Everywhere you look, it seems like all women want to do is to lose weight?
But what if you're trying to do the exact opposite? What if you're trying to gain weight by putting on lean muscle mass? If you do, I think you'll agree with us that muscle-building information relating to women is a lot more scarce!
Well, not to worry – to help you get started with this goal, we’re covering the top 5 tips you need to know, so you put on the amount of mass you want. Ready? Here we go:
#1 – Stop Dieting
When you’re looking to build muscle and get stronger, you need to think of food as your friend. You cannot be afraid to eat more! That’s because your body needs additional energy – that comes from your food intake – to synthesize new muscle growth, that is beyond that of your maintenance calories.
In short, you can think of it this way: no calories, no lean muscle growth! You wouldn’t want that now, would you?
But that’s not to say that you need to go crazy with the amount of food you eat, either. First, you should establish your maintenance calories. Only then should you gradually increase your daily calories over time (100 calories or so every other week); this helps you increase your metabolism, so your body doesn't get overwhelmed with the sudden influx of fuel and ends up storing it as fat.
You should monitor your weight gain by weighing yourself at least once every two days.
#2 – Fine-tune Your Macros
For optimal muscle-building, you need to pay attention to the details in your diet. And that means you need to track the macros you're consuming, daily – protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
In general, women should aim for the following macronutrient percentage when building lean muscle:
· Protein – 30%
· Carbohydrates – 40%
· Fat – 30%
Right now, you may be thinking, “Wow – 30% of my diet goes to fats? That seems like a lot.”
But really, it's because research shows that women may do better with slightly higher fat intakes, as compared to men. It’s been found that women burn more fat and less of the other two macronutrients (fat and carbohydrates) compared to men at any given exercise intensity.
Women don't need to depend on carbohydrates as much as men do when it comes to the replenishment of muscle glycogen for fuel during workouts. The lesser need for carbohydrates, therefore, frees up more calorie 'bandwidth' in our diets to accommodate for fats!
Also, there’s another benefit to consuming more fats: it’s highly satiating! In fact, according to a 2016 paper from the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that women find high-fat meals 15% more satiating in comparison to males! Ultimately, this may prevent you from exceeding your target daily calories!
#3 – Lift Heavy
One of the many myths about female fitness is that women cannot lift heavy. Well, that’s absolute nonsense.
If you want to put on lean muscle, you cannot be afraid of lifting heavy. As mentioned in one of our earlier articles, progressive overload (where you gradually increase the volume and/ or range of motion) is crucial to muscle growth.
We hate to break it to you, but if you continue doing your workouts with the same weights you've been doing for weeks on end, you'll never see a change in your physique. So – after you've been using the current weight for a while, and it's been getting easy, you should reach out for a heavier weight.
You might just be surprised at how much more your body is capable of!
#4 – Boost Your Testosterone (Naturally)
Okay, don’t be scared: we’re not asking you to inject yourself with steroids. All we’re asking you to do is to optimize your natural testosterone levels. Doing so will not only help you with muscle-building but also enhance fat lossand increase bone mass! And just so you know, estrogen (the primary female sex hormone) is made from testosterone.
Who said we didn’t need testosterone?
So, to naturally boost your testosterone levels, you should consume enough saturated and monounsaturated fats, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D and zinc, and keep your sugar intake low.
You could also help raise your testosterone levels by reducing your cortisol – a stress hormone that reduces free testosterone – levels. And to lower your cortisol levels, you can try out relaxing activities, like meditation.
#5 – Clock In Quality Sleep
Your bed is where the muscle-building magic happens. During a workout, your muscles get broken down, and it’s when you rest that your body will use the nutrients from your diet to build and grow your muscles.
Also, research shows that our human growth hormone (a hormone that helps repair muscle tissue after exercise) levels are the highest when we’re catching shuteye. Interestingly, a lack of sleep has also been associated with elevated cortisol levels, which we've previously mentioned that suppresses testosterone levels.
So – if you want to put on lean muscle, here’s one thing you should never do: skimp on the Zzzs.
Ultimately, if you want to put on lean muscle, you need to pay attention to three crucial things: structured strength training, proper nutrition, and sufficient recovery. That's it. There's nothing too complicated about it; you can do this!
The best thing you can do for yourself right now would be to download GymStreak’s app.
The smart, AI-powered app tailors workout plans according to your fitness goals. It also ensures that you're continuously making progress by increasing your workouts' volume every few weeks or so. You never have to do any calculations; you only need to show up to the gym and give your 100%!
Are you looking forward to an improvement in your physique yet? We know we are!Get GymStreak