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Let’s Build Some Muscle

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me that they want to build muscle and lose fat. It has become almost the standard response to “What are your health and fitness goals.” The truth is that we all have a much higher chance of losing fat than gaining muscle as it is just plain HARD and we have more fat than muscle to begin with. But alas, I am here to break down exactly what building muscle looks like and why you should not as a woman be concerned with “getting bulky.”

How to Build Muscle

  1. Get Stronger. In order to get stronger you have to challenge your muscles to do so…regularly. Consistent workouts with focused intention on what you’re doing is the answer.
  1. Add Weight. Safely increasing your resistance over time is the key. You’ll get stronger which will increase your overall muscle mass. If you don’t lift more today than last month or year, you’re not building muscle.
  1. Do Compounds. Do exercises that work several muscles at the same time. You’ll be able to lift heavier weights which will trigger more muscle growth. The bulk of your routine should consist of squats, lunges, deadlifts, presses and rows.
  1. Use the Correct Equipment. Dumbbells, kettlebells and just about any equipment that will allow you to progress the weight/challenge will suffice.
  1. Increase Frequency. The more often you train a muscle, the more you trigger it to grow. The more you do an exercise, the quicker your technique improves, and the heavier you can lift. Training at least 2-3 times a week instead of only once.
  1. Recover. Your muscles need to recover from your workouts to grow stronger and bigger. They can’t recover if you work them hard every day. Even your mind needs a break. Take at least one day away from weights for every day that you strength train. Also, help your muscles recover by getting plenty of food, water and sleep.
  1. Eat More. Your body uses food to fuel workouts, and recover muscles. Your muscles can’t recover and grow if there’s a shortage of food. Just like your car not being able to perform properly with poor fuel, you won’t be able to either.
  1. Eat Protein. Your body uses protein to build new muscle, and recover damaged muscle tissue post-workout. You need at minimum 1g protein per pound of lean body mass (See Inbody test results) to maximize muscle recovery and build muscle.
  1. Get Real. You can’t get steroid-like results without using steroids and building muscle takes time so buckle up for the long haul. Stop trying to look like the people you follow on social media and focus on improving yourself.
  1. Be Consistent. At most you will gain about .25lb of lean muscle per week if you do EVERYTHING right. You will not gain muscle faster than this. Consistency is therefore key.

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