For women to build muscle, it takes a lot of energy and resources. The body is reluctant to make a dramatic change to its current state. You must feed it so it has no choice. Convince your body there’s an abundance of food and nutrition by eating all day, every day. A highly effective diet for putting on lean muscle mass is a whole food, plant-based diet.
The reason I decided to write the gender-specific “How to Build Muscle for Women” is that there are physiological differences that need to be considered. Women tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to fat loss and muscle building because the majority of the advice offered is based on research done on men.
Many of the same fundamentals apply across the board, but women have different hormonal composition and metabolism. This carries over into exercise response. A common belief is that women can’t build as much muscle as men because they don’t have as much testosterone. This is true, but also a little misleading.
Recent studies show that protein synthesis and gene signaling that lead to muscle gains, which are the primary factors for building muscle, are nearly equal between young men and women. The exception is older women who have a reduced muscle building response to resistance exercise. They possess lower protein synthesis than men of the same age in response to training, which appears to be maintained even when they take supplemental protein. More research needs to be done in regards to dosing, but It’sit’s possible older women require a larger dose of protein or more of the amino acid leucine (which has been found to equalize protein synthesis in older and younger men).
Lift Heavy Weights Using Compound Exercises
According to strength expert Pavel Tsatsouline, a shorter number of repetitions with a heavier weight and using compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.) is the optimal method for building size and strength.
He also speaks out against going failure. If you look at the strongest people on the planet, most of them do not train until failure. In his words, “Andy Bolton does not train to failure. Brad Gillingham does not train to failure. Konstantin Konstantinov does not train to failure. Case closed.”
Pavel is a former physical-training instructor for Spetnaz, the elite Soviet Special Forces, and is currently a consultant to the US Marine Corps, Secret Service, and Navy SEALs. He is a rare source I trust completely on the subject of strength training.
I have synthesized my own twenty years of applied knowledge in the gym and Pavel’s general methodology to get you started on a solid foundation.