The Woman and Building Lean Muscle
Myths of strength training and women are so huge. Women tend to be so afraid of "bulking up" fast and just piling on that muscle. But in reality women don't produce enough testosterone to do so. Women in general have 1/10 the testosterone levels of males.
Testosterone affects muscle mass by increasing muscle protein synthesis.
Estrogen maintains and increases bone strength and also helps with muscle repair and recovery.
Now, the more estrogen you are circulating, the more growth hormone you are going to produce. And women actually produce more GH than males. But without pairing the GH with testosterone muscle growth is still limited.
Strength training has been shown to increase GH levels in both sexes. However, women need more intense training to raise the level above the baseline. So intense workouts consisting of little rest and a whole lot of volume will prime the female body to increase muscle mass and burn fat.
Strength training has been found to increase androstenedione in women during the luteal phase ( 14-28 days into the menstrual cycle) . It should be noted androstenedione has a weaker effect than testosterone when building muscle.
Another huge factor in building muscle is nutrition . Strength training puts a huge stress on the body and without adequate nutrition you will lack the necessary molecular building blocks to effectively repair, recover and grow.
Increasing muscle mass raises metabolism in both sexes as muscle requires more calories to simply maintain.
But ladies simply put, it will take a several years of hard training coupled with proper nutrition in order to even begin to look like a fitness model.
The muscle takes time to grow and develop. Many women get discouraged in the first few months of weight training as some gain weight or suddenly have clothes that don't fit any longer, when the goal was to get smaller. There are a few reasons for this gain .
1. There's still a high amount of body fat sitting on top of the new muscle. Usually due to nutrition. And lack of intensity in workout.
2. The body is responding well to training and you're one of the lucky one’s that is simply genetically programmed to increase lean muscle mass more easily without gaining fat.
What to do?
1. Don't be afraid of the weights.
2. Don't be afraid of working intensely .
3. Don’t be afraid to sweat.
4. Do get adequate nutrition feeding the body proper amounts of macro and micronutrients . If you are unsure of how to calculate this, hire a coach .
5. Do try and make sure you get enough rest to help minimize cortisol levels.
6. Be consistent .
7. Adding 5g of Leucine to the diet has been shown to increase protein synthesis.
8. Don’t give up. It takes dedication and consistency to get real results.
9. Learn to listen to your body. It knows what it needs and if you learn to work with it, it will reward you.
10. Don’t compare yourself to others. The only person you're in competition with is yourself.