Are you a woman and do you want to build muscle? You’re not the only one! More and more women are taking charge of their fitness journeys, by working on strong and healthy bodies. So, it’s no surprise that many women are also keen on getting toned and building muscle. A strong body feels good, speeds up your metabolism and keeps you fit.
But how do you train in an effective way as a woman? And why are your male friends hitting their goals sooner than you? All good things to know so you can reach your goal of having a strong (looking) body. Let’s dive in and uncover the secret to building muscles for women!
Let’s first address the elephant in the room: compared to men, it is harder for women to build muscle. Why is that?
Hormones: there is a difference in hormone levels between men and women. Men have higher levels of testosterone, the hormone that creates muscle growth. Because women have lower levels of testosterone, it takes longer for them to build muscle. Next to that, the menstrual cycles of women also have an effect on the capacity to build muscles. We’ll talk more about this later in this blog.
Body composition: women typically have a higher percentage of body fat and less muscle mass compared to men. This has to do with the fact that women can bear children and men can’t. But this also means that women have less muscle to build upon, and that makes it more difficult to create visible muscle growth.
The good news is that there are enough things that women can do to train effectively and get the strong body of their dreams. Let’s have a closer look at those muscle building secrets.
Your menstrual cycle can affect the results in the gym: one week you feel like you can take on the world, while a week later you’d rather stay on the couch. This is because your hormone levels fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. This can impact your energy levels, strength, and recovery. That’s why it’s smart to keep your cycle in mind in your strength training.
Here’s what you need to know:
During day 1 to 14 of your cycle (the follicular phase) your estrogen levels rise. In this phase you feel strong and have all the energy of the world. This is the perfect time to go all out on your workouts, and train strong, because it’s easier for the body to build muscle.
During day 15 to 28 of your cycle (the luteal phase) your progesterone levels increase. In this phase you can feel tired and bloated. Be kind to yourself, and do more gentle workouts like low-intensity cardio, yoga, and light weight training.
Understanding your hormonal cycle and adjusting your training to it, will help to feel good and reach your muscle building goals faster.
Having a workout routine that matches your goals is the first step toward building muscles. Patience and consistency is key! Your muscles won’t grow after one sesh (or two). Create a routine that works for you and try to go to the gym at least two times a week. Are you next level dedicated? Then have one of our personal trainers to create a plan for you and keep you motivated.
But whatever you do: stick to your workout plan for 6-8 weeks. After that, increase the weight, switch up the exercises and repeat. Not sure where to start? Check out our beginner workout plan here.
And remember, the best routine is one that you can keep up! Make sure you’re having fun in your trainings. That’ll make it a lot easier to turn them into habits ;).
It’s an open door but, strength training is essential for building muscle. When you lift weights or perform resistance exercises, you create micro-tears in your muscle fibers. Your body then repairs these tears when you rest, and this is what let’s your muscles grow. If you want to build muscles, you need to increase your training weight over time and add more challenging exercises. So, don’t shy away from those heavy weights, challenge yourself, and you’ll see growth in no time.
The number one secret to building muscles are PROTEIN and CALORIES (yes, calories)! Protein is important for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue. Calories give the energy your body needs to fuel your workouts and repair the muscle tissue. You need a balanced diet in which you have both if you want to get results.
Eat one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight a day for the best results. You can get your proteins out of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and vegan options like tofu and tempeh. Of course, you can also support your diet with protein powders and protein bars.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water, and to healthy fats. You need those to keep your hormones at bay and stay energised.
It can be tempting to think that you need to hit the gym 24/7 if you want to build a strong body, but that is not true. Getting strong takes more than just lifting weights and eating protein. Rest is just as important for muscle growth.
So, chill in between workouts by taking a rest days or doing recovery exercises like yoga or light cardio. Never train the same muscle group two days in a row, because they need time to recover for your next workout. And of course, sleep! Become religious about sleeping 7 – 9 hours a night, so your muscles can grow and rest.
The secret to building muscles for women goes hand in hand with training, knowing the female body, nutrition, rest and dedication. The best secret? Have fun! At TrainMore you’ll find your biggest cheerleaders who will celebrate and support you on every step of your way. Keep showing up, and before you know it, you’ll have the strong and fit body of your dreams.
Did you know that you can get a free day pass at TrainMore? After reading this blog you’re more than ready to hit the gym, so this free day will come in handy. Grab your free day pass here.