Pump It Up
Even if your guy would never join the Strongman competition he watches on ESPN, he probably still equates muscles with manliness—and lifting with shaping up. Though we girls are no strangers to the weight room, we're far more likely to choose cardio over lifting—a real mistake. There's a mountain of scientific literature showing that nothing is more effective at keeping body fat down than strength training.
"Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat," points out Barbara Bushman, PhD, professor of kinesiology at Missouri State University. Translation: More muscle will help you burn more calories (even when you're lounging around post-gym). "And you don't have to fear bulking up—it's testosterone that builds girth," she adds.
Since women don't have a ton of the hormone coursing through our system, we're naturally not at risk of turning into she-hulks.
Make It Yours
Adding another component to your workouts isn't as daunting as it may sound. Bushman says that even one day of lifting a week is beneficial.
"If you can't make it to the gym," she adds, "do exercises that use your body weight for resistance—push-ups, planks—while you're watching TV."
It will help. And if you're already turned-on to the fat-blasting power of weights, try this: Instead of breezing through 15 curls with the same 5-pound dumbbell you've been using forever, choose a slightly heavier one that will challenge you over 8 to 12 reps. "You have to put a stress on the muscle in order to see benefits," Bushman says.
Diet Like a Man originally appeared on Health.com.