Women should be more proactive when it comes to building muscles. The muscles are where more number of mitochondria are present. These mitochondria help boost metabolism. Building muscles also helps maintain muscle tone and prevents unexplained weight gain after a certain age. That’s why you must start improving your muscle health. Here are 15 ways to do it without looking too muscular. Read on!
Understanding Muscle Growth
To build muscle, you have to constantly strain the muscle fibers to make them grow bigger and stronger.
For that, you need to do strength training,or, in other words, lift weights. And rest to help the muscles recover and rebuild themselves.
Women do not produce as much testosterone as men and are not designed to build muscles like men without extra supplements or a particular goal in mind (bodybuilding competitions).
It’s clear that becoming “too muscular” is not scientifically possible. But there are ways your body can look slender, toned, and defined. For that, you need to do the following:
15 Ways Women Can Build Muscle
1. Strength Training
Strength training is the first step to take if you want to build muscle. A typical strength training routine includes lifting weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and weight plates). It helps improve the strength of your muscles.
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.
|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 dips – 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. HIIT It!
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, high-intensity exercise targets the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are 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:
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 usual number of sets and reps, you will not progress.
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.
Tip: Work out 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. You need protein to rebuild the muscles.
Sources like fish, chicken breast, soy chunks, beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs, and mushrooms will help build and repair the muscles.
Sedentary women are required to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But to build muscle mass, consume 1.7-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you weigh 132 pounds (62 kgs), you should 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 carb-rich, moderate protein 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 high-fiber carbs, such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains, in your diet. They provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for optimum health. These nutrients will ensure that you do not feel weak or fall sick easily.
8. Take Supplements
Supplements are great for people with highly busy schedules or who are very active. They provide the nutrition that you are missing out on from whole foods.
Focus on getting your vitamins and minerals through whole foods. However, taking a supplement is a great option when in a pinch.
Pack your favorite low-sugar protein powder and a piece a fruit for a great post-workout snack when on-the-go. If you have any health concerns, it’s best to talk to your doctor and Registered Dietitian before you take supplements.
9. Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is metabolized as extra calories in the body, and too much in the system can lead to weight gain. You will also not be able to work out with full energy and stamina.
If you want to build muscle, stick to a glass of wine, one to two days per week. Going overboard will only slow down your progress.
The next five points discuss 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 is harmful for 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. 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 can help you stay 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 suggest a proper exercise routine. Consult a registered dietitian for nutrition advice. You can also talk to others who share similar goals to build a community of support. Building social support is important so that you stay focused and do exercises correctly.
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.