Building muscle in 12 weeks for women

by Ossesso Blog on November 02, 2020

It often happens that no matter how many hours you put into your workout sessions, the results are just not visible. Many factors could be in the way of your fitness progress.

One thing you should focus on is the intensity of your workouts. Many people are scared to challenge their bodies and lift heavier weights. To progress, you have to train at a high intensity. Staying with the same weights for months will do no good; stop underestimating yourself and grab some heavier weights. However, increasing weights has to be done gradually, don’t jump to hefty weights straight away; you have to judge how much is too heavy. Increasing your weights by 5 pounds for your upper body and 10 pounds for your lower body is a great way to progress. If you are not sure, talk to a trainer in your local gym.

Another critical factor in your progress is consistency. There are many ways to organize your weekly workouts, but we believe that six sessions per week are great for a muscle-building routine. It is important to alternate muscle groups with every session to avoid overtraining. Switching between upper body and lower body workouts is a great way to build muscle.

Performing isolated exercises like bicep curls and focusing on specific muscles is a great strategy, but it should not be prioritized. Instead, focus on compound, multi-joint exercises such as deadlifts, which engage several muscle groups. You should be working all parts of your body in an equal proportion, don’t let any muscle group fall behind.

Progress doesn’t depend on your workouts alone. Nutrition and sleep are critical to building muscle. Drinking plenty of water and eating nutrient-dense foods is as important as your workout routine. Ensure you are getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep per night and don’t lose sleep to have an early morning workout. Losing sleep will only hurt your progress.

Why do people put so much effort into gaining lean muscle?

 

Benefits of building lean muscle

1. Increased Metabolic Rate

Muscles are efficient at burning calories even when you are resting. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will be burning throughout the day, which means you will develop faster metabolism. A faster metabolism helps burn fat and speeds up weight loss.

2. Strengthen your bones

Bones play an important role in our overall health by supporting our body and allowing us to move. Training with weights will only make your bones stronger by increasing their density. In a way, they are like muscles; weight lifting will make bones grow and become stronger.

3. Great physique and confidence

As you build muscle and follow a healthy diet, your body will obtain a great shape. Muscle is denser than fat, which means it takes up less space. Do not be discouraged by the scale. It might not change drastically, but your body measurements do when you train, your fat percentage decreases, and your muscle percentage increases.

 

Building lean muscle for beginners

1. Proper exercise form

We can’t stress it enough how important proper exercise form is. Dedicate some time, or even better, talk to a personal trainer to learn about appropriate form if you are unsure. Without proper form, you are risking sustaining a serious injury, and health is above all. Demonstration videos from knowledgeable trainers are a great place to start.

2. The goal is to become stronger

Getting stronger is important for everyone. If you are a beginner, you must develop fundamental strength. Seeing results is a great motivator to keep on track with your fitness goals. Usually, beginners progress real fast in their strength parameters due to neural adaptations.

3. Don’t worry; you will not get a bodybuilder’s physique

One big misconception is that lifting weights makes women bulky and massive. It is a myth that is still circulating for many years. What makes women look bulky is excess fat and not muscles (unless someone uses anabolic steroids). Lifting weights will boost your metabolism, burn body fat, and helps you get toned.

4. Be consistent

Nothing comes easy. But everything comes with consistency, including your fitness goals! Building your body takes time and effort, but do not let this put you off. You will notice improvement as time passes, and you will want to continue until you can’t live without your daily workouts. Some are able to see changes in their physique and mood from the very first week.

Procrastinating is always bad news. Don’t say “I’ll start tomorrow” or “ill start in the new year.” Act today; this is the best way to get on track. Start looking for local gyms, find a local trainer to show you how to perform specific exercises if you are unsure, and start moving towards your goal. Whatever the first step is for you to get into the gym, start today.

5. Twelve-week strength training

This twelve-week program will help you build muscle and tone up your body. This routine entails multiple exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and more. The first four weeks of training are designed to increase muscle endurance, the following four weeks will cause muscle hypertrophy, and the last four weeks will increase your muscle strength.

 

Weeks 1 - 4

Monday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Bent Over Row

3

10

60 seconds

Barbell Bench Press

3

10

60 seconds

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3

10

60 seconds

Cable Triceps Extension

3

10

60 seconds

Barbell Curl

3

10

60 seconds


Tuesday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

10

60 seconds

Dumbbell Lunges

3

10

60 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

10

60 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

10

60 seconds

Leg Press Machine Calf raise

3

10

60 seconds


Wednesday - Rest


Thursday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Dumbbell Fly

3

10

60 seconds

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3

10

60 seconds

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

3

10

60 seconds

Barbell Shrug

3

10

60 seconds

Tricep Cable Extension

3

10

60 seconds

Barbell Curl

3

10

60 seconds


Friday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

10

60 seconds

Dumbbell Lunges

3

10

60 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

10

60 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

10

60 seconds

Seated calf raise

3

10

60 seconds


Saturday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Bear Crawls

3

16

60 seconds

Crunches

3

16

60 seconds

Knee Raises

3

16

60 seconds

Flutter Kicks

3

16

60 seconds

Elliptical Machine

 

40 mins

60 seconds

 

Weeks 5 - 8

Monday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Dumbbell Bench press

3

8

90 seconds

One- Arm Dumbbell Row

3

8

90 seconds

Military Press

3

8

90 seconds

Hammer Curls

3

8

90 seconds

Chest Dip

3

8

90 seconds


Tuesday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

8

90 seconds

Dumbbell Lunges

3

8

90 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

8

90 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

8

90 seconds

Leg Press Machine Calf raise

3

8

90 seconds


Wednesday - Rest


Thursday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Dumbbell Fly

3

8

90 seconds

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

3

8

90 seconds

Military press

3

8

90 seconds

Barbell Shrug

3

8

90 seconds

Tricep Cable Extension

3

8

90 seconds

Barbell Curl

3

8

90 seconds


Friday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

8

90 seconds

Barbell Squat

3

8

90 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

8

90 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

8

90 seconds

Standing Calf Raise

3

8

90 seconds


Saturday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Lying Leg raise

3

16

60 seconds

Crunches

3

16

60 seconds

Cable Crunch

3

16

60 seconds

Flutter Kicks

3

16

60 seconds

Elliptical Machine

 

40 mins

60 seconds

 

Weeks 9-12

Monday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Dumbbell Bench press

3

6

120 seconds

One- Arm Dumbbell Row

3

6

120 seconds

Dumbbell Front Raise

3

6

120 seconds

Hammer Curls

3

6

120 seconds

Decline Lying Triceps Extension 

3

6

120 seconds


Tuesday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

6

120 seconds

Dumbbell Lunges

3

6

120 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

6

120 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

6

120 seconds

Leg Press Machine Calf raise

3

6

120 seconds


Wednesday - Rest


Thursday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Dumbbell Fly

3

6

120 seconds

Barbell Bent Over Row

3

6

120 seconds

Military press

3

6

120 seconds

Barbell Shrug

3

6

120 seconds

Tricep Dumbbell Extension

3

6

120 seconds

Barbell Curl

3

6

120 seconds


Friday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Barbell Deadlift

3

6

120 seconds

Barbell Squat

3

6

120 seconds

Leg Extensions

3

6

120 seconds

Lying Leg Curls

3

6

120 seconds

Standing Calf Raise

3

6

120 seconds


Saturday

Exercises

Sets

Repetitions

Rest time

Lying Leg raise

3

16

60 seconds

Reverse Crunch

3

16

60 seconds

Cable Crunch

3

16

60 seconds

Flutter Kicks

3

16

60 seconds

Elliptical Machine

40 mins

60 seconds

 

Nutrition plan

You will not get results without a healthy diet to go along with your workout program. Building lean muscle, accelerating weight loss, improving overall health, increasing metabolism, decreasing body fat, reducing waist circumference mainly depends on the diet you follow.

Moreover, as you learn more about your body, what healthy foods you like and dislike, you will realize that it’s a fun activity to track your calories and cook healthy, nutritious food. You will probably not notice a drop in weight during the first weeks; that’s because you are gaining muscle and losing weight at the same time. Your weight might not change, but your body parameters do! You will notice a reduction in fat and an improvement in physique.

Before we share our meal plan, we want to stress the importance of protein intake. It is recommended to have an intake of 0.6-1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. In case you are not managing to take in this amount of protein, you should consider getting a good quality protein shake.

So now that we have covered the basics, here comes the meal plan! Keep in mind this is just a sample plan; everyone has to have a personalized diet made for their needs and taste. We highly advise you to visit your local nutritionist or find a nutritionist online.

Breakfast

Snack

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Snack

Monday

One single-serving container of Greek yogurt from Danone

One apple

One whole-grain toast

 

24 almonds

One orange

4 oz turkey with salad leaves

½ avocado

2 slices of turkey bacon

15 baked tortilla chips

 

Protein shake

3 oz chicken breast and a half cup of marinara sauce

Side salad with balsamic vinegar

 

1 cup of strawberries

Tuesday

½ vegetable frittata

1 whole-wheat English muffin

½ tbsp of honey

 

1 pear

1 hard boiled egg

3 oz Turkey breast with lettuce

½ avocado

1 cucumber

2 tbsp hummus

4 oz shrimp stir-fried in olive oil

Red bell pepper

¾ cup of brown rice

 

3 cups baby carrots

2 tbsp hummus

2 tbsp cottage cheese

 

Wednesday

½ cups of Old-fashioned oats

1 cup blueberries

⅛ cup chopped walnuts

 

4 cups edamame

4 oz turkey in a small whole-grain pita with lettuce and tomato.

5 oz baked sweet potato

 

1 slice whole-wheat toast

2 tbsp apple butter

Omelet made of 1 whole egg and ¾ cup egg whites with low-fat cheese, spinach, and tomato

 

One apple

1 tbsp soy nut butter

Thursday

½ cup old-fashioned oats

1 scoop vanilla whey protein

½ cup berries

 

8 oz non-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup melon

4 oz grilled chicken breast

2 tbsp avocado

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

8 cocktail shrimp

4 tbsp cocktail sauce

Large salad with 4 oz grilled steak with balsamic vinegar

1 cup whole-grain pasta

 

2 mini cheesecake cups

Friday

5 banana pancakes

2 oz sugar-free maple syrup

1 whole-grain toast

 

1 Luna Bar

1 banana

1 protein shake

4 oz tuna in water, romaine lettuce,

4 grape tomatoes,

½ bell pepper,

⅛ cup walnuts

 

1 cucumber

2 tbsp hummus

4 oz shrimp stir-fried in olive oil

Red bell pepper

¾ cup of brown rice

 

3 cups baby carrots

2 tbsp hummus

2 tbsp cottage cheese

 

Saturday

½ cups of Old-fashioned oats

1 cup blueberries

⅛ cup chopped walnuts

24 almonds

1 orange

3 oz Turkey breast with lettuce

½ avocado

1 pear

1 hard boiled egg

4 oz turkey with salad leaves

½ avocado

2 slices of turkey bacon

15 baked tortilla chips

 

8 oz non-fat Greek yogurt

½ cup melon

Sunday

5 banana pancakes

2 oz sugar-free maple syrup

1 whole-grain toast

 

1 slice whole-wheat toast

2 tbsp apple butter

4 oz turkey in a small whole-grain pita with lettuce and tomato.

5 oz baked sweet potato

 

4 cups edamame

3 oz chicken breast and a half cup of marinara sauce

Side salad with balsamic vinegar

 

1 apple

1 tbsp soy nut butter

 

Strength training is for everyone and has several benefits mentioned above, such as having a toned body. According to research, people start losing muscle at the age of 30, so as you can imagine, building muscle is important for everyone. As far as workouts go, strive to increase weight or reps with each week. Women neglect strength training more often than men, and this can impact our daily lives. It was shown that 80% of Americans diagnosed with osteoporosis are women and strength training is essential to increase bone density.

As far as dieting is concerned, there will be no way to see progress without eating food with good nutritional value. The diet shown above is a sample diet, which will not fit everyone’s needs. We highly suggest visiting your local nutritionist and having a diet plan made for you.

There is no time to waste! Begin your health journey today!

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