Muscles - at first mention, don't really seem like something women want. The word is generally more associated with images of incredibly buffed-up, glistening male bodybuilders or actors like the young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early Terminator movies. Muscle building for women is either frowned upon by females, with chagrin at the concept of being deemed "muscular."
Contrary to popular false impressions, muscle building for women can actually define the body, making it more feminine: the shoulders become more symmetrical, the legs and arms get shapely, the butt and best of all it tigthens the stomach. If you're a woman and you want to build or sculpt your body, you really don't have to worry about suddenly looking like those females who look close to becoming stand-ins for male wrestlers.
Women have significantly lower testosterone levels compared to men - 200-1200 ng/dl (men) and 15-70 ng/dl (women). Testosterone is the hormone responsible for muscle mass, and even men with low testosterone levels still have higher levels than the average women. The women who have managed to bulk up to enormous proportions are most likely taking supplements like steroids or testosterone injections. So, there's no need to fear! If all you want to do is look like Rebecca Soni, the World Swimmer who is healthy and extremely toned, you can do just that!
The first thing to remember in muscle building for women is to lessen calorie intake. The more calories you consume, the more fats you gain and the more difficult it will be to get leaner. On the other hand, not having enough calories in spells disaster as well, so count your calories. Next, up your protein intake as protein supports the growth of new muscles and you'll need to keep up with the changes in your body as you begin to build more mass. Eat more lean meat, nuts, seeds, dairy, protein shakes and the like, sticking to at least one gram of protein for every pound of your weight.
Try to choose fresh foods over processed and pre-packaged ones as the latter contain a lot of sodium, fats and sugar that will not do you any good. And lastly, don't forget to drink plenty of water all the time! Downing at least eight glasses of water a day will keep you well hydrated, will prevent overeating and can reduce the amount of calories you ingest.
The main idea in getting more toned is to focus on strength training; although you should start slowly if you're a beginner as too much too soon will only be bad for you. The tried-and-tested method of successful muscle building for women is by doing compound exercises, or a mix of several different exercises. Using both free weights or exercise machines will help, as long as you do your exercises consistently and progressively. Doing sets of compound exercises on a regular basis will get you more results than isolated, sporadic movements. Deadlifts, squats, bench presses, lunges, dips, pull-ups, overhead presses - these are all some exercises that will get those muscles tightening. Don't forget to progress though, meaning move on to heavier weights or doing more pull-ups as the weeks go by, as muscles adapt quickly.
Last of all, if you really want to tone and sculpt your body properly, get some rest in between training and workout sessions. Recovery is a vital part of the process; don't rush into each routine thinking that the more you do in less time, the faster you'll be ready for a Sports Illustrated photo-shoot. Relax, as your body and its immune system need a breather too. Don't slack off however, make sure you keep your training up, otherwise you'll lose all of the previous efforts you've made. In no time, you should be ready to show the world that muscle building for women results in a healthy, muscle-beautiful you!
Keeping fit and healthy and looking absolutely fabulous is a woman's right! To get your body to the way you want it to be you need to make sure you are following a good program that fits you and your goals well. Unfortunately there are not many programs on bodybuilding that cater to women and the ones that do produce very extreme results.