This prickly topic has a lot of debate around it. Fearful of bulking up, girls wanting to slim down have usually (in my experience anyway) avoided the weights section of the gym in favour of the cardio area. I’m on team weights - and here’s why.
- Greater muscle mass = faster metabolism. So while running / cycling / cross burns fat while you’re doing it (and for a short period of time after), having a higher muscle mass percentage means that your body burns energy regardless of if you’re sleeping, at work or having a Netflix and chill night with your tinder date. So unless you wanted to lose fat for 48 hours, having more muscles means that you long term, will burn more fat.
- Hormones: cardio training encourages the release of cortisol, whereas weight training encourages the release of testosterone. Testosterone helps us retain our muscle mass, increase our core strength and raises our RMR (resting metabolic rate), and girls - it won’t make us big and bulky (unless you’re taking steroids, seriously). Cortisol on the other hand, which is released when we are under intense stress (physical or physiological) over an extended period of time - e.g. a long run - encourages the accumulation of abdominal fat, reduces muscle growth and impairs immunity.
- Because I like to eat, and I don’t like to yo-yo. Yo-yo-ing is most likely to be seen in people who have minimal muscle mass. Basically, while they are #cleaneating, they are able to be trim and slender. But, after a December spent embracing the food and fun of the festive season, they suddenly notice their abs have disappeared under a layer of fat. See, if you have a higher base metabolic rate then your weight will fluctuate much less.