Question from a reader. I am female with a skinny figure and would be considered by most people to be underweight. Will a women’s weight gain program work for me?
Yes! But it can only be achieved with sweat and hard work, regardless of your age. The same principles for weight gain apply to both men and women with only one major difference. Men and women were born with different shapes and hormones. Therefore any muscle gain you get as a result of diet and training will only serve to accentuate the feminine shape you already have. You will look sexy and feel better about yourself!
Weight gain can come in the form of fat, water and muscle. By far, muscle is the most attractive of the three. Since you are a female I can understand any concern you might have about getting too muscular. Most of the bodybuilding women you see have great genetics. They are not hard gainers like the majority of women and are usually taking steroids (male hormones). The only way a female could look this ripped is from steroid usage. And let’s not forget that the female bodybuilders which you see in bodybuilding magazines are professional athletes. Their diet and training is a full time job for them. They dedicate their life to building a better physique.
Regardless of what you may have read, it is possible for women to gain weight without looking “bulky”. And even if you do become more ripped then what you would have hoped, once you have reached your goal or feel that you are looking too muscular for your own tastes you can always modify the program a little to suit your needs.
Similar to weight gain for men, diet plays a key role for gaining weight with women. You need to be consuming excess calories so that instead of having a calorie deficit, the opposite is true. You are consuming more calories then what your body requires, so it has to store this energy somehow, and with a good training and diet program, it will turn these calories into muscle instead of fat.
First of all, determine your weight gain caloric needs. Once this is calculated, you want to consume 300-500 additional calories per day. This is no different for women is a topic which is well covered on this site. The main point which I wanted to discuss in this article, which relates to muscle building for women, is the issue of hormones.
As you may already know several hormones play a key role in the ability to gain muscle. Without going into too much detail, the “male hormone” testosterone is the muscle building hormone. The amount of testosterone in your body is a limitating factor because you can not build more muscle if your testosterone levels are not high enough. This is why you see female bodybuilders who use synthetic testosterone (steroids) experience faster muscle gains as their limitating factor has disappeared.
Testosterone is referred to as the “male hormone” because testosterone levels are lower in women. Women need not be discouraged though. Testosterone levels can be increased naturally through specific natural training methods and diet.
Several studies have shown the positive effect that resistance training has on increasing testosterone levels in the body, especially directly after a workout. This is why it’s a good idea to drink a protein shake post workout, to take advantage of the testosterone spike.
For the ladies: Don’t be afraid of the weights, get a gym partner and don’t be intimidated by the guys in the gym. Attend a reputable gym with a supportive staff that will assist you and give you proper guidance on how to lift. Your weigh training program should be focused on progressively increasing the resistance. Do special muscle building workouts with the aim of gaining mass instead of building muscular endurance, which includes doing fewer reps and lifting heavy.