For many women, their primary fitness goal is weight loss. Looking at the scale and training hard for the number to diminish. Weight loss is a great goal, but once you get down to a low body fat percent, it won’t help you lose your last bit of fat. You may also notice that even though your body fat percent is low, you still don’t look like the women featured in magazines and movies. This is because not only do the women featured in these sources have low fat, they also have taken the time to build up some nice, firm and defined muscle.
Many of the women I’ve trained over the years have come to me with the same concern. They don’t want to look bulky and they don’t want to look like a man. This will not happen. The only way you will bulk to the point of looking like a man, is to eat and train like a bodybuilder. I’m going to outline a few points about gaining some lean muscle that will help you have nicer curves, sexy toned abs & arms, and turn your body into a metabolic furnace that will keep fat off.
This is true when it comes to any fitness goal. How can you expect your body to gain muscle if you don’t give it enough sustenance? You need to eat more calories than your body needs in order to add new lean muscle to your body. That said, make sure you are eating the right foods. Pick nutrient dense foods, not calorie dense ones. This means eating foods that have lots of vitamins and amino acids and avoiding foods that have lots of calories and few nutritious benefits. Sweet potato is a great alternative to a standard potato.
Protein will be your best friend when you are looking to gain some lean muscle. Protein is used for developing new muscle, carbs help your protein enter your muscles, and fats are used for energy and transporting vitamins. When choosing how much protein to eat per day, take your body weight and multiply it by 1 to 1.5 grams per day. Mean will tend to multiply their protein intake anywhere from 1.5 to 3 grams per day, but women have different nutritional needs than men.
To gain some nice new muscle and build that toned body look, you are going to need to eat more calories than you use. This sounds scary, as you do not want to raise your body fat, but if you eat smart and train right, you should stay lean in the process. To determine how many calories you will need to eat per day you need to determine how many calories you are using per day for regular body function. For women, take 655 plus 4.35 multiplied by weight in pounds + 4.7 multiplied by height in iches. Then subtract 4.7 multiplied by age in years for your approximate BMR. For example, a 30-year-old woman who is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds has a BMR of 1,481 calories per day. Now that you know your BMR, you can add 200-500 calories to it and eat that every day. Depending on your genetics and metabolism, this should help you gain up to a pound of new lean muscle per week.
Track your results every 2 weeks. If you are still not gaining weight, add an extra 200 calories to your diet until you begin to notice a difference. Everybody’s bodies are different. Where some women need 1800 calories to gain muscle, you may need 2400. Do the math, and track your calories!
You now have the nutritional formula to gain some lean muscle. That’s great, but without a proper resistance training regime, you hard work will be for nothing. You body will react based on how you treat it, what you feed it, and what you do with it. If you want your muscles to grow and get a great lean look, you have to give them a reason to.
Here’s an unfortunate fact that many women don’t like to hear. You will never get that magazine lean look by performing only cardio exercises. Running, cycling, and many group classes are a great way to trim down, but if you want a toned body you will need to join the boys and grab some weights. Dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls and other weight bearing exercises will put your muscles through the strain they need in order to trigger hypertrophy (muscle gain).
Like we spoke about earlier in the article, you need excess calories in order to gain muscle. This means, if you do cardio exercises, you will need to eat more to make up for the calories you burned. If you burn 300 calories on the treadmill, you will have to eat 300 calories extra that day. This is why I suggest trying to stay away from the cardio classes while you are trying to develop new muscle.
Slow down your tempo, and take your time with your exercises. Each exercise should last approximately 40-70 seconds and should last for 8-12 repetitions. That said, count out a tempo of 4-6 seconds per repetition. This can be 2 seconds to lift the weight to the top, and 2 seconds to lower it. Be sure to mix it up. Your body tries to become efficient at whatever it does, slowing your results. In order to correct this, train at different tempos. Day 1 train 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down. Day 2train 2 seconds up 4 seconds down. Day 3 train 3 seconds up, 3 seconds down, and so on and so forth keeping it somewhat random.
Do a variety of different exercises. Doing tricep extentions and ab crunches to get toned and defined arms and abs seems like a good idea, but make sure you work out your whole body. The last thing you want is to become imbalanced. Imbalances will eventually lead to injury. Work your biggest muscles to the smallest ones. Start with your chest, back, legs, and move to shoulders, and lats, then finally arms and abs. Change up your routine after every 6 sessions maximum. That means if you train 3 days per week, change your routine to perform different exercises every 2 weeks.
Perform many sets of each exercise. Try to make sure that by the end of every set you cannot lift another rep. In order to grow your muscles, you have to tell them that they need to grow. By performing 2-4 sets per exercise, you will put strain on your muscles, and they will become stronger to adapt to what you are putting them through. The bigger the muscle group, the more time it takes to recover, so when planning your workout, use less sets for big muscles and more sets for smaller ones.
Change up what you are training for every month or two. Change from a muscle gaining phase, into a cardio weight loss phase every month or two. This will help prevent you from gaining excess fat and prevent your body from adapting to what you are doing.
These are some great points for anyone looking to begin a muscle gaining exercise routine. There are many more things to learn about gaining muscle, but begin with these key points, and you will be well on your way to a new more-toned you!
If you need additional assistance, or are interested in getting help getting a fit and toned body, contact us to set up a complimentary personal health assessment. This is the fastest way to get your results guaranteed.
Owner of Motive 8 Fitness
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