If you still think that lifting weights will make you bulk up, it's time to change your tune. Trainer Tia Falcone, who helped Miss America lose over 50 pounds, says that weights will help you sculpt the strong, toned look you're going for and will help you lose weight faster. She recommends doing four weight-training routines a week to sculpt and reshape your problem areas. But how and what you lift is still a hot topic of debate.
High-profile celebrity trainers Tracy Anderson, Heidi Powell, and Joel Harper recommend that their clients lift light weights with a ton of repetitions. Says Joel, “[This technique will] tighten the muscle and not increase its size." One of his favorite moves to feel that intense "good burn" is the lying triceps press. Using two- to three-pound weights, start with a set of 25 reps using both arms. Then, begin alternating arms for three sets of 25 (150 reps total).
But Cassandra Bodlak, group exercise manager of Sports Club/LA, takes a different approach — she's all about lifting . . . and lifting heavy. To find the perfect weight that suits your needs, she offers this test: "If you can't lift a given weight at least eight to 10 times, it's too heavy; if you can lift a given weight over 15 times, chances are it's too light." Finding that sweet spot in the center can make a big difference in your mission. Since Cassandra says that too many reps can wear down joints and lead to injury, she also suggests performing exercises in two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps each.