Many women who want to get in shape think their best plan of attack is to spend hours on the treadmill. Sure, cardiovascular exercise like that burns fat. However, it’s far from the most effective weight loss method. In fact, only participating in cardio exercise fails to boost metabolism for the long term. It also leads to boredom and over time, your body stops getting challenged.

So, why don’t more women expand their fitness regimen? Well, it seems many females are afraid to include weight training in their routine. They fear lifting weights will cause them to “bulk up” and look masculine. As a result, they either avoid weights entirely, or use weights so light they can easily do twenty to fifty repetitions. The truth, though, is that resistance training with weights is the number one way to get in shape – no matter what gender you are.

What makes resistance training so important? Well, when you build muscle, you help your body burn fat even when it’s at rest. Muscle mass requires more energy than fat. Therefore, it eats up more calories even when you’re sleeping. Also, lean muscle mass is not inherently “bulky.” Gaining muscle will not automatically make you big. Instead, it will give your body a lean, toned physique, one you can be proud of and one you will want to show off.

So, how can someone start building muscle and burning fat quickly? It all comes down to keeping your body challenged. After weeks and months of the same activity, your muscles simply won’t respond to your fitness routine. To keep increasing your fitness, you need to incorporate variety. For example, the ChaLEAN Extreme program offers several different exercises and routine to keep your muscles guessing, also called muscle confusion. Programs like this also vary the weight and repetitions you use. This forces your body to constantly readjust and push itself further, which in turn continually improves your level of fitness.

Finally, even after reading all this, many women may still say no to muscle building exercises. Why? For the simple reason that they don’t want to go to the gym to lift weights. After all, that’s where all the guys go to weight train right? While the gym might have more equipment, practical fitness does not require all the extra gear. In fact, home routines can be just as effective as spending hours at the gym and a fortune on monthly membership fees. The best home workouts are those that are all-inclusive, easy to follow, and uses modern technology. The ChaLEAN Extreme program for instance, demonstrates several variations. You can use dumbbells, resistance bands, or an adjustable dumbbell (I use PowerBlocks). ChaLEAN Extreme also features simple, carefully illustrated DVDs as well as an instructional DVD and additional guidebooks (both a fitness and nutritional guide).

So, if you’re looking to completely makeover your body, get off the treadmill. Take a break from your endless hours of tedious cardio and grab some of those dumbbells. The more you challenge your body, the more muscle you will build, and the more muscle you build the faster you burn fat. It’s really that simple. Programs like ChaLEAN Extreme are the best way to get you started, and offers the variety to keep you going for months!