How To Gain Healthy Weight And Muscle As A Women: Stop These 5 Mistakes


Nowadays when it comes to improving health most people only focus on weight loss. But for many people to improve health, they may actually need to focus on increasing weight specifically muscle mass. 

Low muscle mass particularly in aging populations has been linked to increased insulin resistance and diabetes, increased high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and death from cardiovascular disease(1).  Some health benefits of increasing your muscle mass include decreasing your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, increased metabolism, quicker weight loss, improved posture and a slimmer toned appearance.

If you are interested in improved fat loss, have no clue where to start with weight lifting, or just find it difficulty to gain weight this article is for you. Keep reading to find out the best and fastest way to gain healthy weight and muscle.

Mistakes Preventing You From Gaining Weight & Muscle

1. Doing The Wrong Exercises

The first mistake you may be making is doing the wrong exercises. If you want to gain muscle you should focus on weight lifting more than cardio. Numerous research articles have found that cardio exercise may actually limit your ability to gain muscle (2), (3). 

Can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time while continuing to do cardio? Yes you can, but someone who solely focuses on lifting weights will build muscle faster than some one who does both.

If you want to continue doing cardio while trying to build muscle it is recommend that you do a form of cardio called HIIT, high intensity interval training. This form of cardio evolves shorter duration exercises performed at higher intensities. In contrast to running at a low intensity for 40 minutes, a HIIT workout may only take you 20mins or less to burn the same amount of calories, simultaneously allowing you to build muscle.

2. Not Lifting Heavy Enough

Yes simply lifting weights is better than nothing at all, but to build muscle faster you have to lift heavy. The optimal rep count to build muscle mass is between 8-12 reps.When lifting weights you should  do 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps of any exercise. By rep 12 your muscles should be burning and it should feel a bit difficult to lift. If you get to the last few reps and your muscles are not burning, then you are not lifting heavy enough. If you pick up a weight and can lift it well over 30 times with out your muscles burning, then that weight is too light and you should lift heavier.

There is a term called progressive overload regarding lifting weights which means in order for your muscles to adapt, grow, and get stronger you must progressively lift heavier weight over time. Essentially if you pick up a 10lb dumbbell today and lift it 10 times, in order for you to see results over the next weeks to months you should aim to progressively lift more weight bumping up to 15lbs then 20lbs and so on.

On the contrary sometimes people lift too heavy early on and end up hurting themselves. If you have to swing your entire body to lift a weight up, they that weight is too heavy. Additionally using you entire body's momentum to lift weights up will limit your muscle gains, as you are not effectively using your muscles. To gain muscle as quick and efficiently as possible you need to lift weights properly. This means, moving weights through your joints entire range of motion in a controlled fashion and not using momentum to push or pull the weights.

3. Not Switching Up Your Workouts

Have you been doing the same workout routine for the last 4 months? If so you are limiting how much muscle gain you can achieve. Our bodies quickly adapt to any form of exercise we are doing and any gains you are seeing will slow down because of this. You should try and switch up your workout routines every few weeks, focusing on different body parts, or doing different exercises for the same body part to challenge your body a bit more. For instance using resistance bands or kettlebells can challenge your body differently requiring more stability than simply using dumbbells all the time.

4. Not Eating Enough Calories

In order to gain weight you must eat more than what you burn off everyday. When increasing your calories to gain muscle it is important to add weight lifting 2-3/week To ensure that these extra calories do not turn to fat. Typically to gain muscle you may want to eat 10-20% more calories a day than you normally do if you are consistently weight lifting.

5. Not Eating Enough Protein

It's not simply enough to eat more calories, but you should aim for these extra calories to come from protein sources. Protein is made of amino acids which are the building blocks for our muscles. When trying to gain muscle you should aim to eat 0.8-1gram per pound of body weight. This means if you weight 150lbs you would aim to eat 150 grams of protein a day or slightly less. 

Good sources of protein include lean cuts of beef, chicken, seafood, yogurt, milk, cheese, nuts, and beans. If you are unable to get enough in your diet from eating you can always supplement with protein powder which can easily be added to smoothies, water, or even cereals like oatmeal.

In conclusion, the best way to gain healthy weight is by gaining muscle mass instead of simply overeating without exercising which will cause fat gain. In order to gain muscle efficiently and as fast as possible you must lift weights, lift heavy enough weights, switch up you workouts every few weeks, eat enough calories, and especially get enough protein in you diet. 

Beginner Workouts To Gain Muscle

1. Beginner Gym Workout To Gain Muscle Using Machines

If you have access to a gym, the most beginner friendly way to build muscle is by using weight machines. Most weight machines have instructions on them and pictures which show you which body part a particular machine works. Unlike loosing fat, with building muscle you can focus on one body part and build only that area if you wish. However to get a well rounded look, it is best to start with full body workout. Below is a simple full body workout in the gym using weight machines.

Beginner Routine:  Perform 3 sets for 10 reps each exercise then move on to the next exercise. You can rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between each set.

  • Leg press (targets butt and thighs)
  • Leg extensions (targets front of thighs)
  • Hamstring curls (targets back of thighs)
  • Lat pull down (targets arms and back)
  • Rows (targets arms and rows)

2. Beginner Body Weight Home Workout To Gain Muscle

If you don't have access to a gym or to weights you can start with bodyweight exercises. It will take you longer to see gains in muscle, so it is recommend that you invest in resistance band, dumbbells, and or kettlesbells to lift at home to increase the difficulty of the exercises at home. With body weight exercises I like to do sets to failure. This means you will do the exercise continuously until you can't do any more rest 30 seconds to 1 minute than repeat the exercise for 2 additional reps

For this routine Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise to failure

Dips on a chair or couch seat (targets arms and back)
push ups (targets chest and arms)
squats ( targets glutes and thighs)
lunges ( targets glutes and thighs)
bridge ( targets glutes)

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