- 2 Out Of 3 Female Body Types CAN Get Too Muscular
- WHEN I FIRST STARTED EXERCISING
- WHERE IT WENT WRONG
- HOW I GOT BACK ON TRACK
- WHAT I FOUND OUT ABOUT BODY TYPES
- WHAT IS YOUR BODY TYPE?
- WANT TO KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE?
- WHAT I DID NEXT
10 Fit-Girl Problems Nobody Talks About
- Fit-Girl Problem 1: Contents Under Pressure
- Fit-Girl Problem 2: Your Body Becomes A Discussion Point
- Fit-Girl Problem 3: Clothes Don’t Fit
- Fit-Girl Problem 4: The Itty-Bitty Titty Committee
- Fit-Girl Problem 5: So. Much. Hunger.
- Fit-Girl Problem 6: Armpit Shaving Sucks
- Fit-Girl Problem 7: You Carry A Torch
- Fit-Girl Problem 8: Hand Destruction
- Fit-Girl Problem 9: UR-In Trouble
- Fit-Girl Problem 10: Fitness Cliques
- Exercise to Gain Weight for Females
- Workout Schedule for Women Trying to Gain Weight
- Here’s a workout schedule for women trying to gain weight.
- Why Building Muscle is Difficult for Some Women
- Should women build muscle? (7 Reasons Women should Grow Muscle)
- How to Eat to Gain Muscle as a Woman
- 8 Strength Training Exercises For Women to Build Muscle
- 5 Muscle Building Workout Routines For Women
- 10 Tips for building muscle as a Woman
- Building Muscle: Next Steps!
- How To Gain Weight For Women
- How Do You Know If You’re Underweight?
- Are There Health Risks Associated With Being Underweight?
- What If Your BMI is Normal?
- Wrap Up
- The Best Weight Gain Tips for Skinny Girls
- Tip #1: Stick to a routine.
- Tip #2: Don’t underestimate the power of a shake.
- Tip #3: Healthy oils can make a difference too.
- Tip #4: Carb it up!
- Tip # 5: Always have snacks on you.
- Tip #6: Do little to no cardio.
- Tip #7: The ultimate tip. Make sure you’re doing it for you.
2 Out Of 3 Female Body Types CAN Get Too Muscular
One thing I have learned over the past 5 years of being a personal trainer and working with many women online, is that there is a misconception about women getting bulky.
I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again that women can’t can’t bulky, so you shouldn’t be scared to lift heavy weights.
But this isn’t true, because:
- What someone considers “bulky” might be different to your version. So if you think a girl looks great, but she thinks she looks bulky, you can’t change what she thinks.
- Women CAN gain muscle. Yes it is difficult for us to look like weight lifting men (although not impossible), but we can still build muscle too!
I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to get bulky. I felt very uncomfortable in my body when I was bulky, and it was also very difficult to find any fitness professional who understood that I didn’t like having lots of muscle.
So I want to tell you a bit about what happened to me and how you can hopefully learn from my mistakes!
WHEN I FIRST STARTED EXERCISING
In my early 20’s, I didn’t have to do much exercise or worry about what I ate, and I stayed pretty slim. But after a while, my unhealthy lifestyle caught up on me, and I found myself bigger and pudgier than I liked.
I joined up at a gym with one of my girlfriends and I remember feeling sooo excited! I was 1000000% determined. I set goals of getting abs, getting in the best shape ever, and running the 10km Bridge to Brisbane race.
I started out going to classes – all the regular ones like Body Pump, Body Attack, boxing and spin class. While I was walking on the treadmill one day, a personal trainer (PT) named Cassie started chatting to me. She convinced me to do a few free personal training sessions with her, so I agreed.
GETTING A PERSONAL TRAINER
I loved my first few PT sessions and Cassie promised me that I would reach my goals much faster with her, so I continued training with her 3 times per week. She knew I wanted abs so we did lots of core work, and a bit of cardio to help with my 10km runs. We did lots of other things too, such as HIIT and weight lifting.
Things started out great. We trained super hard and I felt like Cassie really cared about me. She put lots of thought into my training and gave lots of attention to my technique. I learned a lot!
After the first few months, I lost the pudgy look and lost some weight too! My clothes fit better than they ever had, I had baby abs, and I felt super fit! I was so happy.
I toned up quickly and was very happy!
WHERE IT WENT WRONG
After a while, I noticed my clothes fitting tighter. I had always worn nice crop tops and tight singlets to the gym. They were getting so difficult to put on and it was like my back was wider. I also used to wear shorts to the gym but they were getting uncomfortable because my upper thighs were now rubbing together. SO I started wearing tights instead.
I talked to Cassie about it and told her that I was getting bigger. She said that it was just because I had gained muscle but still had some fat to lose. And that increasing muscle would help me lose fat, and then I would slim down. I felt relieved!
UPPING MY TRAINING
Cassie increased the intensity of my training. I started lifting heavier, having less rest, and adding super high intensity exercises including sprints. After each session I was exhausted but I knew I was working hard and I was determined to slim down.
To my disappointed, I kept getting bigger. I was feeling so bulky. I saw a photo of myself with my girlfriends and I was wearing a dress. I remember looking at my legs and thinking that they didn’t look like me. They were so much bigger than I remember them being.
I told Cassie that I was looking and feeling bulky, and wasn’t happy with my body anymore. She told me that women can’t get bulky and that it was a myth. Women’s testosterone levels are not the same as men, so weight lifting doesn’t have the same effect on us.
Lastly, Cassie said that having muscle was a good thing and I should try to keep increasing it. I said that I want to try and trim down the bulky muscle but she kept telling me that this shouldn’t be my goal.
All I really wanted was to feel comfortable in my body again. But Cassie didn’t seem to understand.
When my body started getting bulkier
I had become friends with another PT at the gym named Sarah. I had a chat to her about the way I was feeling and to my surprise, she told me the EXACT same thing as Cassie! She said that women can’t get bulky and that I looked great.
HOW I GOT BACK ON TRACK
I was at a bit of a loss about what to do next. I knew something had to change though, so I stopped training with Cassie. She was disappointed, but not as disappointed as me. Even though I was strong, I was feeling so unhappy with my body.
A lot of women say that “it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel.” But for me, how I feel has a lot to do with how I look.
And a lot of women train to feel strong – I think that’s great! But I wanted to train in a way that made me look good so I could feel good.
Instead of hiring another personal trainer, I decided I was going to exercise on my own. One of my best friends Nicole joined me, and she became my workout buddy / workout tester.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
I tried a lot of different workouts to see how they affected my body. And I started really listening to my body. I know it sounds cliche. But previously, I was training to the point of exhaustion and training even on days when I was extremely tired from lack of sleep. I learnt that this wasn’t good for my body.
I’m also a sucker for research, so I researched a LOT! There seemed to be lots of other women with the same problem as me, but no solutions. I needed to dig deeper.
I decided to study personal training. I loved fitness and I wanted to learn everything I could about it. And at the end, if I could help other women, that would make it all the worthwhile!
I studied at the Australian Institute of Fitness. And I got my Certificate III and IV in personal training and group fitness training.
While I was studying, I started observing all the other personal trainers to see what type of exercises they did. And I noticed that they ALL trained their clients the exact same way! Some women were bulking up like me, whereas other looked great.
WHAT I FOUND OUT ABOUT BODY TYPES
After months and months spent on research and trial and error, I discovered that how your body responds to exercise, depends on your BODY TYPE.
Heavy weight lifting made some women look amazing because of their body type. And it made others bulky because of their body type.
While working as a personal trainer, I saw the training programs that the women were on. ALL of them were about lifting heavy weights and doing Crossfit style workouts.
And the results from women lifting heavy weights were varied. Those that were naturally skinny (the ectomorph body type) got great results and looked really toned, but stayed slim.
The mesomorphs lost some body fat and toned up, but looked really muscular.
The endomorphs just got bigger.
When I thought about it, no personal trainer had ever asked me “what is your body type“…
WHAT IS YOUR BODY TYPE?
I know you may not have heard about the different body types, so let’s dig a little deeper! And if you want to find out your body type, you can take my free body type quiz!
ENDOMORPH BODY TYPE
Endomorph body types are generally curvier and shorter. They have trouble losing weight, but can gain it quite quickly.
One of their main traits is that they can get bigger and musclier very quickly with exercise, because they naturally already have muscle. This is often my main complaint from endomorph women, and a lot of personal trainers don’t take this into account or just neglect the endomorph woman’s fears.
I know endomorph women can sometimes feel unlucky, but they have some amazing benefits! They have a huge potential to change their bodies, and make drastic physical differences. And in shape endomorphs can look beautiful, womanly, with a stunning hourglass figure.
Endomorphs also have really great strength and endurance, which the other body types can struggle with.
It may be a little harder for endomorphs to get in shape, but the rewards are greater and they can have truly amazing figures!
MESOMORPH BODY TYPE
Mesomorph body types are usually in between endomorphs and ectomorphs.
They can build muscle easily like endomorphs. But one of their main traits is that they can lose and gain weight quickly.
If a mesomorph is not careful with diet and exercise, they can become overweight and unfit. But if they eat well and exercise consistently, they can generally lose weight and get in shape without too much trouble.
Mesomorphs can change the shape of their bodies quite easily, so they need to be careful that the type of training they are doing is suitable to what they are trying to achieve. Heavy weight lifting WILL cause you to build more muscle. If this is what you are trying to achieve – that’s great! If not, just keep this mind and adjust your training.
I’m a mesomorph body type 🙂
ECTOMORPH BODY TYPE
Ectomorph body types are very tall and slim. They don’t have much muscle and find it difficult to put on muscle or any weight in general. It is very unlikely that you will ever see a bulky ectomorph.
If ectomorphs don’t eat healthy or exercise regularly, they can go one of 2 ways. They can get even skinnier. Or, they can become “skinny fat”, which is a term used to describe someone who looks slim in clothes, but a bit flabby in a bikini.
Even though ectomorphs have genetically slim bodies, it’s still important to eat healthy and exercise regularly for general health and to look fit and toned.
WANT TO KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE?
If you want to know your exact body type, you can take my free body type quiz! 🙂 You’ll find out what your body type is, and how you should be training and eating to suit your body type.
WHAT I DID NEXT
I completely changed my workouts to suit my body type (I’m a mesomorph by the way), and the results were amazing. I slimmed down to the size I used to be, and I managed to build muscle so that I looked toned without being bulky.
My friend Nicole and I were now regulars at the gym. Girls had started coming up to us and asking me to train them instead of other PTs! I knew I was doing something right 🙂
So I started working as a personal trainer. And while most other personal trainers did the same old heavy weight lifting routines, I was the only one who trained my clients differently.
My body lifting VS lighter training
I listened to exactly what they wanted to achieve, and made a plan to suit them. I only trained women, and most of them had the same goals as me – to be toned but not bulky.
My clients got AMAZING results! I was so happy and felt like I had finally achieved what I wanted. I was helping women with the same thing I had struggled with. And I had found out how to stay fit, active and healthy, without any fear of getting bulky.
After seeing how happy my clients were, I decided to create my own workout and nutrition program for all women who want to get toned and lean.
My program is called 3 Steps to Lean Legs and there are three different versions of it, one for each body type. (I want you girls to be able to get the best possible results!)
3 Steps to Lean Legs combines the right type of resistance training with cardio and it also has a complete 8-week nutrition plan. This way you can be sure you’re eating healthy while you train 🙂
Written by Rachael Attard
Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.
After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.
Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.
A few years ago, we ran a survey where we asked women to rate photos of male bodies to see which physiques they found the most attractive. Our results showed that the vast majority of women preferred men who looked strong but not overly musclebound.
However, a new study titled Cues of Upper Body Strength Account for Most of the Variance in Men’s Bodily Attractiveness, authored by Aaron Sell, PhD, found that the more muscular a man’s body was, the more attractive women found it. None of the male bodies were rated as being overly muscular. In fact, the most muscular body in the study was rated as being the most attractive.
I think this new study, combined with all of the other research published since 2011, show that we need to adjust our description of the ideal male body… although maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Let’s dive in.
What’s the ideal amount of muscle mass according to our survey?
Back in 2011, our survey results showed that women preferred the bodies of guys like Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1st), the celebrity personal trainer Bob Harper (2nd), and a bodybuilder from back before steroids were invented (3rd):
Men, on the other hand, assumed that the more muscular a man was, the more attractive women would find him. They guessed that Zyzz—a famous young bodybuilder who openly used steroids—would be rated as having the most attractive physique.
When we published those results, we got hundreds of comments confirming our findings:
- Men commented that our survey results were incorrect, certain that women actually preferred more muscular physiques
- Women commented that our survey results were correct, and that they did, in fact, prefer the bodies of guys like Brad Pitt in Fight Club to the bodies of bodybuilders and fitness models.
This lined up with most of the research that was available at the time. Most studies found that being muscular was good, but at a certain point, gaining more muscle started to make a man look less attractive (study, study, study). This suggested that there was an inverted U curve relationship between muscle mass and attractiveness, like so:
Our conclusion was that being strong was incredibly attractive, but only if it looked natural and healthy.
The new study: is it possible to gain too much muscle?
This new study challenges our conclusion… kind of. The idea underpinning the study is that women find men more attractive than others because they have objectively better traits. Since having more strength is objectively better, women should find stronger men more attractive.
The researchers list a few evolutionary reasons why being stronger would be an advantage, such as being better hunters, being able to defend their resources from other men, being able to better protect their mates and children, and so on. That’s definitely interesting, but there are also reasons that still apply in modern times:
- Stronger men are healthier. Your grip strength has a closer association with your lifespan than the amount of exercise you do (study, study), greater strength is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (study), and a study from Harvard Medical School found that push-up performance was a better predictor of heart health than jogging performance (study).
- Stronger men are more formidable. All else being equal, the more muscular a guy is, the more formidable he is. This becomes obvious as soon as you consider weight classes in combat sports, which were created to protect the smaller guys from having to compete against more muscular guys, given that the more muscular guys have such a massive physical advantage.
- Being big and strong proves that a man has access to abundant resources. Gaining weight requires having extra food; muscle is built out of protein, which is more expensive than fat and carbs; and you need extra time and energy to invest into lifting weights.
- Stronger men are more conscientious. Building muscle takes consistent effort and discipline, so a guy with more muscle mass is thus more likely to be more conscientious, which is one of the greatest predictors of overall success in life.
Because being stronger does seem to be objectively better, the researchers hypothesized that women would find stronger men more attractive, with no upper limit to muscularity.
To test this hypothesis, they found 190 male students at the University of California at Santa Barbara. 130 of them were psychology students, and the other 60 were recruited from the college gym. They were 21 years old on average.
Here’s a photograph of one of the study participants:
I’m guessing this is one of the lifters, and I’m guessing his favourite lift is the bench press, given how internally rotated his shoulders are. However, he’s also clearly in great shape. He looks lean and strong.
I know this is off topic, but this is a super common issue with new lifters. If he wants to fix his posture, he needs to strengthen his proportionally weaker upper back, abs, and butt, which will pull his hips and shoulders into the proper position. His issue isn’t that he’s too strong, his issue is that he isn’t strong everywhere:
Anyway, the researchers also found 160 female college students who would rate the strength and attractiveness of the male bodies.
This next point may be obvious to you already, but bear with me. The first thing the researchers needed to do was see if women could tell how strong a guy was just by looking at him.
To test this, the upper-body strength of the men was measured (study) and then the women rated how strong their bodies looked. They found that the women were able to accurately sort the men from weakest to strongest just by looking at their bodies.
This lines up with previous research. For example, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that bench press strength is directly correlated with the amount of muscle mass someone has in their chest, arms, and shoulders (study). The bigger a muscle is, the stronger it is. And women can see that strength.
The next thing the researchers did was have the women rate how attractive they found the various male bodies. As expected, the women rated the stronger male bodies as looking more attractive. In fact, not a single woman had a preference for smaller or weaker men.
So to summarize, the study found that:
- Strength is an accurate indicator of certain advantages, such as general health and formidability.
- Women were able to accurately guess a man’s strength just by looking at him. The stronger a man was, the stronger women thought he looked.
- The stronger a man looked, the more attractive he was. This was an extremely robust finding, too. There were no limits or qualifiers. Strength was never a disadvantage. And not a single woman had a preference for weaker men.
- How strong a man looked was by far the biggest indicator of his attractiveness. Strength accounted for a full 70% of how attractive a man’s body looked. Women didn’t care much about bone structure, limb proportions, or muscle shape. (The other main factor that they cared about was leanness.)
The researchers plotted the results on a graph, finding a perfectly linear relationship between muscle mass and attractiveness in men. Here are the charts:
Why are these results different from the previous research? Lukaszewski, one of the authors of the study, explained that older attractiveness studies asked women to rate drawings and silhouettes of men, and that the cartoonishly muscular drawings might be turning women off. He suspected that in reality, looking at photos of real men, women would always prefer the guy with more muscle.
That wasn’t true of our survey. We used photographs of real male torsos. However, we did use some “cartoonishly” muscular men in our photo arrays, including photographs of genetic outliers (such as world-class bodybuilder Frank Zane) and photos of guys who openly took steroids (such as Zyzz).
This study, on the other hand, used a regular sampling of university students. Some of them lifted weights, yes, but they still averaged just 21 years old, and it’s unlikely that any of them had world-class genetics.
In fact, even just judging by their age, we wouldn’t expect any of these guys to be overly muscular. Most natural bodybuilders don’t reach their peak muscle size until their early 40’s. And even in their 40’s, I’m not sure that most natural bodybuilders would look unnaturally muscular. We had a classic natural bodybuilder in our photo arrays, and women thought he had one of the most attractive physiques. They thought he looked strong in a natural way.
It’s possible that some of these college students were taking performance-enhancing drugs. But even if some of these university students were using steroids, it’s not like steroids instantly transform someone into a bodybuilder. It would still take years of disciplined lifting for someone on drugs to surpass their natural limits.
I did some digging, and Lukaszewski confirmed that none of the men in his study had exaggerated proportions. These were just regular college students, some of whom lifted weights. And in that context, the strongest guy was rated as the most attractive. I think that solves the riddle.
Just to be sure, though, we can look at the results of another study. In this study, they had women create the most attractive male body shape using a computer program. The women could have made their ideal man as muscular as they wanted, but they didn’t.
According to women, the most attractive male physique looks like this:
That physique is quite strong, yes, but in a totally healthy and realistic way. He looks like a guy who lifts weights and eats well, not a bodybuilder who takes steroids.
Can YOU become too muscular?
In our survey, most of the men who were rated as being too muscular were older than 21, had outlier genetics, and took steroids. The only exception to that were fitness models (such as Scott Herman) who dieted down to an unsustainable degree and then pumped up for a professional photo shoot. His photo was also probably edited before appearing in the magazine. I suspect that in a more casual setting, Scott Herman’s physique would have been considered one of the most attractive ones.
I think that suggests that there is a point of excessive muscularity, but that so long as we stay within our natural limits, and so long as we don’t have top 0.1% genetics, there’s no risk of us ever becoming too muscular.
I suspect that attractiveness works like this:
I doubt it’s a linear relationship. I think by the time you start to look fit and athletic, you’re going to reach a point of diminishing returns, where adding even more muscle mass only makes you slightly more attractive. If that’s true, and I think it is, then the “most attractive” physique above would be rated as only slightly more attractive than the much smaller “more attractive” physique. But we’re splitting hairs here. The main point is that under normal circumstances, the stronger you get, the better you look.
However, with outlier genetics and/or steroids, I still suspect it’s possible to eventually achieve an unnatural level of muscularity, which may then start to represent something different to women: a genetic abnormality, drugs, or perhaps an obsession with one’s appearance.
What’s interesting about this new study, though, is that it shows that there’s probably a benefit to becoming as muscular as we naturally can. In theory, that should make our bodies as healthy and attractive as possible.
Full disclosure: we have a bulking program designed to help naturally thin guys build muscle. It makes sense that we would have a bias towards becoming stronger and more muscular. (Although, if anything, this new research is even more gung-ho about it than we are.)
Read Next: A Scientific Look at Building an Attractive, Aesthetic Physique.
10 Fit-Girl Problems Nobody Talks About
Fitness has plenty going for it, but it also has its ugly, smelly, awkward, and judgy side. Here are 10 legit problems from the life we love, and what you can do to overcome them!
There’s no denying that getting fit is an amazing accomplishment. One day, after months or years of struggle, you wake up and discover that you look great, feel better, and have strength you’d never even imagined. End of story, promise land achieved…right?
If only! The truth is that your new awesome body and confidence level bring with them a bevy of new complications—some embarrassing, some hilarious, occasionally both. Some happen in the gym, others in the dressing room, and a couple have more to do with other people than with you—although they still end up being your problem for some reason. Although every fit lady has experienced at least a couple of these, you’d never know it, because nobody is talking about them!
In the interest of making the fitness world a better place, I’m taking a stand and bringing these issues to light. If you think of any others, add them to the comments section below!
Fit-Girl Problem 1: Contents Under Pressure
You’ve just put a lot of weight on your shoulders—more than ever before, in fact. You’re ready for this, you tell yourself. So you push your stomach into your training belt as hard as you can, sink down carefully into your squat, and all of a sudden, you get that old familiar feeling. Something’s gotta give!
I guess you could call this a personal problem, although I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one that it happens to. You don’t even have to lift pro-powerlifter-level weights to feel the danger. And given how long it can take for some women to set foot in the squat rack in the first place, it would be a shame for them to have to abandon their PR attempt to go running for the locker room. (No, you can’t work in while I’m gone, bro.)
Consider yourself warned. And word to the wise: Don’t eat anything questionable before you squat.
Fit-Girl Problem 2: Your Body Becomes A Discussion Point
Show the slightest bit of muscle definition, and all of a sudden men and women can’t decide if they admire you, are intimidated by you, are disgusted by you, or are in love with you.
But let’s not fool ourselves. There’s always someone—assholes, they’re called—who is very open about telling you exactly what they think about your body, and how “You’ll never find a man if you look like a dude,” because, you know, that’s every woman’s ultimate purpose in life.
Lift on, swole sisters. Every day, you’re getting a little bit stronger than the jackasses trying to keep you from coming back to the gym.
Fit-Girl Problem 3: Clothes Don’t Fit
Seriously, this is the most annoying part of being fit. They don’t make clothes for women who have a round butt and a smaller waist. They don’t make fitted or button-up shirts large enough to fit any biceps bigger than Kate Moss’ wrist. And they definitely don’t make dresses that fit comfortably on those bad-ass lats you’ve been building.
Unless you’re shaped like Heidi Klum, the fitting room starts to get pretty depressing. If you can find a pair of pants that doesn’t have a 3-inch gap in the back, I salute you.
For me, the solution to all of this nonsense has been wearing loose tank tops and leggings. And I stand by this style choice. That is, until the ’80s call and say they want their outfit back.
Fit-Girl Problem 4: The Itty-Bitty Titty Committee
There’s a reason breast enhancement surgery is ubiquitous in the lady fitness world. If you had boobs before you started your fitness journey, be prepared to kiss them goodbye.
Now, having small boobs can be a positive thing. You can finally wear low-cut tops without feeling like a hussy. However, having tiny ta-tas and big lats makes those cute bandeau bikini tops a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, anything without straps is a ticking time bomb for a nip slip.
If you’re in this pickle, you have three options: save up for a boob job; kick it old school and recommence the ol’ stuffing technique you used in seventh grade; or my personal favorite, own it, girl.
The “traps are the new tits” movement is alive and well. So, grow those biceps, quads, and lats. You’ve got enough awesome new curves to replace the ones you lost.
Fit-Girl Problem 5: So. Much. Hunger.
Although it seems silly to complain about eating (#firstworldproblems), being hungry so often just gets annoying sometimes. Muscle takes a lot of energy to feed. The more you have, the more it feels like eating is your full-time job.
If you’re busy or have any kind of life, eating enough can be a pain. There’s really nothing worse than being trapped somewhere without food when your stomach decides it’s time to eat again. That’s just a recipe for some hangry conversations and hurt feelings.
Now, I’m not a physique athlete. If I had to get super lean for a show, let’s just say there would be a lot more people walking around knowing exactly what I think of them. So if you’re cutting for a competition, I take my hat off to you!
Muscle takes a lot of energy to feed. The more you have, the more it feels like eating is your full-time job.
Fit-Girl Problem 6: Armpit Shaving Sucks
I’m not joking. This is for realsies. Your biceps, lats, pecs, and even your delts all crowd together in and around your armpit. When these muscles are small, shaving is less of an arduous task. However, as these muscles grow, your armpit becomes a collection of hills and crevices that are impossible to get at with a razor.
Some girls can get fit and muscular without this being a big problem, but for others, it is the problem. I think hair-removal companies are totally missing out on an important marketing group: the fit girl. So, Nair, if you’re listening, help a sister out.
Fit-Girl Problem 7: You Carry A Torch
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spreading “the good word” and helping your friends and family find fitness. But, there is a sense of pressure that comes with getting fit. If you can’t stay chiseled, then you’re a failure.
As if that’s not tough enough, you’re also expected to know exactly how to help everyone else get fit. Even crazy Aunt Sally, who has a bad hip, is color-blind in one eye, and can’t eat solid food wants you to write her a program so she can lose 10 pounds. Good luck with that.
Fit-Girl Problem 8: Hand Destruction
Barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, and other implements of torture straight-up wreck your hands. Oh, you want to shake my hand? Well, here’s a grizzled paw for you to grasp. Hopefully you work in a place where hardened calluses, half-healed rips, and chalk stains are viewed as professional work wear.
And it’s not only your palms that look like those of a mountain man. Any polish that’s not lacquered onto your nails is gone after one good deadlift session. Now, I’ve seen the Instagram shots of women working out with cute nails. If you have any tricks on how this is possible, please leave them in the comments!
Hopefully you work in a place where hardened calluses, half-healed rips, and chalk stains are viewed as professional work wear.
Fit-Girl Problem 9: UR-In Trouble
Women everywhere, especially those who have had children, can have problems with uncontrolled urination. Doing box jumps, heavy squats, and jumping rope can all be transformed from exercises to terrifying experiments on Ye Olde Pelvic Floor.
Although you can avoid this embarrassing situation by avoiding those exercises that could make you lose control of your bladder, it kind of sucks having to limit your gym activities. If trying in vain to remember to do 100,000 kegels a day outside of the gym isn’t working, maybe you need a fit solution to a fit problem. Swallow your pride and hit up a knowledgeable trainer or doc about what accessory work you can add in to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Beyond that? Toss a pad in your booty shorts and live without fear. They make those things for a reason.
Fit-Girl Problem 10: Fitness Cliques
OK, this isn’t exactly something nobody talks about—on the contrary, some people can only talk about their clique. Nor is it exactly a gender-specific problem by any means. But it’s magnified in the women’s-fitness world because there are far fewer resources for us to utilize and communities for us to participate in.
In the fitness industry, it’s difficult to be taken seriously as an athlete unless you’re prepping to compete at something. For plenty of people, that something has to be physique-oriented. There are plenty of women who compete in powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman, the highland games, CrossFit, and a number of other strength-related activities, but unless they’re rocking sub-trimmed-chicken-breast body-fat levels and a sparkly thong, they don’t count. And the feeling is often mutual.
Let’s not forget that there are also plenty of athletes who look at the time commitment, injury risk, and expense of competition and decide it’s not for them. Far be it from me—or you—to tell them that their hard work doesn’t matter.
One person’s goal is no better or worse than anyone else’s.
Fitness is awesome because it’s personal. One person’s goal is no better or worse than anyone else’s. So, instead of putting down another woman’s interest in participating in what you might consider the “wrong” type of fitness, be a better ambassador of the fit life as a whole.
What you do now might be the exact opposite of what you’re doing 10 years down the road, so stay open-minded. Let’s encourage each other to be happier, healthier people, no matter what that looks like.
Gaining weight is not a popular topic among many, however, not everyone desires to lose weight. The best exercise to gain weight for females at home.
Some individuals want to add some extra pounds and if you are one of them, this is the place for you.
The issue of gaining healthy weight is a challenge, especially when it comes to women, below are some easy exercises to help women gain weight.
Exercise to Gain Weight for Females
If you have weights and a gym instructor, then you can do the squats while holding the weights above your shoulders.
However, make sure you have a qualified gym instructor when using weights or other equipment.
The third variation involves jumping, in the regular squat you stand and go back to the squat position for several reps, for this squat, as you stand you jump.
This is a more intense squat and will require more agility but the good thing about this exercise is the versatility.
So do not be afraid to start and let yourself grow each day.
Push-up is a brilliant exercise if you are looking to gain weight around the upper body; they are easy and do not require any equipment.
On a mat or comfortable surface lie down, then lift your body and use your hands for support. Repeat the motion for several reps.
For your body to function normally, it is important to relax, and yoga relaxes the mind by relieving stress and improving sleep.
Lack of sleep may affect one’s eating habits. Yoga enhances appetite, and this consequently leads to more meals, which then means weight gain.
Swimming is an ideal way to gain weight, as well as promote cardiovascular health.
It is an exercise to gain weight for females at home.
When you swim, the body uses up energy, in turn, increasing appetite.
For one to gain healthy weight, it is essential to use methods that help you use up just the right amount of calories while still consuming more foods to gain weight.
Like swimming, jogging works by increasing appetite; research shows that jogging or running at 6mph will help use up about 150 calories.
After running, one gets exhausted and feels the need to get re-energized, and this is made possible by a nutritious meal, which will, in turn, help in gaining weight.
5- Jumping rope.
Jumping rope is a vital cardio exercise; it is not only easy but can be done in the comfort of your home or by the park.
Low-intensity cardio like jumping rope helps to increase metabolism, which subsequently increases one’s appetite.
The above exercises are easy, can be done at home and require minimal or no equipment.
The good thing about this workout routine is their help in gaining healthy weight by enhancing and improving metabolism as well as improving one’s entire wellbeing by reducing stress.
The squat is an excellent workout, especially if you are looking to add some extra weight around your back and the legs.
Squats is a great exercise to gain weight for females and male.
There are many variations of squats, but all can be done at home, squats will not only help you gain weight but also helps to improve one’s posture.
To do a squat; while standing to ensure your back and shoulders are straight, bend in a squat like position, but ensure your back and shoulders remain straight.
Stand and repeat this motion for several reps a day.
For the best results, you can gradually add the reps as your body will gain more strength and stamina.
Success Tips- How to Gain Weight?
Exercise to Gain Weight for Females
- Have a goal.
Having a clear vision of how much weight you want to gain will help you keep at it, great tip weight yourself regularly, also this will help you identify changes you need to make along the way.
Unlike weight loss, weight gain requires a proper diet. The goal is to add extra kilos, so do not be afraid to eat a few more snacks in the day.
However, the goal is to gain healthy weight, so be sure to include healthy snacks in your menu.
For instance, you can have a chicken salad as brunch, then prepare a healthy, more nutritious lunch meal. Another important tip, stick with your diet, for the best results you need to be consistent.
When it comes to dieting in weight gain, focus on diets that offer an all-around nutritious experience. Consume meals with carbs, proteins as well as fiber.
- Caloric intake.
You need to know your caloric need, knowing the number of calories you need on weight loss is as important in weight gain.
However, when it comes to weight loss, you are advised to maintain or lower your caloric intake.
When it comes to weight gain, you need to know how many calories you need to increase.
To do this, first know your basal metabolic rate, this is the number of calories you need if you will be inactive throughout the day.
After finding out your basal metabolic rate, multiply this number with your activity level, highly active people require more calories, after identifying this now you know how much calories you need to eat for a productive day and how many you need to add.
Knowing your caloric needs will help you prevent unhealthy weight gain, which may lead to other complications.
You can join a group working towards the same goals as you, being part of a team, keeps you motivated.
Besides the external motivation, find internal push, this is what defines your purpose.
Additionally associate with positive people, having positive family and friends will help you push more toward achieving your goal.
Find out what works for you, some foods are allergic, so before changing your menu, consult a doctor. This will not only make the process easier but also safer.
Exercise to Gain Weight for Females. For your desired body, it is essential to find out what works for you and if gaining weight is your thing, what are you waiting for?
Do those squats for several minutes a day, relax and enjoy the fresh air as you do your yoga in the afternoon.
But most importantly, as you gain weight, ensure you do it the right way.
on the link for more health information.
Workout Schedule for Women Trying to Gain Weight
The weight issue is always an oversensitive subject for women. It is a difficult task to gain weight when you’re skinny unless a right approach is pursued. No matter how many hours you put in your workout regime, skinny people find it difficult to gain weight. Food is not the only solution to put on weight. Merely eating fats is not only helpful but a proper exercise regime is essential to accelerate weight gain. Whether you are a man or a woman, you will have to make certain changes to your lifestyle when trying to gain weight. Women have less muscle-building hormone than men, but they can still work on increasing muscle mass and gaining weight by following an appropriate workout program.
Here’s a workout schedule for women trying to gain weight.
Exercise with Weights
You need to pursue lean muscle weight gain by exercising and lifting weights. Seek help from a fitness trainer who directs you in the right direction. Practice exercise such as biceps curls, chest fly, bench press, squats with weights, dead lift, overhead press and pushups. These exercises work larger muscle groups and facilitate even fat distribution.
Also Read: Alia Bhatt’s Weight Loss of 16 Kgs in 3 Months: Get Inspired from Her Workout and Diet Regime
When trying to increase weight, you must focus on strength training. Cardio and aerobic exercises are important too, but make sure you do them for less time (say 5 minutes before and after workout). If you continue to run on the treadmill, you’ll burn more calories and lose more weight.
Increase Calorie Intake
Many simply don’t gain weight because of their genetics, while some don’t take enough calories and burn more than they consume. There is nothing that you can do about your genes, but you can increase your calorie intake; but not by eating a lot of saturated fat.
Focus on Food Groups
Focusing more on certain food groups can help you achieve fast results. Make sure you consume 20 to 40 percent of your calories through proteins each day. Some of the excellent sources of protein are chicken breast, eggs, fish and milk. You need to eat 30 to 40 percent of your calories in carbohydrates. Incorporate potatoes, brown rice, oats, pasta, whole grains, black beans, sweet corn and broccoli in your diet. Unsaturated fat should make 30 percent of your total calories. Avocados, nuts and oils are some of the sources of unsaturated fats.
Also Read: Panipat Actor’s Workout, Training and Diet Plans Revealed
Make a Meal Plan
You need to have a specific diet plan to get a buff physique. Make your body absorb higher amount of nutrients by eating six times a day. Eating more not only helps those trying to pack on pounds, but has proven to benefit people trying to lose weight too.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleeping for at least eight hours every night is one of the important aspects when trying to gain weight. When you sleep, your body restores itself and makes you ready for your next workout.
In order to gain weight, you have to incorporate exercise and eat a proper diet. Besides, discipline and consistency are key factors to achieve weight gain goals. There can be many reasons you are not able to gain maintain healthy weight. If you are having troubles gaining weight or are consistently losing weight, you should see a doctor for the possibility of any underlying medical conditions.
Read more articles on Fitness and Exercise
If you are interested in learning how to gain weight the right way, you have come to the right place!
My name is Staci Ardison.
I overcame an eating disorder, discovered a love for heavy strength training, and now I help women like you get stronger for a living.
Believe it or not, I’m 50 pounds heavier in the photo on the right (and WAY stronger, and healthier, and happier!).
I’m currently a lead coach here in the Nerd Fitness Coaching Program, where we train women to pick up heavy weight, get strong, and build confidence.
Want to learn how to strength train like Staci? Learn more about our Coaching Program:
Speaking of picking up heavy weights, here I am deadlifting 455 pounds:
This is what I LOVE to do. And in this Ultimate Guide to Building Muscle as a Woman, I’m going to be covering the following:
- Why building muscle is difficult for some women.
- Should women build muscle? (7 reasons women should grow muscle)
- How to eat to gain muscle as a woman.
- What foods should I eat to gain weight?
- Strength training for women to build muscle.
- 5 muscle building workout routines for women
- Best tips and tricks for gaining weight as a woman.
- Next steps for women looking to build muscle.
Why Building Muscle is Difficult for Some Women
As Steve covered in “How to build muscle” and “How to bulk up for men,” the principles of weight gain are all the same regardless of your sex or gender:
“If you want to gain weight, eat more calories than you burn regularly. Want to put on the right KIND of weight? Exercise and eat the right way too.”
Now, there’s plenty of nuance to this when comparing men and women:
- Due to our natural hormones, it’s generally more difficult for people with typical female anatomy to gain muscle than people with typical male anatomy.
- We have a lot of factors (such as hormonal birth control) that have been proven to make it even harder as well.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
It just means we have to work harder for it.
Ugh, I know.
Now, one thing I want to touch on quick: if you see a woman who is absolutely jacked and at an extremely low bodyfat percentage, I guarantee she has been working her butt off for a very long time with the goal of building muscle.
It’s not something that happens overnight, or by mistake.
In addition, some women with larger amounts of muscle mass choose to take steroids to help assist them in gaining muscle, because we simply don’t have the hormones naturally to get to that size.
So if you’d like to build muscle, but not as much as a professional bodybuilder – don’t worry, it’s not something that happens by accident.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about body fat and body types:
As we point out in that body fat percentage guide, we women can look very different at any weight depending on our body shape and how much muscle we have. It comes down to our own personal goals!
This guide is going to primarily focus on two things:
- How to eat to gain weight and build muscle.
- How to strength train to build muscle.
We’ve helped thousands of women with our online coaching program, many of whom are trying to gain weight and strength train for the first time in their lives.
Have a Nerd Fitness Coach guide you to grow strong!
Everybody is on their own journey, at their own pace, and everybody will end up with different results too!
Should women build muscle? (7 Reasons Women should Grow Muscle)
If it can be harder for women to gain muscle (compared to men), why go through the trouble?
I’m glad you asked!
Here are the top 7 reasons why women should strength train:
#1) When you’re stronger – everyday life is easier. No need to call for help to get that 50lb bag of dog food off the top shelf, or carrying an air conditioner unit up a flight of stairs. LIFE is easier when you’re stronger.
#2) Less injury risk – when you build strong muscles, you’re also building stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons, making you less prone to injury doing things you love (like playing in a quidditch league).
#3) Helps combat age-related muscle loss, allowing us to remain independent longer as we age:
#4) Muscle is harder to maintain, which means you need to eat more just to hold on to it.
#5) Reduce pain – having a strong body makes living easier on your joints, as well as allows you to hold better posture, and reduce back / hip pain.
#6) Appearance – this is a personal preference! Some women like to have a lot of muscle, and some don’t. While you can’t spot reduce fat, you can choose to build more muscle in specific areas, changing your body shape. Growing up, I was an extreme pear shape, but due to strength training, I now have more of an hourglass shape.
#7) Live longer – want to spend more time on Earth? Strength training and growing muscle will help you do just that.
Follow a step-by-step plan to grow strong under the guidance of a Nerd Fitness Coach!
How to Eat to Gain Muscle as a Woman
As we said above, gaining weight comes down to thermodynamics and science.
Every day, we burn a certain number of calories just existing, which is called our BMR (basal metabolic rate). We then factor in our daily activity level, and get a number that is called our “total daily energy expenditure.” You can calculate yours below:
( for our Metric calculator).
(Note: we have used The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation to create this calculator! ).
Since we want to gain weight, we want to take our TDEE and add 250 calories to it to get our daily goal. This should result in gaining half a pound per week.
Now, although eating ANY EXTRA calories from any source will result in weight gain, our goal is to gain the RIGHT kind of weight, in a healthy way.
And thus, we’ll be focusing our efforts on a “healthy muscle building” strategy.
We could easily add more calories each day, and gain weight quicker, however, the slow method gives you the best chances at gaining mostly muscle, and minimal fat. The faster you try to gain weight, the higher the percentage that will likely be fat – so starting off at half a pound per week is a great place to start!
In addition to the number of calories we’ll be adding, we also want to pay attention to the type of foods we’re eating.
As we cover in our “Healthy Eating Guide,” we’re going to build muscle by consuming the three big macros in the correct quantities:
- Protein: rebuilds muscle after you break it down.
- Carbohydrates: provides your muscle with fuel and body with energy.
- Fat: helps your bodily functions and can also be burned as fuel in the absence of carbs.
Let’s look at each of these individually:
PRIORITY #1: PROTEIN
Protein can come from any number of sources, including:
As we cover in our “How much Protein do I need?”, claims for the amount of protein required for muscle growth vary wildly from source to source (and athlete to athlete).
Here is our recommendation:
- If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aim for 1 g per pound of bodyweight (2.2 g/kg).
- If you’re an experienced lifter on a bulk, intakes up to 1.50 g/lb (3.3 g/kg) may help you minimize fat gain.
Let me simplify it for you:
“To build muscle, target at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (2.2 grams per kg).”
If you’re curious, from our healthy eating article, this is what a portion of protein looks like:
Here’s how much protein is in a serving of food:
- 4 oz (113 g) of chicken has around 30 g of protein.
- 4 oz (113 g) of salmon has 23 g of protein
- 4 oz (113 g) of steak has 28 g of protein.
Want to get more protein? Consider protein shakes.
PRIORITY #2: CARBS
After protein, we’ll be filling up our plate with calories from carbs (and fats).
Here are foods full of carbohydrates you can prioritize:
- Legumes and lentils
- Sweet potatoes
- Regular potatoes
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole grain bread
To help you get better at serving sizes:
1 serving of a starchy carbohydrate is 1 cupped hand (uncooked), or your two hands forming a cup (cooked).
Here are some images to help you learn proper portion sizes (thanks to SafeFood):
In addition to consuming carbohydrates from these sources, it’s okay to consume plenty of fruit while trying to build muscle!
For reference, here is roughly 200 calories worth of an apple (thanks to WiseGEEK):
You can read our full “Is fruit healthy” guide to learn more.
PRIORITY #3: FAT!
Fat is a macronutrient that can help you reach your calorie goals (in the right quantity), as fat can be high in calories. Plus, you can eat lots of it without feeling full. Helpful if you’re trying to put on weight.
Healthy fat can be found in foods like:
- Macadamia nuts
- Olive oil
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
Science has recently come around on saturated fat too. Once completely vilified, but now considered okay for moderate consumption.
Saturated fats can come from things like:
- Whole milk
- Full fat dairy
- Coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Fatty cuts of meat
To help you gauge: a serving size of fat is roughly the size of your thumb!
For reference, this is a single serving of almonds (162 calories):
THIS is a serving of olive oil (119 calories):
As you can see, you can eat an extra 500 calories of “healthy fats” by eating lots of “heart-healthy” fats like nuts or adding more olive oil to your meals.
PRIORITY #4: VEGETABLES!
Last but not least, you need vegetables in your diet.
As you start to eat more food, your stomach, intestines, and other bodily functions will thank you for consuming more high-fiber vegetables!
A serving of veggies is about the size of your fist.
Here’s a quick, non-complete list of high-fiber veggies that can fill your plate:
- Spaghetti squash
- Brussels sprouts
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: A HEALTHY MUSCLE BUILDING PLATE
This plate and serving size stuff above is just to help you get started thinking about healthy food differently and in proper portion sizes.
TO RECAP, HERE’S HOW TO EAT TO BUILD MUSCLE:
- Calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and add 250 calories over your number.
- Consume 1-1.5g per pound (2.2-3.3g per kg) of bodyweight in protein every day.
- Consume the rest of your calories from foods composed of carbs and fats.
- Always eat vegetables so that your body can actually PROCESS all this extra food. I like to aim for half of my plate of vegetables.
- If you are not gaining weight, (and you’re hitting your protein goals), add more carbs and/or fats to your meal.
It really does come down to the following:
If you are not gaining weight fast enough, you’re not eating enough. Increase your portions of carbs and fats!
Whenever we work with coaching clients who struggle to build muscle, this is the area we target: adding more carbs and fats to each meal.
Have trouble gaining muscle? Have a Nerd Fitness Coach build a custom plan for you!
8 Strength Training Exercises For Women to Build Muscle
Years from now, you’ll look back and thank “Past You” for starting strength training today.
And don’t worry, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do so you can start strength training TODAY!
Here’s why strength training is so important: when you eat a caloric surplus (more calories than your body needs each day), the extra calories have to go somewhere.
- If you don’t do any exercise, your body will choose to store the extra calories as fat for later.
- However, when you strength train, your muscles are broken down and then they’ll use the extra calories to rebuild themselves bigger and stronger over the next 48 hours!
“Staci that sounds great, but I’ve never strength trained before, and I don’t know what I’m doing…Halp!” You might be saying into your computer or phone.
Fear not! I’ll help. Strength training doesn’t need to be scary or overly complicated.
Simply put, “strength training” means:
- “Movement of any weight against “resistance” (including your body weight) – Doing ANY exercise that pushes your muscles outside of their comfort zone, forcing them to rebuild stronger to prepare for the next challenge.
- Progressive overload: doing slightly more than last time (lift heavier weight or do 1 more rep) consistently. Your muscles will have to constantly adapt and rebuild themselves stronger. This is called “progressive overload.”
This means if you drop down and do ONE push-up or knee push-up right now…
Technically you’ve strength trained.
Now do that and then do a bodyweight squat…
Boom, you just did a strength training workout.
Here’s what you need to know about strength training:
- Strength training is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself.
- Strength training will help you put on muscle while eating in a surplus.
- While you can’t spot reduce fat, you can focus on building more muscle in specific areas, which can help you attain a specific look you’re going for.
- If you don’t like the gym, you don’t need to go, ever. But I hope you do. Because that’s the easiest way to start training with weights.
- Regardless of your fitness level, body fat percentage, strength level, or gender, you have every right to be in the free weights section in the gym, training with heavy weights, with everybody else. The people in the gym who are very strong with a lot of muscle started somewhere, too!
I used to be a CrossFit instructor, and my favorite thing about CrossFit was that it destigmatized barbell training and heavy lifting for many women.
In order for us to strength train and build muscle, we’re going to approach this intelligently.
We’re not going to pick up small dumbbells and do lots of reps.
We’re not going to sit down at various machines and scroll through our phones while doing leg curls.
Instead, we’re going to:
- Get very strong with compound movements that recruit LOTS of muscles to work together.
- Do our workouts quickly and get out of there. The workout should take no longer than 45-60 minutes.
This is how we efficiently build muscle in the minimum amount of time. What are the exercises that we’re going to target?
1) The Push-Up: The best exercise you could ever do for yourself when it comes to using your bodyweight for push muscles (your chest, shoulders, and triceps):
2) The Bodyweight Squat: This exercise serves a dual purpose: it is the foundation for building strength AND helps build proper mobility. If you are going to ever do barbell squats, you need to work on hitting proper depth with a bodyweight squat first!
3) The Inverted Bodyweight Row: Until you can get your first pull-up or chin-up, these exercises are GREAT to start building your pull-muscle strength (your back, biceps, and forearms).
4) The Pull-Up and Chin-Up: Once you can support your bodyweight above the bar, the world becomes your playground. No strength training routine should be without pull-up or chin-up work! (Click here if you can’t do a pull-up or chin-up yet):
And now we’re into the best weight training exercises:
5) The Barbell Squat: Probably the best exercise when it comes to building strength and muscle throughout your whole body. It also burns crazy calories and makes life better. This is a MUST:
6) The Barbell Deadlift: Maybe the best exercise of all time. Actually no, it IS the best exercise of all time. It’s certainly the most primal: “pick the weight up off the ground. Done.”
This is a very technical lift, so make sure you read our article on how to deadlift with proper form:
7) The Barbell Bench Press. Lie on a bench, squeeze your shoulder blades to keep your back tight, and then lower a barbell until it almost touches your chest. Pause, and then press it back up towards the sky. Repeat! And get strong.
8) Barbell Overhead Press: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and lean back by pushing your hips forward. While keeping your entire body tight, press the bar overhead.
Once the bar passes your forehead, move your body back under the bar by driving your torso forward and back into a standing position. At the top of the lift shrug your shoulders slightly and lock your elbows.
These are some of the best compound exercises you can complete in order to build muscle. Want more muscle? Great! Get stronger at these movements!
One quick note: when I first started lifting, it took a while to build up the strength to be able to bench press or overhead press with the 45-lb bar. If your gym doesn’t have a lighter bar, dumbbells are a great option!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Commit to trying ONE of these movements in the next week. Use 20 seconds of courage, recruit a friend who has lifted or trained before, and try your best.
I have three options for you next:
- Select one of the muscle-building routines for women in the next section.
- Build your own workout routine using these exercises!
- Work with me and our coaching program to follow a custom strength training routine for your goals.
Let us create a workout program that fits your busy life!
5 Muscle Building Workout Routines For Women
I’m going to walk you through three different levels of strength training, and by the end of today, you’re going to know exactly how to get started.
My advice: do 2-3 strength training routines per week, with 1-2 days off in between. As the saying goes: “muscle isn’t built in the gym, it’s built in the kitchen!”
So your goal should be to do a strength training routine, and then make sure you eat a caloric surplus so that your body has enough calories to rebuild your muscles bigger and stronger!
LEVEL 1: BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
Here’s a beginner bodyweight training routine you can do in the comfort of your own home:
- 20 Bodyweight squats.
- 10 Push-ups.
- 10 Walking lunges (each leg).
- 10 Dumbbell rows (use a milk jug or other weight).
- 15 Second Plank.
- 30 Jumping jacks.
We also have a downloadable worksheet of this beginner workout that you can print out and hang on your fridge to track your progress! Get it when you sign up below:
Grab Your Beginner Bodyweight Routine Worksheet. No Gym Required!
- Complete this workout at home, no equipment required
- Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing bodyweight exercises
- Learn how to finally get your first pull-up
LEVEL 2: DUMBBELL WORKOUT
If you have dumbbells at home or access to a gym, you can pick our Level 4 workout from our 6-Level Gym Workout Routine.
So your Dumbbell Workout is 3 circuits of the following:
- 10 goblet squats (holding the dumbbell like a goblet with 2 hands):
- 10 push-ups (or knee push-ups):
- 10 dumbbell rows/side (or bodyweight row):
(By the way, these are two GREAT exercises towards getting your first pull-up)
LEVEL 2: BEGINNER KETTLEBELL WORKOUT
If you have a Kettlebell at home, here’s a 20-Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout you can do:
Do 3 circuits of this Kettlebell Workout:
- 8 Halos (each side)
- 10 Goblet Squats
- 8 Overhead Presses (each side)
- 15 Kettlebell Swings
- 8 Bent Over Rows (each side)
- 6 Front Rack Reverse Lunge (per side)
If you like this Kettlebell workout and want to follow along on a worksheet, simply print out our Kettlebell Workout and bring it with you:
Grab Your Beginner Kettlebell Routine Worksheet!
- Complete this workout at home or gym with 1 kettlebell.
- Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing kettlebell exercises.
- Build strength, burn fat, level up your life!
LEVEL 3: BARBELL GYM WORKOUT
Here’s a Barbell workout you can follow from our Level 5 Gym Workout Routine.
BARBELL BATALLION WORKOUT A:
- 3 sets of 10 barbell squats
- 3 sets of 10 push-ups
- 3 sets of 10 bodyweight rows:
BARBELL BATALLION WORKOUT B:
- 3 sets of 5 barbell Romanian deadlifts (video pulled from the NF Academy)
- 3 sets of 10 bench presses:
- 3 sets of 5 pull-ups, assisted pull-ups, or negative pull-ups:
PICK A WORKOUT, GET STARTED!
The whole point is to do challenging movements that really make your muscles work, and then try to do ONE more rep, or lift a SLIGHTLY heavier weight next time!
Don’t sweat the small details and instead use 20 seconds of courage to get started!
Track your workouts by writing down what you did, and then do what you can next time.
If you really want to level up quickly, LEARN HOW TO DO SQUATS AND HOW TO DO DEADLIFTS. These two exercises changed my life!
“Staci, that’s still too many choices! Can you just tell me what workout routine to follow?”
Okay fine! Here’s what I would do if I was you.
- Do you have access to a gym? Follow our 6-Level Gym Workout Plan.
- No gym? Start with the beginner bodyweight program.
Still overwhelmed? Check out our coaching program. We get to learn your story, and then build a program and strategy around your goals that you CAN do.
Learn how to strength train with our Online Coaching Program!
10 Tips for building muscle as a Woman
I interviewed multiple other coaches on our team and asked for their best advice on how to build muscle as a woman.
Here’s what they said:
Susy (Coach, BS in Psychology, Certificate III & IV in Fitness, 5+ years of experience)
Tip #1: Food is your friend when you are looking to build muscle and get stronger – your body will need fuel, so you may need to eat more on the days that you work out!
Tip #2: Strength and muscle building requires structure to your workouts – you progress through getting better at specific movements, so make sure that you enjoy the style and structure of your workouts so that you can be as consistent as possible.
Tip #3: Your progress will always be fastest if you avoid injury, so correct form and listening to your body is super important. Your muscles will fatigue and feel sore, but joint pain and sharp, stabby pain means something isn’t moving quite right.
Kerry (Coach, NASM-CPT, 6+ years of experience)
Tip #4: Fall in love with the process. Getting stronger is a journey, one that is both rewarding and challenging. So no matter where you are starting from, take the time to celebrate each small step along the way towards a more badass version of yourself!
Christy (Coach, BS in Applied Health/Fitness, National Personal Training Institute Graduate, Precision Nutrition Certification, 6+ years of experience)
Tip #5: To get strong, you gotta lift weights. When lifting weights to get strong, you gotta be okay with testing your boundaries every now and then.
After exercising with your current weight, for the next training session…stop…and try a few reps with the next weight UP to test it out! It might surprise you how much more weight you can lift!
Here are some other tips to help you build muscle.
Tip #6: Boost your testosterone naturally: Consume enough saturated and monounsaturated fats, keep your sugar intake low, and make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D and Zinc.
These are items linked with boosting your testosterone naturally.
Speaking of testosterone – I know you may think of this as a “male” hormone, but it plays a huge part in women muscle building, fat loss, increase bone mass, and many other health-related issues(remember: estrogen is made from testosterone).
Men make about ten to fifteen times what we make naturally, but it doesn’t mean we don’t need it too.
Another way we can help our testosterone levels is to watch our cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a hormone that is promoted by stress and reduces free testosterone levels (in addition to signaling for your body to store fat).
Want a way to naturally lower your cortisol levels? Try meditation.
Tip #7: Not getting bigger? Eat more food.
Focus on more fats and carbs. They are the easiest ways to increase your total calories.
You can check out our Guide to Build Muscle for more specific tips on how to eat more food.
Tip #8: Make sure every meal has a solid protein source.
Protein is needed for building muscle, so prioritize this above all else when you sit down to eat.
Having trouble getting it all down? Buy a blender!
Steve drink’s two smoothies a day to reach his protein goals and you can check out our Guide to Protein Shakes for his personal recipe.
On the go with no blender? I like to keep protein powder with me in a small Ziploc bag – that way I can grab a bottle of water, rip off the corner of the Ziploc bag, and use that as a funnel to get the powder into the water bottle. Then, just replace the cap and shake and you’ve got a protein-filled snack!
Tip #9: Get more sleep! When you build muscle, your body is working overtime, burning extra calories. It’s going to need some time to recover. Remember, muscle is built when you rest, not when you actually lift.
Go to bed!
Tip #10: Start today!
Gaining muscle comes down to eating right and strength training. Let’s get you lifting today!
Try some push-ups and squats as we discussed in our strength training section. Tomorrow we can work on eating right and lifting more.
The most important step you can take today is to begin.
Let’s give you some more tips to get you going.
Building Muscle: Next Steps!
If I can narrow down building muscle for women, it would be three main points:
- Get stronger by picking up heavy stuff or doing more challenging bodyweight movements.
- Get bigger by eating lots of food.
- Recover faster by sleeping enough and giving your muscles days off to rebuild.
That’s it. You can do this.
If you made it this far, and you want more specific instruction and guidance, we have a few options for you:
1) If you are somebody that wants to follow a tailor-made program that designed around their life and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.
You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself, check your form, and program your workouts and nutrition for you.
Get step-by-step instruction, form checks, and worldwide accountability in your pocket! Learn about our Coaching Program
2) Good at following instructions and want a blueprint to follow? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.
20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, nutritional leveling system, a questing system, and supportive community.
Learn more about The Nerd Fitness Academy!
3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you begin your journey on building muscle.
Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
- Everything you need to know about getting strong.
- Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
Lastly, I’d love to hear from you!
PLEASE leave your questions, eating or strength or otherwise below so we can answer them and become best friends and practice karate kicks in the garage:
How can I help you get bigger and stronger?
What part of this journey are you still struggling the most with?
What are your favorite bulking up foods!?
Share with your friends in the comments so we can all go buy it in bulk at Costco.
PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our Strength Building Articles!
- 5 Beginner Strength Training Workouts
- 6 Gym Workouts You Can Follow
- How to Do a Push-Up
- How to Get Your First Pull-Up
- How to Do a Bodyweight Row
- How to Do a Squat
- How to Do a Deadlift
Photo sources: Women’s Day 2015, Sea spray, The Viking, The Evolution of LEGO Wonder Woman, Apocalyptic Motorcycle, Person Mountain,
How To Gain Weight For Women
Hear at Dioxyme we’re commonly asked: “What’s the best way for women to gain weight?” In short, it takes a comprehensive plan in both the kitchen and in the gym to make it work.
In this article, we’ll be going over how to gain weight for women. We’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked questions we get from women looking to improve their overall health and appearance through weight gain.
Eat a Calorie Surplus
The most important component of any plan to gain weight is a calorie surplus, which happens when you to take in more calories in a day than your body burns off. The amount of calories you’re body actually uses in a day is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which you can easily estimate with an online TDEE calculator.
Once you know your TDEE, you’re ready to add some additional calories into your diet. A surplus of between 250 – 500 calories is the ideal range for gradual weight gain. So, if your TDEE is 1,500 calories per day, then your surplus goal would be between 1750 – 2000 calories per day. While many women say they want to gain weight as quickly as possible, too large of a calorie surplus will cause you to gain excess body fat.
We’re not talking about loading up on sugar or alcohol to meet your calorie needs either; you’ll need to be consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet, which we’ll get into below.
The strategy is oriented around adding lean mass to your frame while also minimizing fat gains. Building muscle is a process that takes time and gaining too much weight too soon is a clear sign you’re putting on body fat, not lean muscle.
Increase Your Protein Intake
For adult women, the RDA for dietary protein is 0.8g per 2.2lbs (1 kg) of body weight per day and that’s just to maintain the muscle mass you already have. (6) But the fact of the matter is that many women don’t consume enough protein in their daily diets, leaving them susceptible to muscle loss.
If you want to pack on additional lean muscle mass, you need to have a high protein intake.
Researchers have thoroughly investigated the effects of protein intake on the muscle-building process, and while there is some variation in their findings, most studies suggest that somewhere between 1.4g – 2g of protein per 2.2 lb (1 kg) of body weight is the ideal range for gaining weight. (7)(8)(9)
For many women, eating that much protein might seem daunting at first. for instance, if you weigh 115 lbs, that would be 73g – 105g of protein per day, which is probably quite a bit more than you’re used to eating.
For example, one egg has around 6 grams of protein and an average chicken breast has about 30. So if you have 2 eggs for breakfast, a salad without protein for lunch, and a chicken breast for dinner, that’s only 46g of protein, which is substantially less than the range we just discussed.
One of the easiest ways to increase your daily protein intake, however, is with protein shakes. Whey, in particular, is an excellent source of protein and one serving of most high-quality products contains around 25g. So if you were to mix a scoop of protein into a glass of water twice a day, you’d be adding 50+ extra grams of protein into your daily diet.
Get a Healthy Supply of Carbs and Fat
When it comes to gaining weight, each macronutrient is important. Don’t just focus on protein; it’s crucial to have a well-balanced distribution of carbohydrates and fats in your diet as well.
Carbs are your body’s primary fuel source and according to the NIH, should make up somewhere between 45 – 65% of all the calories you consume in your daily diet. (10)
Complex carbs, like those found in potatoes and rice, should make up the majority of your carbohydrate intake. They provide long-lasting energy instead of quick spikes and crashes that come along with simple sugars.
Dietary fat helps to support a number of critical processes that occur within your body and should consist of between 20 – 35% of your total daily calories. (11) Prioritize healthy, unsaturated fats like those found in avocadoes and nuts and minimize unhealthy, saturated fats like those found in fatty cuts of pork and beef.
Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently
If you’re underweight, eating the extra calories you need to gain weight can be challenging, especially if you’re only eating once or twice a day. However, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day is an easy way to increase your caloric intake.
For example, let’s say your goal is to consume 2,000 calories per day. If you were to break that up into only 2 meals, that’s 1,000 calories per meal. Now, that’s certainly do-able, but if you’re not used to eating that many calories in a single meal, it might become difficult to hit your daily calorie target.
However, if you broke that same calorie target up between 3 meals and a snack, for instance, your portions would be much more manageable and it wouldn’t seem quite as challenging to get in all of the calories you need to gain weight.
Do Resistance Training to Gain Lean Mass
In addition to a calorie surplus and high protein intake, in order to gain lean muscle mass, you also need to be resistance training. Lifting weights helps to stimulate a process within your body known as muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is the primary mechanism through which your muscles grow. (12)
Lifting weights actually causes microscopic tears within your muscles’ tissues. Your body uses dietary protein to repair and rebuild the damaged muscles, which over time, can lead to increases in lean body mass with consistent training. (13)
Muscle takes a long time to grow, especially when we’re talking about putting on a lot of muscle mass. You shouldn’t be afraid of getting bulky simply from lifting weights. Ultimately, you have to take things to the extreme over a long period of time — we’re talking years — to get anywhere near being over-encumbered by muscle mass.
For most people, 3 – 5 days a week of resistance training is enough to see gradual gains in both size and strength.
While there are multiple approaches to weight lifting including both strength and hypertrophy training, you’ll want to choose a training regimen that engages all of your body’s major muscle groups — that usually means hitting 1 to 2 muscle groups per training session.
While you can pack on lean mass with strength training, the primary purpose of this style of training is to increase the muscle’s force, not its size. As such, hypertrophy training may be a better methodology for women looking to gain weight.
With hypertrophy-based exercises, the focus is entirely on building muscle. Compared to strength training, that means more sets, reps, time under tensions and consequently, more muscle growth. You’ll usually be doing somewhere between 6 – 10 reps per set and 9 – 16 sets per training session.
Keep Your Diet and Training Consistent and Track Your Progress
As we’ve mentioned a few times by now, building lean muscle mass takes time. Ultimately that means finding ways to be consistent with both your diet and training week in and week out.
Find a diet and a training routine you enjoy and can stick to — if you don’t like what you’re doing, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not going to stay at it for long.
Also, make sure that your keeping track of what you’re doing with your diet and training. Having a record of what you ate and how you trained each day will allow you to get a clearer picture of your progress over time; you’ll be able to start identifying what’s working and what isn’t so that you can fine-tune your training and diet.
How Do You Know If You’re Underweight?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) determines whether or not you’re underweight based on your body mass index (BMI), which you can easily calculate yourself. Your BMI is equal to your weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2).
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal weight, while anything that falls below 18.5 is considered underweight for adults 20 years and older.
Are There Health Risks Associated With Being Underweight?
Being underweight increases your likelihood of having nutritional deficiencies. If your BMI is below the normal range, there is a pretty good chance that you’re not eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Ultimately, that means you’re probably not getting all of the nutrients that your body’s need, which can affect your health in a number of ways.(1)
Underweight women are at an increased risk of osteopenia and ultimately osteoporosis. The lack of proper nutrients can lead to low bone mineral density, leaving those who are underweight more susceptible to bone injury and fracture. (2)
Women with abnormally low BMI’s are also at an increased risk of anemia, which can result from an inadequate iron intake. Anemia is a condition in which your body isn’t able to transport enough oxygen to its tissues, leaving you feeling perpetually tired and weak. (3)
Your immune system is also more likely to be deficient when you’re not eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Without an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals, your body becomes a lot more vulnerable to sickness and infection. (4)(5)
What If Your BMI is Normal?
Even if your BMI is in the normal range, there may still be some reasons you can benefit from gaining weight. For example, let’s say you’re fitting into a size 2 pair of skinny jeans and the scale shows you at 115 pounds but you still have a little muffin top that seems to appear whenever you put your jeans on.
So what gives?
Well, your overall body mass index — the measure of how big you are in relation to your height — might be normal but perhaps your body composition is not ideal.
What do we mean by body composition? It’s your proportion of lean mass like muscle and bone to body fat.
Your BMI measurement only tells a part of the larger story. Some women may have BMIs that fall within the normal range; however, in reality, their lean body mass may not be proportional to their body fat. If you have too much fat in relation to lean body mass, it can lead to appearing “skinny fat”.
Ideally, a woman would like her body fat percentage to be in the 16-25% range. A “skinny fat” 115-pound woman may only have 80 pounds of lean mass. To look fit and trim, it might take upping that lean mass to 90 pounds and shedding 10 pounds of fat.
When it comes to gaining weight, there is only one true essential: a calorie surplus. However, just eating tons of extra calories is likely to lead to excessive gains in body fat, which nobody wants. Instead, a high-protein intake, combined with a moderate calorie surplus and regular weight training, will help you to build lean muscle mass and minimize body fat increases during your weight gain.
In order to see the results you’re after though, you need to keep everything consistent. Find a diet and training program that you can stick to for a few months and track your progress along the way.
- “Chapter 28Stunting, Wasting, and Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders” Caulfield, L.E., Richard, S.A., Rivera, J.A., Musgrove, P., Black, R.E. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. 2006.
- “Relationship between underweight, bone mineral density and skeletal muscle index in premenopausal Korean women.” Lim, J., Park, H.S. International Journal of Clinical Practices. Jun. 2016.
- “Recent trends in malnutrition in developing regions: Vitamin A deficiency, anemia, iodine deficiency, and child underweight.” Mason, J., Rivers, J., Helwig, C. The Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2006.
- “Body mass index and the risk of infection – from underweight to obesity” Dobner, J., Kaser, S. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Jan. 2018.
- “Malnutrition and Energy Restriction Differentially Affect Viral Immunity” Ritz, B.W., Gardner, E.M. The Journal of Nutrition. May. 2006.
- “Dietary Guidelines should reflect new understandings about adult protein needs” Layman, D.K. Nutrition and Metabolism. Mar. 2009.
- “A Critical Examination of Dietary Protein Requirements, Benefits, and Excesses in Athletes” Phillips, S.M., Moore, D.R., Tang, J.E. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metablolism. Aug. 2007.
- “Protein Recommendations for Weight Loss in Elite Athletes: A Focus on Body Composition and Performance.” Hector, A.J., Phillips, S.M. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metablolism. Mar. 2018.
- “Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes.” Phillips, S.M. British Journal of Nutrition. Aug. 2012.
- “Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges” Institute of Medicine (US). National Academies Press. 2011.
- “Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges” Institute of Medicine (US). National Academies Press. 2011.
- “Mixed Muscle Protein Synthesis and Breakdown After Resistance Exercise in Humans” Phillips, S.M., Tipton, K.D., Aarsland, A., Wolf, S.E., Wolfe, R.R. American Journal of Physiology. Jul. 1997.
- “Changes in human muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise” Chesley, A., MacDougall, J.D., Tarnopolsky, M.A., Atkinson, S.A., Smith, K. American Physiology Society. Oct. 1992.
This is near and dear to my heart because I know what it’s like to want to gain weight and feel like you just can’t. No matter how much you eat or what you try that number on the scale either never changes or shockingly goes down. Like how could it be going down?! Well after 2 years of me not only putting on weight but figuring out how to keep it on, what better way for me to share the love than to give my best weight gain tips for all my skinny minis out there.
Just so you know I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my butt, I’ve been skinny all of my life. Kids used to pick on me and call me toothpick, pencil, stick. Any skinny long object really. I also got a lot of compliments too from people saying I should be a model because of my figure. So being skinned wasn’t all bad. I’m too short to be a model though. I’m just a naturally skinny girl with a fast metabolism. You can’t help your genetics but that doesn’t mean you can’t counteract them either. My weight stayed between 105 – 110lbs the majority of my life all the way up until I was 23 years old, which was the year I decided to get serious about my weight gain journey.
This picture here. . . This was me January 2017. Exactly 2 years ago.
This was me a year later, after gaining 30 pounds.
And this next picture is me now.
*I will say that I did end up losing 10 pounds between the 2nd and 3rd pictures due to life changes but I ended up liking it better than the weight I was at before so it’s all good. I’ll get into that later*
So how exactly did I do it? If you want step by step instructions I got you! I’ve already written them down for you.
Related posts on gaining weight:
How to Gain Weight Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)
5 Things No One Tells You About Gaining Weight
3 Secrets to Gain Healthy Weight Without the Gym
But if you want weight gain tips that I didn’t mention there then you should stick around.
The Best Weight Gain Tips for Skinny Girls
(This post may contain affiliate links to products that I truly recommend, at no extra costs to you, if you decide you’re interested in anything mentioned. Feel free to check out the disclosure for more info.)
Tip #1: Stick to a routine.
I’m talking about your eating schedule and your workout schedule.
Have staple foods in your diet.
I know not everyone is okay with eating more or less the same things everyday but if you want to make things easier for you I recommend trying it. Maybe not have everything be the same but having some staple meals and snacks will help you a lot!
In order to gain weight you have to eat a certain amount of calories a day. As for the amount of calories, the number varies from person to person. But once you figure out how many calories you should be eating a day, then you have to figure what foods and how much of those foods will help you reach that goal everyday. It’s a lot easier to calculate the calories of a small group of foods that you’d eat almost every day than a variety of foods.
If you eat too much of a variety of foods then you constantly have to calculate the calories to make sure you’re getting enough everyday. If that doesn’t make sense then hopefully this will.
When I was focused on gaining weight 9 times out of 10 I would stick to eating 3 different types of breakfast foods, 4 types of snacks, and 6 different types of lunch/dinner. That way I can rotate them and create different combinations out of those meals and snacks that would equal my goal calorie intake every day. That would’ve been a lot harder to do if I were always eating something different.
Have a proper workout schedule.
No matter what type of workouts you do, stick to a routine. If you do body building, create a workout split that you can follow every week. You don’t have to do the same exercises every time but at least know how many days you’re going to work out each week and what body part you’re going to work on that day. If you prefer to do full body workouts then decide how many days you’re going to train that week. If you like powerlifting or CrossFit, figure out what your schedule is going to be like each week. And make sure that you stay consistent!
Tip #2: Don’t underestimate the power of a shake.
There are women I know that are really into fitness that swear by Ensure shakes to help them gain weight. I’ll be honest, I’ve personally never tried them. But I have made my own high calorie shakes and I’ve purchased pre-made protein shakes. Any of the things that I mentioned will work as long as you have them in combination with a proper diet.
If you didn’t know, it’s much easier to drink calories than to eat them.
For example, let’s say the reason you have trouble gaining weight is because you have a hard time eating. Whether that’s because you forget to eat or you don’t have time or you’re just not hungry. And let’s say you have a daily calorie intake goal of 3000 calories. What you could do is, make a very high calorie shake of around 900 calories in the morning and drink that. You’ll already be 1/3 of the way to your goal before your day has really started!
Or if you work out while trying to gain weight, and I highly suggest that you do, you can have a mass gainer protein shake right after your workout. Their servings are usually around 1000 calories.
Tip #3: Healthy oils can make a difference too.
Have you ever paid attention to your cooking oils? Did you know that olive oil has over 100 calories in just one tablespoon? Same goes for canola oil. If you want to talk about weight gain tips it can’t get any easier than this. Don’t limit these oils just to your meals either. If you like to make shakes or smoothies I recommend adding a spoonful to your drink to get the added calorie benefit!
Tip #4: Carb it up!
Carbs are not bad. I REPEAT: Carbs are not bad. I know this is about gaining weight but even if you were trying to lose weight carbs as a whole aren’t bad. You just have to understand them better to know what carbs you should be eating regularly and what carbs you should be limiting.
There are simple carbs and there are complex carbs.
Simple carbs. . .
Simple carbs are the ones that can be broken down quickly for your body to use as energy but most of the time they don’t provide much nutrients. Typically speaking these are the carbs that you should be limiting. The reason I say typically is because simple carbs are found in cakes, cookies, candies, and other sugary treats. BUT they’re also naturally found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. So if you’re going to have simple carbs the better choice would be to get them from healthy foods that have other vitamins and minerals to go with it.
And, sure, you can enjoy desserts every once in a while but they definitely shouldn’t be your main source of simple carbs.
Complex carbs. . .
Complex carbs are considered the “good” carbs because they tend to have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than simple carbs. Your body slowly breaks complex carbs down which means you’ll have a lower amount of sugar released more steadily. That steady release gives you energy throughout the day., unlike the crash you may get from having too many simple carbs.
Some examples of complex carbs are:
- Whole wheat breads and pastas
- Brown rice
*The rule for finding good carbs is the higher in sugar it is and the lower it is in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the worse it is for you.*
Tip # 5: Always have snacks on you.
You can keep them in your purse or your book bag. At your desk. Or all 3. But try to always have snacks available. And I mean healthy snacks for the most part. Because what if you miss a meal for whatever reason. You don’t want to be set back too far in reaching your calorie intake for the day. The snacks won’t be a meal replacement but it’ll at least help out until you can get the chance to eat a real meal. If you need specific snacks I’m talking granola bars, fruits and veggies. And maybe the occasional honey bun.
Related posts on gaining weight:
How to Gain Weight Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)
5 Things No One Tells You About Gaining Weight
3 Secrets to Gain Healthy Weight Without the Gym
Tip #6: Do little to no cardio.
I know this is going to be hard for some people to get their heads around but cardio is not going to help you if your end goal is to gain weight and/or build muscle. Cardio burns calories. So for you to be doing cardio would be counter productive to your end goal. The only way that I could ever recommend doing cardio to someone focused on weight gain is if it’s done in 20 minutes or less and you go up on your calorie intake to make up for the extra calories that you burned that day doing cardio. So if I burned 100 calories on the stair master I’d eat an extra 100 calories that day.
Tip #7: The ultimate tip. Make sure you’re doing it for you.
Social media can have a big influence on the decisions we make for ourselves. A lot of the times you can think you’re buying something or doing something just because you want to, when really it’s because you saw 10 other females buying or doing the same thing on Instagram. I’m guilty of it too. I had already reached my weight gain goal after a few months but I kept going just because I wanted to look like certain women I saw on Instagram. I was constantly comparing myself and my journey to theirs. If you want to know how I dealt with my body dysmorhpia in depth you can find out here.
So I kept going and got to a weight that I was actually uncomfortable with, thinking that that’s what I wanted. Due to unrelated circumstance I ended up losing some of the extra pounds I put on and liking the way I looked a lot better than before. I’m saying this to say, make sure your choices are actually choices. And that you’re trying to gain weight because you really want to. Would you still want to gain weight if being thick wasn’t the “in” thing right now?
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