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Spending hours a day doing cardio workouts may not be the best solution to tone and trim your body. Believe it or not, the first priority a woman should have is adopting a serious weight lifting routine. For women, by far the most common complaint is excess body fat on their hips and thighs. To finally tone up your legs, hips, and glutes--and lose that lower body fat for good there are three basic requirements.

1) To improve your lower body, you must perform compound weight lifting exercises using a sufficient amount of weight. You should choose weight that allows you to do 5-10 repetitions before your muscles give up. These compound exercises include: squats, deadlifts, leg press, and lunges. Isolation exercises for the lower body, are also helpful. Isolation exercises for the lower body include: leg extension, hamstring curl, and calf raise. However, other machines and exercises such as the inner and outer thigh machines, and leg lifts aren’t going to change your appearance very much. These types of exercises don’t involve large muscles, which mean you’re not going to burn many calories or tone your muscles as affectively as you will with weight lifting. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of bulking up! As long as you aren’t eating more calories than your body is burning, your body will not get bigger by weight lifting!

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2) Your back, abs, arms, and shoulders all have the potential to carry a significant amount of muscle mass, too. Like with your legs, it's important that you choose a heavy-enough resistance, or weight. The heavier the weight lifting and the more intense the workout is overall, the greater your post-workout caloric burn will be.

3) Now, it’s time to get down and sweaty with some cardio. Many people like it and most people hate it, but either way it is particularly important for woman to do a cardio workout to burn fat. As unfair as it may seem, it's common for men to be able to get and stay lean just by working out with weights and following a healthy diet. So for all us woman out there, we need to suck it up and break a sweat. After all, what is the point of doing all that weight training, if those beautiful muscles are covered by fat?

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