Workout programs are plans people follow to lose weight and get into better shape. They give you the routine, accountability, and motivation you need to reach your fitness goals. Workout programs guide you through a coached workout routine, give you a meal plan to follow, and make sure you track your progress, so you continually strive towards your fitness goals.
Our expert fitness panel has put together a list of the top ten workout programs below.
BBG’s acronym stands for Bikini Body Guide, a workout program designed by prominent fitness trainer Kayla Itsines. This program is for women who want to feel fitter, stronger, and more confident.
Not only does BBG come with workouts and nutrition, but it also has the testimonies proving the transformation of millions of women worldwide which is why it’s our #1 ranked workout program.
2. Shortcut to Size
This 12-week workout program designed and coached by fitness expert, Jim Stoppanni, is designed to build muscle and shred fat. It’s a four-week program consisting of a three-phase microcycle to help you progressively build muscle each workout.
It also includes a sample meal plan, food list, and an in-depth guide to effective meal replacements.
3. Fit Girl’s Guide 28-Day Jumpstart
If you’re a girl and a beginner, this is the course for you. This workout program is more than a diet and lifestyle and helps you reach your most self-loving and body-positive self.
Weekly grocery lists, meal prep schedules, and vegan and vegetarian options are included.
4. Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer
This 12-week program created and coached by former professional bodybuilder, Kris Gethin, consists of 45 minute sessions 4-5 times a week. It comes with daily videos of Kris not only telling you what to do but doing the exercises along with you.
A nutrition and supplement plan supplements this plan as well.
5. Tone It Up Fitness App
Boost your metabolism and tone your gorgeous muscles with this leading fitness community program for women. Get on track and glow with 10-to-40 minute personal training videos you can do anytime.
Join live workouts to connect and chat with other empowering women and trainers.
Mirror is just as you imagined and mirrors a reflection back to you of every movement you do. It has a variety of workouts including yoga, boxing, HIIT cardio, and weight training.
The mirror blends seamlessly into any room of your home.
7. Beachbody 21 Day Fix Workout Program
For quick weight loss, this is the program to get. Lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days with this fun workout program consisting of 30-minute effective workout videos.
Instead of counting calories, you’ll get seven color-coded containers for portion control to avoid overeating and still enjoy the foods you love.
This program promises to get you in amazing shape in just 60 days. Your eminent trainer, Shaun T, is there to guide and motivate you every step of the way.
You’ll track your progress and test your results by performing a fitness test periodically.
This workout program comes with 29 workouts for you to complete in 90 days. It’s coached by Tony Horton, and a group hops in on the workouts with you to keep you motivated and accountable.
With the P90X workout tracker sheets, you track your progress through the entire 90-day process.
10. Athlean Xero
Without ever needing a piece of equipment, this workout program improves the way you look, move, and feel. It includes 150+ unique workouts, a sick pack shuffle ab sculpting program, and the complex x-factor meal plan.
You’ll be able to get shredded without counting or measuring calories.
How We Ranked
The best workout programs include both exercises and diet. Working out is important for building muscle and scorching fat, but diet is even more important. Our top-ranked programs make nutrition a priority. Beachbody 21 Day Fix made the ranking close toward the middle because it places a focus on nutrition without you having to count calories. It controls your portion sizes coming with seven color-coded portions that prevent you from overeating and allows you to eat the foods you love.
Stellar workout programs also keep you motivated and accountable by surrounding you in a group environment with expert coaches. P90X is coached by Tony Horton who not only coaches you but does the workouts with you along with other fit individuals. Insanity gives you a similar experience as it’s coached by Shaun T who’s joined by a group of other people undergoing the same training you are.
Arguably the most important component to taking these workout programs are testimonies. A workout program that’s backed by countless testimonies proves it’s effectiveness. That’s why the highest ranked workout programs have a plethora of testimonies from other real people. BBG is ranked number one on the list precisely for this reason. Millions of women worldwide have pleaded for their effectiveness.
Workout programs improve your social life. Physical fitness is only one component of your overall health levels. Social well-being is another important element to overall health.
This study looked at the effect a senior fitness program had on senior citizens and showed that the program was not only associated with better physical health but better social health as well (1).
Workout programs help you manage undertraining and overtraining. Without a plan, you risk overtraining or undertraining your muscles. When you have a plan, you’ll know the exact volume to use that allows your muscles plenty of time to recover and bear muscle growth.
In 2012, NCBI looked at a broad range of studies covering overtraining syndrome from 1948-2011 and found that overtraining syndrome is a result of overtraining without proper rest (2).
Furthermore, NCBI did a review on educational strategies to prevent overtraining in athletes and concluded that adjusting training volumes, periodization, and rest are all vital to preventing overtraining from happening (3).
Workout programs create a goal. Working out without a goal in mind will make it hard to reach your fitness goals. When you have a plan, you’re forced to create an end goal. A goal gives you structure and a potent “why.” Not having a powerful why is likely to lead to minimal positive changes.
This peer-review article published in 2011 correlated a positive effect on goal setting and adherence to sticking with a 6-week workout program.
60 recreational exercises were randomly assigned to two groups and the participants that set goals enjoyed the workouts more and had greater adherence to the program than those who work out without any goal (4).
Workout programs give you structure. Structure is important because it gives you something to follow which is proven to give you results. Haphazardly following a workout program isn’t a proven system to work. If you’re not tracking your workouts, diet, and progress then it’ll be difficult to move towards your fitness destination.
Workout programs make you track and keep track of all of your workouts and nutrition to give you the structure you need to excel at reaching your health and fitness goals.
Workout programs keep track of your stats. Since workout programs make you log your workouts, it will help you keep track of your progress, and you’ll continually improve. Without a workout program, you’re more likely to do random exercises with random weights, sets, reps, and times which will give you random results.
Research has proven that the ability modern technology has given us to keep track of all of our workout stats and progress has helped individuals lose weight (5).
Workout programs make you consistent. A workout program will make you constantly stay on track of your fitness goals. When you have a guide and structured plan to follow, you’re more likely to stick with it.
FitOverFat has a scholarly article proving that “the number one determinant of long-term success ultimately appears to boil down to consistency (6).” Of course, if you don’t have a plan, it’s hard to be consistent with anything. A workout program carves you a plan that becomes part of your weekly schedule.
Workout programs create a habit. It takes some time to form habits, and once you start consistently exercising with a strategic plan, physical activity will become a habit.
This study shows that habits are important in increasing physical activity in new gym members (7).
As well, this source cited that “physical fitness and healthy lifestyle habits have been reported to lower the risk of death from disease, foster healthy muscles, joints, and bones, and enhance personal function and mental health (8).”
The Journal of Lifestyle Medicine also investigated the importance of creating habits and routines. They found that instead of expecting patients to immediately change their lifestyle to better their health, it’s better to incorporate slow changes a day into each individual’s life to help them make healthier choices and stay healthy (9).
Workout programs will increase your HGH. HGH, human growth hormone, is responsible for maintaining, building, and repairing tissue in the brain and other organs. If you don’t have enough HGH running through your body, you’ll have less testosterone and build less muscle.
This article review published in 2012 displays that resistance training significantly increases growth hormone levels (10).
Workout programs keep you accountable. Accountability is important to make sure you stick with a routine. If you aren’t held accountable for your goals, you likely won’t ever accomplish them. Accountability affects a wide range of social judgments and choices including emotions, cognitive biases, and goals (11).
In this overview of an interview with 39 adults, it suggess that “organized programs tend to appeal to those who are more socially inclined and seek accountability (12).”
Workout programs give you outside influences which increase your performance. That’s why when you go to the gym with a workout partner, you tend to lift heavier weights and push yourself harder. That’s also why athletes incline to perform better under the spotlights. This is known as the Kohler effect. When a person works harder when a member of a group.
These Japanese cohort studies observed that exercising with others has health benefits that exercising alone doesn’t have (13).
Workout programs prevent burnout. Repetitively doing the same plan can get boring, dull, and cause you to plateau. On a well-planned workout program, you’ll be mixing things up periodically.
The variety of workouts and movements workout programs provide you prevents workouts from becoming tedious.
Workout programs improve the condition of your heart and lungs. Your heart and lungs are important to make sure your body has enough oxygen-rich blood to function adequately. This factsheet shows you the influence exercise has for people with and without lung conditions (14).
Workout programs increase your muscular strength, endurance, and motor fitness. Naturally, working out improves your fitness levels depending on the activity.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics examined 40 professional dancers for 6 months to review the effects an exercise program had on aerobic exercise, muscular strength, and motor control. As expected, the professional dancers showed an increase in physical fitness (15).
Furthermore, a study observing the association between physical and motor fitness with cognition in children found that agility was improved with physical activity (16).
Workout programs increase your aerobic endurance. In a study of 19 male cross-country skiers, strength training was performed three times a week for eight weeks. After the eight week study, it was concluded that maximum strength training improves aerobic endurance performance (17).
Workout programs include a mix of resistance training and cardio, thus improving your endurance even more.
Workout programs improve your muscle tone and strength. A 2009 study published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal evaluated the effect of an 8-week progressive resistance training program had on lower extremity strength, ambulatory function, and fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients. Concluding that resistance training improves strength and functional capacity in multiple sclerosis patients (18).
The more strength an individual has, the more muscle and muscle tone they’ll possess.
Workout programs help you manage your weight. A study in the article Annals of Internal Medicine reported a reduction in obesity after exercise-induced weight loss in men (19).
It found that weight loss was only induced by an increase in physical activity in men without caloric restriction. Of course, the more calories you burn the more weight you’ll lose, however, some workout programs are geared more towards weight loss while others focus more on bodybuilding and gaining mass.
Workout programs make your coordination, agility, and flexibility better. 21 male elite soccer players participated in a study to determine the effect neuromuscular training had on agility performance.
The 6-week study concluded that neuromuscular training two sessions per week substantially increases agility (20). Many workout programs include a variety of movements that will improve your neuromuscular training.
Also, some workout programs have specific workout types like yoga or stretching to target improving your flexibility. While other workout programs will have you do movements and plyometric drills that drastically improve your coordination.
Workout programs improve your balance and spatial awareness. Age and Ageing published an article by Oxford Academic examining the effects exercise had on 163 people over 65 years of age. It was reported that participating in a weekly group exercise program can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling in older people (21).
Many workout programs include challenging movements that will improve proprioception which is the awareness of the positioning and movement of your body.
Workout programs improve your energy levels. When you exercise, your metabolism and circulation increases which in return gives you more energy. People who are sedentary are known for having lower energy levels.
More energy levels will carry over to every aspect of your life, and you’ll be more productive at work and feel better throughout the day.
Workout programs increase your confidence. Studies show that regular exercise improves your self-confidence (22).
Exercise releases dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel more confident. Aside from neurotransmitters and other happy chemicals exercise releases in your brain, developing a more attractive body will improve your confidence.
Workout programs reduce your risk of chronic disease. This article published by NCBI in 2014 claims that lack of exercise is the main culprit to causing chronic diseases (23).
Chronic diseases are a health crisis our world faces and many of these diseases can be stopped or treated naturally through proper diet and exercise. Workout programs put you on a strategic plan that will increase your health and ward off chronic diseases.
Workout programs improve your sleep. A review of an article published by Sleep Medicine Review exhibited that exercise increases total sleep time and sleep quality (24).
However, overtraining or undertraining will harm your sleep. This is why the structured plan workout programs provide make sure your’re training with the correct volume which is vital for optimal sleep.
Workout programs improve your brain function and health. Abundant evidence is showing that physical exercise has a positive effect on the brain improving cognitive function and wellbeing (25).
Exercising releases a bunch of feel-good chemicals that not only make you feel great, but they’re healthy and improves the way your brain functions.
Workout programs improve your general and psychological well-being. A Finland study concludes “a consistent association between enhanced psychological well-being, as measured using a variety of psychological inventories, and regular physical exercise (26).” Psychological wellbeing is important for you to live your best life and includes six pillars: environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, autonomy, self-acceptance, and positive relationships with others.
Workout programs may give you muscle cramps. Workout programs can leave you dehydrated which causes cramps. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
Also, if you’re a beginner, you’re more likely to become dehydrated and get a cramp, therefore, we recommend you do the Fit Girls Guide 28 Day Jumpstart if you happen to be a beginner and a girl. This workout program is designed for women new to working out.
Workout programs can cause bladder leakage. Running, dancing or any sort of other bouncing movements can lead to bladder leakage. This is especially common in women who have had children.
To avoid this, try and use the bathroom before you do your workout.
Workout programs could cause itchy skin. Physical activity causes blood flow which expands your blood vessels that could stimulate nearby nerves that can lead to an itchy skin.
Workout programs can cause lightheadedness. After working out, your blood pressure drops which cause you to feel lightheaded, especially if you’re prone to lower blood pressure.
Workout programs may upset your stomach. Intense exercise can upset our stomach and cause diarrhea, especially for older individuals.
Avoid drinking warm liquids such as coffee or tea before your workout to help lower your chances of this.
Workout programs can give you a runny nose. Exercised induced rhinitis, a gushing nose, is a physiological response that can take place after exercise.
Workout programs may be stressful. Your adrenal glands which are responsible for producing norepinephrine, cortisol, and DHEA allow your body to adjust to physical stress.
If the stress is too much, your adrenal glands can become depleted which leads to issues like producing too much estrogen in women or not enough testosterone in men. This can cause you to feel tired, stress, and lower your libido.
Workout programs can cause inflammation. Exercise increases your oxygen consumption that increases the production of free radicals. This can cause damage to your muscles and tissues causing inflammation.
This can lead to various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkison’s disease. Limit how often you do long-endurance training to avoid this.
Workout programs may hurt your heart. According to Training Peaks, a British study linked rowers and runners to showing signs of fibrosis, a scarring of heart tissue. To prevent this, don’t exercise excessively (27).
Workout programs can damage your joints. Resistance training and high-impact exercises can place excessive stress on your muscles and joints. If your joints are weak, or if the stress placed on the joints is too much, you can injure them. Always put form as a priority over how much weight you’re using and never use weight too heavy for you.
Workout programs can be done a couple times a week up to 4-5 times a week. You want to allow your body a few days off for rest and recovery. Aforementioned, not enough rest and recovery risk overtraining and musculoskeletal injuries.
Your muscles grow while they’re resting not while they’re working. It may be best to take days off between each workout session or at least take a rest day after a couple of days of working out in a row.
It also depends on what workout program you’re following. For example, yoga is a light activity and doesn’t place the same levels of stress on your muscles and joints weight lifting does. Therefore, yoga can be done most days while weightlifting should be limited to a few times a week and no more than five days.
What are the best workout programs? All of the workout programs we ranked are the best ones to get to lose weight and get into great shape. Depending on what your goal is, will determine which workout program is the best fit for you. If you’re a woman, the best workout programs are BBG, Fit Girl Guide’s 28-Day Jumpstart, and Tone It Up Fitness since all of them are designed specifically for women.
What are the best workout programs for women? The number one ranked workout program, BBG.
This program is for women and makes them fitter, stronger, more confident, and has millions of testimonials to support its greatness. Fit Girl Guide’s 28-Day Jumpstart and Tone It Up Fitness are also excellent workout programs for women.
What are the best workout programs for men? It depends on what each man’s goal is. Workout programs focus on different things. Some workouts focus on conditioning and weight loss while others focus on muscle building.
What are the best workout programs for weight loss? The ten workout programs we have ranked are excellent for losing weight since they come with a workout routine, nutrition plan, and track your progress.
What many people forget about when working out is how important what they eat is. The amount of calories and protein you consume plays a humongous effect on reaching your weight loss goals.
For weight loss, combining nutrition with exercise is ideal with nutrition being most important, so make sure the workout program you get includes nutritional guidance.
What are the best workout programs to lose weight fast? Beachbody 21 Day Fix will make you lose weight the quickest since it guarantees you will lose at least 15 pounds in three weeks.
What are the best workout programs in 2020? The best workout programs in 2020 are the ten on our ranking list. The programs we have ranked give you everything that makes an astonishing workout program. With our raking list, you’ll get a workout program that gives you an exercise and diet along with the motivation, support, and accountability you need to succeed.
What are the best workout programs for mass? Some workout programs are better for fat loss and conditioning while others are better for increasing your muscle mass. Shortcut to Size is specifically designed for gaining size and is ranked in the top two on our list, therefore, making it the best workout program for mass.
It’s a four-week program consisting of a three-phase microcycle to help you progressively build muscle each workout. Another good workout program for size is Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer. Kris Gethin was a former professional bodybuilder, so he knows all about adding muscle mass to your body.
What are the best workout programs to build muscle? Of course, the more muscle mass you have the more muscle you have, so the best workout programs to build muscle will be the ones that build you the most mass. As mentioned, Shortcut to Size and Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer are the best workout programs for building mass, so they’ll also be the best for building muscle.
Programs focused on building mass focus less on HIIT exercises and more on volume, compound movements, and lifting heavyweights.
What are the best workout programs online? The best workout programs online are the ones that allow you to workout with elite fitness experts anytime, anywhere. Some workout programs require you to use a gym, and although the program is given to you online, they do require access to a gym. However, most of the workout programs we have ranked allow you to workout from the comfort of your own home.
What are the best workout programs that are free? The best workout programs will not be free, but many can be bought at a discounted rate or offer you a free trial. Shortcut to Size and Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer gives you a free 7 day and trial, and Athlean Xero and Fit Girl’s Guide 28-Day Jumpstart can be bought at a discounted rate.
What are the best workout programs for pregnancy? For pregnancy, we recommend low-intensity activity exercises like swimming, light weight lifting, walking, yoga, pilates, and cycling.
Tone It Up Fitness is a great workout program for women because it’s meant for women and gives you the option to do short 10-minute workouts. Also, Mirror is a good choice for pregnant women because its services include a variety of exercise modalities including yoga.
What are the best home workout programs for weight loss? The workout programs that made our rankings can all be done from home to lose weight. However, some programs are better for building muscle while others place an emphasis on weight loss. Beachbody 21 Day Fix, Insanity, and P90X are all stellar for focusing on fat loss.
That’s because all three of these focus on HIIT training and include both resistance training and cardio to accelerate weight loss.
What are bodybuilding workout programs? There are many different types of workouts that are all designed to place an emphasis on different goals. Bodybuilding is focused on building the most muscle and mass as possible with the least amount of body fat. Its goal is to get you as aesthetic as possible. While other workout programs may focus on fat loss or endurance.
The best workout programs for bodybuilding are Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer and Shortcut to Size. For bodybuilding, you need a program that focuses on lifting heavy weights and gives you access to the equipment to focus on isolation movements. Using a commercial gym is recommended for bodybuilding.
What are good bodybuilding workout programs for beginners? Kris Gethin 12-Week Trainer and Shortcut to Size are both great bodybuilding programs. However, we recommend you start with Fit Girls Guide 28-Day Jumpstart if you’re a beginner and a girl because it will prepare you for the more rigorous bodybuilding workout programs.
What workout programs are the most effective? It depends on what your goals are. There are workout programs that are specifically desgined for weight loss, muscle building, or endurance. Depending on what your goal is, will determine what workout program will be the most effective for you.
What are the best home workout programs? Most of the workout programs listed can all be done at home and are the best home workout programs you can get. The workouts that focus on mass and require gym equipment are the workout programs you can’t do at home unless you have a quality home gym.
Do workout programs require equipment? It depends on the workout program. Some workout programs require equipment, while others don’t require any. For example, some P90X workouts will require dumbbells while Athlean Xero doesn’t require any workout accessories and can be done all with using your body weight.
How much weight do I need for workout programs? It depends on your fitness level and the workout routine. Some workouts don’t require any equipment and are just bodyweight movements, while other workouts a commercial gym is necessary.
Also, the more the workout is focused on mass and strength the heavier weights you’ll need, but if the workout is geared towards endurance or HIIT, the lighter weight you’ll need.
What do you need for at-home workout programs? Some home workouts require lightweight such as dumbbells or a yoga matt for yoga, while other home workouts don’t require any equipment.
Can you use workout programs without equipment? Yes, many workout programs don’t require the use of any equipment. If you’re doing HIIT bodyweight workouts, bodyweight strength, or yoga, no equipment is needed. However, if you’re doing a mass or bodybuilding workout, you’ll need access to a gym.
Workout programs give you a routine to follow to reach your fitness goals. Reaching your health and fitness goals are hard to do if you don’t have a plan. Workout programs give you the workouts, nutrition, support, guidance, and motivation you need to obtain any fitness goal.
For Fitbug’s #1 recommended workout program, click here.