Beginners Body Building Tips For Women

young woman lifting weights at gym

I wanted to share some important tips for women starting body building. Before we start, we’ll start with goal setting

Set Realistic Goals

Speaking of goals, that’s we’ll start. There are a few things to keep in mind. Above all else, your goals must be realistic, measurable and specific. 

For example, If you can only do 2 push-ups now and your goal is to get up to 50 push-ups in a month. That is a measurable, specific, but likely unrealistic for most people.

Remember incremental improvements add up a lot over time. For example, adding just 2 pounds a month to your bench press equates to adding 24 pounds a year.

In 5 years, that would meaning potentially adding 100 pounds. So think in terms of long term gains achieved by small incremental gains.

You should also remember that there are excellent fitness goals other than losing fat or gaining muscle.  Consider taking the goal of exercising 3 times a week for the year,  30 push-ups in 2 minutes, walking for 30 minutes each day during lunch, or burning at least 300 calories per workout on the elliptical trainer.

Lastly, it’s also helpful to reward yourself when you reach your goals. The rewards could be something big, like new workout gear, or something smaller, such as movie tickets. 

Remember: These small goals, when combined, can make a tremendous improvement to your fitness.

When the going gets tough, keep going

There will be times when exercising and dieting will be a total pain. Before this happens, building a good support team — a person or better yet a group of people who are supportive and committed to help you meet your goal. This can be your husband, best friend, or even someone in a facebook group.

You should also surround yourself with positive messages everyday and eliminate any negative thoughts about

Body Building Basics

Body building uses muscle resistance to build strength, anaerobic endurance and skeletal muscles.   The most popular way to build muscle and strengthen your body is through resistance training.  The most popular resistance training exercises are:

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  • Weight machines – classic weight lifting machines found in most gyms.  They typically have adjustable seats with handles with pullies attached to weights or hydraulics
  • Weight machines – classic weight lifting machines found in most gyms.  They typically have adjustable seats with handles with pullies attached to weights or hydraulics
  • Resistance bands –  These are portable, low cost, lightweight exercise bands provide muscle resistance that can be adapted to most workouts.  Bands are great for use at home and small enough to carry in your suitcase while traveling for work or play.
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  • Stability Balls – Semi-firm ball available in various sizes that is used as a platform for push-ups, sit-ups and many other exercises. The instability of the exercise ball requires that multiple muscle groups be used instead of only one joint or muscle group
A girl performing a dumbbell press while using a stability ball
  • Body weight –  No equipment  required and best of all no gym membership.  These exercises utilize your body weight as resistance to build muscle.  Movements include squats, push-ups and chin-ups.

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How Much Physical Activity is good for me?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at l or more Hour of daily physical activity for young women ages 6 through 17 years consisting of:

Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.

Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.

Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week

Women ages 18 years to 55 are recommended to perform at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of total of physical activity per a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity .

Aerobic: 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include moderate -intensity physical activity on at least 5 days a week.

Muscle-strengthening: moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 3 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits

Before starting any exercise program or have a history of heart disease, check with your physician. Read more information on health.gov.

Build Up or Tone Up?

If you want to add muscle mass, consider pyramid weight training with regular increases to your maximum weight on the smallest repetition set to bulk up.  For example, in pyramid training you may do 5 sets of bicep curls – each set with fewer repetitions (12, 10, 8, 6, 4), while you increase the weight with each set.

If you want toned muscles, then you can use lighter weights with increased repetitions.  For example, lifting a lower weight for 3-4 sets for 15, 18 or even 20 repetitions will accomplish tone.

More to body building than just lifting weights

Other things that you can do to make the most of your workouts include:

  • Choose activities that work your entire body, including your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis). Good core strength improves balance and stability and helps to prevent lower back injuries.
  • Choose activities that you enjoy. It’s easier to exercise a regular part of your life if you have fun doing it.
  • Exercise safely, with proper equipment, to prevent injuries. Also, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

Know and track your numbers

It sucks, but you’re going to have to know and track your critical numbers such as exercise routines, weight, or Body Mass Index (BMI).

Getting on the scale isn’t easy, but relying only on how your clothes fit isn’t accurate.  Clothes can shrink in the wash and clothing may be cut slightly differently, which affects size perception.

There’s also little value in getting on the scale everyday. Pick 1-2 days per week to weight and write them down in your journal.

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Keep your heart fit

Even though you will be focused on bodybuilding, including cardiovascular workouts with your routine. Generally speaking, weight lifting will increase muscle tone and mass — while cardiovascular exercises will contribute to improving weight and overall health. 

Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise, when combined with strength training, can add hours of calorie burning to your metabolism!  You’ll be burning fat and calories long after you leave the gym. If anybody tells you that you have to give up one form of exercise for the other, don’t believe them; you can do both.

Stay limber

Flexibility reduces your risk of injury during training.  Yoga is a good way to stay flexible as it stimulates muscles with added oxygen.  Moving your body into yoga positions where you twist your abdominal area will also aid in digestion and digestive health.  Yoga is for everyone.  Mind, body and soul healing can come from the meditative power of yoga.

Achieve your goals

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Be Consistent

Life happens – kids get sick, work and school gets busy, but it is important for women and girls to maintain a regular workout schedule.  Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule will be difficult. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a workout, remember today is always day one.

Day One means not worrying about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. Only focus on what you will do today.

Challenges to making progress

Once you reach a certain level of fitness, you may find it difficult to lose more weight or feel perceptively more fit. This frustration  is commonly referred to as a plateau.

A plateau can be overcome by altering your fitness program by increasing reps, duration or level of difficulty (be sure to consult with your trainer) to get past it, or you can exercise in maintenance mode, just to stay at your current level. 

If you do have a trainer, review your program: food, sleep, water intake, exercise regime and stress management.  Any one of these factors can contribute to a fitness barrier.

Diet and Sleep

There is more to body building tips for women than exercise, and a healthy diet is essential.  A good rule-of-thumb is to eat foods that are unprocessed, or as close to their natural state as possible.

Be sure to get seven or more hours of sleep so you are ready to take on the day.  Sleep and diet will greatly contribute to energy for work, life and exercise.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice and should not be used or interpreted as such. You should always consult a medical professional before making drastic changes to your diet and physical exercise

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