Becoming a female bodybuilder might seem like a long, difficult process – and it is. But by breaking it down into simple steps, you can start your bodybuilding journey within a matter of days.
It boils down to two key things: lifting weights and managing diet.
And as long as these two things are done consistently with a motivated mindset, becoming a female bodybuilder isn’t as complicated as it might seem.
So to get you moving in the right direction, we’ve listed the most important things you need to do to become a female bodybuilder.
Start Resistance Training
Resistance training is essentially lifting weights. It’s a form of exercise that puts the muscles under stress, which forces the muscles to repair and, as a result, become bigger and stronger.
If you’ve never lifted weights before, the most important thing is to start with small weights and practice good form. This will ensure that you build a foundation of good habits while avoiding injury.
If needed, you can hire a personal trainer to set you off on the right foot. Otherwise, you can look up workout videos to understand what exercises to do and which muscles each exercise works.
Either way, the most important thing is to start.
And since gyms are fully equipped with strength training equipment, they’re the best place to go. Home bodyweight workouts simply won’t provide enough resistance to build bodybuilder-level muscle.
Perform Compound And Isolation Exercises
The best muscle-building exercises are compound exercises.
As opposed to isolation exercises, compound exercises activate several muscle groups at the same time, resulting in more muscle, more strength, and more calories burned.
The best compound exercises include:
- Bench presses, dumbbell chest presses, and overhead presses (chest, shoulders, and triceps)
- Pull ups and chin ups (back and biceps)
- Squats and leg presses (quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes)
- Deadlifts (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, back, and core)
Despite that, you should still include isolation exercises in your routine as they will help improve strength and muscle definition.
Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg extensions, lateral raises, and front raises.
Incorporating a mixture of daily abdominal exercises is also important, as being a bodybuilder requires defined abs!
Use Hypertrophy And Progressive Overload
Hypertrophy is the process of tearing muscle fibers (through resistance training). It sounds like a bad thing, but these microscopic tears repair and rebuild after your workout, resulting in stronger, larger muscles.
As a general rule, the key to initiating hypertrophy is to perform strength training exercises within the range of 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps, with 1–2 minutes of rest between each set.
If you’re a beginner, start with 3 sets of 8 reps for each exercise. Increase the reps by one or two reps every week until you can perform 3 sets of 12 reps. After that, return to 8 reps but increase the weight. Repeat.
This process is called progressive overload – and it’s a proven method for initiating hypertrophy and increasing strength and muscle mass over time.
Manage Your Macros
“Macros” is short for macronutrients. These are found in the food you eat, the main ones being protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sugar.
To build muscle mass, fuel your energy, and promote fat loss, it’s essential to manage your macro intake.
This generally involves:
- Increasing your protein intake
- Reducing your intake of sugar, carbs, and unhealthy fats
Increasing your protein intake is the most important, as it will fuel muscle repair and increase muscle growth.
As a general rule for effective muscle growth, you should aim to consume at least 1 pound (2.2 grams) of protein per kilogram of your body weight, per day.
So if you weigh 50 kilograms, you should aim to eat 50 pounds of protein every day.
Track Your Calories
Tracking your calories is just as important as monitoring macros. If you eat too many calories per day, you can gain body fat. And if you eat too few calories per day, you may lose muscle mass.
As a result, it’s important to know your calorie maintenance number. This is your personal number of calories that your body needs to stay at the same weight.
If you consistently eat more calories than your calorie maintenance number (caloric surplus), you’ll gain weight.
If you consistently eat fewer calories than your calorie maintenance number (caloric deficit), you’ll lose weight.
For bodybuilders, the key is to be in a caloric deficit while consuming an adequate amount of protein (see the general rule in the above section).
This will ensure you build muscle without gaining body fat.
Get Enough Rest
Another big part of muscle repair and muscle growth is getting enough rest.
This includes taking rest days from the gym, as well as getting 7–8 hours of high-quality sleep every night. Both of these will also help you to avoid injury.
It’s possible to go to the gym every day as long as you give your muscles enough rest. This requires setting up a workout split that gives your muscles at least 72 hours of rest between muscle groups.
So if you train your legs on Monday, then you should let them rest Tuesday and Wednesday before training them again.
On the days that you’re resting your legs, aim to train other muscle groups using a personal workout split that’s best for you.
Join A Bodybuilding Gym
Last but not least, one of the best things you can do to become a female bodybuilder is to join a bodybuilding gym.
This will ensure you have all the strength training equipment you need.
It will also put you in a high-motivation environment, and surround you with fellow bodybuilders and weightlifters who will be happy to give you tips.
By joining a bodybuilding gym, there’s even a good chance you’ll have access to bodybuilding competitions affiliated with the gym.
So by the time you’re ready to compete, you’ll already be one step there!
And there you have it: everything you need to do to become a female bodybuilder in one simple, straight-talking guide.
As long as you do the above and maintain a positive, determined mindset, you’ll be seeing results in no time.