Wants to build muscle mass through weight lifting and a healthy diet
Originally Published: June 5, 1998 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: December 7, 2010
I am a twenty-nine year old woman. I am interested in increasing my muscle mass. Could you please tell me what steps to take in weight lifting as well as in changing my eating habits for a healthier diet?
A healthy, varied diet of nutritious foods along with an appropriate exercise program can help get your bod in buff condition; however, remember that women in general do not bulk up to the same degree as many men do when they work out to increase muscle mass.
The road to muscle mass must begin with a sound weight training program. A program of lifting every other day, or doing a lower body workout one day and an upper body workout the other day, is recommended. The minimum frequency is two times a week. Remember, never work the same muscle group two days in a row. Your muscles need 24–48 hours of recovery time before the next life. In lifting weights to build muscle mass and strength, research supports three sets of 8–12 repetitions max. (This means you can't lift the 13th time.) If you are a beginner, begin at a weight that you can lift 15 times before feeling fatigue, and gradually increase the weight and decrease the repetitions as the weeks go by. For more information on weight lifting, read Muscle soreness and weightlifting and Weightlifting and still fat in Alice's Fitness & Nutrition archives.
Adding aerobic activity to your weight lifting workouts will help reduce body fat stores. An aerobic workout of 30–60 minutes most days of the week is your target. Of course, you can build up to that ideal over time. For more information on aerobic exercise, read Minimum and maximum heart rate and aerobic exercise.
Search through Alice's Fitness and Nutrition archives for questions and answers that describe how to eat a healthy diet; in particular, read Food Pyramid—How much is a serving? A healthy, well-balanced diet should consist of no fewer than 1200 nutrient-dense kilocalories per day. Follow the food guide pyramid and concentrate your intake on complex carbohydrates and lower-fat choices.
Good luck on your road to more muscle mass.