How to Gain Muscle for Women
Chances are, if you’re here, you’re curious about how to build lean muscle as a woman.
Let me start off by telling you, you are in the right place. I’ve personally been where you are. I remember the struggle of trying to figure out what to eat, how to lift weights, and how to gauge my progress. SO confusing and overwhelming as a beginner.
Not to mention the gym anxiety you experience stepping foot in the weight room for the first time! It’s a lot. But I promise you, the growth and improvement of your health is SO worth the initial discomfort.
Fast forward to today, after years (7 to be exact!) of studying up and implementing different training and diet techniques, I’ve found the sweet spot for building lean muscle.
I now work with women just like you who want to do the same thing but skip the growing pains of trying to figure it all out themselves without guidance!
I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know, I started exactly where you are right now. It is SO possible for you! So if you’re ready to build lean muscle, feel strong, and create your best self, keep on reading!
You’ve got this, girl!
Why is Building Muscle Important?
There are a thousand and one aesthetic reasons to build muscle (i.e. clothes fit better, body looks tighter, can create that feminine hourglass shape whether you’re born with it or not…) BUT there are also SO many health reasons to make building muscle a priority pronto.
1. First off, building muscle improves your body composition and makes your metabolism faster.
This helps you maintain or lose weight significantly easier. Do you feel like a single day of overeating totally throws off your progress? Do you feel like you have to eat very low calories or do a lot of cardio to even maintain your current weight? This comes from a slow metabolism, which can be improved with muscle building strategies.
2. It keeps your bones dense and strong!
Your bones LOVE weight lifting. For most individuals, bone mass peaks in their 30’s. Then as you age, you can lose bone. We care about keeping our bones strong to prevent osteoporosis and bodily injuries. Your bones also protect your heart, brain, and other organs from injury so we want them strong.
3. Increases energy levels.
Building muscle leads to overall better energy levels and promotes better sleep.
4. Improves your mood and self esteem.
You get those endorphins (happy hormones) and you begin to realize how strong you are physically and mentally. Yes, muscle building changes how you look on the outside, but it also works on the inside by showing you how limitless your potential truly is. You have the opportunity to challenge your body and mind in new ways.
5. Decreases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other critical health problems.
Most people think of aerobic activity when they think of heart health. But building muscle with resistance training is also beneficial.
What more can you ask for?
How to Eat to Build Lean Muscle
Let me start by saying, I HIGHLY recommend you start tracking your food. While it is possible to build muscle without tracking, you’re going to see results much quicker with tracking, and you’re not going to get stuck in a plateau.
Your body needs protein to build and retain muscle mass. It’s ideal to eat 1 gram of protein per pound bodyweight but, depending on your calorie intake, that’s not always realistic or manageable to start with. With clients, I try to aim for .6-1 g per pound bodyweight, depending on what they can tolerate and how lean they are. The leaner they are, the more protein they need to ensure they can preserve muscle mass.
You also need to be (at the very least) at your maintenance calories. This means you need to be eating what your body consumes to maintain current body weight…AT LEAST.
Essentially, you cannot under eat and expect to build muscle mass. If you’re a woman eating 1400 calories each day or less, your best bet is going to be to reverse diet so you can get your calorie intake up enough to build while mitigating fat gain.
You can’t be afraid to eat when the goal is to build lean muscle. Your muscles need fuel! Think of it this way: if you’re under eating, how are your energy levels? And in turn, how are your workouts?
On the flip side, when you’re eating more, how do your energy levels and workouts feel? I bet you have more energy and lift heavier when you’re nourishing your body with enough food.
If you want to see the best possible results from the get go, I am the biggest advocate for getting the My Fitness Pal app and beginning to track your macronutrients (protein, carb, fat, and fiber intake.) This will ensure your body is getting the calories it needs AND the nutrients it needs for optimal growth.
How to Train to Build Lean Muscle
When it comes to training, it’s important that you’re lifting heavy. You should be prioritizing compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.
The goal should be to lift heavy but also ensure you’re lifting with proper form. This means slow, controlled movements in which you’re paying attention to mind muscle connection. If you’re not feeling the correct muscle contract, you’re doing little for muscle growth and you could potentially injure yourself.
This is so important!
So often I see ladies using mainly bands and light dumbbells to build muscle. While these can be great supplementary lifts to your muscle building efforts, they shouldn’t be the ONLY tools in your tool box. Grab a barbell and get to that heavy lifting! You won’t regret it.
Muscle Building Mindset
Do not underestimate the importance of your mindset going into a muscle building phase! Having a healthy mindset is vital to staying consistent when things feel tough.
Yes, you probably have to eat more than you’re used to, and that might feel really scary for you right now. Yes, you might gain some weight (or lose or maintain! Totally depends on current body composition and weight.) And that might also feel scary.
Choose to think of it this way: you are going to experience long term health benefits from making this decision to improve your fitness. Your clothes are going to fit better. You’re going to feel stronger than ever both physically and mentally.
Remember the long term benefits when you're feeling fear around eating more or potentially gaining a little weight.
I am a firm believer that mindset is 80% of the battle when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. If your head’s not totally in the game, you won’t see long lasting, significant results.
Want to reach your fitness goals faster and easier? With the right game plan and extra accountability?
I've been helping women just like you build muscle, lose fat, and improve their metabolism with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN training routine.
If you're ready to say HECK YES to changing your health, your body, and your life, APPLY HERE for 1:1 Coaching. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, long lasting results.
Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU.
If you're sitting there telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, or too tired, STOP RIGHT NOW. You can do this no matter where you're at in life. Don't hold yourself back from the quality of life you CAN and WILL have if you take the leap.
No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do.
Are you ready to become your best self? APPLY HERE for 1:1 Coaching
To Your Good Health & Success,