Sure, cardio is killer for a stronger heart and lungs, and for slimming down, but to really rev fat burn, you’ve got to slip a few weight training sessions into your week. The reason: Building lean muscle boosts metabolism, zaps calories and creates definition (aka, sleek and sexy curves). You’ll also enjoy serious health bennies. Strength training improves bone density, helping you avoid fractures; it also lowers blood sugar levels and cholesterol, reducing your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Try this fat-blasting tone-up from Sara Dimmick, founder of Physical Equilibrium fitness center in New York City, to crank up your body’s calorie-burning engines and get firm fast.
You need: A resistance band (with or without handles), a stability ball and a pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells The plan: Perform 2 sets of 12 reps of each of the following effective strength moves twice a week on nonconsecutive days.
Works: thighs, hips, butt Lie on left side with legs stacked, knees bent, left forearm supporting upper body. Place a band (we used a loop, but you can tie a handled band) around thighs right above knees. Keeping insteps stacked, open right thigh to ceiling as high as you can (as shown). Lower leg for 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Straighten top leg, then lift and lower 12 times. Switch sides; repeat series.
Works: shoulders, biceps, abs, butt, hamstrings Stand with a weight in each hand to start. Balance on left foot as you bend forward, right leg behind you, parallel to floor, arms hanging (as shown). Continue to balance as you raise torso, bend knee, bring right thigh parallel to floor in front of you and do a biceps curl. Hold knee-up position; press arms overhead. Return to start. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works: shoulders, biceps, upper back, butt, thighs Anchor band at chest level in front of you. Grip the end in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended at shoulder level with band taut. Lunge right foot behind you as you bend elbows and draw hands toward body, squeezing shoulder blades together (as shown). Return to start for 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Works: abs, shoulders, hips, butt, hamstrings Lie facedown on ball, hands and toes on floor. Contract abs as you extend left arm and right leg in line with body (as shown). Pause for 2 counts; return to start. Repeat, lifting opposite arm and leg, for 1 rep. Do 12 reps.
Works: abs, shoulders, chest Lie faceup with knees bent, shins parallel to floor, a weight in each hand, arms extended to sides on floor in line with shoulders. Bring arms together above chest, then sit up, reaching hands toward toes (as shown). Return to start. Do 12 reps.
Works: butt, shoulders, abs, thighs
Squat with back against wall, feet hip-width apart, thighs parallel to floor, a weight in each hand at sides. Lift right leg off floor and hold there throughout, as you raise arms to shoulder height, palms in (as shown). Lower arms for 1 rep. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
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