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Strength Is The New Fitness Trend For Women

CORAL GABLES (Miami) -- For many women, diet pills and treadmills are the tools to achieve their ideal body but some women are now using barbells and push-ups to get the body of their dreams.

Janelle Benito may only be 5'3" but she is 127 pounds of intimidating strength. She can throw 100 pounds over her head and lift a loaded barbell off the ground.

"A lot of girls are doing Olympic lifting, and they are gaining more muscle," said Benito.

Two years ago, Benito weighed in at 95 pounds. She was petite and certainly skinny but then she fell in love with Crossfit, a boot camp style workout that incorporates Olympic lifting.

"I tried it out one day and it progressed and now I can't stop. I can't go to a regular gym anymore," she explained.

Two years of dedication to Crossfit and Janelle has transformed her body into pure muscle.

"I like the new look. I like the new me," she said.

Now, Janelle is pretty much exemplifying the new trend in fitness that strong is the new skinny.

"You don't lose your femininity when you gain strength and you have an athletic build," said Dr. Sarah Messiah from the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. Dr. Messiah is an advocate for the new push for stronger women.

"It's so not healthy to think that way. There is nothing healthy about being skinny," said Dr. Messiah.

More women are looking for help on getting fit and not skinny.

According to the National Directory of Magazines, the number of health & fitness magazines has grown 62-percent from 2004 to 2010. Dozens of them are geared specifically toward women.

Since 2004 one of the most popular magazines, Women's Health, has increased its sales by 375-percent with a circulation of more than 1.5 million.

"I think if you ask the opposite sex what they prefer in terms of attractiveness, most men would tell you they prefer a strong, athletic build, well proportioned build, over a skinny woman," said Dr. Messiah.

With over 5,000 Crossfit gyms throughout the country thousands of women are living a new lifestyle of lifting and loving what it's doing to their bodies despite any criticism.

"They really felt that is increased their confidence and I think their self-esteem," said Dr. Messiah.

Benito agreed.

"I feel strong but it's still beautiful, it's still womanly, it's still feminine," said Benito.

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