Bikini Monday: It’s Time to Make Those Muscles Pop

…and we’re talking “pop” as in, Sha-zaaam! Paddow! Ka-boom! Behold my back muscles. I took this picture yesterday. Things are coming along nicely. Strength training is so dang important, so I invited the muscle-loving queen that is Suzanne from Workout Nirvana (she has a freaking awesome site) to break down the importance of weight/strength training for the Bikini Body Challenge AND for your health.

It’s Time To Make Those Muscles Pop

Losing weight takes time, patience, and focus, especially if your goal is to get fit by bikini season. So you may not be feeling the love for strength training – doesn’t it cut into your cardio time? And shouldn’t you lose the weight first?

The truth is, combined with good cardiovascular workouts, strength training can actually help you lose weight and help you to keep it off. And that’s just the beginning.

Strength Training Burns Fat Longer

Unlike cardio exercise, intense strength training has been shown to burn calories during and after exercising for up to 24-36 hours. When you take short rest periods between exercises and get your heart rate up, continuous fat burning is significant. Two ways to get your heart rate up during weight lifting is by doing circuits and supersets (two exercises back to back without rest).

Muscle also burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

Care for a Little Protection?

If you can imagine yourself with very little muscle tone and rapidly decreasing bone density, then you can imagine yourself as an older woman with a frail and rigid body.

If you don’t protect yourself by strengthening your muscles, you might find that this is you later in life. Women start losing bone density early in life and at a high rate after menopause. If you have a high bone mass early in adult life, your risk of getting osteoporosis is decreased.

One more thing about aging and muscles: According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a drop in your muscle mass means your metabolic rate can drop 2 to 3 percent. What does that mean? Gaining more weight as you age.

Outer Hotness, Meet Inner Hotness

You simply can’t underestimate the self confidence strength training can give you. Taking chances by learning something new, heaving weights while you push yourself to the limit, and seeing defined muscles emerge can give you a special type of confidence I call inner hotness. You know your strength; you know you’re strong.

You may even decide you want to own the weight room, not just get away with as little as possible. Women belong in the weight room, and as you’ve seen, can benefit even more than men. But you can easily start off lifting weights at home, too.

Your Weights Workout

So if you’re convinced you should add weight training to your routine, let’s get started. It’s important to start slowly – you’ll still get plenty of benefits. If you try to lift too much or go too fast you could injure yourself – and get discouraged.

Follow these guidelines for maximum fat loss benefits and safety. What you do will depend on your experience level.

  • Most experts recommend three full-body strength-training sessions per week, lasting less than 45 minutes per session.
  • Rest for 30 seconds between exercises in a set and 60 seconds between sets.
  • Do 12-15 repetitions to start for one to three sets (a set is a group of repetitions).
  • If you’re a beginner, use light resistance to start and gradually work your way up to heavier weights. Your muscles should feel fatigued by the last few repetitions. If you can do more than 12-15 reps, increase the weight. If you can’t do 12-15 reps, decrease the weight.
  • For the best fat-burning benefits, do two exercises back to back without rest (called supersets).
  • Also for fat-burning, do 15-20 minutes of intervals or sprints at the end of the workout. This is optional depending on your fitness level and routine.

Be sure to warm up before strength training by doing 5-10 minutes of light cardio. Cool down by gently stretching your muscles. And don’t forget to refuel with a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein after your workout (for example, 40g carbs and 20g protein).

Are you ready to feel the love for strength training? Go get it!

Suzanne is a health/fitness fanatic and technical writer who is currently working on her NASM certification for personal training. She blogs about all things weight training at Check her out up close and personal on Twitter @WorkoutNirvana and on Facebook.


  1. Alan says:

    Great post!! Its funny I read this considering I am starting a new strength training concentrated workout routine tomorrow. Time to put some hustle behind this muscle!

    Alan recently posted..Struggle is part of the journey

  2. MizFit says:

    I lovelovelove me some @workoutnirvana!!!
    MizFit recently posted..Hula Hooping and Self-Love

  3. Coco says:

    I don’t really have time to check up on blogs this morning, but the picture on your FB post caught my attention and I had to comment: Wowzie!
    Coco recently posted..Unfinished Business

  4. Josie, looking good! You know I love me those weight workouts!!! LOVE! I hope to have a video post on the back of me & doing a close grip pull-up tomorrow…

    I have done lots of different things thru the years & now, at my age I am still mixing it up but I circuit train my weights & minimal rest no matter how much I am lifting …. :-)
    Jody – Fit at 53 recently posted..Overcoming Pain – A Story of Survival

    • Yum Yucky says:

      Jody – remind me. Do you do everything at home or are you still visiting a gym? Work on a ball at all? I’m considering adding a ball if the damn thing would stop rolling away.

    • SOMERSKYS says:


  5. You’re preaching to the choir here.

    By the way, it’s very nice to read multiple paragraphs which prove that you know the difference between “your” and “you’re” and other demonstrations of grammatical correctness. You’ve got brains AND brawn!
    dragonmamma/naomi recently posted..The new Time Master

  6. Shannon says:

    You are looking fantastic! Holy crap I wish my back looked like that. Lots of good info. here today glad I got a chance to stop by :)

  7. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    This is really well written darlin’.  

    And?  You look smokin.

  8. angela says:

    Ooohh, nice. ::runs to lift weights::

  9. Great post and reminder to all of us (especially us girls)!!  I LOVE my kettlebells and generally use those, along with good old fashioned pushups and pull ups, for strength training.  Oh, and thanks for introducing me to Workout Nirvana, I enjoy staying on the cutting edge of fitness!  You guys rock!
    Lynn~The Learning Curves Blogger recently posted..Charlie Sheen isnt the only winner!!

  10. merri says:

    great back muscles! i like doing weight training, but only in a group setting. those machines never seem to fit me, since i’m short, and i never can remember the proper exercises to try and do the free weights on my own. but i do bodypump class each week at the gym, and it is HARD! i think one day itll give me some muscles! :)
    merri recently posted..Coupon Crazy!

  11. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    Smokin’ hot you are!!

    I am just now getting back into my kettlebell routine, along with some added moves with a new trainer…not ready to take a picture of my back just yet 😉
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted..Does Meaning Matter

  12. lisa says:

    yeaaa muscles!! Ive always wanted like, super toned arms and abs for as long as I can remember. Althogh  I feel like I could do 100 push ups a day and my arms will still look like lanky noodles… at least Im trying! (altho with a more reasonably 20 push ups a day!!)
    lisa recently posted..Trader Joe’s Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts &amp Wild Mushrooms

  13. I so need to do this…grrr…u just made me want to get on some weights….Darn you Yum Yucky!!!, recently posted..Giveaway3-Bossy Girl Cares

  14. steena says:

    You are looking FANTASTIC.  I love that you’re brave enough to do this with photos.  Keep it up!
    steena recently posted..Epic bike ride Go

  15. Wifey says:

    I want a bikini AND some poppin’ muscles.

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey recently posted..Checking Up on Your Goods

  16. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.
    certified strength and conditioning specialist programs recently posted..certified strength and conditioning specialist programs


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