How to Start Bodybuilding for Women

Updated April 17, 2017

Bodybuilding involves following a strict regimen consisting of complex nutrition and intense daily workouts. Women who decide to take up bodybuilding have to work harder than men to accomplish their goals because they have less testosterone, which in turn makes it harder to gain muscle. Not only do women have to change what and when they eat, but they also have to supplement with protein and other muscle-building nutrients. Aside from overhauling their diet, women who want to start bodybuilding also have to train consistently with heavy weights.

Increase the amount of protein in your diet. Protein is a necessary component of building muscle. Women who want to gain muscle need at least 1.5 grams per kilo of body weight.

Remove unhealthy foods from your diet. Because you will be eating more protein and healthy carbs, you will be consuming more calories. You will need to subtract extra calories from your diet to avoid gaining fat. Removing empty calories with no nutritional value is the best way to do this.

Add legal muscle-building supplements to your diet. Women should take a multivitamin as well as glucosamine for joint health. Add branch chained amino acids (BCAAs) to help muscle recovery and creatine to increase cell size.

Eat a meal or snack of protein and complex carbohydrates one hour prior to your workout. This will give you the energy you need to perform an intense workout and will allow enough time for you to digest the nutrients of your meal prior to your exercise.

Train with relatively heavy weights, aiming to lift weights for six to eight repetitions. Choose a heavier weight if you can lift a weight more than eight repetitions.

Eat a post-workout snack consisting of whey protein and simple carbohydrates within 45 minutes of the end of your workout. This will help build muscles that have broken down during your resistance training. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that this post-workout snack should be a 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

Leave 48 hours between training sessions of the same muscle. This is the minimum time muscles need to rebuild after an intense workout.


Avoid taking illegal bodybuilding supplements such as human growth hormone or steroids that may be detrimental to your health.


Speak to your doctor before embarking on an intense workout regimen.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.