Many women I know admit they would never bodybuild. They like running on the treadmill, regularly attend Zumba and Spin classes, and do ab exercises at the end of their workouts when they feel up to it – they are perfectly fine staying in their comfort zone, and that’s fine. For many women, though, it often comes from being uncomfortable in the gym setting, or not knowing how to lift properly. Some want to try, but don’t know where to start.
For the women who fit into this category, this simple guide is for you – but in many ways, these are some of the most important things you need to know about bodybuilding and how to get started. So here it is: my beginner’s guide to bodybuilding for women.
Bodybuilding Does Not Make You Manly
The first thing you need to know is that, contrary to what people may say, bodybuilding will not make you look like a man, nor will you be “too muscly” or “gross”. One of the many benefits of lifting weights is the fact that it enables your body to burn more calories during and post workout, because your body is in the fat burning stage. It may also boost your metabolism, strengthen your muscles and tendons (which can prevent injury down the road), and even reduce the effects of anxiety and depression. Most of the women I know that switch to weightlifting instead of nonstop cardio experience fat loss, and often stay in better moods throughout the day.
Lifting weights will often help you lose unwanted body fat and slim down, not bulk up. The men and women who do “bulk” (and look “too muscly” to much of society) use a high-weight-low-rep format and eat a very large amount of protein in their diet. It is extremely hard to be one of these people, and adding weightlifting and bodybuilding to your workout alone will not get you to that point, so don’t be scared.
Find A Trainer Right For You
The second thing you need to know is that finding a trainer that is right for you can be extremely beneficial. Yes, trainers cost money, but isn’t spending that money worth it in the long run? Even if you just wanted to go in for one or two sessions, many trainers can educate you about what exercises are right for you and give you what you need to do those things on your own.
Even if it is just walking you through proper technique and giving you a plan, now you know exactly what to do, and have a better knowledge of how each exercise will affect you. Trainers can also be a vital support system on those days when workouts bring you to your breaking point and feel defeated. They often know exactly what to say to give you an extra push to keep going.
There is no shame in asking for help, and these trainers are here to help you reach your goal, one lift and pound at a time.
Supplements Are Your Friend
The third thing you need to know is that supplements and protein are your friend. Many people are intimidated by the ingredient list or even the name of some supplements, and do not realize how beneficial they can be. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), for example, can be used before, during, or after your workout and can often help with muscle recovery and repair and lean muscle production. They come in tablets and powders, and can be a great tool when used in conjunction with a workout plan and healthy diet.
Supplements such as Omega 3s can help with overall health and cardiovascular health. Pre-workouts can give you that extra boost of energy you need that will sustain you throughout your workout. Whey protein has incredible benefits like aiding in lean muscle production, providing a satisfying meal alternative or post workout snack, and even speeding up fat loss. You can put it in smoothies, water, or milk, and there are many flavors to choose from.
No matter what your fitness level is, everyone can benefit from bodybuilding and it can truly be life changing. If you add in a healthy diet as well, you have a winning combination.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to pick up some weights and start building your physique for the stage. It might be one of the best decisions you will ever make.