Woman can lose fat and build muscle with cardio and weight training.

How to Lose Weight & Get Ripped

by Kim Nunley

It’s going to take a bit of discipline and dedication, but it’s possible to lose body fat and get ripped at the same time. To lose fat, you’ve got to increase how many calories you burn by exercising regularly and limit your intake by making adjustments to what you’re eating. This will cause you to burn more calories than you consume, which will cause you to lose fat. To get ripped, you’ve got to follow a muscle-building weight-training workout. Women have naturally lower levels of muscle-building hormones than men. While it means muscle mass gains won’t be as significant or come as quickly, with the right training program, women can still put on a significant amount of mass.

Lose Weight

Do a mix of cardio or high-intensity interval workouts four to six days per week. Cardio involves moderate intensity, continuous activity like jogging or biking. Each cardio workout should last 30 to 60 minutes. High-intensity interval workouts involve bouts of vigorous exercise like sprinting, followed by periods of rest. Interval sessions last about 15 to 30 minutes.

Calculate the estimated number of calories that you burn every day so you know how many you should consume to support your weight-loss goals. Use this equation: 655 + (4.35 X weight in pounds) + (4.7 X height in inches) – (4.7 X age in years) to find your basal metabolic rate. To then determine your daily caloric needs, multiply this value by 1.2 if you are sedentary, 1.375 if you are lightly active, 1.55 if you are moderately active, 1.725 if you are very active or 1.9 if you are extra active.

Reduce your daily calorie intake. The American Council on Exercise notes a safe rate of weight loss is 1 pound per week, which would require taking in 500 fewer calories than your daily calorie needs. To do this, cut your meal portion sizes by 10 to 15 percent and consume primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Avoid drinks that are high in calories and low in nutrients, such as alcohol and soda. Counting calories and preventing yourself from taking in your favorite foods is difficult to maintain, but you can make significant reductions in calorie intake by changing how much and what types of foods and drinks you consume.

Get Ripped

Lift weights four days per week. To get ripped, you’ve got to do enough sets to overload your muscles, so focus on a select group of muscles each workout to allow for more time to target each muscle. Give each muscle group 48 to 72 hours of recovery time in between workouts.

Choose one to three exercises for each muscle you’re working on a particular day and complete three to five sets of six to 12 repetitions of each of those exercises. Keep your rest periods short, as it promotes the release of growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and it promotes cell growth and regeneration, which in turn increases muscle mass. Wait just 30 to 90 seconds before you jump into the next set.

Pick an appropriate amount of weight for each exercise and make adjustments as your strength levels progress. At the end of each set, you should reach momentary muscle failure. This means that your muscles are unable to perform another repetition with correct technique. Pick a weight that allows you to do at least six repetitions, but if you’re doing 12 with no problem, select a heavier weight next time.

Items you will need

  • Timer
  • Calculator
  • Weight-training equipment


  • Eat a small meal of lean protein and carbohydrates immediately after each of your workouts to help facilitate muscle building and speed up recovery.


  • Visit a medical professional prior to starting an exercise program.

About the Author

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images