If you are interested in learning how to proceeds weight the right way, you have come to the right place!Â
My name is Staci Ardison.
I overcame an eating disorder, discovered a love for heavy strength training, and now I help women like you get stronger for a living.
Believe it or not, I’m 50 pounds heavier in the photo on the right (and WAY stronger, and healthier, and happier!).
I’m currently a lead mentor here in the Nerd Fitness Coaching Program, where we train women to pick up heavy weights, get strong, and build confidence.
Speaking of picking up heavy weights, here I am deadlifting 455 pounds:
This is what I LOVE to do.
In this Ultimate Guide to Towers Muscle as a Woman, I’m going to be covering:
- Why towers muscle is difficult for some women.
- Should women build muscle? (7 reasons women should grow muscle)
- How to eat to proceeds muscle as a woman.
- What foods should I eat to proceeds weight?
- Strength training for women to build muscle.
- 5 muscle-building workout routines for women
- Best tips and tricks for gaining weight as a woman.
- Next steps for women looking to build muscle.
Alright, let’s do this.
“If you want to proceeds weight, eat increasingly calories than you shrivel regularly. Want to put on the right KIND of weight? Exercise and eat the right way too.”
Now, there’s plenty of nuance to this when comparing men and women:
- Due to our natural hormones, itâs often increasingly difficult for people with typical sexuality torso to proceeds muscle than people with typical male anatomy.
- We have a lot of factors (such as hormonal lineage control) that have been proven to make it plane harder as well.
But that doesn’t midpoint it’s impossible!
It just ways we have to work harder for it.
Ugh, I know.
Now, one thing I want to touch on quick: if you see a woman who is veritably jacked and at an extremely low soul fat percentage, I guarantee she has been working her stump off for a very long time with the goal of towers muscle.
Itâs not something that happens overnight, or by mistake.
In addition, some women with larger amounts of muscle mass segregate to take steroids to help squire them in gaining muscle, considering we simply donât have the hormones naturally to get to that size.
So if youâd like to build muscle, but not as much as a professional bodybuilder – donât worry, itâs not something that happens by accident.
With that out of the way, let’s talk well-nigh soul fat and soul types:
As we point out in that body fat percentage guide, we women can squint very variegated at any weight depending on our soul shape and how much muscle we have. It comes lanugo to our own personal goals!
This guide is going to primarily focus on two things:
- How to eat to proceeds weight and build muscle.
- How to strength train to build muscle.
We’ve helped thousands of women with our online coaching program, many of whom are trying to proceeds weight and strength train for the first time in their lives.
Everybody is on their own journey, at their own pace, and everybody will end up with variegated results too!
If it can be harder for women to proceeds muscle (compared to men), why go through the trouble?
I’m glad you asked!
Here are the top 7 reasons why women should strength train:
#1) When you’re stronger – everyday life is easier. No need to undeniability for help to get that 50lb bag of dog supplies off the top shelf, or delivering an air conditioner unit up a flight of stairs. LIFE is easier when you’re stronger.Â
#2) Less injury risk – when you build strong muscles, youâre moreover towers stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons, making you less prone to injury doing things you love (like playing in a quidditch league).
#3) Helps gainsay age-related muscle loss,Â allowing us to remain self-sustaining longer as we age:
#4) Muscle is harder to maintain, which ways you need to eat increasingly just to hold on to it.
#5) Reduce pain – having a strong soul makes living easier on your joints, as well as allows you to hold a largest posture, and reduce when / hip pain.
#6) Appearance – this is a personal preference! Some women like to have a lot of muscle, and some donât. While you canât spot reduce fat, you can segregate to build increasingly muscle in specific areas, waffly your soul shape. Growing up, I was an lattermost pear shape, but due to strength training, I now have increasingly of an hourglass shape.Â
#7) Live longer – want to spend increasingly time on Earth? Strength training and growing muscle will help you do just that.
As we said above, gaining weight comes lanugo to thermodynamics and science.
Every day, we shrivel a unrepealable number of calories just existing, which is tabbed our BMR (basal metabolic rate). We then factor in our daily worriedness level, and get a number that is tabbed our “total daily energy expenditure.” You can summate yours below.
The Nerd Fitness Calorie Calculator:
Strauss Exercise Resistance Bands Loop Band Thera Bands for Men & Women (Multicolor)
Set of exercise and mini resistance loop bands.
(Click here for our Metric calculator).
(Note: we have used The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation to create this calculator! ).
Since we want to proceeds weight, we want to take our TDEE and add 250 calories to it to get our daily goal. This should result in gaining well-nigh half a pound per week.
Now, although eating ANY EXTRA calories from any source will result in weight gain, our goal is to proceeds the RIGHT kind of weight, in a healthy way.
And thus, we’ll be focusing our efforts on a “healthy muscle building” strategy.
We could hands add increasingly calories each day, and proceeds weight quicker, however, the slow method gives you the weightier chances at gaining mostly muscle, with minimal fat. The faster you try to proceeds weight, the higher the percentage that will likely be fat – so starting off at half a pound per week is a unconfined place to start!
In wing to the number of calories we’ll be adding, we moreover want to pay sustentation to the type of foods we’re eating.
As we imbricate in our “Healthy Eating Guide,” we’re going to build muscle by consuming the three big macros in the correct quantities:
- Protein:Â rebuilds muscle without you unravel it down.
- Carbohydrates: provides your muscle with fuel and soul with energy.
- Fat:Â helps your bodily functions and can moreover be burned as fuel in the sparsity of carbs.
Letâs squint at each of these individually:
PRIORITY #1: PROTEIN
Protein can come from any number of sources, including:
- Meat (steak, bison, pork).
- Fowl (chicken, turkey, duck).
- Cheese and dairy.
- Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).
- OtherÂ vegetarian protein sourcesÂ here.
As we imbricate in our âHow much Protein do I need?â, claims for the value of protein required for muscle growth vary wildly from source to source (and athlete to athlete).
Here is our recommendation:
- If youâre of healthy weight, active, and wish toÂ build muscle, aim for 1 g per pound of soul weight (2.2 g/kg).
- If youâre an experienced lifterÂ on a bulk, intakes up to 1.50 g/lb (3.3 g/kg)Â may help you minimize fat gain.
Let me simplify it for you:
“To build muscle, target at least 1 gram of protein per pound of soul weight (2.2 grams per kg).”
If youâre curious, from ourÂ healthy eating article, this is what a portion of protein looks like:
Hereâs how much protein is in a serving of food:
- 4 oz (113 g) of yellow has virtually 30 g of protein.
- 4 oz (113 g) of salmon has 23 g of protein
- 4 oz (113 g) of steak has 28 g of protein.
Want to get increasingly protein?Â Consider protein shakes.
PRIORITY #2: CARBS
After protein, we’ll be filling up our plate with calories from carbs (and fats).
Here are foods full of carbohydrates you can prioritize:
- Legumes and lentils
- Sweet potatoes
- Regular potatoes
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole grain bread
To help you get largest at serving sizes:
1 serving of a starchy carbohydrate is 1 cupped hand (uncooked), or your two hands forming a cup (cooked).
Here are some images to help you learn proper portion sizes (thanks toÂ SafeFood):
In wing to consuming carbohydrates from these sources, itâs okay to slosh plenty of fruit while trying to build muscle!
For reference, here is roughly 200 calories worth of an world (thanks to WiseGEEK):
You can read our full “Is fruit healthy?” guideÂ to learn more.
PRIORITY #3: FAT!Â
Fat is a macronutrient that can help you reach your calorie goals (in the right quantity), as fat can be upper in calories. Plus, you can eat lots of it without feeling full. Helpful if you’re trying to put on weight.
Healthy fat can be found in foods like:
- Macadamia nuts
- Olive oil
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
Science has recently come virtually on saturated fat too. Once completely vilified, but now considered okay for moderate consumption.
Saturated fats can come from things like:
- Whole milk
- Full fat dairy
- Coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Fatty cuts of meat
To help you gauge: a serving size of fat is roughly the size of your thumb!
For reference, this is a single serving of almonds (162 calories):
THIS is a serving of olive oil (119 calories):
As you can see, you can eat an uneaten 500 calories of âhealthy fatsâ by eating lots of âheart-healthyâ fats like nuts or subtracting increasingly olive oil to your meals.
PRIORITY #4: VEGETABLES!
Last but not least, you need vegetables in your diet.
As you start to eat increasingly food, your stomach, intestines, and other bodily functions will thank you for consuming increasingly high-fiber vegetables!Â
A serving of veggies is well-nigh the size of your fist.
Hereâs a quick, non-complete list of high-fiber veggies that can fill your plate:
- Spaghetti squash
- Brussels sprouts
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: A HEALTHY MUSCLE-BUILDING PLATE
This plate and serving size stuff whilom is just to help you get started thinking well-nigh healthy supplies differently and in proper portion sizes.
TO RECAP, HEREâS HOW TO EAT TO BUILD MUSCLE:
- Calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and add 250 calories over your number.
- Consume 1-1.5g per pound (2.2-3.3g per kg) of soul weight in protein every day.
- Consume the rest of your calories from foods well-balanced of carbs and fats.
- Always eat vegetables so that your soul can unquestionably PROCESS all this uneaten food. I like to aim for half of my plate of vegetables.
- If you are not gaining weight, (and you’re hitting your protein goals), add increasingly carbs and/or fats to your meal.
It really does come lanugo to the following:
If you are not gaining weight fast enough, youâre not eating enough. Increase your portions of carbs and fats!
Whenever we work withÂ coaching clients who struggle to build muscle, this is the zone we target: subtracting increasingly carbs and fats to each meal.
Years from now, you’ll squint when and thank âPast Youâ for starting strength training today.
And don’t worry, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do so you can start strength training TODAY!
Here’s why strength training is so important: when you eat a caloric surplus (more calories than your soul needs each day), the uneaten calories have to go somewhere.
- If you don’t do any exercise, your soul will segregate to store the uneaten calories as fat for later.
- However, when you strength train, your muscles are wrenched down. Then they’ll use the uneaten calories to rebuild themselves worthier and stronger over the next 48 hours!
“Staci that sounds great, but I’ve never strength trained before, and I don’t know what I’m doing…Halp!” You might be saying into your computer or phone.
Fear not! I’ll help. Strength training doesn’t need to be scary or overly complicated.
Simply put, “strength training” ways two things:
#1) âMovement of any weight versus âresistanceâ (including your soul weight) â Doing ANY exercise that pushes your muscles outside of their repletion zone, forcing them to rebuild stronger to prepare for the next challenge.
#2) Progressive overload:Â doingÂ slightlyÂ more than last time (lift a heavier weight or do 1 increasingly rep) consistently. Your muscles will have to constantly transmute and rebuild themselves stronger. This is tabbed “progressive overload.”
Coach Jim breaks lanugo variegated strategies for progressive overload in this video:
This ways if you waif lanugo and do ONE push-up or knee push-up right now…
Technically, youâve strength trained.
Now do that and then do a bodyweight squat…
Boom, you just did a strength training workout.
Here’s what you need to know well-nigh strength training:
- Strength training is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself.
- Strength training will help you put on muscle while eating in a surplus.
- While you can’t spot reduce fat, you can focus on towers increasingly muscle in specific areas, which can help you attain a specific squint you’re going for.
- If you don’t like the gym, you don’t need to go, ever. But I hope you do. Considering that’s the easiest way to start training with weights.
- Regardless of your fitness level, soul fat percentage, strength level, or biological sex, you have every right to be in the self-ruling weights section in the gym, training with heavy weights, with everybody else. The people in the gym who are very strong with a lot of muscle started somewhere, too!
I used to be a CrossFit instructor, and my favorite thing well-nigh CrossFit was that it destigmatized barbell training and heavy lifting for many women.
In order for us to strength train and build muscle, we’re going to tideway this intelligently.Â
We’re not going to pick up small dumbbells and do lots of reps.
We’re not going to sit lanugo at various machines and scroll through our phones while doing leg curls.
Instead, we’re going to:
- Get very strong with compound movements that recruit LOTS of muscles to work together.
- Do our workouts quickly and get out of there. The workout should take no longer than 45-60 minutes.
This is how we efficiently build muscle in the minimum value of time.Â What are the exercises that we’re going to target?
1)Â The Push-Up:Â The weightier exercise you could overly do for yourself when it comes to using your bodyweight for push muscles (your chest, shoulders, and triceps):
2)Â The Bodyweight Squat:Â This exercise serves a dual purpose: it is the foundation for towers strength AND helps build proper mobility. If you are going to overly do barbell squats, you need to work on hitting proper depth with a bodyweight squat first!
3)Â The Inverted Bodyweight Row:Â Until you can get your first pull-up or chin-up, these exercises are GREAT to start towers your pull-muscle strength (your back, biceps, and forearms).
4)Â The Pull-Up and Chin-Up:Â Once you can support your body’s weight whilom the bar, the world becomes your playground. No strength training routine should be without pull-up or chin-up work! (Click here if you canât do a pull-up or chin-up yet):
And now weâre into the weightier weight training exercises:
5) The Barbell Squat:Â Probably the weightier exercise when it comes to towers strength and muscle throughout your whole body. It moreover burns crazy calories and makes life better. This is a MUST:
This is a very technical lift, so make sure you read our vendible on how to deadlift with proper form:
7) The Barbell Seat Press.Â Lie on a bench, squeeze your shoulder blades to alimony your when tight, and then lower a barbell until it scrutinizingly touches your chest. Pause, and then printing it when up towards the sky. Repeat! And get strong.
8) Barbell Overhead Press: Stand with your feet well-nigh shoulder-width untied and lean when by pushing your hips forward. While keeping your unshortened soul tight, printing the bar overhead.
Once the bar passes your forehead, move your soul when under the bar by driving your torso forward and when into a standing position. At the top of the lift shrug your shoulders slightly and lock your elbows.
These are some of the weightier recipe exercises you can well-constructed in order to build muscle. Want increasingly muscle? Great! Get stronger at these movements!
One quick note: when I first started lifting, it took a while to build up the strength to be worldly-wise to seat printing or overhead printing with the 45-lb bar. If your gym doesn’t have a lighter bar, dumbbells are a unconfined option!
Your mission, should you segregate to winnow it:
Commit to trying ONE of these movements in the next week. UseÂ 20 seconds of courage, recruit a friend who has lifted or trained before, and try your best.
I have three options for you next:
- Select one of the muscle-building routines for women in the next section.
- Build your own workout routine using these exercises!
- Work with me and our coaching program to follow a custom strength training routine for your goals.
I’m going to walk you through three variegated levels of strength training, and by the end of today, you’re going to know exactly how to get started.
My advice: do 2-3 strength training routines per week, with 1-2 days off in between. As the saying goes: “muscle isn’t built in the gym, it’s built in the kitchen!”
So your goal should be to do a strength training routine, and then make sure you eat a caloric surplus so that your soul has unbearable calories to rebuild your muscles worthier and stronger!
LEVEL 1: BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
Here’s a beginner bodyweight training routine you can do in the repletion of your own home:
- 20 Bodyweight squats.
- 10 Push-ups.
- 10 Walking lunges (each leg).
- 10 Dumbbell rows (use a milk jug or other weight).
- 15 Second Plank.
- 30 Jumping jacks.
We moreover have a downloadable worksheet of this beginner’s workout that you can print out and hang on your fridge to track your progress! Get it when you sign up below:
- Complete this workout at home, no equipment required
- Avoid the worldwide mistakes everybody makes when doing bodyweight exercises
- Learn how to finally get your first pull-up
LEVEL 2: DUMBBELL WORKOUT
If you have dumbbells at home or wangle to a gym, you can pick our Level 4 workout from our 6-Level Gym Workout Routine.
So yourÂ Dumbbell Workout is 3 circuits of the following:
- 10 goblet squats (holding the dumbbell like a goblet with 2 hands):
- 10 push-ups (or knee push-ups):
- 10 dumbbell rows/side:
Or 10 bodyweight rows:
(By the way, these are two GREAT exercises towards getting your first pull-up)
LEVEL 2: BEGINNER KETTLEBELL WORKOUT
If you have a Kettlebell at home, here’s a 20-Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout you can do:
Do 3 circuits of this Kettlebell Workout:Â
- 8 Halos (each side)
- 10 Goblet Squats
- 8 Overhead Presses (each side)
- 15 Kettlebell Swings
- 8 Bent Over Rows (each side)
- 6 Front Rack Reverse Lunge (per side)
If you like this Kettlebell workout and want to follow withal on a worksheet, simply print out our Kettlebell Workout and bring it with you:
- Complete this workout at home or gym with 1 kettlebell.
- Avoid the worldwide mistakes everybody makes when doing kettlebell exercises.
- Build strength, shrivel fat, level up your life!
LEVEL 3: BARBELL GYM WORKOUT
Here’s a Barbell workout you can follow from our Level 5 Gym Workout Routine.
BARBELL BATALLION WORKOUT A:
- 3 sets of 10 barbell squats
- 3 sets of 10 push-ups
- 3 sets of 10 bodyweight rows:
BARBELL BATALLION WORKOUT B:
- 3 sets of 5 barbell Romanian deadlifts (video pulled from our courses in Nerd Fitness Prime)
- 3 sets of 10 seat presses:
- 3 sets of 5 pull-ups, assisted pull-ups, or negative pull-ups:
PICK A WORKOUT, GET STARTED!
The whole point is to do challenging movements that really make your muscles work, and then try to do ONE increasingly rep, or lift a SLIGHTLY heavier weight next time!Â
Don’t sweat the small details and instead use 20 seconds of courage to get started!
Track your workouts by writing lanugo what you did, and then do what you can next time.
“Staci, that’s still too many choices! Can you just tell me what workout routine to follow?”
Okay fine! Here’s what I would do if I was you.
- Do you have wangle to a gym? Follow our 6-Level Gym Workout Plan.
- No gym? Start with the beginner bodyweight program.
Still overwhelmed? Trammels out our coaching program. We get to learn your story, and then build a program and strategy virtually your goals that you CAN do.
I interviewed multiple other coaches on our team and asked for their weightier translating on how to build muscle as a woman.
Here’s what they said:
SusyÂ (Coach, BS in Psychology, Certificate III & IV in Fitness, 5 years of experience)
Tip #1: Supplies is your friend when you are looking to build muscle and get stronger – your soul will need fuel, so you may need to eat increasingly on the days that you work out!
Tip #2: Strength and muscle towers requires structure to your workouts – you progress through getting largest at specific movements, so make sure that you enjoy the style and structure of your workouts so that you can be as resulting as possible.
Tip #3: Your progress will unchangingly be fastest if you stave injury, so correct form and listening to your soul is super important. Your muscles will fatigue and finger sore, but joint pain and sharp, stabby pain ways something isn’t moving quite right.
Kerry (Coach, NASM-CPT, 6 years of experience)
Tip #4: Fall in love with the process. Getting stronger is a journey, one that is both rewarding and challenging. So no matter where you are starting from, take the time to gloat each small step withal the way towards a increasingly badass version of yourself!
Christy (Coach, BS in Applied Health/Fitness, National Personal Training Institute Graduate, Precision Nutrition Certification, 6 years of experience)
Tip #5: To get strong, you gotta lift weights. When lifting weights to get strong, you gotta be okay with testing your boundaries every now and then.
After exercising with your current weight, for the next training session…stop…and try a few reps with the next weight UP to test it out! It might surprise you how much moreÂ weight you can lift!
Here are some other tips to help you build muscle.
Tip #6: Boost your testosterone naturally: Slosh unbearable saturated and monounsaturated fats, alimony your sugar intake low, and make sure you’re getting unbearable Vitamin D and Zinc.
These are items linked with boosting your testosterone naturally.
Speaking of testosterone – I know you may think of this as a “male” hormone, but it plays a huge part in women muscle building, fat loss, increase unorthodoxy mass, and many other health-related issues(remember: estrogen is made from testosterone).
Men make well-nigh ten to fifteen times what we make naturally, but it doesn’t midpoint we don’t need it too.
Another way we can help our testosterone levels is to watch our cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a hormone that is promoted by stress and reduces self-ruling testosterone levels (in wing to signaling for your soul to store fat).
Tip #7: Not getting bigger? Eat increasingly food.
Focus on increasingly fats and carbs. They are the easiest ways to increase your total calories.
Tip #8: Make sure every meal has a solid protein source.
Protein is needed for towers muscle, so prioritize this whilom all else when you sit lanugo to eat.
Having trouble getting it all down? Buy a blender!
Steve drinks two smoothies a day to reach his protein goals and you can trammels out our Guide to Protein Shakes for his personal recipe.
On the go with no blender? I like to alimony protein powder with me in a small Ziploc bag – that way I can grab a snifter of water, rip off the corner of the Ziploc bag, and use that as a funnel to get the powder into the water bottle. Then, just replace the cap and shake and you’ve got a protein-filled snack!
Tip #9: Get increasingly sleep! When you build muscle, your soul is working overtime, urgent uneaten calories. It’s going to need some time to recover. Remember, muscle is built when you rest, not when you unquestionably lift.
Go to bed!
Tip #10: Start today!
Gaining muscle comes lanugo to eating right and strength training. Let’s get you lifting today!
The most important step you can take today is to begin.
Let’s requite you some increasingly tips to get you going.
If I can narrow lanugo towers muscle for women, it would be three main points:
- Get stronger by picking up heavy stuff or doing increasingly challenging bodyweight movements.
- Get worthier by eating lots of food.
- Recover faster by sleeping unbearable and giving your muscles days off to rebuild.
That’s it. You can do this.
If you made it this far, and you want increasingly specific instruction and guidance, we have a few options for you:
1) If you are somebody that wants to follow a tailor-made program designed virtually their life and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.
Youâll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you largest than you know yourself, trammels your form, and program your workouts and nutrition for you.
2) If you want an word-for-word tabulation for growing strong, trammels out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise increasingly frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).
Try your self-ruling trial right here:
3) Join the Rebellion!Â We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
Sign up in the box unelevated to enlist and get our guide,Â Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. Itâll help you uncork your journey on towers muscle.
- Everything you need to know well-nigh getting strong.
- Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
Lastly, Iâd love to hear from you!
PLEASE leave your questions, eating or strength or otherwise unelevated so we can wordplay them and wilt weightier friends and practice karate kicks in the garage:
How can I help you get worthier and stronger?
What part of this journey are you still struggling the most with?
What are your favorite bulking up foods!?
Share with your friends in the comments so we can all go buy it in zillion at Costco.
PS: Make sure you trammels out the rest of our Strength Towers Articles!
- 5 Beginner Strength Training Workouts
- 6 Gym Workouts You Can Follow
- How to Do a Push-Up
- How to Get Your First Pull-Up
- How to Do a Bodyweight Row
- How to Do a Squat
- How to Do a Deadlift
The post How to Build Muscle as a Woman: The Ultimate Guide for Gaining Weight the Right Way first appeared on Nerd Fitness.