Strong is the New Skinny! Strength Training Essentials & Basics        

Strength Training Fact:
It is important to remember, that muscle is heavier than fat, so if your training is effective the results may not show on the scale.  Look for a different measurement such as waist circumference or skin fold tests to monitor fat loss.

 -Naomi Tupper/Calorie Secrets


Image courtesy of fitbodyhype.com
Do you recall the first time you attempted or considered lifting weights? I don’t know how your experience went, but mines was pretty awkward, to say the least. I remember feeling like I was foreigner in a strange land as I approached a host of weight lifting machines and dumbbells. Nothing but steel and people (majority men) grunting as they diligently maneuvered weights and navigated their way through a variety of sets and intervals. And there I was, little me….looking completely and utterly lost and intimidated. Of course, there were more than a few kind folks that were willing to offer their advise, information and instruction.  Initially, I welcomed their tips and feedback. However,as the information, from one person to another, began to vary and conflict,I found myself feeling confused. I quickly realized I was going to have to seek.. H-E-L-P! 
 I was so relieved when I acquired a competent, knowledgeable and clearly experienced trainer….and I might add, her muscles and definition put many to shame.  I remember  feeling much more confident as I approached the weights with my new trainer. Oddly enough, I felt like I had an advocate. She patiently showed me the in’s and out’s of strength training. And the appropriate ways to use the machines and free weights. Each day I felt more and more comfortable and capable as my strength and abilities improved.  What was even better, was the noticeable change in my body. Yes,cardio had been great, but integrating the weights into my workout regimen clearly maximized my training.  I was ecstatic when people started commenting on my physical changes. My body was becoming noticeably more toned and defined.  I felt strong and empowered.  Unfortunately, due to work and life deviations, I ended up falling off with my strength training and as quickly as I saw great improvements from lifting weights, adversely I saw how quickly my body could lose definition from not using them. 
So now is now, this past year I’ve began lifting again. I suffered a setback with a non-weight related knee injury, but I refuse to let that divert my attention or focus. Onward to the weights!!!  One of the great things about weights, there are so many variations and options. Additionally, they’re extremely convenient. I have my own personal set at home so I wont have an excuse for not strength training. Of course, as much as I’d like to, I won’t be able to address “everything” about weightlifting in this blog post, but I did manage to find a useful video and compiled a list of weightlifting fundamentals. For more info, please see the supplemental list of additional articles about strength training.  I found them helpful. Hopefully, you find them beneficial as well. Also, take a peek at our weekly “STYLE WATCH” featuring a few adorable and essential strength training products.   

Top 5 Benefits of Strength Training

1. Strong bones- Strength training and weight baring exercise has been shown to help increase bone density and slow the process of bone loss over time.  For younger women, strength training can help to build strong bones which can help prevent fractures and other potential injuries.

2. Weight management Strength training help to build muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat tissue. It’s proven that people who strength train burn more calories even when at rest.

3. Tone up Tends to burn more calories and decrease fat, resistance training can improve the appearance of the body by toning and firming muscles.
4. Perform better Weightlifting can increase strength in muscles and improve your performance in sports and other physical activities. Increased strength can also make your workout much easier and more enjoyable.

5. A healthier heart The evidence supports that strength training can have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as decreased levels of LDL “bad’ cholesterol, and increased HDL “good’ cholesterol in the blood.It’s proven to reduce high blood pressure.Although people with high blood pressure should not commence strength training without a doctor’s approval.
Video provides visual examples of appropriate form and methods for weight training www.bodybuilding.com

Beginners aim to make gains every workout.
Intermediates aim to make gains every week.
Advanced trainees aim to make gains every 3-4 weeks.
-JC Deen/The Beginners Guide to Building Muscle

The aim is to start with a light load and progressively add weight to the bar every session. Make sure to warm up before training and maintain good posture and form to prevent injuries.
References & more great articles and tips about weightlifting:
Weight Lifting Tips for Women-Women’s Health Magazine
11 Beginner Strength Training Tips for Women