Bodybuilding For Women – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Bodybuilding for women is an increasingly popular topic and for good reason. The benefits of bodybuilding, both aesthetic and health, are numerous. Here is everything you need to know about bodybuilding as a woman!
In this blog post:
- What is bodybuilding?
- How does a woman start bodybuilding? (Tips)
- How long do female bodybuilders workout?
- How many days a week should I workout to build muscle as a female?
- What do female bodybuilders eat in a day?
- How to start bodybuilding for women?
So, What Is Bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is essentially the use of progressive resistance, specific caloric intake, and rest, in order to promote muscle hypertrophy.
Those who involve themselves with this sport can either do it for aesthetic purposes and competitions, or for strength gain.
According to bodybuilding.com, there’s more to bodybuilding than aesthetic benefits. Here is a list of health benefits:
- Reduced high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Keeps your body strong and flexible
- Improve mental health (stress, anxiety, depression, etc)
- Improved nutrition (nutrition plan that consists of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, fruit, and vegetables)
How Does A Woman Start Bodybuilding?
First things first, there are two ways to approach female bodybuilding. You can either start bodybuilding for a specific competition such as bikini, figure, or physique, or for personal goals.
Starting with a certain goal in mind will be your guide to success, especially as a complete beginner in bodybuilding.
Tips for becoming a female bodybuilder:
- Set goals. Remember to set small, easily achievable goals to ensure that you will remain consistent and motivated throughout your journey!
- Fine-tune your nutrition plan. Calculate your daily caloric intake requirements according to your level of activity and body composition goals. Learn as much as you can about macronutrients, portions, etc. Nutrition should be your primary focus.
- Put together your workout plan and be consistent.
- Rest days are just as important as training days. Don’t skip it!
How Long Do Female Bodybuilders Workout?
Female bodybuilders typically train 5-6 times per week for at least one-hour sessions.
This includes both weight lifting and cardio sessions.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all. Training schedules will look different for everyone.
How Many Days A Week Should I Workout To Build Muscle As A Female?
Here is a common five-day schedule example of bodybuilding for women:
5 DAY SPLIT
- Glutes and Hamstrings
- Chest, Shoulders, And Triceps + Core
- Back and Biceps + HIIT
- Glutes and Quads
- Full Body
- Days 6 and 7 can be active rest days such as walking, yoga, stretching, etc.
And here is a 6 Day split example, focusing on one muscle group per day:
6 DAY SPLIT
- Glutes and Quads
- Chest and Shoulders
- Arms, Biceps and Triceps
- Glutes and Hamstrings
- Full Body
Typically, you’ll start all your training sessions with a proper warm-up.
You’ll have your chosen body part plan for the day and you’ll perform an average of 9-10 sets of 8-12 reps of exercises.
Keep in mind that the best way to get the most out of your bodybuilding routines is to add compound exercises.
Compound lifts are lifts that take more than one muscle group to perform.
Along with helping you build lean muscle, these movements are important for increasing your athleticism, strength, mobility, and cardiovascular fitness.
You need more energy (calories) to perform them because you incorporate, more than one muscle group to perform them, making them highly efficient.
Now, any proper bodybuilding program has room for isolation exercises as well.
These exercises focus on one muscle at a time, making them effective in increasing the size of muscle fibers, a major goal of all bodybuilders!
The 8-12 rep range is ideal for inducing muscle hypertrophy.
Lifting heavier, for example, closer to your 1RM (Repetition Maximum) is more efficient in building strength and power.
Bodybuilding For Women – Extra Beginner Tips
- Focus on learning proper form for every exercise.
- If you live a busy schedule and need quick yet efficient workouts, focus on compound lifts and supersets. (doing two exercises targetting the same muscle group back to back, often with little or no rest in between.)
- Mind your tempo. Lift slow and controlled along with the whole range of motion.
- Don’t skip your cardio! Cardio can complement your weight lifting routines and create an overall great bodybuilding routine.
What Do Female Bodybuilders Eat In A Day?
Now, off to the most important part, nutrition!
Honestly, this topic deserves its own blog post because, well, there’s just so much to cover!
However, I will briefly go over the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to nutrition in bodybuilding.
Female Bodybuilding Diets
- Greater focus on protein intake. Typically you are looking at 1.2-1.7 g of protein per kg of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 140lbs you need roughly 80-110 g of protein per day.
- Love your complex carbs. This will be your fuel. That is oatmeal, whole grain rice, whole grain bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Don’t leave out the fats! Healthy fats, that is. That includes nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc.
- Try a Macro-Based nutrition plan. In this plan, you have a certain macronutrient goal for the day (carb, protein, fat intake) and you must meet it or at least get as close to it as you can, assuming you follow a bodybuilding workout plan as well.
- Last but not least, don’t skip your micronutrients! Above all, bodybuilding is a healthy way of living, where you make the best choices for every part of your body from the inside out. Vegetables and fruit are highly important for anyone’s nutrition plan, whether you train or not.
How to Start Bodybuilding For Women
- Identify your goal. Do you want to start bodybuilding to compete? Or is this a personal lifestyle choice?
- Make a plan. Don’t just go to the gym and aimlessly grab weights. Make yourself a plan. Learn the fundamentals of bodybuilding and resistance training. Always have a structured workout and a clear goal on which body part you will focus on.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency. As a beginner, you should not aim for 1-hour sessions. In fact, I beg you not to! The name of the game is showing up. Do not overwhelm yourself with long training sessions. Instead, start with a 10-15 minute session and work your way up to the 1-hour session.
- Track your nutrition. Whether you like it or not, what you eat determines where all your exercise hours go to. Track what you eat. If your goal is muscle hypertrophy and you are serious about this, pay attention to your protein intake, focus on complex carbs for fuel, and eat your healthy fats for overall health! Incorporate lots of veggies and fruit and you’ve got yourself a foolproof meal plan.
- Progressive Overload. If I do 3 sets of 8-12 reps of the same exercise, using 15-pound dumbbells for 1 month, chances are I won’t see much growth after week 2. Be very mindful of your progressive overload. Keep track of the weight, reps, and sets and focus on steadily moving up. Growth comes from pushing your limits slightly farther each time!
- Be very patient. Remember, it’s called bodybuilding, not bodybuilt.
- Rest, stretch, and rehydrate.
- If you need help, hire a coach. I will be fully honest here. When I first started, I made a lot of mistakes. Some o those mistakes, went on to last for a year. My advice, if you don’t want to start off the wrong foot, either focus on learning and educating yourself on everything related to resistance training, or hire a coach. A coach will help and guide you in the right direction which will start you on the right foot!
Thanks for reading, fit babe!
If you enjoyed this post, check these ones out!
- Beginner Bodyweight Workout Routine At Home [Fast And Effective Burn!]
- 4 Advanced Core Exercises Without Weights That Will Burn Good
- Try This Arm Workout With Dumbbells At Home [Quick And Effective!]
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