If you haven’t already heard, a cardio-only fitness regimen isn’t the best for losing fat and sculpting muscles. Strength training is a necessity, and here are five tips to get the most out of those sessions that are weight-building.

If you’re hitting the weights once or twice a week, it’s definitely better than nothing, but if you really want to find effects. Do your strength training three to four days each week and make sure that you’re not doing it back to back especially if you’re doing a full-body routine — always give yourself a day in between training for the muscles to recoup and grow.

If you do cardio on the same days, do your strength training first, or you can alternate and do cardio on the days in between your strength-training workout.

There’s More to Life Than Bodyweight Moves

While doing moves such as squats, lunges, and plank variations using your bodyweight is effective, adding weights to all those basic moves can make your muscles work harder, which means getting stronger in less time.

Add dumbbells, use resistance bands, or hold a kettlebell and you’ll instantly feel that your muscles firing up with just a few reps.

Maybe you’re itching to get a six-pack or a lifted booty, but working one area will cause muscle imbalances, which can lead to injury. Also, the more muscle mass you create overall, the more calories you’ll burn, which decreases your total body-fat percentage to reveal your muscles. Work your thighs, butt, abs, back, and arms equally, and attempt these multitasking moves that operate more than one part of the body at once.

Lifting heavier can help you eliminate weight faster, but it’ll also be the most effective at reshaping your body. Don’t just move from deadlifting 20 lbs! Gradually increase the weight to prevent injury.

And don’t worry about bulking up. If you go for heavier weights or even if you start lifting a barbell with plates, you won’t instantly turn into a female form of the unbelievable Hulk.

Variety Is a Must!

Don’t just be married to the dumbbells or the machines. Utilize a variety of equipment to challenge your muscles in different ways, including resistance bands, medicine balls, barbells, a TRX, and a few sets of dumbbells from light to heavy.

Definitely don’t skip on the kettlebells — a study by the American Council on Exercise found that the average person burns 400 calories in 20 minutes when doing kettlebell exercises. Mix up the exercises that you do from day to day, the order you do them, and the speed.