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Melissa Gorga's bikini-body diet and workout tips: Weight-lifting keeps her sexy

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Melissa Gorga credits a portion controlled diet and weight-lifting workouts for her hot bikini body.

Melissa Gorga spotlights smoking-hot bikini body: Her diet and workout secrets
Melissa Gorga spotlights smoking-hot bikini body: Her diet and workout secrets
Melissa Gorga Instagram

"I definitely work out now harder than I've ever worked out in my life," Melissa told Us. "It came naturally to me before I had children, but now I have to work for it."

The 5-foot-4 Gorga, who weighs 115 pounds, emphasizes strength-training over cardio workouts and does lots of lower-body exercises to tone her butt and thighs. "I do a lot of squats and lunges to bulk and lift [my butt] up," said Melissa.

Focus on Weight Lifting Over Cardio Exercise

Gorga typically works out three days a week, lifting weights with her trainer for an hour. Gorga, who was 10 pounds heavier during her twenties, doesn't do a lot of cardio, but said she takes spinning classes at SoulCycle whenever she can.

Melissa, author of Love Italian Style, does not diet, and credits portion control for her slim physique. "I can't diet!" she said. "I stay active so I can eat what I want. I tend to go for lighter meals, because that's what I enjoy."

While many women are afraid to lift weights because they're concerned about bulking up, most fitness trainers agree that strength-training can help women slim down and get leaner without losing their curves.

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, whose clients include Jessica Simpson, Megan Fox and Lady Gaga, said it's a myth that women will get huge muscles by lifting weights.

"Women have less testosterone than men, so they won't bulk up even if they lift heavy weights," said Pasternak, author of The Body Reset Diet.

Former "Full House" star Candace Cameron Bure said lifting weights has dramatically changed her body. Bure, who has maintained her 22-pound weight loss for more than four years, typically works out four to five days a week for an hour, combining cardio exercise and strength-training.

The 5-foot-2 Cameron Bure, who weighs about 120 pounds, lifts heavy weights for 25 minutes and then does 35 minutes of cardio exercise on the treadmill or elliptical trainer.

"Lifting weights has changed my body tremendously and I'd never go without it again," said Candace, who discussed her weight-loss secrets and how she overcame bulimia in her memoir, Reshaping It All.