Fitness Articles

Learn to Love Strength Training

Improve Your Health and Your Appearance

I’ll admit it—I’m vain. So when I put on my summer tank tops a few months ago and noticed the dreaded "batwings" growing on the back of my arms, I panicked. I was too young to have my arms jiggling when I moved! I had to do something, fast—something more productive than hiding behind long-sleeved shirts for the rest of my life. I had to tone up my arms.

An information junkie, I have read about so many strength training routines that I could give Charles Atlas a run for his money. Notice I said read about strength training, not done it. But it was time to face the facts—and time to put my knowledge to work and actually use the dumbbells that were gathering dust under my bed.

So, with my doctor’s approval, I set out to whip my arms (and legs) into shape. Being a real packrat, I also had piles of fitness magazines and printed web pages on the topic. Once I started reading about strength training in more detail, I was amazed at how beneficial a weight routine is to your body—and for your health. I took a few notes so I wouldn’t forget those facts, and posted them around the house to keep me motivated and remind me of my goals.

Whenever I was tempted to drop the weights and grab a cookie instead, this is what I reminded myself: The top 10 reasons everyone should strength train (and LOVE every minute of it):

1. Strength training preserves muscle mass during weight loss.
According to a University of Michigan research study, at least 25% to 30% of weight lost by dieting alone is not fat but lean tissue, muscle, bone and water. However, strength training helps dieters preserve muscle mass while still losing weight.

2. Strength training elevates your metabolism.
Starting in their twenties, most people (especially women) lose half a pound of muscle every year if they aren't strength training to preserve it. After age 60, this rate of loss doubles. But regular strength training can preserve muscle throughout the lifespan, and rebuild the muscle lost.

3. Strength training helps you lose weight more easily (or eat more without gaining weight).
Since muscle is active tissue (unlike fat, which is inert), it requires energy to maintain. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

    have gained great muscle definition through strengh training. My legs and bicepts has more definition. It helps keep the skin tight whiles losing weight. - 7/25/2015 3:53:49 PM
    Great list of reasons to strength train. It is insulting and misleading however to show pictures of women holding Barbie weights. Five related articles shown in the side bar and not a single woman is holding more than a 5-pound weight. - 10/14/2014 10:56:49 PM
  • I do not strength train, but after reading this article I am going to start! I am amazed at all the benefits! WOW! - 12/3/2013 10:43:27 AM
  • A sister article with more explicit instructions would be nice. These are all great points, but what counts as strength training? how much, how often?
    I'm confident that my program is giving me the gains I want, but I know too many women that thing heavy lifting is bad. - 12/3/2013 7:23:01 AM
  • Good information. I will push myself to do more strength training! - 9/17/2013 10:17:15 AM
    I have been strength-training at least five days a week for several months now, and have noticed a real difference. My arms have better tone, and I've done so many squats and lunges that my thighs and hips are much stronger. However, strength training will NOT get rid of the "batwings" any more than crunches will give you a six-pack. Those "wings" are just loose fat, and you have to reduce that, with diet and cardio, before you'll be able to see those triceps you've been toning! - 9/17/2013 1:14:55 AM
  • Great info. I have to start back with my strength training. - 8/8/2013 7:44:14 PM
  • Strength training is more than just "pumping iron" or using dumbbells. Once I realized that, I wholeheartedly embraced it! Don't get me wrong, I do use the weight machines at my Y, but I also take a group class in strength training and have learned many things I can do at home without having to fiddle with machines. - 5/28/2012 1:57:02 PM
  • Awesome article! Started Weights 3 months back and feel 1000x better! At 50, I have re-ignited a love of pumping iron lost since my mid-20's! - 5/21/2012 11:08:43 AM
    Don't understand why women are so afriad of strength training. And why many refuse to up their weights.

    love it and love the fact that this big girl uses weights that younger, guys can't use. Makes my day when I out lift them and no I did not bulk up .

    Why do women think they have to only use wieghts 10lb and under, come on over to the big wieghts.

    Don't really use anything under 20 lb, execpt for shoulders then its 15. - 1/20/2012 12:07:31 PM
  • Thank you for this amazingly informative article. I will think of this article the next time I am thinking of skipping my strength training session! - 1/21/2011 1:53:26 PM
    you got me! Great info and challenge. I'm gonna start strength training in the morning and now am really super motivated to do it! - 1/17/2011 10:08:04 PM
  • thanks for the terrific information. I recently increased my lifting. I have determined it has caused an increase in my appetite. I eat more on those days. I think it would be a good idea to add a tip on how to manage the increase in hunger int your article. - 1/17/2011 8:16:17 PM
    Thank you for a very interesting article with so much information included. I am saving it to my "favorites" file for future reference. I already follow a regular strength training routine (and have done so for years), and experience its healthy benefits on a daily basis. - 1/17/2011 7:33:46 AM
  • LYSTRA52
    When I read the Article about Strength Training, I realize that it make more sense to the
    story. I have tried any exercies that I could think of but Strength Training is one of the best. I loved the Weight Training. I feel great, fit and strong. - 1/17/2011 12:37:01 AM

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