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

    This is an excellent article with some information which I didn't previously know. I am limited to what I can do, but at least I should be able to do some exercises. - 9/12/2015 7:29:44 PM
  • still don't like it! geeze. I have to make myself do it. I hate weighs. Rather use stretchy bands - 9/12/2015 5:48:24 PM
  • Yessss, I just started strength training again a couple weeks ago, and I always love how it gives my body such stability with every thing I do. Spark on sparkers! ):) - 8/18/2015 4:03:22 PM
  • I'm very lax at strength training and I know I need it. Just a note, though. Not everyone can lift more than 5 pounds because of physical limitations and medical problems. To say all women should be lifting 15-20 pounds is wrong. I know that right now I can use no more than 5 pounds, but by starting, I'll be doing something. - 8/16/2015 4:54:01 PM
  • What a great article, I learned so much. Since adding multiple days of strength training each week, my body is leaner and I do sleep better. I am a fan of body weight moves, various resistance bands, and lighter dumb bells...up to ten pounds, annnnnd I love that I can do all of this at home! - 8/16/2015 7:38:13 AM
  • Learning to love strength training is a great help indeed! - 8/15/2015 4:37:29 PM
  • I just started in a gym. I am still learning when enough is enough. I go, then next suffer for 2-3 days with soreness. I seem to get into a state of mind that I get lost. Similar to a runners high.Strange. Right now I have a love-hate relationship with the whole thing. LOL! - 8/15/2015 9:53:44 AM
    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

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