Ladies, don't be afraid of building muscle. We need this in order to look lean and toned.
Muscles are beautiful. They give shape and definition to our appearance. However, the strength and power do not come so quickly, and by tweaking a few things in our everyday routines, we can build leaner, stronger and more muscle.
So, how do you go about doing this? It comes down to two factors: fitness and diet. And, out of the two, diet is the most important. Think of this as the 80/20 rule: 80% diet, and 20% fitness.
Diet? Yes, it is often neglected, and it can't be avoided. Nutrition plays a critical role in muscle growth and recovery. What you take into your body does matter.
One of the fundamentals in muscle health is the macronutrient, protein. Protein is essential for the repair and recovery of muscle. Without an adequate supply, your body will compensate by taking if from the muscle you already have, and you will, in fact, lose muscle. WHAT! Yep! Your body will get what it needs in protein from your own muscles. So it is important that you take in more protein to feed your muscles and allow them to grow stronger.
How much is enough? The average female should consume 0.4g protein/lb body weight a day. That number can fluctuate based on gender and activity level. Very active athletes should increase that amount to 0.6g-1.0g protein/lb body weight a day. But, don't go overboard with protein because after your body has met its requirements, the body uses protein as a fuel, as if would for carbohydrates. If you take in more protein or carbohydrate than you need for muscle production or fuel, the body will store the excess as fat tissue. Some researchers have examined excess protein intake (more than 4.5 g/lb body weight per day) and are concerned that there may be possible health concerns with this type of diet.
Where can you find healthy sources of protein and add it into your diet?
The truth is we live in a carbohydrate-fueled society, and it is easy to not include protein in your daily meals. The best way to add protein to your diet is to be sure every meal you eat during the day has added protein.
Food High in Protein
- Lean cuts of beef, poultry or fish
- Eggs, legumes, beans, peas
- Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Nuts and dairy
- Protein powders, both plant-base & whey
By eating protein with good complex carbohydrates (think darkleafy greens, quinioa and oats), you can increase the absorption of protein into the blood stream and to your working muscles. An example of meal that is balanced muscle food: 3oz. Chicken, 1-cup sautéed kale or spinach, 1/2-cup mixed berries.
Now, let's talk about the second part which is fitness.
To build muscle, you must work the muscle. When you weight train, you create small tears in the muscle and as it repairs itself it becomes stronger. These “tears” can be caused by high repetitions or larger amount of weight.
Here is a simple workout for arms and legs to build muscle.
- Triceps Dips 5 X10 repetitions.
- Rest between each set of 10.
- Increase number of sets or repetitions to make more difficult.
- Goblet Squats 10X10.
- Rest between each set
- Hold a weight like a kettlebell or dumb bell.
- If you increase weight by a lot, then decrease the number of repetitions to 5.
So there you have it. Some sound advice for building muscle.