Running & Lifting Programs to Lose Weight

a male african american runner wearing black shorts and shirt is running in profile to the camera

A running and lifting program is one of the best weight loss plans, according to Fit Day -- and if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Intensive cardio training, like running, is one of the fastest ways to burn calories. Strength-training like lifting can tone and build lean muscle, which continues to burn calories long after your workout.

Men’s Specific Program

This routine, from "Muscle and Fitness" magazine is called the 6-Week Fat Blast and alternates days of running and lifting. Sundays and Thursdays are resting days. The program requires you alternate lifting schedules called Workout A and Workout B on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Workout A includes barbell front squats, Romanian deadlifts, single-arm dumbbell bench press, and dumbbell pushups. Workout B includes the conventional deadlift, chest supported dumbbell rows, Bulgarian split squats, single arm dumbbell overhead presses and inverted suspension rows. Participants start at one set each for the first week, and add an additional set each subsequent week.

The cardio workout for Tuesdays and Saturdays alternates 30- to 60-second treadmill hill sprints with 30 seconds of core exercises like crunches and ab wheel rollouts, repeating the sequences for a total 20- to 30-minute workout.

The Women’s Specific Program

"Fitness" magazine’s circuit training lasts 30 minutes per session, and the magazine recommends 3- to 5-lb. dumbbells for the lifting. A mix of running and lifting are combined in every session.

The routine starts with five minutes of medium- to high-intensity jogging or running. For dumbbell-lifting circuits, the magazine follows with five minutes of the kneeling row, then a static lunge with a twist -- holding a single weight vertically in front of the chest -- and finally a runner’s squat holding a dumbbell in each hand. Then repeat the circuit, resting no more than 10 seconds between each activity.

The routine is interspersed with exercises that don’t require weights or running, including low side-steps, plank lifts and hand walks, which you can include if you choose.

The Celebrity Trainer Program

Chris Powell, the trainer of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition has a three-month routine that he uses with contestants on the show. Each week, you complete three strength-training routines and two to three cardio intervals.

The cardio intervals, which he calls shredders, or 3-2-1 intervals, can be done with the cardio exercise of your choice, such as running or jumping rope. It’s three minutes of low-intensity cardio, followed by two minutes of medium-intensity, and then one minute of high intensity cardio. The sequence is then repeated for a 20- to 30-minute workout.

For strength-training and lifting to start, Powell suggests 30 minutes of goblet squats, hammer curls to press, dumbbell deadlifts, dumbbell pullovers, and single-arm dumbbell row and twist. For month two, he adds squat presses, and month three he adds bent over row and incline bench presses.

The Every-Person Program

Fit Day’s routine is intended to be easy to follow and adaptable for both men and women. On Mondays, you spend 10 minutes running or jogging -- between five minutes each of warm-up and cool-down -- and three sets each of bicep curls, tricep and lateral pulldowns and dumbbell front raises. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are rest days.

Wednesdays include the same cardio routine, along with three sets each of planks, crunches on a stability ball and bicycle crunches. Friday also has the same cardio routine, followed by three sets of lunges with dumbbells, stability ball squats and leg curls. Saturday is 30 minutes of brisk walking.