When you think of building muscle, it’s automatic that you think of the massive bodybuilders you see plastered all over the muscle magazines.
Building muscle is good for women in more ways than one:
- Having muscle and losing body fat is what ‘toning up’ means.
- More muscle = more calories burned.
- More calories burned = more tone.
- More calories burned = more awesome food.
Building muscle is hard for women to do unless you work extremely hard, have your diet and recovery at optimal levels for your body, or the use of steroids. I hate to break it do you but you will not get bulky lifting heavy.
Muscle Building Tips for Women
1.) Have Goals
It is very important to have goals and write them down. Not only will having specific goals and writing them down make you more accountable, it will give you a reason to get up in the morning.
When you have specific goals and write them down, it reminds you what to work for. How many friends do you know that go to the gym and “do what they feel like” but never lose any weight, get tone, or get in better shape? Make goals and work towards them.
2.) Focus on Weight Training
Weight training mixed with proper recovery is going to be the best way to build muscle. Lifting heavy weights and building strength is a fantastic way to build muscle and burn calories.
Be sure to follow a good workout program and stick with it. You want to use weights you are straining to get the last rep on each set.
3.) Feel the Burn
When your muscles start burning during your reps, this is your muscles tearing down and is a good sign that you’re working hard. The burn during and after your workouts (the pain you have for days after) is lactic acid. This is a good indicator that new muscle will be built shortly.
Tip: Getting active and doing light cardio is a great way to help flush the lactic acid out of your muscles and help you get rid of the soreness.
4.) Workout a few Times a Week
Working out 3 times a week or more in the gym will give your body enough time to recover and force your body to adapt to the resistance training you have been doing.
You do not need to work out every day in order to build muscle; be sure to follow a sound program and remember that less is more.
5.) Keep Intensity High
While you are training, keeping the intensity high is important. Limiting the amount of rest in between sets and really keeping your heart rate up is great for conditioning and helps shock the body into producing the hormones to get stronger and build muscle.
Push yourself safely to try to finish your workouts as fast as possible without getting hurt. There’s no need to rush to your next set if you aren’t ready for it.
6.) Balanced Training
Be sure to follow a sound program and balance your cardio with your weight training. Cardio is good for weight loss and helps with conditioning and appetite, but when you spend 20 minutes weight training and an hour on the treadmill there is a problem.
Believe it or not, more calories can be burned by weight training than being on a piece of cardio equipment.
If your goal is to complete a marathon, train to be a marathon runner. The point here is that you don’t have to kill yourself in the gym by doing hours of cardio and hours of weight training daily. You will actually make less progress than if you trained with balance.
7.) Eat Well
Salads and crackers aren’t going to cut it. You need to eat healthy and not just eat vegetables and a little bit of meat. Eat your chicken, fish, beef, pork, and have plenty of vegetables with them.
The food you eat now is the food that is going to rebuild your muscles and body. Treat your body right and don’t try these fad diets.
If you are trying to lose weight, you must eat less than your BMR and still train. If you are happy at your weight and you want to tone up, eating the same amount of calories if not a little more would be beneficial to you.
8.) Carbs are Good
When you workout, you burn muscle glycogen (sometimes called water weight when you first start dieting) and this glycogen needs to be replenished after you workout or your body starts breaking down muscle to turn into muscle glycogen.
Eating plenty of carbs is necessary unless you intricately know how to eat a low/no carb diet. Depending on diet type and how much you exercise, 2-3.5 grams of carbs for every pound you weigh is a good start.
9.) Eat More Protein
Protein is extremely important to eat when you weight train and try to build muscle. Protein is the building block for everything in your body and helps you recover from intense workouts.
Regardless of what you hear on the news, red meat and bacon are healthy. Eat plenty of lean meats and fattier meats in order to hit your daily nutritional needs.
10.) Get Plenty of Sleep
Your body recovers the most while you are sleeping. This is the time where your body shifts into an anabolic mode and rebuilds your muscles and helps your nervous system recover from the training.
A healthy, strong body is made outside of the gym. Getting plenty to eat and plenty of sleep is the most important part of your training.
11.) Measure Body Fat Not Weight
Remember that muscle weighs more than fat in size and going only by what the scale said will ruin your confidence and motivation quickly if it doesn’t go how you think it will.
When you start losing body fat and building muscle, you will look noticeably smaller, but still may weigh the same if not more. It’s imperative to measure your body fat when you are working towards your goals and use your mirror to gauge progress as well.
The scale is not the end all be all of your body.
12.) Try Supplements
I didn’t want to include this in the list, but I would rather you be informed instead of making the mistake and trying to rely on supplements and being upset when they don’t work.
Supplements are great, especially protein powders because you can get your daily protein in relatively easy and you can do it with fewer calories.
There are BCAAs, pre workouts, post workouts, weight loss supplements, and so many things that either have too much hype or only work if everything else is at optimal levels. Read up on the supplements and draw your own conclusions; supplements are supplemental, not necessary.
13.) Have a Partner or Personal Trainer
I personally train alone but I have a huge support system outside of the gym. If you need a partner to push you harder in the gym, find someone who will not make excuses and will come to the gym with you.
If you are unsure about what to do and would like someone to help you with your routine and diet, hire a trainer.
14.) Focus on the Big Three Exercises
Squats, bench press, and deadlifts should be the exercises you focus on progressing on. These exercises are the best bang-for-your-buck for building muscle, getting stronger, and building an overall athletic physique.
15.) Push Yourself
Last and definitely not least, push yourself to your limits. Your body will not grow and get stronger unless you are giving everything you have in the gym.
When you get stronger and build muscle, your body is adapting to the stress you put on it. If you aren’t pushing yourself past your limit, your body won’t see a need to grow and get stronger, and it won’t.
Leave any questions or comments below and share this article with your friends. Make this year your year to achieve your goals.