While many women go to the gym to try and lose weight, there are other benefits of working out that might surprise you. One of these is muscle growth.
After all, muscles help support your body weight and reduce joint pain while also boosting your metabolism so you can burn more calories even when you’re not at the gym. If you want a stronger, leaner look without having to diet or starve yourself then it’s time to consider muscle growth for women.
Here are 5 tips for how women can grow their muscles:
Some exercises only build a couple of pounds of muscles at a time. But, some will help you build your muscles faster if you do them for a while. Heavy resistance exercises will build muscles faster than light-resistant exercises.
To witness a growth in your muscles, you must do an exercise so great that it causes small tears in the muscle. These small tears will grow back bigger after some time and become stronger than before. To build muscles, you have to use your muscles.
Cardio exercises will result in minimal results, so do not focus on them if you want to experience muscle growth for women. Workouts dealing with weight lifting, on the other hand, are the best for gaining muscle.
The overload principle states that the stimulus of cardiovascular exercise is insufficient to lead to a significant gain in muscle. Think about it from this perspective; your muscles do not have to get stronger and more significant to gain endurance, instead, they need to be more vital and more significant to lift heavier weights.
Doing cardio alone helps in losing excess body fat. But, doing a lot of it leads to the body burning through the muscle.
For muscle growth, you should be doing minimal cardio and weight training. Below are the exercises you should include in your daily workout if you are looking to gain muscle.
Strength training is the first step if you are dedicated to gain strength and build muscle. A fundamental strength training routine includes lifting weights like kettlebells, barbells, and dumbbells. Lifting any of these helps in improving the strength of your muscles.
Such exercises lead to a lot of wear and tear on the muscles. When you sleep or rest, the muscles rebuild themselves. It is during this time that they become more robust and broader.
You can use a resistance band or your body weight to transform simple exercises into strength training.
Even when strength training, remember that you should mix your workout. Mixing different workouts help you achieve a strong, toned, and lean body.
High-intensity Interval Training should be in your daily workout routine. Incorporating HIIT in your daily exercise routine helps you get a chiseled body and maintain a lean frame. With HIIT, you carry out agile and fast moves for 30 seconds and rests of 10 seconds in between the sets.
The high-intensity, short-duration workout targets the fast-twitch muscle fibers. The muscle fibers are essential in muscle building. Long duration exercise and endurance training like walks and runs target the slow-twitch fibers, which help build muscle.
For HIIT, you could do sit-ups, crunches, leg ins and outs, Russian twist, battle rope, rope jumping, jumping lunges, squats, burpees, alternate straight leg kicks, high knees, and side jackknife.
Be sure to take a 60-90 seconds break before switching from one exercise to another. Also, remember to take a rest of 10 seconds between the sets.
As you work out, push yourself to do more reps with precision and at a fast speed. If you do the same exercises with the usual number of reps and sets, you will not progress. The more you keep practicing and doing something extra every day, your muscles will adapt to the weight.
Your muscles will remain the same size unless you add a level of difficulty every day or increase the weight. It is recommendable to work out not less than 5 days a week. In the 5 days, you should do strength training every alternate day to leave your muscles with time to recover.
Your eating habits influence your muscle gain a lot. The number on the scale might be rising steadily because of fat gain and not muscle gain. This occurs if there is no liquid retention.
Your muscles will still grow even when you are a poor eater. But, if your diet is composed of many fatty and saturated foods, your muscles will not grow because the fat hinders growth. The timing, quantity, and quality of your diet influence your ability to gain muscle.
The time you eat is important as it helps in refueling your muscles after you strain them. It is best to eat 30 minutes to an hour before working out. This period is the optimal time for your muscles to absorb the protein you ingest and start the rebuilding process.
The process of building muscles is a slow one. However, the dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle will show over time.
Below are the nutrients you should consume if you want your muscles to grow.
Doing HIIT and lifting weights helps break down the protein found in the muscles. Your muscles need protein to rebuild themselves. Strong protein sources like mushrooms, eggs, lentils, seeds, nuts, beans, soy chunks, chicken breast, and fish help repair and build muscle.
As a sedentary woman, you should consume 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. But if you want to build body mass, you should consume 1.7-1.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. This means that if you weigh 62 kilograms, you should consume 105-112 grams of protein in a day.
Healthy Fats in Limited Amounts
Foods like rice bran oil, avocado, ghee, seeds, and nuts contain healthy fats rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps flush out toxins. The food sources listed above also contain omega 3 fatty acids, which help with inflammation in the lower body.
Foods rich in vitamin E also help in boosting the recovery process whenever your body is resting.
Consume Good Carbs
High fiber carbs like whole grains, veggies, and fruits should also be present in your diet. Besides providing minerals and vitamins, they provide dietary fiber, which is essential for optimum health. Such nutrients will ensure that you do not fall sick easily or feel weak.
Supplements are good for you if you are very active and/or you have a busy schedule. Supplements will provide you with the nutrients that whole foods you consume do not have. Protein supplements, in particular, are the best if you want to gain lean muscle mass.
Supplements like mk2866 and others help in building the muscle you want. Before taking any supplement, it is only wise to consult with your physician. While at it, talk to a registered dietitian for recommendations and advice.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is metabolized as extra calories in the body. Too much alcohol can lead to weight gain.
By consuming too much alcohol, also, you will lack the stamina and energy to work out. If you are serious about gaining muscle, stick to a glass of wine a week. Going behind this will only slow you down.
If you want to gain muscle, you have to change to a new way of living. Muscle gain requires a lot of discipline and commitment.
Lifestyle is among the most ignored aspects of gaining muscle. So, how should your lifestyle be if you want muscle growth? Read on.
Resting helps your muscles to recover. If you fail to rest, you will injure yourself, and you will not go back to the gym.
Rest between the exercises and the sets. When you get home, rest for at least 20 minutes. Also, do not lift weights every day. Alternate with HIIT or other workouts.
Get Up Early
Waking up early will force you to go to bed early. This way, you can go to the gym in the evening or the morning.
By getting up early, you will have enough time to prepare a quick breakfast before heading out. Or, you will get time to consume a protein-rich dinner after you get home from the gym in the evening.
Sleep is essential since it allows your muscles to recover from wear and tear. You should not sleep for less than 7 hours. Your brain needs to rest for it to function well. Also, sleep enables you to re-energize for your next day at the gym.
Building a strong and toned body requires discipline. Meditation will help you maintain a good lifestyle and remain focused.
It might be challenging in the beginning, but you should not give up. With time, you will learn how to control your hunger issues, anxiety, or any other emotions that stop you from getting the desired results.
4. Self-Assess and Set Realistic Goals
Before venturing into the weight room or changing your diet begin with an honest assessment and set realistic goals. For self-assessment, observe and measure will do the trick. You could start by casually observing your body shape and spot areas where you see more healthy muscle or less healthy ones.
Go on and measure the areas. If you want more round glutes and a narrower waist, take the measurements and note them down.
Stepping on a scale would be the next thing you want to do. After that, take a photo in gym clothes.
Setting realistic goals is the next thing on the list. Goals like losing 2 inches on your waist and adding 3 inches to your hip circumference are realistic, so maybe start with those ones. The time you take to achieve your goals doesn’t matter.
Suppose the idea of setting concrete goals based on measurements does not make your heart skip, then maybe having a clear mental picture of what you want to achieve will. Write down your self-assessment statistics and goals somewhere permanent. You can review or update them after every month.
5. Seek Medical Health
You might be doing all the recommended exercises, eating well, and practicing a healthy lifestyle, but you are still not witnessing any changes in your muscle. It might be that you have a health condition of which you are not aware.
Visiting a doctor will help you find out if you have any problems that have issues to do with your thyroid endocrine system or metabolism. If you are past the age of menopause, do not feel all is lost. Your estrogen levels are still intact and will help with muscle gain.
If you are starting a muscle-building routine after menopause, it is best to start with low-intensity exercises or light weights. You can increase the weight once you feel stronger but in a comfortable range.
Be keen when trying to discover your limits since menopause leads to muscle and bone loss. But, exercising regularly will help with such issues. Weight training after menopause is also vital since it maintains the density of your bones.
Muscle Growth for Women Is Not Easy, but It Is Not Hard Either
Many people currently understand the value of limiting excess body fat and staying fit. But, the advantages of muscle growth for women are highly underrated, mainly because of their low testosterone levels.
Gaining muscle will make you healthier and resilient. And aside from all this and looking nice, you will feel fantastic when you see all your hard work at the gym pay off. If you are a newbie in the fitness world, building muscle is an excellent place to kick off.
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