By Vince Del Monte – Author, No Nonsense Muscle Building for Men & Women
If you’re a woman who wants to add more curves to her body and boost her level of strength through more muscle mass development, you may be getting slightly frustrated at the fact that all the nutrition information out there is targeted towards fat loss, or towards men.
In general, the primary goal most women have is to shed the body fat that they’ve been battling for many years. But for you, you’re looking to do the opposite. While you definitely don’t want to start adding body fat weight, you want to generate a few more pounds of lean muscle to give you the sexy, strong appearance you’re going for.
So how do you go about doing this? You’re tentative to dive into a muscle building diet for males for fear that it won’t quite be suited to your body type. And that’s good thinking – women and men do differ when it comes to diets for building muscle mass so it’s important to learn these differences.
If you want to create a muscle building diet for women, there are some very important things that you must know so that you can have the success that you’re looking for. Let’s go over the essential points to know.
“Trust me, my wife is not afraid of eating big quantities but she makes sure they are clean and quality calories.”
Determining Your Calorie Intake
The very first step in setting a muscle building diet for women is figuring out the calorie intake you need to use. If you are going to successfully generate more lean muscle mass, you have to provide the body with more calories than it uses up on a daily basis. There’s absolutely no way around this so if you attempt to build muscle consuming a measly 1200 calories per day, you’re going to fail.
At the same time though, women will build muscle mass at less than half the rate that a male would due to much lower levels of testosterone present in their body, therefore the calorie surplus you need to use is much lower as well.
While a male on a muscle building diet may add 500-1000 additional calories to his day to generate more muscle, if you were to add those same 500-1000 calories, you’d be going up in pant sizes very quickly.
Most women will do incredibly well adding about 10% or 200 calories per day to their maintenance calorie requirements.
As a refresher, for the average active women, maintenance calorie intake will be around 14 to 15 calories per pound of body weight so you can use that simple method to figure out how many calories you should be eating.
If you stick with this range, you should notice lean muscle mass development without that unwanted fat gain.
Adding Your Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats
Second, you also need to assess the addition of carbohydrates and dietary fat to the plan. While when aiming for fat loss, the usual step is to reduce back on both of these so you’re primarily eating protein, when trying to build muscle, they must get added in.
One interesting thing to note here is that women, more so than men, will be better able to utilize dietary fat as a fuel source and also find that they can be more sensitive to high carb intakes.
For that reason, in about 80% of all cases, a woman will do far better using a muscle building diet that has a fairly even split between carbohydrates and healthy fats.
There’s no need to eliminate carbohydrates entirely as they will increase insulin levels which are anabolic for the body and provide fuel for your workouts, but at the same rate, you’ll likely find that your energy levels are better and you stay leaner using a diet that is higher in overall fat content.
Just be sure that between both carbohydrates and dietary fat you are still maintaining the desired calorie intake from the above step.
Considering The Calorie Cycling Approach
Finally, the last thing that you want to think about when creating a muscle building diet for women is using a calorie cycling approach. This will further prevent any fat gain during the process of muscle building as you’ll be focused on putting your highest calorie days when you do the hardest workouts.
Since the muscles will be more likely to use all the extra nutrients at this point rather than on days you’re sitting around and not doing much, it proves to be quite beneficial to load them up right after the workout.
If you are someone who is prone to adding a bit of body fat, this approach can go that extra mile to keep you lean as you go about the goal of muscle building.
So there are the primary factors that must be considered when putting together a muscle building diet for women. Below you’ll find a sample mass building diet containing approximately 2000 calories that will work great for any woman standing 120-130 pounds.
1 whole egg + 5 egg whites
1/3 cup oats (dry measurement)
1 cup low-fat yogurt
3 oz grilled chicken breast
1 cup brown rice
1 cup spinach with 1 tbsp olive oil dressing
1 can of tuna
½ cup brown rice
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 bagel with 1 tbsp jam
4 oz tilapia
steamed asparagus and/or broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup cottage cheese
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
As for all areas of your diet and training, continue to readjust your approach based on the results you’re getting. The key to constant progression and improvement is by making small changes each week and finding out how your body responds positively and how it responds negatively. Keep what works, drop what does not.
Use the muscle building diet information as your starting point and feel free to ask questions below as you progress.
Vince Del Monte