Studio: 6809 Cascade Rd SE, Suite A, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

October 15th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Want to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently? Strength training to the rescue! Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.

Use it or lose it

Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.

You’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose over time. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age.

Strength training may also help you:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Manage your weight. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight, and it can increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Enhance your quality of life Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.

Consider the options

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Bodyweight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, planks and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is an inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools. If you don’t have weights at home, you can use soup cans.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can invest in weight machines for use at home, too.

Getting started

If you have a chronic condition, or if you’re older than age 40 and you haven’t been active recently, check with your doctor before beginning a strength training or aerobic fitness program.

Before beginning strength training, consider warming up with brisk walking or another aerobic activity for five or 10 minutes. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles.

Choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. When you can easily do more repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

Research shows that a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with the proper weight can build muscle efficiently in most people and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise.

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group.

Also, be careful to listen to your body. If a strength training exercise causes pain, stop the exercise. Consider trying a lower weight or trying it again in a few days.

It’s important to use proper technique in strength training to avoid injuries. If you’re new to weight training, work with a trainer or other fitness specialist to learn the correct form and technique. Remember to breathe as you strength train.

When to expect results

You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises for all major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.

As you incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine, you may notice an improvement in your strength over time. As your muscle mass increases, you’ll likely be able to lift weight more easily and for longer periods of time. If you keep it up, you can continue to increase your strength, even if you’re not in shape when you begin.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Strength Training Classes

May 1st, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Summer is here, are you ready? If not, let’s get started NOW.

Are you pressed for time?  Most people often state lack of time as their reason for not starting a regular fitness program.

So, is it possible for people to have busy lives and still have time for a quality workout? The answer is yes!

It is possible to get a superior workout without spending hours in the gym! Our strength class offers compound exercises which allow you to make more of your time and provide you with a powerful workout for a fraction of the time! During our 1/2 hour class, you will stimulate all major muscles in your body and create the greatest change in body composition in the shortest amount of time!

As an added bonus, you’ll find renewed strength in everyday activities, such as sitting or kneeling and in sports like basketball or baseball involve moving multiple joints.

Are you afraid of looking like “The Hulk“? Most people, especially women, who do not possess enough of the male hormone, testosterone, to build large bulky muscles and do not have to worry about getting too big when training with weights.

We will perform the following exercises and more during this class:

  • Squats
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Pushups
  • Shoulder Presses
  • Arm Curls
  • Squat Presses
  • Deadlifts

Strength exercises are the essential building blocks you need to help transform your body. This is your pathway to change. Challenge yourself by joining our total body strength and conditioning classes offered every Tuesday at 6 pm, and Saturday at 9 & 10:30 am – 30 minutes, drop-ins welcome!

The 40- and 50-something wide and wide-eyed 

March 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Kids are grown and almost out of the house, God bless ’em. Both spouses work and love Monday Night Football. He likes a few beers now and then and the love of his life prefers wine at dinner. Where does time go and where do the pounds come from? They used to run and could go for miles; tried to jog last Friday, and were on the couch for the rest of the weekend. The muscle they thought was lost attacked without mercy from every direction…simultaneously. Scary. Life’s a grand struggle and they love it…worth the fight and they want to start living again… renew, rebuild, strengthen and fortify. Exercise, eat right; it’s time.

It is time, indeed. And there’s nothing like a healthy and challenging diversion to revive our vitality and renew interest as the valley of life spreads out before us. And what is more complete, inexpensive and available than the challenge of musclebuilding fitness? Pole vaulting is unlikely, you’re probably too old for the Marines and ski jumping has its limiting factors.

The secret’s out; it’s on TV, it’s become an industry. Every day, everywhere we look, we witness the grave physical condition of our neighbors — overweight and undermuscled, un-energized and dispirited. Few, upon identifying the disadvantages in themselves, do anything about them: too late, too much trouble, too lazy, too ignorant, too careless, too cowardly, too apathetic, too busy, too preoccupied.

Oh, well, what the heck. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes in some distant future and some actually give the growing dilemma their best shot: walk, skip meals, join a gym on a two-for-one special for a 30-day-trial. Tomorrow goes and, just as they expected, nothing happens. “I told ya.”

Ah, but there are the exceptions to the rule, and, well, they rule. The original Mr. and Mrs. Wide-eyed see the light and grasp the iron with all their might. They hire Debbie Martilotta, a personal trainer who’s been through the mill — all good personal trainers go through the mill — and she introduces them to the inner workings of the metal shop. How’s it go again? Lift, push, pull, hoist, order, intensity, feel, live and lift, learn and grow… smile, be happy.

Oh, yeah. Though reminded to be positive and never look back, they say, “What have we been waiting for? If only we knew the musclebuilding lifestyle was so fulfilling, rewarding, beneficial, interesting, challenging and fun, we’d have become muscleheads ages ago.”


Got wings, will fly… Draper, courtesy of