Building muscle is crucial for women’s health. Bigger and stronger muscles tone up the body, boost metabolism, improve strength, body composition, and posture, slow down aging, and help shed skinny fat (metabolically obese). But women do not produce as much testosterone, which helps in building muscle, as men do. So, for women, especially beginners, building muscle can be quite a challenge. However, with the right direction, any woman can build muscles. This article discusses 15 ways women can build muscle without injuries or looking “too muscular”. Take a look.
15 Ways Women Can Build Muscle
Building lean mass or, in other words, building muscle can get easier if you know what exactly you must do. Broadly, there are three components of building muscle mass, and they are discussed below.
1. Strength Training
Strength training is the first step if you want to build muscle. A typical strength training routine includes lifting weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and weight plates), and it helps improve the strength of your muscles. These exercises cause a lot of wear and tear in the muscles. And when you rest or sleep, the muscles rebuild themselves – only, this time, they are broader and stronger.
So, as you keep lifting weights, over a period, your muscle strength will increase, and you will be able to lift heavier weights. You can also use your body weight, a TRX training band, or any resistance band to transform simple exercises into strength training. Here’s a sample strength training routine for you.
Sample Strength Training Routine
|Day 1||Legs||Leg press, barbell squat, dumbbell lunges, barbell split squat, goblet plie squat, one-legged TRX squat, barbell hip thrust, and weighted walking lunges – 3 sets of 12 reps each|
|Day 3||Chest And Triceps||Push-ups, planks, side planks, chest fly, dumbbell overhead press, incline dumbbell press, bent over row, resistance band skull crushers, resistance band tricep extension, and chest dip – 3 sets of 12 reps each|
|Day 5||Traps And Shoulders||Dumbbell shrug, barbell row, lat press, lat row, lateral raises, plank, low cable face pull, machine shoulder press, overhead barbell press, one arm rear delt raises, and front raises – 4 sets of 7 reps each|
|Day 7||Back And Biceps||Close grip pulldown, single arm dumbbell row, standing T-bar row, bicep curl, hammer curl, barbell curl, plank up and down, and bicep push up – 3 sets of 12 reps each|
Remember, you must mix your workout to build a lean, toned, and strong body. Scroll down to know what you’ve got to do.
2. Do HIIT
The key to building muscle is to strategize your exercise routine. And if you only huff and puff in the gym, lifting weights and more weights, you may build muscle quickly, but you will also gain a little bit of fat. Plus, you will not lose the fat layer surrounding the muscle tissue, which will make you look bulky. To maintain a lean frame and get chiseled, you must include HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) in your exercise routine.
HIIT includes fast and agile moves for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between the sets. This short duration but high-intensity exercise targets the fast twitch muscle fiber, which is essential for building muscle (endurance training or long duration exercises like long runs or walks target slow twitch fibers, which will not help build muscle). Do the following exercises.
Exercises To Do
High knees, alternate straight leg kicks, burpees, squat jumps, jumping lunges, rope jumping, battle rope, side jackknife, Russian twist, leg ins and outs, crunches, and sit-ups. Make sure you take 60-90 seconds rest before switching to the next exercise. Take 10 seconds rests between the sets.
3. Push Yourself
Push yourself to do more reps, faster, and with precision. If you keep doing the same exercises with the same number of sets and reps, you will not progress. As I mentioned before, the more you practice, the more your muscles will adapt to the weights. Unless you increase the weight or add some level of difficulty, your muscles will remain the same size. Push yourself every day to do one or two reps extra. Or try doing the same exercises with more weights.
Tip: Workout 3 to 5 days a week and do strength training every alternate day to give your muscles time to recover.
Apart from working out, you must also take care of your diet. Here are the diet strategies that you must follow.
4. Consume Enough Protein
Muscles are made of proteins. Lifting weights and doing HIIT breaks down muscle protein. And to rebuild the muscles, you need protein. Sources like fish, chicken breast, soy chunks, beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, egg, and mushrooms will help build and repair the muscles.
In general, women are required to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But when you strength train and want to build muscle mass, consume 1.7-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 132 pounds (62 kgs), you must consume 105-112 g of protein per day.
5. Have Pre- And Post-Workout Meals
Pre- and post-workout meals will help you kill the workout and recover fast from it respectively. Lifting weights requires energy, and by consuming a protein and carb-rich pre-workout meal, you will provide your body with the required energy. Consume a protein-rich post-workout meal so that your muscles recover and rebuild fast.
6. Consume Healthy Fats In Limited Amounts
The healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, ghee, avocado, rice bran oil, and avocado oil are rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps flush the toxins out. These food sources also contain omega-3-fatty acids, which help lower inflammation in the body. These healthy fats also help boost the recovery process when your body is resting.
7. Consume Good Carbs In Limited Amounts
Include good carbs, such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains, in your diet so that you do not miss out on the dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are essential for optimum health. While building muscle, you must take care not to feel weak or fall sick.
8. Take Supplements
If you are always on the go and hardly get time to have a proper meal, you must take vitamin and mineral supplements. You can also take protein powder if you are not getting enough protein from whole foods. Take calcium supplements if your bones are not strong enough. Make sure you talk to your doctor and get approval before you take supplements.
9. Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol gets converted to sugar in the body. And too much alcohol in the system can lead to weight gain. You will also not be able to workout with full energy and stamina. So, if you want to build muscle, stick to a glass of wine on one or two days per week. Going overboard will only slow down your progress.
The next five points talk about one of the most ignored but important aspects of building muscle. Take a look.
Resting will help your muscles recover and rebuild themselves. If you don’t rest, you will injure yourself and may not get back to the gym for a good three weeks. Rest between the exercises and sets and after going home for at least 20 minutes. Avoid lifting weights every day.
11. Wake Up Early
Waking up early will prompt you to go to bed early. That way, you can go to the gym in the morning or evening. You will also have the time to fix a quick breakfast before you head out or consume a protein-rich dinner after you come back from the gym in the evening.
12. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can have a harmful effect on your health. You will feel tired and fatigued the next morning and also start to gain weight. If you want to build muscle, you need to get at least 7 hours of sound sleep. And this is because when you sleep, your muscle will rebuild themselves, and your brain will function better and in sync with your muscles when you go to the gym the next day.
Building a toned and strong body requires a certain degree of discipline. Meditation will help you be focused and maintain a good lifestyle. It is tough in the beginning, but do not give up. Gradually, you will learn to train your brain and control your hunger pangs, lethargy, anxiety, and other emotions that may prevent you from getting the desired results soon.
14. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Positive people help inspire and motivate others. Surrounding yourself with positive people will make it less likely for you to fail in your personal and professional endeavors. Be it at home, work, or the gym, look for people with great energy and vibe so that you can learn from them and not give up on your goals so easily.
15. Talk To Experts
If you are a beginner, it is best to have a personal trainer, who will give proper exercise and nutrition advice. It will open a new door to the world of fitness. You can also talk to other people who are trying to build muscle. Building social support is important so that you stay focused and do exercises correctly.
So, there you have it – 15 ways you can start building muscle mass. Start following them and, for sure, you will be able to reach your goal sooner than you expect. No more waiting! ‘Cause if you want it, just get it.
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