More women are discovering how important it is to build lean muscle to their bodies for a leaner frame, to promote effective day-to-day functioning, and to prevent injuries or disease in the future. In order to gain lean muscle, you need to put in serious work with the help of a great workout regimen that you will follow strictly. Given the amount of misinformation out there in the name of diets and exercises promising easy and quick results, you need to make sure you have the right information when going about it for the best results.
Training for Lean Muscle
Most women direct their training sessions towards weight loss. This might seem like a good idea, but it is actually ineffective. Science shows that people who work out with the aim of losing weight are less successful as they end up consuming more calories post-workout. People tend to reward themselves for physical activities performed for weight loss. People who work out to build lean muscle do not compensate by consuming more calories. The advantage of strength training exercises for lean muscle can influence your metabolism resulting in a fat burning post workout. This can stimulate hormones that help you restrict your appetite and burn fat.
Avoid Cutting Calories
Cutting calories will not help you gain lean muscle. Reducing your calories drastically slows down your metabolism to sustain fuel sources leading to fewer calories burned. You should never go below your body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) especially if you are training. The specific number of calories your body requires depends on the kind of training you are undertaking, physical activity, diet, genetics, and body composition.
Do Not Shy Away From Dietary Fat
Low-fat diets can pose a problem for women because avoiding dietary fat increases their tendency to take more carbohydrates. This results in blood sugar level fluctuations reducing your fat burning capacity and increasing insulin. Adequate fat can bring about hormone imbalances as the body uses cholesterol from the fat for hormone manufacture.
Dietary fat sources offer essential nutrients that the body can absorb readily preventing overeating. You should healthy fats in your diet such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fat sources.
Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Packaged low-fat foods, cereals, and bread contain carbohydrates that will increase your blood sugar and insulin levels. This sugar will be stored as fat as you eat more of these foods. The body becomes more resistant to insulin and stores more fat. Whole, healthy carbs slowly increase your blood sugar while providing essential nutrients that can increase the body’s insulin sensitivity. Fiber slows down digestion leaving you satiated for longer. Also, be mindful of portion sizes when it comes to your diet.
Establish a Meal Frequency
When trying to gain lean muscle, setting an eating frequency within a specific period can be beneficial. It can be useful to eat all your food within 10-12 hours instead of any time you feel hungry within 24 hours. Limiting yourself to a smaller window can enhance metabolic health. This forces the body to burn fat even when you are not eating. Whatever you eat within the 12 hours should include healthy fat, low-carb vegetables, and protein for the best results.
Increase Your Metabolic Flexibility
Metabolic flexibility means the body can burn carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. This is beneficial in reducing fat and sustaining energy levels. When the body is not in this state, it will be difficult to burn fat because you will need to enhance energy levels by consuming carbohydrates every few hours. Failure to do so will result in a blood sugar dip making you feel tired and cranky. Fueling the body with carbohydrates increases insulin levels making it harder to gain lean muscle. You will need to establish a balance between the energy sources by improving metabolic flexibility. You can do this by reducing the number of calories you get from carbs (healthy complex carbs) in favor of calories from fats and protein. You can also ramp up your exercise to increase fat burning in favor of your metabolism.
Boost Your Estrogen Metabolism
Estrogen can be helpful for female body health and composition when balanced with other androgens and hormones. However, too much of it can result in fat storage so you need to be mindful of estrogen sources such as chemical estrogen in plastics or poor estrogen metabolism. Poor estrogen metabolism can be a result of lack of muscle mass, lack of exercise, and a poor diet. To enhance estrogen metabolism you need to reduce exposure to toxic estrogen by eliminating plastics. Ensure you weight train to improve body composition and get plenty of exercise. Altering your diet by eating more antioxidant-rich veggies and fruits as well as more protein is also beneficial.
Train Multi-Joint Lifts
Women are usually distracted at the gym by small movements targeting specific areas and isolation exercises. Such exercises do not enhance metabolism and do not do much for after-burn in comparison to whole body exercises. Moves such as pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats will make you more agile and stronger. They will also tighten the core muscles while helping to build lower-back strength. Including back extensions, rows, or presses will increase variety and boost strength in specific areas. You are better off gauging your training sessions around these multi-joint lift exercises. If you are looking to further increase these results, you should think about putting in additional resistance to all your movements. A weighted vest is a great example of a way to increase weight without interfering with your movements. This vest will make the body to work harder without changing up the routine.
Perform Intermittent Exercises
Intermittent exercises such as modified strongman training/sled training or sprints are a great way for females to gain lean muscle. These exercises burn calories while you do them and they stimulate post-workout fat burning increasing the calories you burn even 24 hours after your training session. Intermittent exercises also encourage protein synthesis to help you maintain a steady metabolic rate and improve your lean muscle mass while you lose fat. These movements also help to release the main fat burning hormones, which mobilize body fat for burning and contribute to after burn by enhancing your energy expenditure post workout. If you are overweight, performing intermittent exercises can even lead to greater fat loss.