It seems like we used to hit the gym to impress women, and now we hit the gym to keep up with them.
Beautiful, athletic, muscular women like Nataliya Kuznetsova and Stefi Cohen are a sight to behold, but how many of those girls do you think are dating couch potatoes?
To keep up with these girls, you’re going to have to get pretty serious about getting ripped, and how do we do that?
How To Keep Up With Muscular Women
Know Your Supplements
Chugging protein drinks is only going to get you so far if you don’t know what you’re taking and why.
So how do the basic ingredients break down?
- Creatine. This is what you need if you’re trying to get the most out of some heavy lifting. Creatine is going to help you boost your mental and physical energy. Bodybuilders and sprinters love this stuff. Your body only stores a little bit of creatine at a time, which is why an extra 3g of powdered creatine can be so helpful in maximizing your lift.
- Rhodiola complex. This stuff works as an antioxidant and helps your body to better adjust to the build-up of cortisol, the stress hormone. This will help you ease through your workout with less dramatic hormonal spikes and valleys.
- Magnesium. Tired of post-workout soreness and cramps? You’re probably not getting enough magnesium. Magnesium will help you to balance your electrolytes, absorb oxygen, and generally help the muscles relax so they can properly heal following a brutal workout.
- Fish oil. Even if you’re not lifting anything heavy, your joints need a little extra lubrication when you’re exercising, and that’s where fish oil comes in. If you’re tired of your knees cracking and popping every time you stretch, you need the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
- Whey protein. This is the raw material lean muscles are built from. You probably know this, but the way your muscles work when lifting is you create tiny tears in the muscle fibers, and when those tears heal, they heal stronger than before. Whey protein is what your body needs to make those repairs.
You may be taking different supplements in different quantities based on your fitness goals, but no matter the look you’re after, whey protein, fish oil, magnesium, Rhodiola, and creatine are what’s going to help you get there.
Eat Every Three Hours
Forget three meals a day, you want six. Whatever your caloric intake you had planned for the day, divide that by six and feed a steady flow of protein into your system.
For a typical bodybuilder, you want around 20g of protein every three hours.
By only eating three times a day, you may be signaling to your body that it needs to preserve those proteins instead of feeding them to your muscles. Eating smaller meals twice as often will keep the protein flowing so that your muscles are constantly building.
This can also help to prevent soreness, as your muscles will be in a hurry to put that protein to work instead of sitting around waiting for dinner.
Train Big and Train Heavy
Doing a bunch of bicep curls is a great way to put some finishing touches on your physique.
But what good will it do you to have huge biceps with a weak core, stick legs, and narrow shoulders?
If you’re lifting for muscle and strength, you need a heavy, full-body-oriented workout to get you there.
High-rep, isolated exercises should be part of your workout, but you should think about how you actually use your body when lifting a chair or sliding a fridge into place. It’s not just your arms or legs, it’s everything.
You should be thinking about low-rep, high-weight, multi-joint exercises in your regular workout routine.
Doing just five reps with the most weight you can safely lift will also allow you to get more of those isolated, high-rep exercises in. Once you’ve upped your maximum weight on the bench press and deadlift, you may be surprised just how much you can lift with a bicep curl, and how many reps you can get in before you just can’t take it anymore.
Too often, our approach to building muscle can become almost abstract.
Yes, there’s something to be said for those big Bruce Lee lats, a six-pack and totally ripped biceps and triceps, but in order to get into your best possible shape, you need to think about building a balanced physique, and that means building your body for practical, useful strength, not just for show.
Mix Hard and Easy Days
Some people like to go as hard as possible every single day, switching up lower and upper body workouts. This is pretty much guaranteed to land you on the couch nursing a torn muscle sooner or later, and unable to hit the gym for a couple of weeks.
A much more effective strategy is to give yourself a brutal, full-body workout three times a week, and on your off days, do lighter workouts just to keep the blood pumping while your muscles heal. Hit the weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then stick to jogging, yoga, and jump rope on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
You’re going to see your muscles grow much more quickly if you give them time to rest.
Remember that it’s not actually the weightlifting that’s building your muscles, it’s the healing that takes place after lifting, so let that healing happen.
By taking lighter days, you’ll be more eager to really work every last inch of your body on the heavy days. Your body will have time to fully recuperate, and you’ll feel like you could bench-press a Volkswagen.
Theoretically, you should be able to work hard every day by simply mixing up the muscle groups. But we all know that it doesn’t work out like that. You’re going to wind up having some overlap, you can’t just use your core on Tuesday because you already worked it on Monday. It’s very hard to only use the muscles you’re trying to use.
Stay active even on your off days. Take a bike ride to work, do some situps and pushups, but try not to follow a five-hour workout with a five-hour workout.
Change Your Reps and Your Diet to Overcome a Plateau
It happens to the best of us: You’ve been hitting the same routine week after week, and after so many months go by, you simply stop seeing gains.
You’re working just as hard as ever, you’re upping your weights, but now all that energy seems to be going into just maintaining what you’ve already got instead of adding any inches to your chest or legs.
It may take some trial and error to find out what works for you, but experimenting with your reps can help you to see results quickly.
Try switching up the tempo of your reps. Instead of rushing through them as fast as you can safely go, do slower lifts with longer rests between lifts. You’re technically lifting the same weight, but getting more out of every lift.
Perhaps more importantly, remember that you need to adjust your diet for your weight. If you were 180 pounds when you started and now you’re 200 pounds, that 180-pound diet isn’t going to cut it.
Figure out the percentage of mass you’ve gained, and add that to your protein intake each week. Your muscles need something to build with, and a beginner’s diet isn’t going to deliver the same effects six months into a workout routine.
Don’t Ignore Aches and Pains
We know, we know No pain no gain. But there’s a difference between healthy and unhealthy pain in the gym.
Soreness is part of the process, but sharp pains pulled muscles and slipped discs are not going to get you any closer to your ideal body.
Anything that’s hurting more than it should be hurting, you’re going to want to take it easy on it until it fully heals, or see a physician for consistent, lingering pains.
Sleep it Off
Sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure and can inhibit the male muscle growth hormones you need to get bigger. Technically you can live on six hours of sleep a night, but for a full rest, you’ll need seven or eight.
If you have a morning workout schedule, great.
It’s a good idea to start your day with a pump so that you can enjoy that energy throughout the day. But don’t spring out of bed and start hitting the weights if you’re not feeling well-rested.
There’s something to be said for the discipline required to work out even when you’d rather be sleeping, but you’re going to get the most out of your workouts if you actually sleep when you’d rather be sleeping.
No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you need to stay hydrated. Typically you want to drink four quarts a day, plus about twelve to sixteen ounces before a workout, and then another eight to ten ounces per fifteen minutes of vigorous exercise.
Love sports drinks?
Great, but stick to water if you’re working out for less than an hour. The benefits of all those extra electrolytes don’t really kick in unless you’re going to be doing some serious sweating.
A Trainer Doesn’t Have to be a Long-Term Investment
The rich and famous will hire full-time personal trainers to get them in shape. That gets expensive. The good news is that you don’t actually have to put a trainer on your payroll to get something out of the experience.
Bringing in a trainer even for just a few sessions can help you to get on the right track.
What you’re going to learn on the internet is going to be fairly general advice. What you get from a trainer is going to be personalized and specific to your body type and your fitness goals.
You only need to work with them for a few hours total to have a better idea of how to get where you’re going.
There’s a lot more to learn about getting into your ideal shape, but these pointers will get you started. And then it’ll be the muscular women staring at you instead of the other way around.