3 weeks isn’t a big period of time for achieving your fitness goals, but with hard work and effort you’ll love the way you look in just 21 days. I strongly encourage you to continue this routine to make more progress each week. Here’s my training and nutrition plan with recipes to get you lean & toned in just 3 weeks!
For easier read, here are points you need to do and go with to achieve best results and before you start going through exercises and recipes, I suggest reading my tips on where to begin.
ORGANIZE & follow the plan
- First, workouts: are you going to get gym membership to exercise yourself, or with personal trainer or workout at home? All can work great.
- I know so many people who say they’ll workout “starting Monday” but it never happens. Set realistic goals. If Monday is rough already, do workout on Tuesday. It’s better if you’re working out 3 times a week and stay consistent with it than planning on 5 workouts a week and then burning off from it the first week and never going to the gym again. You do need to push yourself but also enjoy the process. I’ll give examples for working out 5 days a week and while I recommend going with 5 (since we want to lean out fast), it’s still ok to choose 3 if you stay consistent and put maximum of your effort into those workouts.
- Now, follow the nutrition plan. I’ll provide recipes and examples of meals. Head to the grocery store and buy everything you need. MENTAL PREPARATION
Now, once you start your weight loss / tone up journey, you need to mentally prepare yourself too. There will be days when your old habits will come out and you’ll feel like it’s too much and just too hard. There are so many things in life other than fitness you’ll say, but remind yourself that: if you’re a parent would you like to be more energized, happy mom? If you’re working a lot, wouldn’t you want to feel great all day long and have energy for your job? Exercise and healthy food can do wonders to your body. Being overweight puts you into risk of so many diseases, thats just scary. You’ll feel like your flying, not walking once you lose that weight. You will be so happy and pleased to look at yourself in the mirror. And it will happen. It took a while for you to gain that weight, so be patient and consistent with your plan and you will lose it and tone up your muscles.
PHYSICAL PREPARATION- When you start your exercise plan, be aware you’ll be tired at first. It’s because your body isn’t used to it. But after couple weeks, you’ll notice you will start gaining strength and you won’t feel as tired and will be stronger in general. It feels good to have strength to carry your kids, heavy objects and feel like they suddenly became lighter. Try to get more sleep if you can so your body can recover and take BCAA’s to boost recovery. You can also get massage or go to sauna and cold pool (“rinse and repeat”) the process, to help your sore muscles.
Don’t give up. It will be worth it!
As I mentioned above, this is a 5 day training plan.
I’ll suggest to start with cardio all 5 days. Because we want to get lean, we need to burn some calories and get your blood going, as well as warm up. However, I don’t suggest doing it for an hour daily because too much cardio will worn you out and leave you hungry, and you’ll have no energy for the exercises that are important to do to look toned not just slim.
If using treadmill, elliptical, cycle machine, do burst of high intensity for half of a minute and 3-4 mins of moderate exercise. That means if you’re using treadmill or running outdoors, run in a moderate, comfortable pace for 3-4 mins and speed up to run as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Repeat few times to make it to 15-20 mins cardio workout.
Adding more walks in your day is a great idea too.
I tried to minimize the amount of equipment you need, but I suggest getting a pair of dumbbells if you’re planning to exercise at home because you’ll achieve results faster with weights, plus you can use dumbbells for pretty much any exercise and replace it with other types of weights. Getting a resistance band is also a great idea for home workouts. Do each exercise 3 times, with 12 repetitions each. If you feel you could do more, do 4 sets of each exercise. Make sure you’re warmed up when you start, and finish with at least 5 mins of stretching.
Walking lunges: repeat them as many as 80 steps.
Bridge exercise: Can be done with no weights, for more advanced level grab a weight in your hands such as dumbbell or kettlebell.
Squat: can be done with no weights or weights such as dumbbell in your hands.
Donkey Kick: no weights or weight can be positioned on your leg.
Kettlebell Swing: you can use dumbbell instead.
Pile squat: can be done with no weights or dumbbell / kettlebell in your hands.
Tuesday: Chest, back, abs workout
Push ups: repeat till failure (for beginners, stand on your knees when push up).
Fly – with dumbbells
Bench press – can be done with dumbbells
Superman – no weights needed
Single-Arm dumbbell row with dumbbell
Plank on elbows – try to go for a minute and hold as long as you can.
Dip – no weights needed
Overhead tricep extension – with dumbbell
Close grip barbell curl – if you don’t have access to barbell, you can try with dumbbell or use resistance band for more bicep curls
Air boxing – to kill those arms completely!
Thursday: Abs and Shoulders
Front raise – for shoulders and abs, use dumbbells
Rear Delt Raise
Shoulder Press – with dumbbells
Boat pose – similar to plank
Bent Leg V-up
Abs workouts should be repeated to failure or as much as you can.
Friday: repeat Monday legs workout plus add few planks to make it a legs +abs day.
Saturday and Sunday – rest
As a general rule, try to avoid deep fried food, sugar, too much processed food such as cookies and white bread and pasta.
Here’s the list of foods to eat instead:
~ Veggies & fruits: Raw, steamed, or baked vegetables (you can use salt sparingly). 2-3 fruit a day (or berries).
~ Healthy fats: Raw nuts about 1/4 – 1/2 cups a day or 2-3 tbsp of nut butter such as almiond, cashew, peanut is also ok, just try to choose natural ones and without added salt. We want to eat less salt because too much of it makes us bloated and creates “water weight”. Avocados, flaxseeds, chia seeds are all great choices of Omega-3.
~ Healthy complex carbs – yes please! “Unhealthy”carbs would be considered cookies, candy, white bread etc. “Healthy” are those that are the least processed. Good choices are sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pasta, buckwheat etc. Choose 100% whole grain bread, I also love Ezekiel bread.
~ Protein: above everything else you need to make sure to eat lots of protein to keep yourself fuller for longer and help to build muscle. Best sources of protein are: plain Greek yogurt, egg whites, lean chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, white fish, whey protein or vegan protein powder, protein bars.
~Liquids: drink at least two gallons of water per day. Teas, coffee is fine too, keep an eye on the amount of creamer you put, use almond milk / nonfat milk instead or choose black coffee.
Now here’s the example of your meals:
#1: 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, topped with fruits and flaxseeds.
#2. 1 egg and 2 egg whites scrambles with veggies. Adding shredded cheese will add a lot of calories but what you can do is to cut low-fat cheese stick and use it in eggs. They’re usually around 60 calories each so adding couple of them will be okay.
#3. A protein smoothie.
Chocolate protein shake:
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1-2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs if desired (will add yummy crunchiness)
1 cup almond milk
Blend it all till smooth and enjoy.
Frozen berries, around 1 cup
Oats, 1/2 cup
Almond milk, 1 cup
Top with chia seeds and more fresh berries if desired.
#1: Baked salmon (seasoned with herbs, pepper and just a touch of honey), brown rice and steamed broccoli.
#2. Salad made with greens, chicken breast, tomatoes and avocados, onions to taste. For a dressing I’d use balsamic vinegar with a touch of olive oil.
#3. Soup such as chicken noodle, for noodles to be used whole grain.
#1. Whole grain pasta with a touch of skim cheese and chicken breast marinated with all natural teriyaki sauce, Himalayan salt and garlic, with any vegetables (preferably steamed or raw) on the side.
#2. Stuffed peppers. Here’s my recipe:
1 pound ground lean turkey meat
6 bell peppers
1 tsp opinion powder
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp cumin
Preheat oven to 350F. While preparing meat, let bell peppers cook in the oven for 15 mins as they take long to get soft.
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix turkey meat with all of the ingredients listed. On a lightly oiled pan, cook turkey until it’s brown. Remove peppers from the oven and spoon out meat into the bell peppers. Bake for additional 10 mins.
#3. Vegetable soup with beans, instead of stock use clean water and add Himalayan salt and pepper to taste as well as use celery, onions and garlic for enhanced taste of the soup. Use any vegetables you like. Use fresh or canned beans (preferably with no salt or additives).
For dessert use any of my recipes:
#1. Healthy chewy cookies
In a blender, blend until smooth:
1 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free if needed)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp raw honey;
1 tbsp coconut oil;
1 tbsp buckwheat flour or more oats;
1 tbsp almond milk.
1/4 cup dried fruit mix – optional (or you could use nuts).
On a greased pan, spoon about 1 tbsp batter 2 inches apart and bake at 375F for about 15-18 mins.
#2. Peanut butter cups
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp cacao nibs;
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut;
2 tbsp coconut oil;
2 tbsp peanut butter.
Mix everything in a bowl except peanut butter.
Put a layer of chocolate we created in a muffin mold, then a layer of peanut butter, and chocolate again.Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. In about an hour, take it out and enjoy! Makes 2 big cups. You can substitute peanut butter with any other nut butte, dried fruit or even jam.
#3. Dark chocolate candy
Simply mix with in a bowl:
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
4 packets of stevia (or to taste)
1 tbsp honey
Freeze in a silicone form and enjoy.
#4. No-bake cookies:
1 1/2 cup oat flour ( or simply grind oats)
1/2 cup almond, or peanut, or any other nut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cherries, dried (or any other dried fruits)
1/8 tsp salt
Mix ingredients till smooth. Form cookies and set them on a plate. Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy!
#5. Banana muffins
4 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cups. In a blender, add bananas, eggs, almond butter, and coconut oil. Blend until smooth.
Add in coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda.Blend to combine. Spoon batter into two-thirds of each muffin tin.
Bake for 20-25 mins.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can also have another protein shake or bar after dinner or just fresh fruit. Because we’re trying to get as lean as possible in short 3 weeks, I don’t recommend eating dessert too often and it should be eaten in moderation. However the recipes I provided have health benefits and “superfoods” such as coconut oil that if eaten in moderation, may also positively impact fat loss.
If you need a snack, you can have:
– Any type of protein (lean beef sausage, yogurt, protein bar)
- Veggies, unlimited
However sometimes it’s best to wait a bit longer and eat your lunch / dinner to avoid eating too many snacks and a meal. Nuts can help create sense of fullness faster, so sometimes a small snack of nuts before meal may help you to eat less. Do however you feel is best for your body.
Is there any supplements you should take to speed up fat loss?
I suggest getting these 3:
- Protein powder for your smoothies, 1-2 scoops a day. Protein will help you stay fuller longer, build / tone muscle and help with sugar cravings (a sweet protein shake instead of dessert is a great idea).
- BCAA’s for faster muscle recovery so you can go to the gym 5x a week. If you’re complete beginner, you’ll be extremely sore after your first workout and it will be hard to go next day. Brain Chain Amino Acids help to recover faster and can be taken during workout with water.
- Green tea extract (suggested dosage is 400mg) taken daily with food in the morning to speed up metabolism and fat loss.
Follow this plan for 3 weeks or more and you’ll see results soon!