That’s the thing about muscle gain. From skinny and slender to curvy and voluptuous–all women must gain some muscle mass.
Nope, the muscle gain we’re talking about in this scenario isn’t even remotely close to the bulkiness of Sylvester Stallone or John Abraham. In fact, due to relatively lower amounts of testosterone in your body as compared to men, you might not be able to reach their level of muscle mass—ever. Until and unless, you not just eat, but also breathe, supplements.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s just talk about building up, strengthening, and gaining what naturally exist in our body. All this, so that you stay healthy, don’t end up with weak muscles and bones with age, and have a metabolism that works at the speed of light.
Yes, muscle gain can make you look fuller too in case you think you’re too skinny. But as a plus, you can reap the benefits mentioned above too. All you’ve got to do is follow these guidelines:
When working out, remember:
1. You’ve got to stop resisting resistance training
Resistance training basically involves moving your limbs against the resistance provided by your body, the gravity of the earth, the weight of the dumb-bells, bands, or weighted bars you use during your workout. Trust us, nothing works better than resistance weight training if your goal is to build a healthy muscle mass.
In fact, several studies including the one published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, found that skinny women quickly gained muscle when they did weight training regularly.
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2. Go big and slow when it comes to weight training
Chill! No one’s asking you to start lifting 100 kilos of weight on your first day itself. You can always increase the amount of weight you’re lifting gradually. Because lifting heavy weights while making sure you do nice and slow repetitions can help your case like no other, according to a study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics.
Just in case you’re worried about looking “manly” due to weight lifting, we must remind you again that the testosterone level in a woman’s body is far less than in a man’s. And since this hormone has a huge contribution to make in muscle building, getting bulky should be the least of your concerns.
3. Target a muscle group, but also do full-body workouts
There’s no denying the fact that targeting a particular muscle group, say, bicep, for instance, on a particular day can make your bicep muscle grow and become stronger. However, doing compound movements, like squats, push-ups, presses and so on that involve more than one muscle group can save you a lot of time in the gym by benefitting different muscles with just one exercise. What more do you want from life?
Secondly, while spending hours on the treadmill can make you lose muscle mass along with fat, spending at least the first 15-20 minutes of your workout on a cardio session that brings your heartbeat up can heat up your muscles, reduce the risk of injuries, and give you a toned lower body of your dreams.
Your diet is important too. So keep this guide in mind:
1. Up your calorie intake
Gaining upto half a kilo a week is a healthy, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Now, this increase in weight can be due to water retention, fat gain, or the much-desired muscle gain. It simply depends on the form of food you choose to up your calorie intake, ideally by 300-500 calories a day for the initial gains.
2. Eat right
The idea is to eat around 2000-2500 calories in a day. Needless to say, if you consider this as your free pass to indulge in junk food, you’re bound to gain fat and water weight in return. However, if you eat more of protein—you’re obviously more likely to gain muscle.
So, eat more eggs, chicken breast, pulses and lentils, cottage cheese, and sprouts as they also happen to be packed with a muscle-building amino acid called leucine. Moreover, they also have an organic compound, creatine, which is also found in our muscles naturally.
3. But don’t forget to strike balance
Increasing your protein intake can surely give you the muscle mass you desire. However, don’t forget to consume a clean, balanced diet with vegetables, fibre, and healthy carbohydrates to maintain your overall health as well, okay?