Those who know me and who come to my classes at Bodies by P in Soho have heard me say that 98 percent of the exercises commonly done by women are the exact opposite of what they should be doing. These exercises focus on large, easy-to-reach muscles and overdevelop them causing women to bulk up. This completely contradicts what most women tell me they want to achieve — which is a leaner physique.

I’m not about bashing other fitness programs but I do get concerned for women when I see them join gyms or fitness clubs where the workout is so intense and mirrors the same kind of exercises that I did when I played football in high school. Simply put, that’s not what women should be doing (unless your goal is to look like I did when I played football). Most women strive to be lean and toned, yet when they come to my class, their muscles are overworked and inflamed, causing the bulk and the unwanted mass. Most women are completely baffled when their jeans are too tight in the thighs after a couple of months of Soul Cycle or when their tops are too tight in the shoulders and arms after sticking with CrossFit.

If your main goal is to lean out and tone up (without the bulk), then you need to retrain your mind about how you need to work out. It’s not about repetition and intense exertion. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Here are three tips to get you started on the path to achieving a lean and toned look (as featured in POP SUGAR):

1. FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: Women’s bodies are different than men’s and should be treated as such. Workouts geared towards men typically include explosive movements that overdevelop muscles. These workouts may feel good in the short run for women, but they aren’t necessary. I like to slow the movements down to create a natural-looking body.

2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HIPS: I always start my sessions with a full-body hip stretch. Hip tightness is common and is aggravated by activities like sitting, running and cycling. Hip movement is critical to enabling the body to perform fully and to achieving a sleek, natural physique. Before working out, be sure to stretch completely and open up your hips.

3. PAIN = NO GAIN: We have been conditioned to feel good about feeling sore after a workout. What that pain really means, however, is that you’re breaking down your muscles, causing them to get larger as they rebuild. Instead, concentrate on lightweight, low resistance and muscle activation.

These tips are your first step in reshaping how you think about conditioning your body. The line that you will hear me say over and over again is… Your muscles should be singing, not screaming!

Make your workout work for you and get the results you want. Stay tuned for more workout tips. And feel free to shoot me questions in the comments section and I will address them in future posts!