Deciding to take training seriously and gain muscle can be a whole new ball game for women. More often than not, training with weights can be a scary prospect. Plus, to be successful you need to get to grips with a completely new eating plan.
These issues alone can be daunting. But, for every woman, finding the motivation to start weight training is now easier than ever. With so many strength training benefits, who wouldn’t want to pick up the heavy metal? This is good news for every girl looking to become lean and strong.
Unfortunately, though, for those looking to build serious muscle, we simply don’t have the same amount of anabolic hormones as men do—bigging up the body’s building blocks is always going to be harder work for us.
Nevertheless, by following a few simple tips to make the most of training, you can maximize your gains.
#1. Split Your Workouts
Some people tend to focus on a full body workout each and every time they hit the gym, and that’s fine—many women will find they gain muscle this way. However, if you want to pack on major-league mass, you should try to split your workouts.
You need to sit down and schedule your training. Try aiming for no less than four times a week. Of course, one of those sessions can be a full body workout, but try and make the rest focus on one individual area.
So, plan workouts exclusively for your upper body, lower body and one focusing on your core—minimum. Or for even better results, go further: leg day, chest and shoulders, and so on.
#2. Eat Enough
Low-calorie diets are great when necessary and cutting is fine, but if you want to gain muscle, then you need to eat to fuel your body. If there’s a shortfall on your macros, then you can’t realistically support muscle growth and recovery.
First of all, you need to ensure you get enough protein. Protein is key to building muscle. More lean mass also means improved body strength, which all helps towards better performance—and greater gains.
Secondly, don’t be afraid of carbohydrates. So many women cut out carbs completely, but they serve a purpose. You require energy and power to lift weights, which means including them in your diet on training days is essential. Obviously, stick to the good guys, like whole grains, but for sure you need some in your life.
#3. Don’t Skip Rest Day
Rest is one of the most important factors in bodybuilding. Your body needs time to recover, repair and grow muscle, and without enough rest, this will not happen. What’s more, the lack of sleep between training can actually hinder your performance, as well as your overall health.
When you’re pushing individual muscle groups to the limit, getting enough rest and preventing overtraining is key.
#4. Don’t Be Afraid to Lift Heavy
For women who generally want to get fit and sport a lean, toned appearance, lifting small weights is a perfect addition to their existing workout plan. But, if you want significant muscle growth, then you need serious iron on the bar.
This is something you’ll need to achieve slowly—adding weight as you progress. You won’t be able to lift a huge amount overnight.
However, if you aim to lift the maximum load each time—while maintaining proper form, of course—your muscles will respond and increase in order to lift the load. As they continue to do this, you can add more.
To build muscle, stick to 8–10 reps per set. But make sure you don’t allow your form to get sloppy. It’s an easy mistake to make when lifting bigger weights—maintaining proper form is crucial. Take each rep slow and steady.
#5. Snack on Protein
We’ve already talked about why consuming enough protein is crucial for building muscle. This is why it’s important to go for snacks, high in protein ones, too.
By doing so, you will ensure steady intake throughout the day—making it easier for your muscles to continuously repair and grow.
If you feel you aren’t getting enough into your diet, you can consider adding protein-rich supplements that specifically aid muscle repair and growth, like BCAAs.