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  1. #1
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    Beginner's Guide to Female Bodybuilding and Fitness

    '

    Beginner's Guide to Female Bodybuilding and Fitness

    Welcome to the Female Bodybuilding section of the Bodybuiding.com Forum. Whether you are new to fitness or just new to lifting weights, this guide will show you how to maximise the effectiveness of your training, nutrition and results.

    This beginner's guide covers: [click links to navigate]
    Last edited by Botika; 04-02-2016 at 11:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Botika's Avatar
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    Getting Started

    Congratulations in taking a step in the right direction regarding your fitness. If you are reading this guide you are probably interested in transforming your physique... as soon as possible. Unfortunately the typical information that you’ve likely read in magazines or heard from family and friends, makes the mistake of focusing solely on weight loss, and is unlikely to be moving you towards that goal in any real hurry. This is because effectively reshaping your physique needs to cover two goals – fat loss and muscle gain/retention. If you want to see real results then exercising with the use of weights is essential. Many women who are new to weight lifting have been misinformed about how this will affect their physique. Let’s debunk some of those myths right now.


    I just want to be “toned”
    In your body, there are only two things that you can manipulate. The amount of muscle you have and the amount of fat you have. Being “toned” is a result of lowering your body fat percentage and having enough muscle mass to give you a fit look. In bodybuilding this look is often referred to as being firm, tight and lean. Unless you are genetically gifted, the only real way to achieve this result is by prioritising weight training in your exercise routine and ensuring your nutrition is appropriate for your goals. This is further discussed later in this guide.

    Cardio is all you need
    All weight loss is not equal. When you diet and do only cardio you lose both fat and muscle. This means that you essentially end up a smaller version of your same body shape and composition. You will likely retain a similar body fat percentage so if you had jiggly bits before you’ll have jiggly bits after. This result is you’ll be thin but likely skinny-fat. When you diet and lift weights you retain as much muscle mass as possible, which means more of the overall weight loss comes from body fat. Importantly, this is the key to reducing your overall body fat percentage. Reducing your body fat percentage is how you achieve that firm, tight and lean look - no more muffin-top! Aim for fat loss, not just weight loss.

    I want to spot reduce the stubborn fat
    Many women have fat loss as their primary goal and hope to lose fat from problem areas. When you gain weight your body stores fat all over and when you lose weight your body sheds fat all over. You simply can’t choose where the fat loss will occur. Some areas (e.g. tummy, thighs) may seem more stubborn but that’s likely because these areas are generally higher in fat so it takes longer for these areas to lean out. To lose fat you need to focus on lowering your overall body fat percentage. This is best achieved through eating fewer calories than your burn through activity and being on a decent weight training routine.

    Carbs make you fat
    The food we eat is made up three macronutrients being protein, fat and carbs. None of these things on their own make you gain weight if eaten in appropriate quantities. What makes you gain weight is eating more calories than you burn through activity. This is called a calorie surplus. When you diet and eat fewer calories than you burn through activity this is called a calorie deficit. You eat a calorie deficit when you want to focus on fat loss and a calorie surplus when you want to focus on muscle gain. You can eat carbs all the time!

    Weights make you bulky
    There are three specific reasons that women don’t get bulky when lifting weights.
    Firstly, if you are dieting your body is in a weight-loss state, which means your body doesn’t have the fuel to grow muscle. Lifting weights when dieting generally only retains what muscle you already have.
    Secondly, if you are eating a calorie surplus and fuelling muscle growth the most muscle you can hope to gain is around one pound per month – and that is in optimal conditions. It takes years for females to grow muscle because women have low testosterone levels compared to men.
    Thirdly, one pound of muscle is less volume than one pound of fat. Over time, if you are replacing fat for muscle pound-for-pound, then you’ll be physically smaller at the same body weight.



    Now that you have a basic understanding of how weight training and nutrition can transform your body composition… read on for more information.



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    Last edited by Botika; 07-11-2015 at 06:26 PM.

  3. #3
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    Training

    So now you know why lifting weights is important for women, it’s essential to choose a decent weight lifting routine to support your goal of transforming your body. The most effective routines primarily focus on compound lifts and use isolation lifts as an accessory.

    A compound lift is a weight lifting movement that recruits a large number of muscles when performed. Examples of compound lifts are squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press. By recruiting more muscles you will burn more calories and build/retain the most muscle. By incorporating compound lifts you’ll be getting the most out of your time in the gym.

    An isolation lift is a weight lifting movement that only recruits a small number of muscles when performed. Examples of isolation exercises are bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg extension and calf raises. Isolation exercises are useful to complete your training routine to put extra emphasis on body parts you wish to focus on.

    As a beginner, it’s a good idea to choose a decent routine that is known for its success. These routines are beneficial as they generally have a progression strategy built in. When training you want to ensure that you are continually challenging yourself and that the weight is moving up. This is called progressive overload and is fundamental to getting the results to you want.

    Further Reading

    Pick a training routine that you enjoy because you’ll train with more intensity, which will mean better results. You can train for strength, you can train for aesthetics or you can do a bit of both. It's really up to you, what you enjoy and how your body responds. Research on the forum and on the web to better understand the routine of your choice, see the results achieved and connect with others who have followed it too.


    Here are some routine suggestions that are suitable for beginners:

    As you progress you may be interested in these intermediate routines:

    Also, don’t forget to check out these other resources:



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    Last edited by Botika; 04-03-2016 at 12:41 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Botika's Avatar
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    Fat Loss or Muscle Gain

    Most people would like to be able to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. These goals are at odds with each other as losing fat requires eating a calorie deficit (less than your daily activity) and building muscle requires eating a calories surplus (more than your daily activity).

    Originally Posted by Emma-Leigh View Post
    best way to gain lean muscle:
    eat more food.
    train heavy with weights.
    do a little cardio to keep healthy.
    rest enough.


    best way to lose fat:
    eat less food.
    train heavy with weights.
    do more cardio to add to calorie deficit.
    rest enough.


    best way to waste money:
    buy lots of useless supplements thinking they will help magically with the above.

    While the concept of intentionally gaining weight sounds foreign to most women, it is a journey many are willing to undergo to achieve a fit physique or improve their strength. Often women find when they first diet and lower their body fat percentage they don’t have the shape that they want, especially in their glutes (a.k.a. booty). This is because they are lacking in muscle and it’s muscle that gives you those nice curves.

    Bodybuilders generally undertake cycles of muscle gain (bulking) and cycles of fat loss (cutting). Over many bulking and cutting cycles you build muscle and then shed fat, each time revealing a firmer, tighter and leaner physique. Bulking builds the foundation for a fit physique and cutting reveals your hard work. These are good resources to explain how bulking and cutting works.


    In the professional bodybuilding world, competitors often refer to bulking cycles as “off-season” and cutting cycles as “comp prep.” If you are interesting in competing in a bodybuilding competition, these threads are a good read:


    Got questions about bulking and cutting or not sure where to start? Chat with other women who are on a bulking or cutting journey:


    Also, don’t forget to check out these other resources:


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    Last edited by Botika; 04-08-2016 at 02:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User Botika's Avatar
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    Nutrition

    Eating to support your fitness goals is important if you want to maximise your results. To support muscle growth and intention it’s important to get enough protein and fat in your diet. Further, when bulking or cutting it’s generally useful to know how many calories you are consuming and the breakdown of macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).

    I would encourage you to take the time to read and understand the following linked information as it will give you a solid foundation for understanding your nutritional requirements. This knowledge will assist you in meeting your fitness goals.

    If you find you are having trouble losing or gaining weight and are seeking feedback on your diet, it's important to post your calories and macronutrients so that other users can give you meaningful feedback. A common mistake is posting a list of meals (e.g. cup of oats for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, chicken salad for dinner). Given the large calorie variations that occur in meals, it's impossible to tell if you are eating to support your goals. Another mistake is posting that you eat "around" 1600 calories. Again, if you aren't properly tracking your calories it's difficult to give guidance on areas for improvement. By accurately posting the calories and macronutrients you are consuming, you will get valuable feedback and will be able to adjust your diet in response.


    In terms of tracking your calories and macronutrients, it’s a good idea to buy a kitchen scale. It’s more accurate to weigh all solid food, cups and spoons should only be used for liquids. This is why…





    Also, don’t forget to check out these other resources:



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    Last edited by Botika; 04-03-2016 at 12:43 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Botika's Avatar
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    Tracking Progress

    Knowing whether you are progressing is going to keep you on track and enable you to adjust your training and nutrition when needed. Here are some methods to keep you on track.
    • Keep a Journal - Keep yourself accountable by starting a journal for others to see and comment on.
    • Scales - Scales are useful to determine whether you are losing or gaining weight overall.
    • Tape Measure - This is a good method to verify whether your body is increasing or decreasing in size.
    • Mirror - Your reflection will often guide you on whether you should be bulking or cutting.
    • Progress Photos - A useful comparison tool to judge how far you've come in your journey.
    • Clothing - The fit of your clothing is a good indicator whether your bulk or cut is working.
    • Body Fat Analysis - Reliable methods to determine body fat include Dexa Scan and BodPod analysis.

    Bodybuilding is often referred to as a marathon, not a sprint. The best physiques are built after many years of hard work. Being consistent and persistent with your training and nutrition is what will yield you results. While the time it takes may seem daunting, in the words of Earl Nightingale, "Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." Do the work and each day you'll be closer to your goal. You're going to be learning and practicing a lot of new things, you're going to forget things, you're going to make mistakes, and you're likely to get discouraged somewhere along the line. So if you do nothing else, remember these two things:
    • This isn't something you're going to "get done" sooner rather than later. This is a lifestyle change, and something you're going to do for the long haul. So take a long-term view.
    • You can't do everything perfectly. But if you do the most important stuff right (80/20 rule), and are consistent over time, you'll be successful.

    Further Information:



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    Last edited by Botika; 04-02-2016 at 11:53 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered User Botika's Avatar
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    Using the Forum

    Before you start posting, have a look at the Forum FAQ for more information about how the board works. The FAQ includes information on the general forum rules, reputation, general forum usage, settings and profile features as well as reading and posting messages.

    Further assistance with regard to your account, Bodyspace and Bodybuilding.com orders is located in the Help Centre.

    If you have a question, chances are it’s been answered before. You can search the female forum and the main forum via the following links.


    It is our hope that the members of the forums will help each other in providing motivation and information to those looking to reach their fitness goals. We wish you all the best in your fitness journey!




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    Last edited by Botika; 04-03-2016 at 01:06 AM.

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