A female bodybuilding diet has little to do with common diets women like to follow today. It focuses mainly on increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. If you decided to jump on the bodybuilders’ wagon, you need to design a female bodybuilding diet plan that is right for you.
You don’t always need a professional to help you create a diet and exercise plan. Every woman can do it on her own, as long as she knows the nuances that come with such planning. If you are absolutely sure that you are ready to start, take a look at this useful information that will help you on your way to looking and feeling as amazing as possible.
1. Calories: What Are They and Where Do They Go?
When you are on your way to lose weight
and gain muscle mass, you need to remember that all depends on the calories you consume and burn. If you consume more than you burn, you gain weight and muscles. If you burn more than you consume, then you lose weight and muscles. It’s that easy. If calories seem vague to you, keep in mind that 3,500 calories is equal one pound of fat.
There are several ways that your calories are burned up:
- Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) – This is an essential exercise, such as cardio. Contrary to the popular belief, cardio doesn’t burn too much calories. For example, if you run for 40 minutes at 6 mph, you will burn about 450 calories. If you want to burn one pound of fat, you would need to run for about five hours.
- Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) – This rate describes how much calories you burn just because your body is functioning. You burn calories at this rate regardless of your activity. The rate would be valid even if you were in a coma. This works because your organs require calories to function.
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – You burn calories doing everyday things without exercising, such as walking, stretching, washing dishes and sweeping. Plenty of calories get burned while you do simple chores around the house. The more active you are with your everyday activities; the more calories you burn.
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – Different food has different makeup. That’s why you would gain more weight if you ate 1,000 calories of muffins than 1,000 calories of cucumbers. Food is made up of macronutrients, each one of which is differently processed by the body.
Each processing requires a certain number of calories. This process is called TEF. The TEF of protein is about 20 to 30 percent. This means that 20 to 30 percent of the calories you eat disappear while you are digesting the protein.
Here is a quick rundown of the TEF different micronutrients has:
- Proteins – 20 to 35 percent.
- Carbohydrates – Five to six percent.
- Fat – Three percent.
2. Micronutrients Ratios: Do I Want to Lose Weight or Get Muscle Mass?
The right ratio of macronutrients that you consume will help you reach different goals with your diet. When you are after high-carb diet for body building, your micronutrient ratio should be:
- Carbohydrates: 40 to 60 percent.
- Protein: 25 to 35 percent.
- Fat: 15 to 25 percent.
If you want to maintain your current condition, you need a moderate-carb diet with the following ration of macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates: 30 to 50 percent.
- Protein: 25 to 35 percent.
- Fat: 25 to 35 percent.
A fat loss diet requires a completely different approach to the macronutrients ratio:
- Carbohydrates: 10 to 30 percent.
- Protein: 40 to 50 percent.
- Fat: 30 to 40 percent.
3. The Important of Good Caloric Surplus
When you are working on building your muscle mass, it is important to realize that there is no perfect caloric surplus. In order to get great muscles, you need to gain body fat. There is no ideal ratio of calories that will keep you lean, and give you great muscles simultaneously.
Luckily, there are some things female bodybuilders can do to get as close to the perfect caloric surplus as possible. However, this approach requires perfect discipline:
- On the days you are not training, use the maintenance calorie ratio. Your maintenance intake is your body weight in pounds multiplied by 13 to 15.
- Consume more calories on the days you are training, and less on your days off. On the days you work out, the calorie consumption should exceed the maintenance limit by about 200 to 300 calories.
4. Lean Protein Sources – The Key to Female Bodybuilding Diet
Women bodybuilders who are after growing beautiful muscles do whatever is possible to avoid gaining weight. While proper amounts of proteins just can’t be overlooked, you can use a simple trick by choosing lean proteins sources instead of fat-packed ones.
- Egg Whites – This is a perfect protein-packed fat-free product. Just 100 grams of egg whites contain 10 grams of protein and absolutely no fat.
- Turkey breast – A 100-gram serving of lean turkey breast without skin contain about 20 grams of proteins. The main disadvantage of this protein source is that it’s high in salt. Ideally, look for low-sodium turkey breast.
- Tofu – Just 100 grams of tofu contains about 10 grams of protein and about five grams of fat. Tofu is great with vegetables and as part of the soups and stews. It can also serve as a good meat replacement.
- Ground beef – A 100-gram serving of 90 percent or leaner ground beef offer about 30 grams of protein as well as plenty of zinc and vitamin B12. Ground beef is great as part of a salad or mixed with beans.
- Beans – Packed with protein, beans are a must-have product for any female bodybuilder. There are 18 grams of protein in each cup. Beans are also full of fiber, folate and iron.
- No-fat dairy products – Yogurt, milk, cheese, ricotta cheese are a good sources of protein. They make great snacks for the times when you are on the go.
- Nuts and seeds – These little powerhouses can help you lose weight, while offering plenty of proteins, healthy fats and fiber.
5. What About the Carbs?
Once you learn how to deal with your proteins, start worrying about carbohydrates. In order to grow muscles, you will need a high-calorie carb diet. However, knowing where your carbs come from will help you avoid gaining extra weight.
Getting your calories up with just about anything that smells good is not a smart way to go. Make sure that the carbohydrates you devour come from good sources. Only total source control will allow you to gain lean muscle mass while limiting the amount of fat.
When you are choosing your next meal, opt for the following food:
- Mushrooms – Contain 32 percent protein, 76 percent carbs and 16 percent fat.
- Broccoli – Contain 43 percent protein, 72 percent carbs, 11 percent fat.
- Cauliflower – Brings you 32 percent protein, 71 percent carbs, 18 percent fat.
- Celery – Gives you 18 percent protein, 89 percent carbs, eight percent fat.
When you are getting ready for a work out, go for low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as:
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Fruits containing fructose:
When your exercises are complete and your muscles need energy to recover, go for high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as:
- Corn chips
6. Don’t Forget the Good Fats
Fat is a highly concentrated energy source. A bodybuilder’s diet can’t exist without it. Fat contains nine calories per gram as opposed to four grams for protein and carbohydrates. Accordingly, fat will help you gain muscle weight faster. However, when you are choosing the fat to consume, make sure it comes from healthy sources, such as:
- Olive oil – Has zero percent protein, zero percent carbs and 102 percent fat.
- Avocado – Contains five percent protein, 16 percent carbs and 88 percent fat.
- Peanut Butter – Gives you 16 percent protein, 15percent carbs and 76 percent fat.
Try to avoid saturated fats that are found in buttery, dairy, and animal meats. They boost the risks of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your fat intake to a maximum of seven percent of the total calories you consume during the day.
Forget about trans-fats, which you will find in processed snack foods and commercial fried fast foods, because it boosts your bad cholesterol levels.
7. Body Fat is a Gender Thing
Women have more body fat than men do. One of the reasons is biological. An average woman’s body content is 25 percent while a man’s is 15 percent. Women need less calories per pound of body weight than men do.
Women usually spend plenty of time cooking and can’t avoid eating more food. Birth control pills can cause some women to produce more fat. This is because the female hormone, estrogen, causes increased fat deposition. A woman can’t get muscle mass just by exercising, she needs a good diet plan.
8. Prepartion is Everything: Tips for Getting Ready for a Competition
Different types of bodybuilding diets are good for the off season; however, when you are getting ready for a contest, you need to shed the extra fat and do it quick. Special female figure competition diets are designed to help you get rid of the fat while keeping the muscles you worked so hard to gain.
The best way to go about such diet is to start 20 weeks before the competition. Some women prefer to start 12 weeks prior, but this is a more stressful approach. The earlier you start setting up your competition diet, the better results you will get without stressing out your body.
While getting ready for the contest, consider boosting your energy by keeping your body younger and stronger than before. There are natural remedies that can help you do just that, such as:
- Gen F20 Plus – Stimulates natural production of the human growth hormone, which makes it easier for your body to grow muscle tissue.
- James Eason Signature Series Multi-Vitamin – This food based multivitamin is specifically tailored to women bodybuilders’ needs. It contains plenty of iron, calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid.
- Dymatize ISO 100 – This product contains whey protein which is essential for building muscles. Whey is a form of protein which is best absorbed by our bodies.
9. Fight the Cravings
It’s in our nature to want the forbidden fruit. When a female body builder is on a diet, she is constantly under pressure. Her body wants something forbidden, and often it’s extremely unhealthy. It’s impossible to stick to a diet 100 percent of the time. Sometimes we have to give ourselves a little break. Just remember that this break needs special planning on our part.
- Get a good night’s sleep. When your body doesn’t get enough rest, it requests extra energy to function. A sleepless night will have you craving a box of those unhealthy cookies.
- Eat a good breakfast. Highs and lows in blood sugar can cause cravings. Fiber and protein in your breakfast will help keep your sugar levels steady.
- Eat more meals. Instead of sticking to a three or four meals a day plan, strive for five or six one. This way your body won’t have a chance to get hungry and start craving restricted foods.
- Incorporate your cravings into a meal. If you are craving some food terribly and can’t stop thinking about it, there is no need to torture yourself. Buy those cookies, but only eat them as part of the meal. Never snack on them, since snacking can be uncontrollable.
- Stick to your schedule. Schedule your meals and don’t break the rules. Eat at certain times each day,your body will get used to the routine and won’t request food from you at the wrong times. Do everything possible to avoid snacking.
- Look for healthy replacements: Find a healthy alternative to your unhealthy cravings. Perhaps, you can replace the much-wanted chocolate bar with some sweet fruit to satisfy your craving for sugar.
Avoid stressful situations: Some people binge on food when they stress. Try to avoid stressful situations while you are on a diet or always carry something healthy with you to munch on during the stressful periods.
10. Easy Bulking Up Tips to Try Today
When you are after muscle and not weight loss, you need to consume more calories than you burn. If you want to maintain your weight
, you need to take in about 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day. But if you are bulking, go for about 2,300 to 2,700 calories. You need to gain about half a pound each week.
If you are gaining less, then add about 100 to 200 calories a day. If you are gaining more, cut back down to the maintenance ratio. In order to go through bulking fast and easy, use the following quick tips:
- Eat up to six times a day, instead of the regular three.
- Take supplements that contain whey protein, casein proteins, multivitamins, creatine, fish oil, amino acids.
- Rest your muscles often, and get a lot of sleep.
- Eat carb-packed post-workout meals.
- Don’t overdo the cardio as it makes you lose calories.
- Drink plenty of water.
11. Why Water is Your Best Friend
Our bodies can’t produce water or store it for a long time. That’s why we need constant water intake. This is especially true for women’s bodybuilding plans. When you train a lot, your body loses water. Keeping the levels adequate will help you grow muscles without gaining too much weight.
Every female bodybuilder should try to drink eight glasses of water every day. In order to calculate your ideal water intake in ounces, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.55. This means if you weigh 160 pounds, you need 88 ounces of water daily, but these numbers are true for your off days. When you are going through heavy training, you need more hydration.
Make sure to drink water before, during, and after training. Don’t allow yourself to become thirsty. If you are thirsty, then your body is already dehydrated. Make it a habit to drink water regularly. Don’t stop drinking when you are satisfied, since it means that you only got half the fluids your body needs. Continue drinking to get enough.
If you want to burn calories while drinking, buy ice-cold water. Your body will have to expend some calories to warm it up to your body temperature.
12. Choose Only Fresh Food
When you are working on your bodybuilding diet, you need to closely control the quality of the food you consume. Fresh and wholesome foods are your best bet. Pre-packaged and processed meals are packed with preservatives, including saturated fats. Most of the are high in sugars.
If you are on the go, opt for buying fruits and yogurt, or look for lean turkey breast sandwiches. Forget about hamburgers, and try to avoid frozen dinners. If you must have a burger, go for leaner meats, like turkey, chicken or even bison burgers.
You can’t control the quality of food outside your home, since you never know how fresh the ingredients are. That’s why your best bet would be to pack the meals you make at home, and take them with you.
13. Are You After a Beautiful Body?
While plenty of different workouts are designed to help a female bodybuilder win a bodybuilding contest, regular body-curving workouts are often overlooked. While you’re managing your diet to grow large muscles, don’t forget that a female bodybuilder should also look beautiful. Here are some exercises
that need to be part of all female bodybuilding workouts:
- Deadlifts – Stimulate almost all the muscles in your body, including legs, abs, back, obliques and more.
- Dips – These exercises are good for your triceps, shoulders, and chest. They are designed for upper body development. You can take advantage of an assisted dip machine most gyms offer.
- Squats – This exercise is essential for overall development of leg muscles. If you want appealing and toned legs, squats are a must.
- Pull-Ups – This exercise targets biceps, forearms, and back. You can use a special pull-up machine most gyms offer.
- Lunges – They are great for stimulating hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. They tighten up your legs and buttons while giving you womanly curves.
14. The Importance of Nighttime Protein Snacking
If you want to keep your body from using the muscle tissue for energy, you need to take in a certain amount of protein just before going to bed. 20 to 50 grams of protein consumed before going to sleep will give your body all the nutrients it requires for muscle repair and building. You can buy a casein protein shake, or enjoy some cottage cheese.
15. Listen to Your Body: Avoid Letting Yourself Get Too Hungry
Even if you are on a fat loss diet, do everything possible to avoid getting too hungry. When you are just starting to feel hungry, your body is giving you signals that it needs extra energy. If you don’t immediately satisfy the need for calories, your body will tap into your muscles stores to get them.
If you are trying to lose body fat, stock up on basic bodybuilding foods that are high in protein and complex carbs. If you are gaining mass, you have more room for maneuver. Just remember to fulfill your protein requirements.
16. Work Out on an Empty Stomach
When you are scheduling your meals and workouts, keep in mind that you will need to leave about a two-hour window before each training. You need to avoid having to many carbs in your body while working out, since it won’t allow you to burn as much fat as you wish. This means you need to eat a meal not less than two hours before going to the gym.
You will also need to consume plenty of carbs and proteins in the two-hour window after your training. This is the time that your body can synthesize the most protein for muscle growth and store energy for future workouts.
Setting up a proper female bodybuilding diet will help you build the biggest muscles, while saying lean and beautiful. Combined with appropriate exercises, you will get ready for any contest or a competition in the shortest amount of time. Good planning is the key to reaching the perfect results.