Written by Lindsay Cappotelli, Team MuscleTech.
So you want that toned, lean physique you see on the covers of fitness magazines? Those round shoulders, tone arms, defined quads, and tight glutes? Whether your goal is to tone up or to lose fat, building muscle is the key to transforming your physique.
Hopefully most of us know by now that the myth of women getting huge and “manly” from lifting weights is just that-a myth. Rather than turning women into big, bulky “hulks”, muscles create a lean and toned figure. They can transform your body from soft and flabby to tight and firm. What woman wouldn’t want that?
With that being said, building muscle is not always an easy task, especially for women. You have to be committed and in it for the long haul if you truly want to have a toned, muscular physique that others envy. For those of you who are serious about gaining muscle, here of some of my tips from what I’ve learned over my 10 + years of training that have helped me build the muscle that I have today:
Don’t overdo the cardio
Women often make cardio the focus of their workout routine and the weights get pushed to the back burner, when it should actually be the opposite. If you don’t have extra body fat to lose, you could even consider eliminating cardio completely, or limiting it to just 1-2 short, high intensity interval type workouts a week.
Another mistake women make when trying to gain muscle is simply not eating enough. Eating nothing but salads all day just ain’t gonna cut it! In order to gain muscle, you must consume slightly more calories than you burn.
In addition to lean beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs, having a couple of protein shakes is one way to help you hit your protein and calorie requirements for the day. I like to have my NitroTech protein immediately after workouts and Phase8 before bed.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to get out of the 12-15 repetition zone! When I started lifting heavier with reps in the 5-8 range was when I really began seeing results. Plus, lifting heavy and being strong is an amazing feeling!
Focus on getting stronger on the basic, compound lifts and try to keep adding more weight to the bar. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy! You may be surprised by how strong you really are.
Keep a workout journal
I think this is a crucial often overlooked component. Instead of just going to the gym and doing random things or whatever you feel like that day, it’s best to go in with a plan.
Keep track of your exercises, weights, repetitions, and rest time in between sets, so that you can try to improve upon that from week to week. I like to plan out my workouts ahead of time every 4-6 weeks and make sure that I am constantly improving in some way.
Train with intensity
Many women don't know what it really means to lift with intensity, so they never get the results out of weight training that they truly could. When you are performing an exercise, you should be extremely focused; not just going through the motions.
Focus on the muscle you're working. Put your mind into it. Feel it moving and contracting. Focus. Breathe.Strain. Make every rep count!
Take progress pictures
It's sometimes hard to see how your body is changing when you look at yourself every day. Taking progress pictures every few months is one of the best ways to see how your body is changing. Weighing and measuring is one way to keep track of results, but photos will tell the true story.
Have the right mindset
Results won’t come overnight, and there may be times when you feel that you’re not making any progress at all. Try not to get discouraged. It can take years to transform your physique, so don't give up!
If you’re doing the right things consistently, the results will come. Be patient, trust the process and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!