Joined: 21/11/2015 10:21:12
The relationship between muscle development and reduced body fat is particularly interesting. Basically, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and therefore the more fat you burn. Strength training improves fat burning because:
you metabolise more quickly in the day or two following a workout, when your muscles are repairing themselves (this is the time you may experience DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. After a really good workout you may hurt for days, but personally I enjoy this type of soreness because I can almost actively feel the improved metabolism and fat burning occurring), and
just simply having muscle improves your metabolism.
This article in The Age newspaper adds a further dimension to the argument, suggesting that strength training - exercising our muscles - releases chemicals called "myokines, which have a range of benefits including reducing the low level inflammation in the body thought to contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's - and possibly working as tumour suppressants". The research is new, as I understand it, but promising.
Whichever way you look at it, strength training can only do you good. There used to be a view that if women lifted heavy weights, they would look 'bulky' or 'manly'. This misguided view is in fact quite disrespectful. As I've noted elsewhere, diet is the major factor in stripping body fat to expose that degree of muscle mass, and it takes in some cases YEARS of hard work to achieve a body-builder type physique. The suggestion that a woman might lift a few dumbbells a couple of times a week and accidentally wind up 'bulky' is ludicrous. In fact, a moderate amount of muscle mass is what is more likely to happen, and with a low(ish) amount of body fat you're far more likely to end up with a slimmer, more 'toned' looking version of yourself.