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Approximately 90 percent of people on diets will regain the weight that they lose within a one-year period. If you choose to go on a weight loss program that focuses only on caloric reduction and does not include exercise, you may notice a weight loss, but don't plan on having any long-term weight loss success.

When "dieting" without exercising, about 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle. Since muscle tissue is metabolically active, it has high energy requirements for maintenance and the rebuilding process. The loss of muscle will slow your resting metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned at rest). This gradual decrease in metabolism is very much related to the gradual increase in body fat; an increase in muscle tissue will produce an increase in your metabolic rate.

The bathroom scales may be telling you that you have lost some poundage, but what they fail to tell you is how much of that weight loss is muscle loss.

One of the keys to successful long-term weight control is to maintain or increase the amount of "calorie-burning" muscle in your body through strength training; increasing muscle tissue will increase the utilization of calories all day long. Significant gains in muscle mass can be accomplished by strengthening the major muscle groups of the body three times a week for workout periods of 20-30 minutes. Strength exercises should not replace aerobic activity (at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week), rather they should complement them.

Bicep Curls (front of upper arms)

You may be seated or in a standing position. If standing, place feet shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and contract abdominals. Holding weights with palms facing forward, slowly lift weights to chest level and slowly return to original position; do not swing the weights. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions, increasing to 2-3 sets of 10 reps.

Seated Dip (works the chest, latissimus dorsi (sides of back), triceps and the shoulders)

Sit on seat with ankles crossed; fasten seat belt. Place hands and forearms on movement arm while grasping handles. Straighten arms downward slowly and slowly return to start position.

Triceps (back of upper arms)

Standing, place legs shoulder-width apart; knees relaxed and abdominals contracted. Begin by holding weight overhead. Keeping elbows forward slowly lower weight behind head and slowly return to original position overhead, keeping the head of the weight facing upward.

Bicep Curls

Sit on machine, adjust height. Place elbows on padded support in front of you; grasp the handles and pull the movement arm upward. Keep feet flat on the floor and wrists rigid throughout the movement. Lower weight until moving arms are straight; do not round shoulders.


1. If overweight, sedentary or a beginner, do not attempt to participate in strenuous, high-volume strength training. Significant changes in body composition have been reported from less demanding conditioning programs. Increases in muscle weight of 3{ pounds following eight weeks of moderate-intensity strength training (one set of 8-12 reps) have been noted.

2. Always warm up before beginning: walk, easy marching, jogging.

3. Do a few of your favorite upper and lower body stretches.

4. Begin with one set of 10-12 repetitions using light weights.

5. When this becomes easy, increase the weight by 5-10 percent and decrease the reps to 10.

6. Perform the movements slowly with a feeling of control.

7. Use full range of motion.

8. Stretch out after workout.