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How Women Gain Lean Muscle & Lose Weight

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
How Women Gain Lean Muscle & Lose Weight
Exercise to gain muscle and lose weight.

Women can gain lean muscle mass and lose weight by incorporating a consistent and comprehensive exercise program into their regular regime. Although the results may come slower for women, implementing cardiovascular exercise and weight training, along with eating healthy, will result in increases in muscle mass and decreases in body fat.

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Gain Lean Muscle

To gain lean muscle, a woman weight lifts in the same manner as men. Although women lack the testosterone and growth hormone levels necessary to build as much muscle as men or as quickly, following a hypertrophy or muscle building program will result in significant increases in lean muscle.

Lose Weight

Participating in regular cardiovascular exercise will cause you to burn a significant amount of calories and facilitate weight loss. According to the American Osteopathic Association, getting approximately 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at an appropriate intensity on most days will help bring about weight loss. To ensure you’re working out at the appropriate intensity, you should be able to talk, but not hold a serious conversation, when you exercise.

Training Program

To gain lean muscle and lose weight, participate in a comprehensive exercise program that consists of both weight training and cardiovascular exercise. A muscle building program is high volume and high frequency, so lift weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, completing three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. A basic full-body weight training workout would consist of chest press, lat pulldown, shoulder press, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, bicep curl, tricep extension and abdominal crunch. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, complete 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Some activities burn more calories than others. Running, rollerblading and jumping rope burn more calories per unit of time.


What you eat and drink will make a significant impact on the increases in your muscle size and the amount of weight loss you experience. Overall, you want to consume a low-fat and low-calorie diet. To lose 1 lb. of fat, you must burn 3,500 more calories than you consume over a period of time, so how many calories you eat will directly affect your success. Out of the calories that you consume in a day should be foods that also provide your body with the protein that it needs for the muscle building process. Eat lean proteins, such as poultry, soy and egg whites.


Because of the typical differences in muscle mass, women naturally have a slower metabolism than men, meaning that males burn more calories throughout the day, even while at rest. As women begin to put lean muscle on, their metabolism will increase, which will facilitate more weight loss. To further increase your metabolism during the day, incorporate short walks throughout your work day. By walking for 5 to 10 minutes, you will not only burn calories while you’re moving, but your metabolism will be increased for a period of time after you’re finished.

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