There's a common fear among women when they first start out within their journey that when women weight train, whether that's body weight training or loading the body, that they will get bulky. Women are missing a key component that makes males bulk up, which is testosterone.
Women do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to ‘bulk up’. In fact, the average female has about 15-20 times less testosterone than men do. Testosterone aids in muscle building process. Since men have more of this hormone, they build muscle at a faster and easier rate than women do. Just as women do not have the same amount of body hair or the same Adam’s apple as men, they do not have the same amount of musculature.
Many women also tell tales of other female friends who have lifted weights before and got “bulky.”
My initial response is to ask if they looked like female body builders, or did they simply look bigger?
If the second question was closer, then I advised them to ask about their friend’s diet? Did she start lifting weights and use it as an excuse to eat more? If so, then that would put on additional body fat. To produce aesthetic results, of any kind, weight lifting and healthy eating go hand in hand. One without the other is not likely to give you the results you’re looking for.
I met this gal who LOVES to workout. She uses her muscle for her job. She's basically an athlete. she doesn't know it yet, but that analogy will hit her someday. Her “game” is her 8 hour day working in a factory. Her “practice” is working out and preparing her body for that game. Most of her co-workers are very supportive and cheer her on, reminding her how good she looks and how strong she is.
Now, being that we are ALL human and it is WAY easier to be negative than positive, that gal really only thinks about the negative comments. Notice I stated MOST of her co-workers support her. She gets, as we've all gotten these questions at one time or another whether we're male or female…
Why would you want to look like that?
Why would you want to look like a man? (for a female obvi)
Why do you want all that muscle?
Being secure with your own skin takes a MASSIVE amount of practice. What I'm most impressed with when it comes to this gal, is the fact that she has educated herself on how to build muscle naturally. She's always loving life and looking for the next energizing muscle building workout.
How To Build Muscle Naturally
Building muscle naturally takes something that most people want more of and don't have enough of. It simply takes time. Six to eight weeks to be exact. After beginning an exercise program most people have an increase in weight and think they are just gaining muscle. This is a total myth.
What usually happens is people start eating more because of their increased movement that “allows” them to eat more, there by increasing their overall body weight.
It is true however that to build muscle naturally you need to eat more. It takes an exact formula to know how much more to eat though. More importantly is to find a baseline. The Harris-Benedict (for adults) and Mifflin-St. Jeor (for obese adults) are formulas to get a baseline for what's called Resting Energy Expenditure.
After your baseline is established, then onto what it takes to know how much energy is used during a workout.
How much energy am I using when I'm working out?
The entire question that I go to when someone asks me this question is. What is your total energy expenditure (TEE). That way we can figure out how many calories a person can be eating each day to either lose weight or, in the gal who works in the factory's case, build muscle naturally.
After finding your REE through the formulas named above, then take a good hard look inside yourself and figure out if you're…
(PAL = Physical Activity Level)
Low active: PA 1.4 < PAL < 1.6
Active: PA = 1.6 < PAL < 1.9
Very active: PA = 1.9 < PAL < 2.5
Once the truth of your physical activity has been determined then you enter that into the formula:
TEE = (REE) X (PAL)
REE = 66.47 + 13.75 (wt in kg) + 5 (ht in cm) – 6.8 (age in yr)
Let's say our gal in the factory weighs 160 lbs and is 5 feet tall and is 45.
REE = 66.7+13.75(72.72) + 5(152.4) – 6.8 (45)
= 1,533 kcal/day
That means this gal at rest uses 1,533 calories per day. Pretty cool right? Our bodies are ALWAYS using calories aka energy. If you don't believe me, then stop and take your pulse, because it takes energy for your heart to keep beating.
Next we will calculate TEE (Total Energy Expenditure)
TEE = (REE) X (PAL)
= (1,533) X (2.0) = 3,066 kcal
The reason the 2.0 was chosen for the TEE equations is because this gal is clearly Very active. For someone else as an Exercise Physiologist more questions and testing would be required to make that determination, but for the sake of this example I chose 2.0. She uses 3,066 total calories each day.
To answer the question of how to build muscle naturally, she would need to take in at least that many calories to sustain her current weight and continue to build lean muscle mass. Of course I didn't mention what to eat because that's another story for another day.
To answer the question of how many calories are you using when working out one can generally say that one mile is approximate 100 kcal. It doesn't matter if you walk it, run it, bike it, swim it or any other way of getting that mile “done”. The required energy use is approximately 100 kcal. So if you walk 2 miles it's 200 calories. Get it?
The entire point of an energizing muscle building workout, like today's WOD is provide a person with the education to create their own WOD. Each time a WOD is created the intention is to provide another tool in the proverbial toolbox. Therefore completing all 365 WODs will help you get to a place of play. Because when we play we have fun and finding movement fun becomes part of your lifestyle.
In conclusion to each of these questions and finding an Energizing Muscle Building Workout it all comes down to one thing. Being comfortable in your own skin no matter what. You Do You. Find what you LOVE to do and go ALL IN. If building arms the size of Arnold is your thing, whether your a dude or gal, go for it. If you want my help with the formula's above, let's schedule something and figure out how many calories you're using, losing and can be taking in to become the best you possible.
You Got This!
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WOD #229 Energizing Muscle Building Workout
Warm-Up – 5 Minutes Cardio (At Least)
- Handstand Push-Ups – 10 Reps
- Pistol (Single Leg) Squat – 10 Reps Each Leg
- Trunk Rotation Holds – 5 Second Hold for 12 Reps Total
Cool Down – 5 Deep Breaths In Down Dog Pose
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Body Weight Movement Coach