Bodybuilding is the ultimate workout for your body and mind. While it may seem wholly physical, it also has a huge effect on your mind because of the determination and consistency that you have to have to get the results that you want to get.

The only caveat is that you have to work out regularly, be disciplined in the gym and in your kitchen to see results materialise. But then, that's true for any fitness discipline.

Bodybuilding is a workout for everyone that includes everything from building endurance to pumping iron. Just consider some of the effects a bodybuilding regimen can have.

Benefits of Bodybuilding for Women
More targeted fat loss everywhere on your body.
The muscle definition you want.
A deeper awareness of how your body works and what it can do.
Stronger, healthier bones.
A healthy heart.

Everyone - including females could introduce elements of bodybuilding into their workout, even if they have no intention of competing as a bodybuilder.

No matter your age, fitness level or body composition, bodybuilding is accessible to everyone.

You can train as a bodybuilding at home but, as a beginner, it would be better to work out at the gym or hire an online personal trainer, at least until you're confident about your workout routine and can do it safely on your own.

Let's take at what you need to know to be a female bodybuilder.

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Nutrition And Muscle Growth For Muscular Women

If you are committed to fitness and have a goal of becoming a female bodybuilder, your first consideration should be nutrition. This includes adding the right foods and supplements to achieve your desired results.

Bodybuilding is unlike any other fitness programme. Yoga is meant to unite the mind, body and spirit, and and pave the way to a holistic lifestyle. Running, cycling and swimming build endurance - but these sports are specifically targeted to an end: attaining the level of fitness and endurance that assures continued participation in the sport.

Bodybuilding can help you to reach your goals.
You can hire a sport professional online or go into a gym and find someone. Photo Source: Unsplash

Bodybuilding, on the other hand, has no athletic or holistic goal in mind. The purpose of bodybuilding is attaining the leanest, best-sculpted physique you can achieve. That's true whether you intend to compete in bodybuilding contests or not.

No matter what your goal is, there will be quite a bit of work involved. Both at the gym and in planning your bodybuilder diet. And psychologically, too.

First, you have to reconcile yourself with the fact that, to attain a bodybuilder's physique, you will gain weight. Granted, it will be healthy weight but the social stigma of being bigger than the typical female could impact your dedication to your workouts.

Some female bodybuilders drink protein-laden weight gain shakes just before their workout. Not only does the added protein fuel their workouts but it feeds their muscles, stimulating their growth.

A common mistake many novice bodybuilders make is cutting carbs. Your body needs carbs to help fuel the intense workout you're submitting it to so, depriving yourself of necessary carbohydrates will actually see your efforts fall short. Likewise, simply stepping up your fruit and veg intake won't get the job done; it takes your body more energy to burn off a celery stick than the celery gives your body.

A lot has been made of ketogenic diets of late. Such diets involve deliberate putting your body in a state of ketosis as a way to burn fat. Unfortunately, these eating plans do not burn fat, they simply break it down. Furthermore, you could still gain fat while maintaining a state of ketosis.

The best way to lose fat is to choose the right foods for your body type and level of activity. As for your bodybuilding goals, paying attention to your pre- and post-workout intake means using your knowledge of macronutrients and how to consume them to your body's best advantage.

Being engaged in bodybuilding means learning about your body and how it works so that you can tweak every part of it to get the best results possible.

The female bodybuilder's diet, just like on the one for males involves designing your meals to include protein and carbohydrate-rich foods to fuel your body, energise you and support building muscles.

After we go a bit deeper into nutrition for bodybuilders, you can search the Superprof site for "fitness classes near me" and start training.

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A Selection Of Some Food To Add to Your Body Building Diet

Before you start your bodybuilder regimen - both the food and the workouts, it's a good idea to talk with your nutritionist and personal trainer for recommendations specific to your body type.

What follows are general recommendations from the bodybuilding community.

General Food Intake Guidelines

  1. Lean meats like turkey and chicken has an ideal calorie/protein ratio, and so is great staple food for the serious bodybuilder.
  2. Saltwater fish like trout and salmon are high in omega 3 fatty acids and protein which help with muscle growth.
  3. The sweet potato gets a special mention because it has a balanced fibre to carb ratio which can help to keep you full longer and keep you energised throughout the day.
  4. Green, leafy vegetables have all of the vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body needs; they should make up a large part of any diet. Remember, though, that you need large doses of protein and carbs so, while vegetables keep your energy balanced, you shouldn't neglect the most important aspects of the bodybuilder's diet.
  5. Egg whites are one of the purest forms of protein while being low in fat and carbs. Plus they are easily used up by the body, and they have plenty of vitamins and minerals.
  6. Beans and Legumes like kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas are very high in fibre and protein.

Key Foods

  • Protein functions as a key ingredient for the regeneration of the body including repair and supporting healthy growth
    • A combination of animal proteins and those derived from powders - why protein and the like, as well as eggs and chia seeds.
  • Water hydrates your body an helps you to avoid dehydration which will negatively affect muscles.
  • Fats and oils are essential to proper nutrition; be sure to take in healthy fats like coconut oil and ghee; avoid saturated fats.
  • High fibre intake supports maximum absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Make sure your fibre intake is a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre; legumes, berries and chia seeds would serve well.
  • Carbs provide your energy and are essential to fuel your workouts. Pastas, wild rice, bulgur and oatmeal should be high on your list of carbs.

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Juliana
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Ilana
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Armando
5
5 (7 reviews)
Armando
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Ludo
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Ludo
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/h
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Daniela
5
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Daniela
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/h
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Tara
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5 (4 reviews)
Tara
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Juliana
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Juliana
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Bulking Diet

Body building is a two-stage affair. In one, your focus is on bulking up; in the other, it is on 'cutting' - defining your musculature. These two phases are mutually exclusive. In one, your calorie intake will be higher and, in the other, you're to lower your calorie intake.

The bulking phase is just what it sounds like: bulking up your muscles. For that, you need to increase your carb and protein intake; these are your muscle-building ingredients.

As you bulk, your workout should reflect that building effort. That means you'll work to maximum effort but keep your reps shallow and your rest period between reps long. It's rather like flooding your body with building blocks, briefly showing them what you want them to do and then, letting them get to work.

As keen as you might be to continue working, it's vital that you give your muscles sufficient rest during the bulking phase. Otherwise, you risk impeding muscle growth - or, even worse, injury, which could set your workout programme back a few months.

The flipside of bulking is cutting. Depending on how much body fat you need to shed - that oh-so-loathed tissue that gives us our fleshed-out appearance, this phase could take two to three months.

The point of the cutting phase is to cut down on your caloric intake so your body will burn some of its fat stores for energy. This is not akin to putting your body in ketosis; it should be a balanced process.

The intensity of your workout should remain the same but you'll add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and cardio work to your workout. These additions will increase the burning of calories.

So far, we've been fairly casual about throwing calories around. It's all well and good to say 'increase' and 'decrease', but by how much? And how many calories should you take in each day?

To answer that question, you first have to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR); you can find that number by using an online calculator. The number you get from this small task is the minimum amount of calories you need to eat each day to maintain your body. Dipping below that line risks your body going into starvation mode; it will hoard energy rather than burn it.

With that baseline calorie number, it's just a matter of trial and error until you find the right number of calories  to consume in either phase of the bodybuilding process. It helps to keep a food diary as you're undergoing those trials so you'll have a record of what worked and what didn't.

Also, your food diary can help you count back to when you started your bulk-phase calorie intake, so you'll know how much to scale back once you enter the cutting phase.

Fitness Meal Plan for Female Bodybuilders

Just like children aren't small adults, female body builders aren't some version of male body builders. General guidelines apply but the female body is very different and, thus, has different nutrition requirements than male bodies, especially when it comes to bodybuilding.

1.     Protein

Protein is one of the key building blocks that your muscles will use to grow. You must consume enough protein to replace what is lost due to the natural functioning of the body. It is suggested that 1.2-2 g per kg of your body weight should be enough to support your muscles to grow. But if you want to have larger muscles and are very active in your workouts, you may want to up your protein intake.

Making your own protein shakes allows you to include a wide range of ingredients
If you have a blender, you can put anything from whey powder to leafy greens in your protein shakes. Photo credit: chrisf608 on Visualhunt

How To Add More Protein Into Your Diet:

  • Protein shakes are a crucial supplement to add protein into your diet. A protein shake is fast to make and can give you an easy boost of protein so that you reach the required amount of protein throughout the day.
  • Whey protein is a popular protein shake powder that you can drink twice a day to reach your protein intake Whey shakes can provide great muscles gains which is why it is so popular within the bodybuilding community.
  • If you are Vegan or lactose intolerant you can try rice, pea and other mixed protein powders with plant-based milk or nuts.
  • You can additionally get protein bars and other high protein snacks.

2. Citrulline and citrulline malate

Citrulline has a healing effect on the body by increasing nitric oxide (NO) levels in your blood you get better endurance during workouts, better blood flow, workout energy and they can improve recovery time as well. Citrulline malate may help to decrease muscle soreness when you have pushed yourself a bit too far. You can also add beetroot to your diet to get some of these results

3.    Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that blocks lactic acid enough to allow for a faster recovery and fatigue prevention for when you need to work out for longer periods. It supports increased muscle mass, fat loss and a leaner body while also increasing your performance.

4.   High GI Carbohydrates

High GI Carbohydrates should be generally avoided, but before a fitness workout, they can give you a good push of energy. High glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates can be found in foods like rice and potatoes. These foods are eaten before a workout will give you a good source of energy that will last for your entire workout. This is important because you don’t want your body to break down the muscle that you are working hard to build. Planning your pre-workout meal will help you to get through a workout. Therefore High GI carbs help a lot when eaten as a pre-workout meal (not a post workout meal) can be helpful in building muscle.

5.     Weight Gainers

Weight Gainers are shakes like protein shakes that help you to get more calories into your body during the day. These can be important for those who struggle to gain muscle. These are best for people who struggle to eat enough throughout the day and find it easier to drink a shake to get their calories. These shakes can be up to 1000 calories per serving so make sure you understand how it fits into your overall bodybuilding diet.

6.     Branched-Chain Amino Acids

BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are made of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids can be found naturally in lean meat, eggs, dairy and fish. While most people will get enough of these through a normal diet. If you are not eating enough of the above high protein foods, then you should supplement with BCAAs. You will enjoy improved muscle gains and decrease muscle loss.

7.    Creatine

Creatine is our personal energy warehouse and is created naturally in the body. Taking it as a supplement allows you to strengthen your muscles, work out longer and harder which leads to increased muscle mass. Additionally, it can help decrease the muscle breakdown after a workout which also leads to better muscularity for a body builder.

8.    Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown to support the efficiency of oxygen getting to the muscles which can help you during high intensity exercises such as HIIT, aerobics or other kinds of cardio. Many people are lacking in magnesium. It is important to note that taking it in too high doses can make you tired so balance your intake.

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Good whether you are pregnant, unmotivated, fat or skinny, Photo Source: Unsplash

Fitness Workout Strategies

When you are building your fitness workout and schedule it is important to understand how to maximise your workout for your fitness goals. While full body workouts are great, it may also be important to give extra attention to different parts of your body to allow them to develop to their maximum potential. Certainly, you don’t want to stick to just one kind of exercise as your muscle will quickly get used to any repetition.

To build muscle, you must shock your muscles with new and challenging routines at each bodybuilding fitness session. This will ensure your muscle groups do not get lazy and limit their growth. Building muscle must include a balance of high-intensity cardio, resistance training, weight training and isometric exercise, not just pumping iron or lifting heavy weights. All of this kind of workout need to become a part of your weight training regimen.

A few examples of exercises that you can incorporate into your larger bodyweight improvement sessions are:

  1. Isometric exercises are a great way to work your muscle groups without a lot of actual movement. Exercises like Planks are a perfect example of this.
  2. Exercises to condition the upper body could be lateral pulldowns, the bench press and chin ups.
  3. Full body exercises that focus on lower body muscle development like squats and deadlifts.
  4. Shoulder exercises to give better definition such as lateral raises.
  5. Core exercises to get the dream six pack include dynamic sit-ups and lower body cardio.

Of course, you must add these to your powerlifting workouts, with barbells, dumbbells, weight training machines and enough reps to make your muscles sore. Just make sure to mix it up a bit to avoid getting bored and to allow your muscles to react positively. Hiring a personal trainer to get you started will get you on the right track to understand how to build muscle. Be strong and with dedication, hard work and focus you will have your best body.

Disadvantages Of Bodybuilding For Women Bodybuilders

Not that we mean to end things on a discouraging note but bodybuilding is as much psychological preparation as it is physical work.

As a female bodybuilder, you'll be subject to a particular brand of scorn and bias; it's best to be prepared for the worst of it. Here are a few points to consider as you continue to define yourself and your muscles as a bodybuilder.

  1. Social stereotypes sadly still exist, The one affecting the female bodybuilder assumes that if you have a muscular body, then you are masculine. If you have a small curvy body, then you are feminine. Muscular women will be met with comments like you look “like a man” or why don’t you have a female body. Being judged isn’t easy, and you have to be sure to build your mental resistance while you are building your muscles. Of course, masculinity and femininity do not come from the appearance as in that case many men would have what you call a female All guys do not want to gain weight and become muscular with a six pack. Likewise, all women do not enjoy dieting to achieve the toned fitness model or bikini competition body.
  2. As a professional bodybuilder and athlete, you will be in the top 1% of people who take care of their bodies in so perfectly. At the gym, you will be around other 1%ers, but once you go out into the real world, people go out of their way to stare, touch you and ask questions. You will become a rare spectacle, and that can hinder you just getting on with your everyday life.
  3. A major component of the bodybuilder's workout is to burn fat; as much as your body has to burn. That means the fat in your breasts, as well. Many female bodybuilders find themselves dropping cup sizes as they bulk their muscles up. If this is a concern for you, think about creating breast forms out of birdseed and nylon socks.
  4. If you like pumping iron and weight lifting you will find it hard to buy well-fitting clothes. Women's clothes are not made for the proportions of the typical female body builder. Arms will be too small, legs will be too tight, and if you are very muscular, you may rip your outfit with the wrong movement. You will either wear stretchy clothes, clothing that is a lot bigger than your size or shop in the men's section.

If the price isn't too high, you might find a tailor who could create a made-to-fit wardrobe. However, you might wait until you've reached peak bulk; if you're still in the early phases of your training, it wouldn't pay for you to spend so much only to have to do it again  a few months later.

Won't you let us know how you get on with your training, or if you know of a good clothing outlet for female bodybuilders?

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