A Beginners Guide To Bodybuilding For Women

So you've seen some heavy hitters on instagram. You follow some fitfulencers, who hit the gym, have amazing physiques, and you've decided that you want to build a body just like them. Well, you've come to the right place.

Whether you’re a bodybuilding newbie, or if you’ve been training for years, the same basic bodybuilding principles apply when you’re training to gain more muscle and build your dream body. Whether you want to step on stage or gain the confidence to throw on a bikini for beach day, we’re going to give you the inside scoop to build your dream body. 

Bodybuilding For Women

Getting on stage in a glittery bikini with high heels and a fresh fake tan is just one small piece to bodybuilding for women. The most important principles of bodybuilding don’t come with the sparkles: diet, nutrition, counting macros, training, and spending your days grinding doing cardio at 5am is where you’ll spend most of your time. Building a six pack, thick thighs and a bigger butt, comes with sacrifice,  hard work and most of all consistency. 

Let's dig a little deeper into exactly where to start when you begin your bodybuilding journey. 

1. Eat More, Especially Protein And Carbs

You need to eat more. And by more, I mean more protein.

Eating more protein will help you gain more muscle and recover faster. A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that people who ate 25 percent more protein gained twice as much clean weight as those who ate less protein.

Protein is the priority, however that’s not to say that other macronutrients need to fall by the wayside. Complex carbohydrates are critical in building more muscle and achieving the physique you need to grow in strength and size. As for the last macronutrient – fat.  Keeping your fat low is a critical factor when the goal is bodybuilding.  But! Keeping your fat too low can be downright dangerous and detrimental to your progress.

The best way to get in those carbs, in addition to your diet, is through Swolverine's Clean Carbs. They'll help you build the physique you want, lose body fat and gain more lean muscle mass.

Fats also play a vital role in the human body. When you’re eating to compete or build muscle, your fat intake will be a bit higher, as compared to when you are getting ready to cut. However, several key vitamins such as A, D, and K are all fat-soluble, meaning that they need fat to perform their biological function and be effective.

The bottom line here is to increase your caloric intake with quality foods.

2. Hire A Nutrition Coach

Whether the goal is to showcase on stage or just feel confident in your body, hiring a nutrition coach is the most effective and efficient way to reach your goals. You can spend months, thinking you’re doing everything right, from tracking your macros, eating clean, and training five days a week and still feel like you’re spinning your wheels.

Working one-on-one with a nutrition coach keeps you from wasting your time and takes the guesswork out of your nutrition and training so you see results from your effort. And if you’re training for a show, a coach is absolutely necessary. We recommend working with The Swole Kitchen to help guide you with a customized nutrition plan and training program.

3. Lift Heavier Weights

Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy. The only way -  let me repeat, the only way you are going to get the quad and hamstring separation, toned glutes, and six pack abs you want, is going to be from lifting a loaded barbell, heavy dumbbells, and lifting weights heavy enough for your body to grow and build muscle mass. Gone are the days of doing a cardio HIIT class with 2.5lb weights.

RELATED ARTICLE Why Women Should Lift Heavy

Just because you lift a challenging weight with more volume, does not mean you will get bulky. Muscle is very hard to build, so just because you are lifting 4-5 days per week, does not mean, you are going to be a professional bodybuilder. 

4. Drink More Water

I know, drinking more water can be very hard. But, if the goal is bodybuilding, then you're going to need to be very conscious of how much water you're drinking and stick to it.

Removing any extra non-essential calories from your diet, is important when you’re after a tight and toned physique. That means cutting out any juice, soda, or high calorie Starbucks mocha Frappuccino’s. Increasing your water intake will help improve the process of lipolysis, or the process of using body fat for energy. Mild-moderate dehydration has been shown to slow down the fat burning process decreasing lipolysis and contributing to weight gain. Water also expands cell volume and satiation helping improve body optimization.

5. Supplement Accordingly

Ever had a friend that always ate chicken and rice no matter where you went? Or brought fish to work and stunk up the lunch room because they used the microwave? The bodybuilders diet is a high powered version of a conventional clean diet, but more strict, which includes high protein, to maintain muscle mass and reduce body fat, moderate carbs, and low fat, with increased amounts of aerobic exercise. Your body will be severely nutrient deprived, making supplements extremely crucial to your success.

First, let’s start with protein. You need at least 1g of protein/lb of bodyweight to effectively build more muscle and achieve optimal muscle protein synthesis. That means, if you weigh 140lb, you need to eat 140g of protein per day. Have you ever tried eating four chicken breasts and a couple of steaks in one day? It gets old, quick. Not to mention, it’s challenging to eat that much food, especially when you’ve been eating light snacks and salads for the past year. Protein supplements like whey protein isolate, or plant protein powder, can help you hit your macro nutrient goals, improve recovery, and maximize muscle growth to for your bodybuilding goals. It’s also convenient way to get a fast-absorbing form of protein directly before and after your workout to build more muscle mass. Protein intake is a potent stimulus for muscle protein synthesis. Without protein, you won’t be able to build the the thighs you want. No matter what your level is, any recreationally strength-trained individual or bodybuilder needs protein as muscle fuel to achieve muscle growth and bigger gains.

Next on the list, is creatine. Creatine, or buffered forms of creatine which is better for women like Kre-Alkalyn, will help you build more power, strength, and push heavier weight, which ultimately means building more muscle mass. Creatine is one of the most popular and effective sports performance supplements which hundreds of supporting studies and evidence backed results.

Greens and Reds powders will also be critical to your success. Seeing that you are depriving your body of vital micronutrients, greens will fuel your body with vitamins and minerals you are not getting through your chicken and rice.

The last supplement which is a must-have especially for women bodybuilders, is Omega-3, specifically Krill Oil. But, what about fish oil? Forget about it. Krill oil, packs in all of the healthy essential fatty acids you need and which your body is deprived of, since you’re on a low fat regimen to help bridge the gaps in your diet, aid in muscle recovery, range of motion, strength, skin health, heart health, and joint health.

6. Track Everything 

Part of the reason why people don’t see results from their efforts is from never tracking their progress. Logging your food is critical to reach your goals. Think about what you ate this week. Even better, think about what you ate yesterday. My guess, is that you don’t remember how much, or even what you ate. At least not everything. If you’re not logging what you’re eating, you won’t see the results you want. Bodybuilding is dependent upon discipline and that means, weighing your food and logging what you eat with a food tracking app, so you can ensure you’re meeting your daily macro targets. When you’re bodybuilding, following your training program is also important to hit your performance and aesthetic goals.

Not only do you need to log your food, you need to log your workouts, training goals, and water intake, so you can present the best package possible. You cannot manage what is not measured. 

7. Be Patient 

There is a method and art to bodybuilding. But if you are not patient and disciplined you’ll never reach your goals. Building endurance can be done in a matter of months. But building muscle mass at an elite bodybuilder level, can take years. Increasing strength, size, and mass, takes time, effort, and consistency. You won’t become a bodybuilder overnight.   

Bodybuilding For Women: Takeaway

If you want results it's up to you and your level of commitment. Hiring a coach will help you optimize your diet, nutrition, and training program, and provide you with the tools you need to be successful. Additionally you'll need to hire a stage coach, and get your routine in check. Giving up the girls weekends, drinking, and tracking everything, from your sleep, to the grams of protein you eat, is necessary to compete and win. But ultimately, no one is going to do the work, except for you. So get after it.

Need Help With Optimizing Your Diet And Nutrition Plan To Finally Get The Results You've Been Waiting For?

The Swole Kitchen provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself. We teach you how to enjoy the foods you love in the right amounts, so you can fit into your favorite pair of jeans, hit your health and fitness goals, and be healthy and happy. We guide you through making sound nutritional decisions and teach you along the way, so you can learn how to take control of your health, and discover what if feels like to live again.

THE SWOLE KITCHEN provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself.

We believe nutrition should be simplified and delicious. We give you the tools you’ve been missing to anticipate and meet your needs on a daily basis. Discover what if feels like to truly love your body and your life with personalized 1:1 nutrition coaching.