Before the thought hits your head, NO! muscle gain is not just a guy thing, and YES! women can gain muscle too. Women can strength train just as well as men; however, some factors can impede or help in muscle gain, and it involves a hormone called “Testosterone.” Danyele Wilson, a CPT, and Trainer, says that testosterone levels are lower in women, but not true for all women, and testosterone levels are not high for all men. She believes everyone’s hormonal makeup is unique, and men naturally tend to carry more testosterone. Higher the testosterone levels, the easier the building of muscle mass. Along with muscle building, having a healthy weight gain is beneficial for women who are extremely skinny and want a good physique and body posture. Although you would have to be careful with the fat intake, doing this slowly and in proportionate amounts will help make the perfect body build.
Let’s discuss this in detail:
Strength Training and Why Women Should Do It
Building muscle as a woman can be quite challenging for a woman compared to men; this is because men usually have higher levels of testosterone. Although building muscle can be difficult for women, it’s not impossible. However, women would have to work harder to gain a muscular build. Strength training is one of the best ways to build muscle. The exercises in strength training not only build muscle but also strengthen the body overall, keeping your body fit for longer periods.
Here are a few reasons why women should strength train:
To be Strong
Strength training can help make you stronger, and a stronger body can make you independent in lifting or moving heavy items such as furniture, TV, air conditioners, etc.
Fewer Injury Risks
When you are building muscles and making them strong, your bones, ligaments, and tendons get strong too. When this happens, your body becomes less prone to injuries, making you free to participate in any physical activity or sports like football, gymnastics, volleyball, and many more.
Helps combat muscle loss with age
The body remains strong and independent even when aging, and you do not have to depend on anyone for physical assistance as you grow old.
Strength training helps maintain muscle because as you grow old, you tend to lose some muscle mass every ten years, making your body slightly weak. In strength training, although you lose muscle mass, your bones and tendons still support your body because even they are strengthened along with your muscles.
No Pain, More Gain
Bad back aches, joints, and hip pains can also be prevented through strength training, which builds your body to have a great posture. The more frequently you train, the better the body will build and eradicate joint pain, backaches, etc.
It’s completely up to how you would want to train your body. Well, this preference varies from woman to woman. Some women may want to lean muscle, build and tone more, and some may want to change their body altogether, gain more muscle, and have a stronger build and physique.
A fitness routine is the best way to have a healthier and longer life. Fitness and training reduce all chances of health risks and fatigue and increase the chances of eating healthy and keeping your body active. It becomes such a part of your life that you can’t miss it even if you wanted to.
Tips to Build Muscle
Here are a few tips for building muscle and helping you be physically strong and independent of any assistance:
Lifting weights is a good start to muscle and strength training your body. However, don’t go about lifting heavy weights immediately. Although it may feel good and empowering at first, your body will be sore, making it difficult for you to continue your routine the next day. As a beginner, please start with lighter weights so that your body can get accustomed and gradually increase the usage of weights.
Keeping Track of Sets and Reps
Before you start using weights, decide on how many sets and repetitions you’ll be doing. Weights are not easy, and it would be recommended to take baby steps. Start with small sets and fewer repetitions, for example, two sets and ten reps.
It’s also helpful if you note how many sets and reps, you’re doing each day so that you can keep track of your workout with weights.
Including HIIT in your fitness routine
HIIT is a high-intensity interval training is another type of training that has intense workouts and forces your body to use fat as energy, thus automatically having your body lose weight. HIIT is also great for building lean muscle and toning the body. Along with HIIT, low-impact strength training is a great combination.
Work the Muscle
Proper movement and contraction of muscles are very important because doing this helps gain muscle. If your movement is as powerful as it should be, it would be very difficult to gain and build muscle.
So, when you are working the muscle, take your rep speed down a notch, and wait a few seconds after every rep to achieve a better muscle contraction. Doing this will help you build up.
The Right Moves to Gain Muscle
- Goblet Squat
- Sumo Deadlift
- Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
- Push up
- Dumbbell Chest Press
First, you need to stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell right in front of your chest, and your elbows should be pointed towards the floor.
Next, push your hips back while bending the knees into a low squat; this should be done simultaneously. Then finally, come back to the start of the position. This is rep one, and repeat this starting with fewer counts and gradually increasing the reps.
First, you must stand with feet a bit wider than the hip-width and have your toes pointed out. Position two dumbbells or kettlebells (if you have them) in front of the thighs and have your palms face in. Slightly bend the knees and while doing that, press your hips back, hinge at your waist, and lower the dumbbells to the floor. Make sure you squeeze your glutes when returning to the start position.
Bring yourself to a high plank position and spread your feet wider than the hip-width. This position will give you more stability. Imagine trying to wrap your shoulders towards the back but stable. Lower yourself down and have your elbows point out a bit, then push into your entire hand and arm and press yourself back up. Now the core is engaged.
Dumbbell Chest Press
First, lie on a bench or Bosu ball, your knees bent, and have your feet placed flat on the floor. Make sure to hold a dumbbell in each of your hands. Make sure your arms are extended upward and palms facing down towards your feet. Then slowly bend your arms and have them lowered to the side, parallel with your shoulders, till your elbows are close to touching the ground. Slowly do the same backward and come back to the start.
What Should You Eat to Gain Weight?
Your food intake must be divided into four main categories:
- Proteins: Which help in rebuilding muscles when they are ripped during Intense workouts
- Carbohydrates: These help fuel your body with the energy it needs for workouts.
- Fats: Helps in body functioning and acts as fuel for burning when working out.
- Vegetables: Rich in fiber and less risk for unwanted weight gain.
It’s important to have proper amounts of protein intake. There are various foods you can eat when it comes to proteins, such as meat like steak, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy products like cheese, yogurt, fish, legumes, and various other vegetarian sources of protein. Too much protein intake can also lead to excessive weight gain. For a proper muscle build, ensure you have 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
For carbohydrates, you can always have Rice, Quinoa, Lentils, oats, whole grain pasta and bread, Yams, sweet potatoes, and lots of fruits. Make sure to balance carbohydrates and proteins for muscle and weight gain.
When it comes to fat intake, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. It would be best to focus on healthy fats for weight gain, and muscle builds, such as Avocados, nuts like almonds, macadamia nuts, or walnuts. Oils like olive oil or sesame oil spread like peanut butter or almond butter.
You can also have saturated fats like full-fat dairies, whole milk, lard, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter. One serving of fat should be equivalent to your thumb.
Greens are highly fibrous and cover most of your plate. Veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, cucumber, carrots, onions, and asparagus are highly recommended for consumption.
Your plate should cover two servings of veggies, 1-2 servings of proteins, and one serving of carbs (healthy carbs).
See Also: Can You Work Out When You are Sick?
Building Muscle and proportionate weight gain as a Woman is a very rewarding experience and promotes a healthy body image of one-self. Having a great workout routine daily which includes weights and strength training, not only builds your body but also strengthens it, and you remain strong even when you grow with age. Once you join the club of fitness freaks, you’ll know that you won’t be able to get through the day without a few good hours of rebuilding your body!
See Also: Health Benefits of Jumping Rope
How long does it take to build muscles for females?
Women take slightly longer than men to build muscles because of their testosterone levels. However, it also depends on the type of workouts women do to build muscles. The average time would be between 4-8 weeks of intense workout for the muscles to rip.
Should you lose weight before building muscles as a woman?
This factor varies for a lot of women. If you are on the heavier side and have a high body fat percentage, it would be best to lose weight before building muscle.
What burns first, fat or muscle?
The muscle burns through the stored glycogen for energy for the first 30-60 minutes of cardio or aerobic exercises; then, the fat starts to burn, converted into energy.
What are unhealthy carbs?
Unhealthy carbs include desserts, white bread, crackers, chips, etc. These kinds of food should be minimized or avoided if your goal is to achieve the right physique.