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A Woman’s Guide to Building Muscle


Unfortunately, as women, we just don’t have the level of anabolic hormones in our body that men do, so building muscle is, and probably always will be, more challenging. This does not mean, however, that it’s impossible! It’s just going to take a strategic approach.

Eat more

Be in a calorie surplus so you need to consume more calories than you’re burning to support and maintain growth. Ensure you’re getting enough protein to support repair and growth.

Do the “SPLITS”… not literally!!

There’s nothing wrong with full-body workouts. Many women are able to build appreciable muscle by training every major muscle group a few times a week, especially when they first start. But if your total-body approach isn’t working and has plateaued, it might be time to try a body-part split. There are many ways you can organize your split.

For example:

2-4 workouts a week: Push/pull (squats and pressing motions one day, pulling motions the next)

2-4 workouts a week: Upper body; lower body

3 workouts a week: Legs; push; pull

4 workouts a week: Chest and triceps; back and biceps; legs; shoulders and abs.

Cut back on the cardio? YES!!!

You don’t need to spend hours doing cardio—especially when you’re looking to add muscle. Think of it this way: Every calorie you burn on the treadmill is one that your body won’t use to build muscle.

Lift Heavy…

Heavy weights will result in more muscle fibres being torn. Once the repairing process occurs the end result will be a bigger and stronger muscle.

Don’t expect to get a lot stronger overnight, though. Slowly add weight to the bar, giving your body a chance to rise to the challenge. While you may not see an improvement every workout, you should see a gradual upward trend.

Get Serious About Your Form

When you’re doing endless reps with tiny light weights, you can get away with sloppy form. That changes once you commit to lifting heavier. Form needs to become a top priority as risk of injury will increase if correct form is not used.

Take Rest Days Seriously

Muscles don’t grow in the gym they grow when you rest! Giving your muscles the opportunity to recover is crucial. Set aside a day or two each week where you limit yourself to only light activity.

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