by Jennifer Houston
If you want to gain muscle naturally without looking like a bodybuilder, I’ll point you in the right direction. There are many wonderful benefits of building muscle. It helps boost your metabolism, prevent osteoporosis, lose weight and keep it under control. Moreover, you can improve your shape and curves, and gain strength. Sometimes it’s hard to gain muscle, even if you hit the gym each day and train hard. Hopefully, these little yet effective tips will help you reach your fitness goal.
1. Make strength training a part of your workout routine
Strength training makes you feel and look better. It helps prevent muscle loss and promote muscle building. When it comes to strength training, it’s important not to overdo it. Don’t lift too heavy weights. First, it’s not good for women’s health. Second, you may end up looking like a bodybuilder. Your goal should be to tone up, not bulk up. After all, you are a woman. The last thing you want is to look like a man. Aim to lift light weights (do at least 12 reps) and do it regularly.
2. Add weight-bearing workouts to your daily routine
Plyometrics, yoga, walking, barre, lunging, and other weight-bearing exercises can also help you gain muscle. They help maintain healthy bones, reduce your risk of osteoporosis and build lean muscles without bulking up. Moreover, they help improve your flexibility and strength. 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, 5 days a week, will be enough to improve your health and build muscle.
3. Do your cardio training before lifting
If you’ve ever tried to drop weight, you probably know that it’s highly recommended to do lifting training before cardio training. However, if your goal is to gain muscle, you should do your cardio first and then opt for lifting. The thing is, cardio exercises break down muscle fibers, making it harder to build muscle.
4. Incorporate more protein-rich foods into your daily diet
When trying to gain muscle, protein must be your best friend. Include protein in every meal, opt for protein-packed snacks and add plant-based protein powders to your smoothies, if needed. Protein helps you pack on lean muscle and prevent muscle catabolism. Whole grains, vegetables, beans, legumes, leafy greens, eggs, seeds and nuts are all excellent sources of protein.
5. Consume more calcium-rich foods
Calcium helps build and repair muscles, and it helps keep your bones dense and strong. We all know that cow’s milk is one of the best sources of calcium. However, if it’s not a good option for you, consider incorporating a few other calcium-rich foods, such as spinach, leafy greens, almond milk, tofu, soy milk, seeds, nuts or chia seeds, into your eating plan.
6. Stay hydrated throughout the day
I know, I know, you are tired of reading about it in every other article, but are you sure you drink enough water throughout the day? Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle or improve your health, you should always stay hydrated. Drink 7-8 glasses of water a day, but keep in mind that tea, coffee, juices and sodas don’t count.
7. Eat immediately after you exercise
Not only does eating immediately after you exercise help gain muscle, it also helps keep your energy high during the day. When exercising at the gym, opt for carb and protein-rich snacks, such as hard-boiled eggs, pumpkin seeds or nuts. If you work out at home, opt for a green smoothie (I add some berries to it to make it tastier) or cottage cheese. Avoid eating energy bars. Although they are convenient and highly accessible, they won’t help you gain muscle. They will only increase your calorie intake.
8. Get enough sleep
It’s vital to get enough sleep each night. It’s good for your overall health and it helps gain muscle. When you sleep your muscles recover and it promotes muscle building. When you don’t get enough sleep, your muscles don’t have enough time to recover. They become fatigued and can break down. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night to build muscle naturally.