Many women ask me how to tone and build lean muscle. After all, building muscle, in general, can often be a slower process for women since we tend to have less testosterone than men.
Whether you want to build big or build lean, what building muscle can do is make you stronger, healthier, and less susceptible to a serious injury. You’ll also find that strengthening your muscles can do more for lowering your body fat percentage than cardio. Muscles help the body burn more calories long after your workout.
For National Women’s Health and Fitness Day (Wednesday, September 30, 2020) let’s talk about how to build strength and sculpt the definition you’re looking to achieve. Here’s a balanced, three-step approach for making that happen:
(1) Your Lean Muscle Workout
Many of my workouts guide you through the lean muscle building process. So, whether you’re following along with me or doing you’re own strength training moves, here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Check Your Tempo: Don’t rush through the exercises. Go slowly when lifting weights or doing strength training exercises so you can focus on the muscle you are working at that time. The tension you create on your muscles is what will help them get stronger and grow.
- Lift and Repeat: You don’t have to stick to doing ten reps. Vary them once in a while so your muscles are always challenged. You can use light weights for high reps or heavy weights for low reps. Mixing up these two methods in your routine is a great way to continually keep your muscles engaged.
- Diversify: Do more than one exercise for each muscle group. For example, you can do overhead presses, lateral raises and front raises when working your shoulder muscles. After a few weeks, change up the exercises so your muscles have something new to challenge them.
- Frequency: Try to hit each muscle group at least once a week if not more. Your weekly schedules have you hit arms more than once.
(2) Your Lean Muscle Diet
When trying to build lean muscle, what you eat is as important as how much you lift. Your body needs targeted nutrients and calories.
Protein is the building block to getting muscles. It helps repair what was broken down from your weight training session. Chicken, lean meats, eggs, and low-fat dairy are great sources of protein. The recommendation is to eat at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, a 120-pound woman should eat at least 96 grams of protein a day.
You also can’t discount carbs and fat. Yes, you want to gain muscle and lose fat, but too much focus on fat loss could leave your body deprived. It will only make getting the lean muscle you want more difficult. Nuts, avocados, healthy oils, whole grains, fruits, and veggies can give you the macronutrients your muscles need for energy and growth.
(2) Your Lean Muscle Lifestyle
A good night’s sleep is also part of the lean muscle building process. This allows your muscles to recover, repair, and reset for whatever you have planned for them the next day.
Be sure to give your muscles time to recover. If you worked your biceps on Monday, wait at least 48 hours before you work them again. Also, don’t go crazy with cardio. Yes, it’s important, but it may leave you too tired to lift weights. Try doing your arm exercises before your cardio or on separate days if you can.
Join me for my weekly workouts and let’s continue on the journey for lean, beautiful muscles!