Build Muscle for Women

by Matt Elphick


Strength training hasn’t always been the most popular topic among women. Weight training was long considered something for men. Lucky for women, times change and muscle strength is no longer off-limits. In fact, understanding how to build muscle for women can help you prevent bone loss and injury as you age while improving your overall quality of life. Learn the truth about muscle growth in women. Plus, how your hormones, your diet, and specific exercises can help you gain muscle.


As you begin your journey toward muscle growth, it’s important to remember that building muscle has a multitude of benefits for women. Not only does it boost your metabolism, which turns your body into a more efficient fat-burning machine, but it also does wonders for your self-confidence. You will stand taller and feel more confident in yourself when you walk into a room. Plus, strength training has been shown to slow down bone loss, reducing the risk of fractures associated with osteoporosis.

If you’re worried about bulking up, don’t bother; men and women who work out three to five times a week will not experience the same muscle growth. Women’s testosterone levels are about 20% lower than men’s, which means if you do want to get those bulging biceps, you’ll have to seriously increase your calorie intake and target workouts to reach your goal.


Do you want to start building muscle, but you don’t know where to begin? Start with your hormones: if you know what phase of your cycle you are in, you can use this valuable information to sync your training to your calendar.

One female sex hormone is that especially important for muscle growth is oestrogen. Studies have shown that the hormone (which is particularly “active” during ovulation) can boost the production of protein and thus stimulate muscle growth. 


It goes without saying that cardio should be part of your training routine but secondary to strength training.  Workouts outdoors or on a treadmill, elliptical, or stepper are great, especially if you are looking to burn calories. But less fat doesn’t necessarily mean firm tissue. That is where muscle or strength training comes in.

For best results opt for a cardio and strength workout combination will get you amazing results.  You’ll be torching calories all day long after each workout and build that chiselled muscle definition that makes you feel strong and confident.


A proper diet is essential for building muscle.  If you are in a constant calorie deficit and eating like a little bird you won’t be building any muscle! A balanced diet consisting of good quality carbs, proteins and fats is the building block to creating and amazing physique.

The following foods can help you get stronger:

• PROTEIN:  A good selection of meats, fish and poultry combined with legumes and pulses are a great source of protein. Beans and lentils not only contain protein but zinc too.  The latter is especially important for muscle growth. Without it your body cannot build muscle. Our tip: Avoid eating legumes before your workout. They are high in fiber and thus heavy on the stomach.

• CARBS:  Carbohydrates are our energy source; without them you will not have enough glycogen in your muscles to push through a training session.  Choose wisely, not all carbs are created equal! A donut or biscuits are not going to give you the same results as a nourishing sweet potato! 

• FATS:  Fats are essential for hormone function.  Many women are scared to include fats in their diet. Please don’t shy away from eating fat. Fats are good if you eat the right ones. For so many years the media told us that eating fat was bad. That by eating fat we would get fat. Thank heavens that myth has now been squashed. Eating fat will not make you fat, but sitting on the sofa, not moving, eating the wrong foods…. that might – YES! Good fats like the unsaturated fats found in extra virgin olive oil and avocados can actually boost your energy, improve mood, and because they help keep you feeling fuller for longer they can even help you lose weight.

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  • Matt and Lorenza

    About Steel extreme

    Offering the best personal trainer and nutrition advice in Malta, Steel Extreme Fitness offers you private gym membership – where you will feel right at home.

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