STRONG NOT SKINNY
Get a six pack, lose the bat wings, trim those thighs, get rid of the saggy bum, create a thigh gap, etc etc..... most advertising, media and mindset regarding fitness is all about losing fat and getting smaller.
Rarely do you hear anything about muscle, outside of the 'fitness freaks' and bodybuilders....
During my degree, I worked in the Exercise and Muscle Physiology lab. One of the research projects was investigating the role of aerobic exercise building muscle in the elderly using a stationary bike.
I'm not kidding, the stationary bike......
But sure, we found that if we got them to choke down a protein shake afterwards, and if they had never done any exercise before, we managed to get some protein synthesis (muscle growth), which was better than the control group of nothing at all.
I can remember thinking that if we could focus on 'storing as much protein as possible' ie. grow muscle, before we moved into our twilight years, then it might act as a buffer against weakness, poor mobility and strength, falls and poor balance etc. Aging will naturally mean some muscle loss, both through a decline in hormonal activity and a decrease in exercise intensity. Thus the more muscle you have, the better protected you are against this!
Now I'm not saying you have to become some caricature of Hercules!
Every gram of muscle is of benefit, and remember, every gram of muscle actually takes up LESS space than fat.
So the more muscle you gain, the smaller you will may look, as you will be burning through more fat and evening out on the scale. This is especially true of women.
You may have noticed that some of our training days we are focusing purely on strength and accessory movements. No conditioning, no metabolic finisher, just strength and muscle gain. If you're addicted to the sexy metcon, you might find it a nice change. If you want to gain some muscle, lose some fat, AND get stronger....... who am I kidding, that is all of you right?
If you have the time, check out this great presentation by Kiwi Ancestral Health Society president, Jamie Scott, at the Ancestral Health gathering in San Francisco. It's all about the role of muscle in optimal health.