Often times, information on building muscle is directed towards men.
But what about women?
Men aren’t the only ones I see in the gym wishing to accomplish their goals. There are plenty of women working just as hard.
The reality is not much is different.
The principles remain the same!
If you’re a woman and you wish to build muscle, strength, and get fit on a vegan diet, this article is here for you!
Follow my tips and you’ll make progress faster than you ever have before!
Focus On Compound Lifts
Running on the treadmill for 30 minutes is boring and ineffective.
Instead, you need to be hitting the weights, specifically focusing on compound lifts:
- Barbell Rows
Not only do compound lifts work multiple body parts at the same time, but they have been shown to promote the greatest increases in strength and muscular development.
Utilizing compound lifts will not only save you time, but it’ll also give you the best workout!
They are grueling and keep burning calories long after your workout is finished unlike cardio which stops burning calories as soon as your heart rate returns to normal
You should also limit the amount of time spent on isolation exercises like bicep curls and leg extensions, they do not work the body nearly as well as compound movements.
Unfortunately, many women avoid the gym due to the stereotype that they will become extremely muscular and huge if they start lifting weights. This is simply not the case.
You’re not going to be looking like a bodybuilder after one workout.
In fact, lifting weights is the best way for women to build that beach body for bikini season!
Eat Adequate Protein And Calories
Protein is essential for muscle development and strength gains.
Nutrition is extremely important. Workout all you want, but a bad diet will negate all that work and effort you put into the gym.
This means getting enough protein, calories, and carbs to fuel your body and recover from workouts.
Your calorie intake will depend on your fitness goals.
If your goal is to burn fat and tone your body, multiply your bodyweight by 11 and 13.
140lbs x 11 = 1,540 calories
140lbs x 13 = 1,820 calories
In order to cut weight, you need to be consuming between 1,540 and 1,820 calories if you weigh 140 pounds. Of course, this will change for each person depending on your weight.
But if your goal is to put on muscle and gain some more shape, multiply your bodyweight by 16 and 18
140 x 16 = 2,240 calories
140 x 18 = 2,520 calories
For you ladies who wish to bulk up and really fill out in shape and gain more strength, you need to consume between 2,240 and 2,520 calories a day if you weigh 140 pounds. Once again these numbers will differ per person’s weight.
Now moving on to protein. It’s a general rule of thumb to consume between .6-.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
Whatever your goal, bulking or cutting, stay within this range.
Not eating enough protein will limit your ability to gain or even maintain muscle.
Protein and amino acids are the building blocks of muscle, so it’s very important to consume enough so that you can keep gaining strength.
Now you may be wondering what kind of protein sources you should be eating as a vegan?
I recommend eating the following:
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Whole Grains
I also advise sticking away from fake and substitute meats. They are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Although they contain a good deal of protein it’s not worth the added crap. If you do eat fake meat, make sure it’s only once in a while, even I occasionally enjoy eating a beyond burger once a week.
Nutrition is by far the hardest part of any strength plan, regardless if your male or female.
It takes a lot of work in the kitchen to prepare meals that meet your goals. But if you wish to gain strength it has to be done!
Get Enough Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is a huge factor in whether you can reach your muscle and strength goals.
Sleep is the one true time your body can come to a complete resting phase.
Getting 8 hours of sleep is what I recommend to everyone. 6 or fewer hours is not enough if you truly want to speed up and advance muscle recovery.
But sleeping 8 hours isn’t enough. You have to ensure that the sleep you’re getting is quality sleep!
That means avoiding electronics 2-3 hours before bed! Electronics emit what is known as ‘blue light.’
Blue light before bed can mess with our body’s ability to tell whether it’s day or night, thus resulting in worse sleep.
Worse Sleep = Worse Muscle Recovery
So if you’re one of those people who is constantly using their phone in bed, turn it off!
It’s also a good idea to avoid working out strenuously before bed. Sleep is the idea of winding things down, not turning your mind up.
Other things to avoid are:
- Eating Right Before Bed
- Caffeine After 5pm
- Stressing Out Right Before Bed
- Strenuous Homework/Work
- Drinking Alcohol
- Long Mid-Day Naps
If you’re wondering what are some things you should do before bed in order to help you fall asleep, I recommend the following:
- Read A Book
- Light Stretching/Yoga
- Go To Bed Around The Same Time Every Night
- Get Comfortable
- Turn Off The Lights
So what’s the difference between men and women who wish to build muscle and strength?
That’s right, if you’re a lady, you should apply the same rules that men follow.
Lift heavy and stick to compound movements, they give the greatest leaps in strength!
Eat an adequate amount of protein and calories so that your body is given the proper nutrients.
And lastly, get enough rest so that your body can recover as fast as possible!
Cheers and happy lifting!