I’m worried if I strength train I’m going to add muscle under the fat around my belly, butt, and thighs, which will make them look even bigger! Should I just try to burn off the fat first before building muscle?


“A mistake I often see is women trying to burn fat first and in the process losing valuable muscle tissue. But your muscle is gold,” explains celebrity trainer Jen Widerstrom, author of Diet Right for Your Person­ality Type. The reality is that muscle tissue, especially the fast-twitch fibers, is what will be burning calories and fat all day and ultimately is the solution to your fat-loss goals, Widerstrom says.

Fast-twitch fibers are mainly used during bursts of explosive movements such as box jumps and lunge jumps (legs and butt), medicine ball situp wall tosses (abs), and incline rebound pushups, and dumbbell drop rows (chest, back, and arms). Add these to your routine two to three times a week on nonconsecutive days. “Build your muscle tissue, sustain it, and let it do its job,” Widerstrom says.