Strong is the new skinny

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You see them on social media all the time: fitness challenges, boot camps, transformations. Women with muscle are mainstream these days, from Hollywood to the White House, soccer stars to rock stars.

More women are adding strength training to their workout routines in an effort to get fit. FOX 4's Loren Halifax interviewed Overland Park mother Shira Knoche and Parkville mother and grandmother Vickie Sims to get their take on the craze. Both women got fit using workout programs that combine strength training with weights and cardio training such as walking, running, cycling or elliptical machines.

Both women say they lost weight and gained energy, strength and stamina. As their bodies grew lean and healthy, they  say they also started feeling stronger mentally and emotionally. Shira and Vickie say they now feel more confident and more capable of dealing with the pressures and stress of daily life. Their family members noticed, too and started getting healthier as a result.

They shared some of the tips that helped them succeed:

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1. Push yourself: Vickie says when she wanted to quit she would look at her "before" pictures to motivate herself.
2. Get a buddy: Shira's daughter Sydney asked to work out with her mom to get more fit for school activities like cheerleading. They now go to the gym together, ride bikes and do other healthy activities as a family. Vickie walks stairs at her workplace with a friend and co-worker.
3. Plan for your weaknesses: Vickie loves ice cream so she found healthy recipes online for whole food treats she could use to replace high-sugar snacks.
4. Food is fuel: Both women said they noticed that healthy eating gave them more energy so they were able to stop eating out of boredom or for comfort.
5. Change your mindset: Vickie says she tries to keep a mental attitude of "I can" instead of "I can't." Remember that every choice matters. Both women say that every healthy choice added up and helped them make noticeable changes and reach their fitness goals.
6. Reach out: Ask family and friends for encouragement and support. If you're struggling with health problems or depression, ask for the help you need to feel better.

HitchFit owner and trainer Diana LaCerte says that every person, no matter their situation, can find ways to improve their health and fitness. If you have a unique health challenge, you can find a trainer who will work with you.
You can read more about their stories here:

Vickie's story: http://hitchfit.com/before-afters/fit-and-fabulous-at-60-raw-real-powerful-inspiration/
Shira's story: http://hitchfitgym.com/success-stories/25-pound-weight-loss-for-hard-working-wife-mother-of-two/

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