How to gain muscle mass in women?
Maybe you are wondering why you need to gain muscle mass. The truth is that it has many benefits that were not known before and also serves to prolong our longevity.
Before I continue, I would like to add that even for me it was difficult to understand that I needed to build my muscle mass.
But after months of research and reading I discovered that as we get older, muscles are more important to our health.
Why should you focus on gaining lean muscle mass?
Many women seek to build muscle mass to have a toned body, but they should know that the benefits of doing so go much further:
The older we get, the more vital that muscle mass is to us. We live longer and healthier by having more muscle mass. Sometime in our 30s, we start to lose muscle mass and function (grip strength, for example). The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging.
But what is sarcopenia?
According to the clinical definition published in the US National Institute of Health, “Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength and is strictly correlated with physical disability, poor quality of life and death«.
Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, gender, and level of physical activity. In conditions such as malignancy (presence of cancer cells), rheumatoid arthritis, and aging, lean body mass is lost while fat mass may be preserved or even increased.
Important fact: Physically inactive people can lose between 3% and 5% of their muscle mass every decade after the age of 30. Even if you are active, you will still have some muscle loss. Any loss of muscle is important because it decreases strength and mobility.
Muscles not only help with longevity, but also protect our bone density, tendons, ligaments, and joints to prevent sarcopenia and protect us when we fall.
When we suffer falls we can fracture easily. But if we have solid muscle mass, we are less prone to injury.
Just running is not going to be enough. If you read my previous articles , you will understand why I emphasize this topic.
You may also be interested: Learn ways to exercise to tone up, if weights are not your thing
The ideal formula to gain muscle mass with the support of nutrition
It is essential that you challenge your body through physical activity. However, without proper nutritional support, progress will stall.
Both nutrition and exercise are a crucial part of this formula for maintaining and gaining lean muscle mass.
First, you need to make sure you are getting enough calories and grams of protein each day. The formula is based on height, weight, age, stress (catabolic/inflammation) and activity levels.
This formula determines how much and when you need to consume the proper amount of calories from protein.
My general rule of thumb is to try to get 10-20 grams of protein at each meal. Some women need only 50 to 60 grams of protein a day, while others need up to 90 grams a day.
Also, you want to make sure you are consuming extra calories on a weekly basis to help build lean muscle mass. You can find basic formulas in certain apps like myfitnesspal and Fitbit.
It is recommended that you visit a registered dietitian to tailor your nutrient needs. Many of us have other factors that can divert us from maintaining and/or gaining muscle mass. Among them, metabolic problems, digestion, medical conditions, etc.
If your health is your priority, try to buy grass-fed meats, such as beef, pork loin, bison, organic poultry, pasteurized eggs, wild salmon, tuna, shrimp (they have the amino acid leucine that helps with muscle development ) tilapia, scallops, soy, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
For example, consuming 3 ounces of eggs, fish, chicken breast/turkey breast, contain between 17 and 27 grams of protein and the added benefit of B vitamins for energy production.
1/2 cup of raw tofu contains 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates. Tofu is also a good source of calcium, which is important for proper muscle function and bone health.
Soy protein, found in foods like tofu and soybeans, is considered one of the highest quality plant proteins for vegans/vegetarians.
- 1 cup of beans (black, pinto, and kidney) contains about 15 grams of protein per cup.
- 1 cup of edamame contains 8 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein.
- Quinoa contains approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup, along with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and copious amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.
- 1 cup of chickpeas contains about 12 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates, including 10 grams of fiber.
- 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour contains about 8 grams of protein, plus plenty of fiber and other carbohydrates.
- 1 cup of brown rice contains only 5 grams of protein, but it is used primarily for energy for physical activities.
- Fiber is also found in vegetables and fruits. Aim to consume 3-5 cups a day for your daily dose of micronutrients.
sources of fat
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age.
- 1/2 cup of blanched almonds contains 16 grams of protein and large amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Peanuts have the amino acid leucine and are high in calories. Contains 73% fat, 11% carbs, 17% protein. If you're having a hard time getting enough calories to build muscle, eating peanuts and almonds could be a good way to get extra nutrients. The recommended serving of nuts per day is 30 grams.
- Omega 3 fatty acids found in 3 oz of salmon/tuna, 1/4 avocado, a handful of walnuts, almonds or 2 tablespoons of nut butter, olive oil, 1-2 fish oil capsules.
Supplements are needed for an extra boost, if diet alone isn't enough.
My recommendation is to supplement with a daily multivitamin and mineral, creatine , and whey .
We cannot escape our biological age that causes us to lose muscle, but it is possible to prevent further muscle loss with the help of supplementation.
Gain muscle mass with the support of exercise
You've probably heard that you should lift weights in your exercise routine, which can be much more intimidating than walking or jogging around the neighborhood.
However, it is true that the main treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, specifically resistance or strength training. These activities build muscle strength and endurance using weights or bands.
It seems obvious, but it is about training that helps you with tolerance to physical effort, that is, to resist. It is the type of exercise that helps you increase your functional respiratory capacity.
It is practiced primarily with resistance band and bodyweight movements such as Pilates, yoga, push-ups, squats, and lunges.
Resistance training can help your neuromuscular system and hormones. It also improves the ability to convert protein into energy in as little as two weeks.
The proper number, intensity, and frequency of resistance exercises are important to get the most benefit with the least risk of injury. You should work with an experienced physical therapist or trainer to develop an exercise plan.
Always start with a 5-10 minute aerobic warm-up to warm up the body and prevent injury. For lifting, start light with 1-2 pound dumbbells if necessary.
Lifting too much weight too soon is the recipe for injury. That being said, if you don't challenge your muscles, you won't see any gains.
It takes 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week to see results. You can start with a low weight and gradually increase over time as your body begins to build a tolerance.
A good guideline is to select a weight that tires your muscles after 12 repetitions. When you discover that a weight no longer tires you, try to increase to the next level.
Even a single set of 12 reps with a heavy enough weight can help you build muscle compared to 3 sets with a lighter weight.
Remember that patience is a virtue when it comes to building lean muscle mass. You should try to target all of your major muscle groups at least twice during your weekly workouts.
While you may not see results right away, even a single strength training session can help promote muscle growth.
Exercise stimulates what is called protein synthesis in the 2 to 4 hours after the completion of the workout. Its levels can stay elevated for up to a whole day.
Try using free weights, kettlebells, stationary weight machines as leg extensions. When you lift weights, you should aim for 8-12 reps in a row. You wait one minute between sets to rest. Then complete another set of the same length.
It takes approximately 3 seconds to lift or push the weight into place. Then hold that position for a full second and take another 3 slower seconds to lower the weight.
Pro Tip: Don't train the same muscle group two days in a row. Rest with a day in between.
Rest and muscle recovery
Sleep and rest days are crucial. If you have followed my post, you will understand why I constantly repeat the importance of rest and recovery.
Rest days are just as important as training days. When you rest, your body recovers and uses nutrients from the diet to speed up the processing of muscle fibers. That is why your diet should be the same even on your rest days.
I know coaches say that on your rest days your macro changes. Well, research lately shows that you need to maintain the same protein intake to recover.
When you are training, your body is using the previous or current day's intake. Rest days need new storage for recovery.
The body also uses carbohydrates while we sleep. You use approximately 60% of your muscle glycogen storage for sleep. Therefore, carbohydrates not only serve as fuel during the day, but also help with sleep waves.
For example, how do you know if you are consuming enough carbohydrates? If you have interrupted your sleep, it is an indicator of low glycogen storage.
Just eating a few carb bites at dinner will easily improve your sleep quality. Athletes tend to increase their carb intake a bit because they don't need more than 300 grams of carbs a day. Your muscle glycogen can only store between 150 and 300 grams, depending on the person.
Additional tips to follow
Seek the help of a dietitian and personal trainer on ways to optimize your energy production for muscle growth. You can also hire or follow a trainer online or in person at any local gym or fitness studio.
Many gyms offer a free session as part of a membership promotion. A personal trainer can help you master proper form, exercises with weights, weight machines, and more.
Exercising properly is key to avoiding injuries. Incorporate cardio into your exercise routine. Aerobic exercise, like running, can help you build muscle if you do it with intensity, duration, and frequency.
Eat a healthy diet that has a good dose of protein. These foods will contribute to training and help you build muscle through certain amino acids such as leucine. Animal sources have the highest amount of protein, but plant sources are also sufficient.
Once you start lifting weights, don't worry about soreness and some muscle fatigue that lasts for a few days. If you feel very sore and exhausted, you may be using too much weight or adopting the wrong posture.
Exercise shouldn't cause you pain, so grab some time off if you feel like you're pushing your limits.
And always remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have a health problem.
- Tags: Ejercicios Suplementos Tonificar