Gaining muscle as a female is always going to be more difficult. We are biologically designed to have a higher amount of fat to muscle than men as it is more useful for carrying children. Not only do we have a harder time building muscle, but we lose it more easily when we stop training! Nevertheless, there are certain things that you can do to make muscle building quicker and easier.
1. Creatine As important as a good diet is, the truth is it will only get you so far. I have seen more progressions in myself since I began using GN creatine than with any other supplement. Firstly, it has 0 calories and 0 carbs which means that it won't affect your intake if you track macros. Creatine works by providing energy to the muscles so that they can act more efficiently and for longer. Personally, I like to mix a serving of creatine in the shaker I take to the gym, drink most pre-workout and continue to sip it during.
2.Protein. Protein will become your best friend in your journey. We've all heard the hype from gym enthusiasts. It's as simple as investing in in a good quality powder (I use GoNutrition) for recovery post-workout and watching your body change.
3.Work hard. Then work harder. If you're comfortably doing 3 sets of 25 reps on a machine you are not going to challenge your muscles enough. Go heavier. Go up to your one rep max. Then add a drop set. Drop sets are brilliant with any exercise from squats to curls to benching, simply go up to your max then decrease weight while increasing reps for each subsequent set.
4.Don't be scared. At first I was terrified walking over to the free weights area of the gym, machines were less daunting but the thought of picking up a barbell terrified me. Truth is, everyone has to start somewhere and you'll find that you meet some amazing people in the weights section where there is a little more freedom to chat than the cardio zone. Or if you don't want to be disturbed, put your earphones in and block everyone else out. You are there for yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
5.Cut out cardio (at first). As much as we would all love to build muscle while simultaneously stripping fat, it isn't that easy for most people. If you want to build muscle, an hour of cardio will only cause your body to break down what isn't needed (excess fat and muscle). If you don't feel like your workout is complete until you've got a sweat on there are many more muscle friendly things that you can try. Battle ropes, kettlebell swings, box jumps and jumping squats are a good starting point. Make up a little circuit, you'll probably have much more fun than you would sat on a stationary bike!
6.Train every muscle. Just because you are female, does not mean you are limited to training abs and glutes. As previously mentioned, gaining muscle is hard for women and takes extreme effort; so if you don't want huge biceps, chances are you won't get them from a few curls.
7.Mix it up. Your body will quickly adapt to doing the same routine at the gym over and over again. You usually train legs once a week? Train them twice. You only chest press on the machine? Try a bench or using cables.
8.EAT. You want to gain muscle yet you're eating tiny low calorie meals? Think logically, how can your body continue to grow if you're not giving it the materials it needs to do so? To gain muscle you need to be eating an excess of calories, it is daunting at first but there are no shortcuts. Make sure to get these calories from quality foods; lean meats, rice, green vegetables, oats and so on.
9.Patience. Trust the process. Take progress pictures but don't become obsessed by the scales and measurements. Your body will get there, and as long as you feel stronger and more confident, the hard work will show on the outside eventually.
10.Good luck!This post was brought to you by GN Academy member Savannah Westerby. If you’d like to find out more about the GN Academy or apply to join then you can do so here.