For too long the concept of muscle building has been a predominately male topic.
When most women are introduced to the idea of building muscle, they have concerns. You may worry that it means you start looking extremely hench and will have muscles like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This is extremely unlikely to happen (unless you have absurdly high testosterone levels) so you shouldn’t worry about looking massive and bulky.
Instead, adding more muscle to your frame will only yield benefits – here are three reasons all women should start doing it:
#1 Improve your strength
Do you often struggle with daily tasks like hauling shopping bags around or carrying your children? Adding muscle will build more strength throughout your body and make harder things a lot easier. As a result, you also start feeling more independent and don’t need to keep asking people for help.
#2 Protect your joints
Muscle-building will help your joints gain extra protection, reducing the chances of injuries now and later in life. Having stronger and bigger muscles around your joints gives them more stability, so there’s less chance of you facing issues with your knees or hips as you get older. It also means you have better balance, so you won’t be susceptible to falls in the future.
#3 Improve your body composition
There’s no doubt that adding muscle to your body will improve the way it looks. Things become firmer and tighter, which brings you a lot of self-confidence. Muscle also burns more calories than fat, meaning your body requires more energy to fuel itself if there’s a lot of muscle on it. That may sound confusing, but the simple explanation is that building muscle actually helps you burn more calories and shed more body fat. As such, you don’t just tighten up and look firmer; you also look a lot leaner and fitter.
How should you start building muscle?
If you’ve never done it before, then building muscle can seem like a mystery. Lots of people go to the gym or get weights and home and start lifting them without knowing what they’re doing. Ideally, beginners should find somewhere like Fitness 19 where they can go and ask personal trainers or gym instructors for guidance. This helps you learn the right movements to do – and how to do them safely.
Once your form is nailed down, you can start understanding the principles of muscle-building. In short, it’s all about progressive overload. You should constantly look to challenge your muscles every week. If things feel too easy, you’ll never build muscle. This is a general piece of advice and you should look into this in more detail, but aim to hit 8-12 reps of each exercise, ensuring that the last 2 reps are really hard to get out. You should finish 3 sets of this feeling like you couldn’t really get any more out. Eventually, you’ll discover that the weight you’re using starts feeling easier and easier, in which case you add more weight so it feels harder again.
That’s the secret to gaining muscle – and the secret to seeing the three benefits spoken about earlier. Remember, muscle-building isn’t just for gym bros; it’s for everyone!