5 Best Weight Loss Exercises for Beginners (From a Coach)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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In this era of high-intensity workouts, easy exercises usually don’t get a lot of credit.

But what most people don’t know is that beginner-friendly workouts can have incredible fat-burning capabilities, too.

As a fitness trainer who's helped many beginners achieve their dream physique, I looked through literally hundreds of my workout programs and handpicked the best exercises.

After hours of research, we’ve come up with a list of the best workouts for torching fat and losing weight.

Quick Summary

  • The best workout for beginners to lose weight consists of simple bodyweight exercises that burn calories and tone muscles.
  • The recommended exercises for beginners include plank, mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, reverse crunches, and push-ups.
  • Ample rest and recovery, according to Medical News Today, can help recover your muscles and boost your weight loss.
  • Combining these workouts with cardio exercises and maintaining a well-rounded exercise program can lead to significant weight loss and overall health benefits.

What Is The Best Workout For Beginners To Lose Weight?

The best workout for beginners to lose weight consists of simple bodyweight moves that can burn calories and tone your muscles.

We designed this fat-burning regimen with beginners like you in mind. And you won’t need any fancy equipment or prior exercise knowledge.

Cardiovascular exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling can enhance calorie burning and contribute to weight loss. Remember, consistency and gradual progression are key to achieving sustainable results.

So, before we get into the best fat-burning workouts for beginners, let's take a quick look at all the exercises you need to know.

Best Exercises for Beginners To Lose Weight

1. Plank

man in a plank position on a yoga mat

How To:

  1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows stacked under your shoulders.
  2. Make sure your forearms are parallel to each other.
  3. Lift your body up and extend your arms.
  4. Engage your core and hold this position for about 30 seconds.

2. Mountain Climbers

woman working out with a yoga mat outdoors

How To:

  1. Start by getting into a plank position (arms extended). 
  2. Move your right knee forward under your chest, keeping your toes just off the ground. 
  3. Return to the starting position and move your left knee forward under your chest. 
  4. Perform steps 2 and 3 as fast as possible for 30 seconds.

3. Bicycle Crunches

man smiling while in a bicycle crunch position

How To:

  1. Lie flat on the ground with your arms resting on your sides. 
  2. Place your hands behind your head. If you want to, you can also interlock your fingers.
  3. Lift your right leg until your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your calves are parallel.
  4. Simultaneously lift your left shoulder and rotate your upper body so that your left elbow touches your right knee. 
  5. Straighten your right leg, but don’t let it touch the ground.
  6. Simultaneously lift your left leg and twist your upper body so that your right elbow touches your left knee. 
  7. Do this seven times for each leg.

4. Reverse Crunches

woman in a reverse crunch position in a gym

How To:

  1. Lie flat with your arms resting beside your body and your palms touching the floor. 
  2. Lift your legs and bend your knees toward your head, making sure that your butt and hips lie firmly on the ground. 
  3. Push your legs up toward the ceiling, lifting your butt off the ground. 
  4. Lower your legs, but don’t let your feet touch the floor. 
  5. Beginners can do three sets of 10 reverse crunches.

5. Push-Ups

black man in a push up position

How To:

  1. Get down on all fours with your palms flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Straighten your arms and legs. 
  3. Lower your body until your chest is almost touching the floor. 
  4. Push your body back up. 
  5. Repeat this move ten times.

Sample Beginner Workout Schedule

woman doing toe touches, and another one jogging

You can do this workout three times a week and alternate it with cardio exercises. Remember to do your warm-up and cool-down routines before and after your workout.

Learn More: Stretching Exercises for Beginners: Improve Daily Routine

Warm-Up Routine

Perform each of the following movements for 60 seconds each:

  • March in place
  • Arm circles
  • Hip circles
  • Standing toe touches
  • Lateral step with arm swings

Cool-Down Routine

Perform the following movements after your workout:

  • Jog in place: 30 seconds
  • Standing quad stretch: 30-second hold for each leg
  • Standing hamstring stretch: 45 seconds
  • Standing wall stretch: 30 seconds
  • Child’s pose: 45 seconds

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (Total Body)

woman working out indoors

Perform each exercise for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds before moving on to the next.

Focus on maintaining proper form to prevent injuries and ensure that you’re maximizing your workout.

Rest for 1 minute after each set and repeat the entire circuit 4 times.

  • Plank
  • Mountain climbers
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Push-ups

Tuesday & Friday (Cardio)

Perform 30 minutes of walking, jumping jacks, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming to build your cardio endurance.

If you have access to a gym, you can also hop on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, or rower.

Thursday

This is your active rest day, which means you get to choose an activity you enjoy. For example, you can try yoga, pilates or even go biking around your neighborhood.

Sunday

Feel free to relax, as this is a complete rest day. According to Medical News Today, a rest day gives your muscles the chance to repair and grow stronger [1].

Bonus tip: Once you feel a bit stronger, you can further challenge yourself by lifting a pair of dumbbells or weights in the succeeding weeks.

You can also increase the workout time to 45 seconds and decrease how much time you rest to 15 seconds.

Health Benefits of These Workouts

woman giving a thumbs up in gym clothes, and a man holding up a salad

Easy workout sessions are the foundation of a beginner fitness plan. They will help you build healthy habits that, when maintained, can lead to significant weight loss.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

- Jim Ryan, Olympic Athlete

These workouts are considered “beginner-friendly” because they don’t require a lot of gym equipment. Their intensity can also be tweaked to match your current fitness level. You can even set your own pace to get the perfect balance between challenge and comfort.

But just because they’re easy doesn’t mean they’re ineffective.

Engaging in any type of exercise provides immediate benefits, including better brain activity and improved mood.

According to the CDC, regular exercise can also have long-term effects, such as a reduced risk of disease [2].

How To Achieve Weight Loss With Easy Workouts

woman pulling her lose pants from stomach

Based on my observation of how clients responded to this routine, this fat-burning workout routine can help you shed those unwanted pounds as long as you don’t compensate for exercising by increasing your food intake.

If you learn to control your eating, you’ll have greater chances of losing weight.

Being consistent with your workout will also help you burn more fat over time.

You can also create meal plans that support losing weight, which means adding more fruit, vegetables, and lean protein to your diet.

But, of course, it’s also important to watch your portion sizes.

If weight loss is your primary goal, combining healthy eating and regular exercise is the way to go.

Related Articles:

Fuel Your Fire: Nutrition for Fat Burning

While your workout routine is essential in burning fat, in my experience, what you eat plays a pivotal role in how effectively your body sheds those extra pounds.

Beginners often overlook the power of nutrition in their fitness journey. To maximize your results, consider these nutritional tips:

  • Pre-workout nutrition: Eating a small, balanced meal 1–2 hours before exercising can provide you with the energy you need. Focus on foods rich in carbohydrates and protein, like a banana with a spoonful of peanut butter or a small serving of Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Post-workout recovery: After your workout, your body needs to replenish its energy stores and repair muscle tissues. A protein-rich snack, such as a protein shake or a chicken salad, can aid in recovery and muscle building.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day is crucial, especially before, during, and after your workout. Hydration aids in metabolism and helps prevent fatigue during exercise.

Eat fat-burning foods: Incorporate foods known for their fat-burning properties into your diet. These include green tea, lean proteins, whole grains, and spicy foods that can slightly increase your metabolism.

Embracing Technology in Your Routine

In today's digital age, I’ve seen how technology can be a game-changer in how effectively you exercise.

For beginners, leveraging technology can make workouts more manageable and enjoyable.

Here's how you can incorporate tech into your routine:

  • Fitness apps: Many fitness apps offer guided workouts, track your progress, and provide nutritional advice. They're excellent for beginners who need a structured plan.
  • Wearables: Certain devices can monitor your heart rate, count steps, and even provide feedback on your sleep patterns — all of which are important in your fitness journey.
  • Online communities: Join online forums or social media groups focused on fitness. These communities offer support, advice, and motivation, which can be incredibly beneficial for beginners.
  • Virtual classes: If you're not ready for a gym, consider virtual classes. Platforms like YouTube offer a range of beginner-friendly workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home.

References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/rest-day
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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