While you might not want to look like a super bronzed female Adonis of a body builder, it might be nice to see a little more definition in your biceps and less wobble in your calves. Building muscle as a woman is a fine balance between looking fit, healthy and strong, and looking like you’ve gone too far with a thick neck and triceps bulging out of your sleeves. Toning up and adding definition to your frame will leave you with less fat. This isn’t just true for the external appearance of your body but also for the visceral fat surrounding your organs. By shedding the fat and building the muscle, you can change the entire composition of your makeup leading to a healthier and stronger you.
Eat the Right Stuff
While it may seem obvious, what you fuel your body with will have a massive impact on the muscle you can build. Eating starchy white and refined carbohydrates will lead to your body converting the readymade energy into sugars and ultimately fat, to be deposited on your hips, thighs and stomach. If you’re trying to achieve a sculpted set of abs, you need to ditch the white pasta, potatoes and rice and swap them for wholegrain alternatives.
More than what you eat, you need to alter the ratio of food groups that you eat. Rather than loading up on bread, you need to go back to the drawing board and think about loading your plate full of iron-rich leafy green vegetables, fish, chicken and other lean sources of protein. Protein is the number one food group needed to build healthy muscle. You can visit this website to discover how this slow release energy food group is full of amino acids, the essential building block for muscle. By putting more of this into your diet, you are equipping your body with the right ingredients to feed your muscle growth. Tuna, mackerel, chicken breasts and tofu are fantastic healthy sources of protein to try and incorporate into your diet.
You need to eat regularly and not allow yourself to get hungry. Remember, you’ll be heading to the gym and working hard, so you’ll be utilising all of the calories that are going into your body. As a rule of thumb, it’s sensible to eat 1g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight if you’re serious about building up your muscle mass. Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, so your muscles don’t cramp or tense while exercising. You need them in a healthy state in order to build them up.
While you may love a run on the treadmill or a manic forty minute session in a spin class, you need to try and limit the cardio exercise that you do. While you’re trying to tone and build muscle, you need to be heading to the weights section of the gym more often. Strength exercises are the lifeblood of building muscle mass.
It’s vital that you understand the exercises and workouts you need to do to achieve your goal. If you’re keen to build your biceps and get rid of those bingo wings, you need to lift a heavy weight. Don’t opt for the easy weight, do 30 reps and feel no burn whatsoever. Your muscles need to feel like they are working. Doing fewer reps of a heavier weight will strengthen the fibres within your muscles. Those last one or two lifts should be a struggle and sweat should be pouring from your brow. While you don’t want your muscle to be painful and tearing after every session, it’s natural to feel soreness. Don’t exercise the same muscle groups two days in a row and welcome your rest days. These are vital to allow your muscles time to recover ready for the next set of reps. Your aim is to lift heavier and heavier weights until your muscle mass is at a level where you are comfortable.
For abs workouts, you need to consider not just doing hundreds of sit-ups but strengthening your core with squats, using a kettlebell when crunching and adding weight to your workout to improve your balance and strengthen the centre of your body. There are a vast array of machines down at the gym to help you develop muscle, so you don’t simply have to rely on the weights.
Variety And Consistency
It’s important that you have a varied workout schedule and you don’t run the risk of getting bored through monotonous and unappealing exercises. Bicep curls are great, but you don’t want that to be your sole arm exercise. You need to mix it up once in a while and enjoy whole body workouts to exercise all of your muscle groups. If you do find it tricky to develop a consistency in the gym or find the lure of the couch sometimes too hard to resist on a freezing cold winter’s night, consider heading to the gym with a buddy. By having someone alongside you with a common goal, you can motivate one another and maybe find a competitive edge when stepping on the body fat scale.
Make sure you have a gym playlist to get your blood pumping, your adrenaline flying and your mind focused on your exercise. As you begin to see the abs develop, the thighs strengthen and the biceps tone up, you’ll feel more motivated to continue with your plan. Setting measurable targets and seeing the impact of your efforts will prevent you from falling off the exercise bandwagon.
Remember that your diet and exercise regime goes hand in hand. No matter how much iron you manage to pump, this will go to waste if you gorge on alcohol and chocolate. At the same time, eating shed loads of protein can lead to excess weight gain if you don’t exercise your muscles to build mass and strengthen your core.
Swap the white bread for a wholemeal roll, the bacon for a chicken breast and cardio for weights. Soon you may find yourself more toned and with more muscle definition than ever before.