A personal trainer has shared her ‘women’s guide to building muscle’ and revealed exactly why eating more and lifting heavy will not make you bulky.
Rachel Dillon, from Queensland, said that while we may have been conditioned for decades that ‘our place in the gym is the cardio machines’, lifting heavy weights and growing your muscle is essential for getting a lean, toned physique.
Rachel shared the six things you need to do from home in order to see results from your workout – including consuming the right number of calories and getting the appropriate amount of rest.
A personal trainer has shared her ‘women’s guide to building muscle’ and revealed exactly why eating more and lifting heavy will not make you bulky (Rachel Dillon pictured)
Many women think that in order to be lean and toned, you need to eat fewer calories than you expend, but Rachel (pictured before and after) said that in order to get toned, you need to eat in a calorie surplus – or more calories than you’re expending
1. Consume enough calories
Many women think that in order to be lean and toned, you need to eat fewer calories than you expend.
But Rachel said that in fact, the opposite is true – and you need to ‘eat in a calorie surplus’.
‘By consuming more calories than you burn throughout the day, your body will have the necessary “building blocks” needed for muscle growth,’ Rachel wrote on her website.
If you don’t eat enough, creating lean muscle will be far down the list of priorities for your body – which will instead be focusing on merely conserving energy.
Rachel said there are different approaches as to how much you should increase your intake by, but for women anywhere between five and 10 per cent.
For example, if you eat 2,000 calories, Rachel said an initial target for muscle gain could be between 2,100 and 2,200 calories.
There are plenty of calculators available online that will help you with this.
‘You need to consume around 1.5 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight each day to stimulate muscle growth and recovery,’ Rachel (pictured) said. The rest should be made up of carbs and fats
2. Distribute your macros wisely
But while eating enough is important, the most important thing to think about is what you’re eating and how much of it.
‘You need to consume around 1.5 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight each day to stimulate muscle growth and recovery,’ Rachel said.
The rest of what you eat should be distributed evenly between carbohydrates and fats, with around 55-70 grams of fat per day being the ideal amount.
The PT said you should never think about restricting your carbs if you want to put on and build muscle, as you’ll just end up scrawny.
She said between 250 and 400 grams of carbs per day is the optimum amount.
While diet accounts for 70 per cent of muscle growth, you won’t get defined abs and rippling biceps unless you put in the effort at the gym and progressively overload yourself with weights and reps (Rachel pictured working out)
3. Train hard
While diet accounts for 70 per cent of muscle growth, you won’t get defined abs and rippling biceps unless you put in the effort at the gym.
‘When training for muscle gain, you need to keep constantly challenging yourself by applying progressive overload,’ Rachel said.
This means implementing a gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during training.
To achieve progressive overload, Rachel recommends you either add more resistance or doing more reps.
Try to increase by even a small amount each time, and within weeks, you should notice results.
Something called the ‘mind-muscle connection’ is very useful when you’re trying to put on muscle and shed fat – Rachel (pictured) said you need to focus on what you’re doing
4. Think about what you’re doing
Something called the ‘mind-muscle connection’ is very useful when you’re trying to put on muscle and shed fat, and Rachel said this simply means you should focus on what you’re doing while you’re doing your workout.
‘Don’t just go through the motions – as this results in a mediocre workout, and can even increase the risk of injuries if you’re working with higher weight ranges,’ she said.
Instead, you should concentrate on the specific muscle group you are targeting when you work out, and do your workout with purpose as you ‘feel the muscles switch on’.
For those working out from home right now, the PT is a fan of weighted squats and lunges with a kettlebell or some sort of dumbbell.
Rest days are as important as training days, and Rachel (pictured) said you should never see recovery as optional
5. Don’t neglect rest and recovery
Rest days are as important as training days, and Rachel said you should never see recovery as optional.
For this, she said it’s important for you to plan your sessions in a way that allows plenty of recovery time before you target that area of the body again.
For instance, one day you might focus on your chest, back and abs, another you might centre the workout around your legs and a third day you might do your upper body.
Rachel said at least one rest day per week is also crucial for the body to restore, and on this day you shouldn’t do any high impact activities.
Walking is fine on a rest day if you want some sort of active recovery.
Lastly, Rachel (pictured) said you cannot underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep for repairing growing muscles; between seven and nine hours is often the best amount to go for
6. Get enough sleep
Lastly, Rachel said you cannot underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep for repairing growing muscles.
‘It’s a double-edged sword, affecting both your body’s ability to build muscle tissue and reducing your strength, reducing the chances of you being able to successfully implement progressive overload,’ Rachel said.
Between seven and nine hours per night is the ideal amount for most people – so try and hit that and track your sleep every night if you’re struggling.
Will eating more and lifting heavy make you bulky?
* Rachel said the simple answer to this question is no.
* ‘A bulky look for a woman requires a very specific type of training and nutrition protocols, and no coach will provide this kind of guidance to you unless you specifically ask for it,’ she said.
* By lifting slightly heavier weights and eating more, you should end up with balanced curves and some muscle.
* Your measurements may go up temporarily, but this will not last.
Source: Bodies by Rachel