus of feeling great!
There are numerous reasons why people decide to start working out, but weight loss is the goal that tops that list most often.
But what is the best way to shed those pounds?
Evidence shows that if you are overweight or obese, even a modest weight loss goal of 5-10% of your body weight can have serious health benefits.
This includes improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
In turn, this will help you decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Weight loss will also improve your body image and energy levels.
Having a lower weight decreases the pressure on your joints and can decrease your risk of osteoarthritis.
Plus, weight bearing weight loss workouts will also decrease your risk of osteoporosis as you age!
The Fit Mother Project is a great way to start on your weight loss journey.
Programs like FM30X are perfect for integrating exercise and diet into a complete weight loss picture.
Checkout our free Jumpstart kit to learn more.
Weight Loss Workout Essentials for Women Over 40
While there is no one size fits all weight loss plan out there, there is a general formula that the best plans will follow.
Any good weight loss program needs to combine cardiovascular exercise, resistance workouts, flexibility, and balance training.
This is also true when you're talking about workouts for women over 40.
And it isn’t just about exercise!
Adequate sleep, rest, and a solid nutrition program are crucial to lose weight and keep it off.
The Fit Mother Project is a great place to find all of these components to weight loss bundled into one program.
Weight Loss Workout Plan
It is important to have a general plan when working towards any goal.
Weight loss is no different.
If you just randomly try to incorporate different aspects of workouts with no guidance, it’s easy to get off track and lose motivation.
This weekly schedule is a good starting point if you are looking to start on your weight loss journey.
Remember that this is just a blueprint. You should modify the days and workouts to fit your schedule and your level of fitness.
Monday — Full Body Weight Training/Resistance Training.
Full body circuit training with weights and resistance is a crucial component in your weight loss program.
Increasing and maintaining lean muscle mass will make your body an efficient calorie burning machine.
Strength training has been shown to conserve lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass in females.
Plus, you’ll build a toned physique and improved strength. Here is a full body workout routine you can include in your weekly schedule.
Remember, this is a circuit workout. You want to have minimal rest between each move. Go right from one move to the next.
Squats-Body weight or with dumbbells:
Do 15 reps as either air squats or with dumbbells depending on your strength and level of fitness.
Dumbbell Overhead Press:
Do 10-12 reps while standing. Standing will force you to engage your core to a greater degree than sitting with a back support. Maintain good form and posture throughout the movement.
Supinating Dumbbell Bicep Curls:
Choose a weight that will allow you to complete 8-10 reps. Try not to use your back, or swing your arms to use momentum when performing this exercise. Maintain good form throughout and focus on the supination motion at the top of the movement.
Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press:
Aim for 10-12 reps. Contract your pecs at the top of the movement and slowly lower the weights down to your chest. If you do not have a bench you can also do this while lying on a mat.
Bent Over Dumbbell or Barbell Rows:
Make sure to engage your core as you aim for 10-12 reps. You can use an over or underhand grip on the bar or dumbbells.
An overhand grip will work your upper lats, rhomboids, and traps to a greater degree, while an underhand grip will work the lower lats and also recruit the biceps.
If doing this routine multiple times a week, try switching up the grips each time to target the muscle groups from different angles.
Aim for 10-12 reps on each side. Again, make sure to isolate this movement in the triceps. Do not swing the arms to gain momentum. You will only be cheating yourself!
Hold an elbow plank for max time.
Try to increase the duration of your hold each time you do this circuit. Make sure to maintain good form throughout and avoid arching or bowing the back.
If you break form, you have reached your max time.
After you complete a round of this circuit, take a two minute break. Walk around, stretch out the arms and legs, and grab some water. Then repeat two more times!
Tuesday — Cardio Day!
After an awesome strength training day, follow this up with some cardio the next day to increase cardiovascular fitness and burn calories.
Tailor this to something that you enjoy.
This could be a local spin class, a trail run, swimming laps, or water aerobics. Anything that gets the heart pumping.
Try to aim for at least 30-60 minutes. If you are short on ideas, below is a great running interval workout you can try. This can be done on a treadmill or outside.
Warm up: Run at a light pace for 5 minutes.
Jog 5 minutes at a moderate pace. This is slightly faster than your warm up pace, but you should still be able to hold a normal conversation.
Recovery Jog for 1 minute
Run 4 minutes at a slightly faster pace. You should feel slightly more breathless than the previous interval.
Recovery jog for 1 minute
Run 3 minutes at an increased pace from the previous interval. You should only be able to talk in short sentences.
Recovery jog for 1 minute
Run at 2 minutes at a fast pace.
Recovery job for 1 minute
Run 1 minute at a full out sprint
Recovery jog for 1 minutes
Cool Down: Light jog for 5 minutes.
This ladder workout is a time efficient cardio workout that is great for weight loss and increasing fitness.
Again, this is just an example of a type of cardio workout you can include in your weekly routine.
Wednesday — Stretching, Flexibility, & Balance Training
Think of this day as an active recovery day. Good workouts for women over 40 should include some flexibility training.
You can try out a yoga class at your gym, or do some light stretching and balance moves in the comfort of your own home.
Here are some sample moves that you can use in your weekly routine if you need some ideas.
At Home Stretches/Balance Exercises
Mountain Pose: Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders relaxed, and weight evenly distributed through your feet.
Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips. Hold this for three deep breaths.
Downward Facing Dog: Start on all fours with hands directly under your shoulders. Move your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide.
Press your palms into the floor and press your butt toward ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V position.
Your feet should be about hip-width apart with the knees slightly bent. Hold for three deep breaths.
Come into plank position, and then return to downward facing dog for another three breaths.
Upward Facing Dog: Start by lying on your stomach with your hands near your shoulders.
Inhale and press your hands firmly into the floor and slightly back. Straighten your arms and lift your torso up and your legs a few inches off the floor.
Hold for three deep breaths. Straighten into a plank position, then return to upward facing dog for another three breaths.
Seated Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh.
Keep your right knee pointed up. Then place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
Place your right hand on the floor behind you near your lower back. Twist to the right as far as you can. Hold this for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Tree Pose: Stand with your arms at your sides. Keep your weight on your left leg and place the sole of your right foot inside of your left thigh.
Once balanced, bring your hands in front of you in prayer position.
Extend your arms overhead, separated and facing each other. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Lower and repeat on the right side.
Child’s Pose: Sit up on your heels.
Bring your torso forward, and allow your forehead to rest on the mat or floor in front of you.
Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you. Hold the pose and take several deep breaths.
Thursday — Full Body Weight Training/Resistance Training
Repeat the circuit workout that you did Monday, or try a workout from the Fit Mother Project’s FM30X program!
Friday — HIIT/Cardio
High intensity interval training is a great way to burn calories and tone muscles.
Research has shown that HIIT training can be a very time efficient component to include in a workout for women over 40.
Many gyms offer their own version of HIIT training, and there are many workouts available that follow this format. If you would like to try something on your own, try out this workout below.
Warm Up (4 minutes):
Perform each move for 30 seconds, moving right into the next move. Once finished, repeat one more time for a total of four minutes.
- Jumping Jacks
- Butt Kickers
- High Knees
- Jump Squats
Rest for one minute then start the main set.
For the main workout you will perform each move for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
As your fitness levels improve, you can increase the interval to 45 seconds with a 15 second rest.
- Alternating Jumping Lunges
- Alternating Side Lunge with Kick
- Mountain Climbers
- Side to Side Hops
- Plank Jacks
- Jump Rope
- Tricep Dips
Rest for one minute then repeat.
Do some light walking or jogging and stretching following this workout
Even with the warm up and cool down this is a time efficient workout that can be done in under thirty minutes.
This is a great beginner HIIT workout to burn calories and work multiple muscle groups.
Saturday — Rest Day or Full Body Training
You can use today for a rest day.
Or if you are further along in your training, you can add another full body workout day in here and repeat your workout similar to your workouts on Monday and Thursday.
Sunday — Rest Day
Make sure to include at least one rest day into your weekly schedule.
This will let your muscles recover and rebuild. It will decrease your risk for injury, and help prevent burnout so you are motivated to start again the next week!
The mid-week stretching day helps with muscle recovery, but this complete rest day will allow for muscle recovery to leave you feeling fresh and motivated for the next week.
You can do some light walking or work around the house, but nothing too taxing on the body. Enjoy your day off! You earned it!
Lose the Weight and Gain Fitness
The above weekly schedule is a nice blueprint to help guide you along the road to weight loss. The best workouts for women over 40 include intense and challenging exercises. Your abilities should improve dramatically as continue through the schedule.
It is important to have varied workouts, and combine strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility and balance exercises.
In addition, nutrition and smart diet choices will be key to reach your weight loss goals.
That is why a program like FM30X is so great.
It not only gives you great workouts and community support, but it also includes a simple and easy to follow meal plan.
There is no time like today to get started on the road to weight loss.
By using some of the exercises above or any of those found on the Fit Mother Project you will be well on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Writer, The Fit Mother Project
Holly Smith is a board certified physician specializing in internal medicine and nephrology with a bachelor's degree in dietetics.
A strong interest and passion for health and wellness, Holly is also a NASM certified personal trainer with a performance enhancement specialization.
Holly enjoys long distance running, competing in Ironman triathlons.