Dana Taggart Figure Champion

How to Build Lean Muscle Female | Lean Muscle Workout | Lean Muscle Diet

How to build lean muscle for women

How to Build Lean Muscle For Women


Of course, adding lean muscle, just as with losing fat is not only about what you do during workouts and training.  To really change your body and add lean muscle,  women need to balance strength training with cardio, nutrition, sleep, rest and water intake.  All of these things working together for a well rounded healthy lifestyle that will allow a woman to see muscle development.  

Just remember, we are all unique and gaining muscle is going to take time.  What one woman experiences in her quest to gain lean muscle might not be the case for you.  Be patient, take the time you need and celebrate each step of the way.


How Can a Woman Gain Lean Muscle?


With all the talk about losing weight you might feel lost about how to build lean muscle.  But don't worry, you are not alone.   The truth is, many women are searching for the right kind of lean muscle diet and workout to help them get stronger, tighter and more defined.  Whether you want to fix your flat butt syndrome or shape and define your abs adding muscle to your frame can be really advantageous.  You will feel stronger fast, protect your joints and can seriously improve your everyday quality of life.

Lean muscle is a pretty special thing.  It can help protect your body, improve your posture and even increase your metabolism.  Since muscle requires more energy, it subsequently burns more calories than body fat. The beautiful part is, the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism.  That in turn means that you can eat more calories and still maintain your overall weight.  Have you ever noticed how many calories those 'athletic' women are able to eat?  That is what I call a win-win!

Are you a woman looking to make a skinny to fit transformation? Check out these incredible transformations!

Lean Muscle Workout Female

Kathryn has changed her body with her lean muscle workout.

skinny to fit transformation

Stacey is loving her skinny to fit transformation

Lean Muscle Workout Female

Nicole's lean muscle transformation is amazing!

Lean Muscle Diet Female

Michele proves women can gain muscle over 50.


How Long Does it Take to Build Lean Muscle?


It is common knowledge that adding lean muscle and making a skinny to fit transformation does not happen quickly. That said, after weeks of hard training at the gym you might be feeling frustrated if you are not seeing significant changes. Maybe you get super excited when you notice a bit more definition or visible lines when you are actually lifting weights but defeated when those results seemingly disappear the moment you walk out of the gym... what's that all about?  

We call that "transient hypertrophy" or the muscle pump you feel during a single workout session.  This short lasting effect is really the accumulation of blood plasma or fluid within the muscle.  That's your body's way of flooding the muscle with fuel for your workout and aiding in the recovery process.  That pump might subside after a few hours, but it is an import part of your lean muscle workout. The good news is that a solid muscle pump is indeed the beginning of the muscle building process.


How Much Muscle Can I Gain in a Month?


While the research varies, most experts agree that the average natural woman can gain between .1 - .25 pounds of muscle per week for about a half to 1 pound muscle gain per month.  That might not seem like a lot, but it definitely adds up over time.  Some women will be able to add muscle faster, but it greatly depends on their age, genetics and training experience.  That said, ALL women can see serious benefits from a lean muscle diet and lean muscle workout specifically targeted at build lean mass without adding bodyfat.


Lean Muscle Diet for Women


We have all heard that nutrition is 80% of what it takes to reach your muscle building goals. That of course, is true. But how much do the exact foods and quantities matter for your skinny to fit transformation? Do you have to have 11 asparagus spears, 4 ounces of plain white fish and 4 ounces of a sweet potato for dinner every night for your lean muscle diet in order to get defined? I am happy to tell you NO! In fact, having the same meal for dinner every single night could do you more harm than good.

Variety and flexibility are critical to creating a way of eating that will lead you to a strong,  body. A lean muscle diet too strict causes a cycle of deprivation, low energy, and boredom. Inevitably this kind of insanely restrictive diet plan causes you to toss healthy habits out the window and binge on every high calorie, high sugar food you can get your hands on.

Instead, your body will function best when you find a balanced nutrition plan that flexes with your life. One that allows the occasional treat and that encourages variety in your day-to-day meals. With a balance of all 3 macronutrient groups (protein, carbs and fats) along with a healthy does of fiber and unlimited vegetables, you can make a skinny to fit transformation and you will feel amazing and energized as you gain lean sexy muscle.

Now, this is NOT a traditional “if it fits your macros” type plan. The actual foods you eat are important. I would never encourage you to eat fries and brownies every day or to just have one large ‘anything goes’ meal at the end of the day if you have been ‘saving’ your calories all day. The best skinny to fit transformation With all of my  plans you are going to eat high quality, clean foods that support your goals and nourish your body. Foods that you are actually going to enjoy eating both because they taste great and they make you feel good. But, have you been wondering how many calories to build muscle?  Let’s start by understanding some critical principles...

How do I lose weight and gain lean muscle?

1. Variety and flexibility are key if you really want to gain muscle. It is best to eat different foods each day to be sure your body gets a variety of vitamins and minerals directly from the foods you eat.
2. Eat every 3-4 hours but listen to your natural biorhythms. There will be times throughout the day where you are simply not super hungry.
3. Never cut out one macronutrient group completely (carbs, I am talking about you).
4. Look at your nutrition across a full day. Flex your foods as you would like, but be sure that at the end of each day, you come out at the correct calories and macros.
5. That said, you do need to eat at least 4 times per day – 5 is ideal with 3 solid, larger meals and 2 snacks that include protein.


What Foods Help Build Muscle?


Exercise and diet are both important on your quest to build muscle and make a skinny to fit transformation.  As we will discuss below, you have to be engaging in physical activity to see results, but if your nutrition is off track, no amount of training will matter.  

Including protein is super important, but muscle is not built with protein alone. You have to have a balance of carbohydrates and healthy fats to give you the energy you need to train with everything you have got.  Here is a list of my favorite muscle building foods...

  • Eggs (Whole & Egg Whites
  • Salmon
  • 0 Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Lean Chicken Breast
  • Lean Beef
  • Water Packed Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Soy Beans
  • White Fish
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Ultimate Muscle Protein
  • Beans
  • Edamame
  • Scallops
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Lean Jerky
  • Peanuts
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Tofu
  • Skim Milk
  • Almnonds
  • Avocado
  • Brown Rice
  • Bison
  • String Cheese
  • Filet
  • Liquid Eggs
  • Cod
  • Mahi Mahi

Lean Muscle Workout for Women


When you are trying to build lean muscle, strength training really is king.  I want you to maintain your cardio vascular endurance but this is not the time to be running marathons.    I recommend the following exercise splits for a two month program:

Phase I Weight Training
(Weeks 1 - 4)
Day One: Back, Hamstrings, Glutes
Day Two: Chest, Biceps & Abs
Day Three: Delts, Triceps, Abs
Day Four: Quads, Glutes, Calves 
Day Five: Delts, Back, Abs

Phase II Weight Training (Weeks 5-8)
Day One: Legs & Chest
Day Two: Delts, Back & Abs
Day Three: Glutes & Arms
Day Four: Delts & Back
Day Five: Legs & Arms

Skinny to Fit Transformation...Fit Mom & Cop Dana Taggart

Fitness America Champion, Dana Taggart is a full time cop and mom that made an incredible skinny to fit transformation. Find out how…

I am trying to recall a time when my life was not so hectic, but as far back as I can remember my family was always involved in many activities. I can fondly recall sitting on the sidelines of my parents′ indoor soccer games, my Dad’s open gyms for basketball, watching my Mom doing her exercise videos in the living room, and all of this amidst my younger brother and my sport schedule, many of which involved travel. We had something going on just about every night of the week.

Life seemed to slow down though when I started working my first full time job as an Emergency Dispatcher. It was a sedentary desk job on 2nd / 3rd shift. I still ate what I wanted but I started to notice that my energy was lacking. I stayed thin, but lost a lot of strength and stamina. I was tired and had lost my muscle tone.

Fast forward a couple years and I found myself a single mother of 2 at age 23. I no longer had time to be tired, but I was.. very. After the birth of my daughter, I joined the local YMCA and began my first attempt at an exercise regimen. With clothes on I looked fine and most people would call me skinny, but I just felt soft and jiggly all over.  It’s interesting how far down on the list of priorities you will allow ‘taking care of yourself′ to fall once your world revolves around your children. Having the Child-watch program at the YMCA allowed me to take some time for myself without feeling guilty because my kids enjoyed their time there as well. Happy Healthy Mom=Happier Healthier Family.

That is where my skinny to fat transformation really began.  I reached out to Julie Lohre and began working with her as my online fitness coach.  Julie put together lean muscle workouts and diet plans that slowly but surely helped me add muscle to my frame.  I became stronger, faster and had new definition that was never there before.  The crazy part was the changes I saw in my abs and glutes.  To see a six pack peaking through and to have shape in my butt… it was amazing!  I became addicted to seeing improvements in my physique and the more I improved the harder I would push for further gains. My self-esteem improved and I was now much more confident in myself in every aspect of my life. I never dreamed that I could feel this amazing!

skinny to fit transformation female
Fit Mom Dana Taggart

Lean Muscle Diet for my Skinny to Fit Transformation

Planning and preparation was the hardest part when I first began trying to build muscle but it does get easier with experience. Julie lined out a nutrition plan that was actually super easy to follow every 2 weeks and changed my plans frequently.  The best part about my lean muscle diet is that I never felt hungry… or stuffed.  I ate wholesome foods that fueled my body and truly made me feel good.  Here is a sample of one of our lean muscle meal plans that Julie put together for me in our second month of training.

Meal 1
1 whole egg, 3 egg whites, half cup veggies (to make an omelet), 1 slice turkey bacon, half cup oatmeal, 1 TBSP honey
Meal 2
½ cup Greek Yogurt, 1 cup mixed berries and 1 oz almond slivers
Meal 3
6-ounce chicken breast; half cup avocado; large salad with mixed veggies; 1 tablespoon olive oil & vinegar dressing, 1 whole wheat pita toasted
Meal 4
2 scoops UMP shake or pudding;1 tbsp almond butter
Meal 5
6-ounce white fish; 1 cup mixed veggies, ½ cup brown rice, 1 TBSP olive oil
Meal 6
2 cups popcorn, 3 oz carrots, 1 cup celery, ¼ cup hummus

That was just a sample day. I substitute quite often as I get bored easily when eating the same foods. I usually try to incorporate whatever my family is eating and then make adjustments so that it fits my plan. We also use Green Bean Delivery so that we have fresh organic produce on hand at all times. I love this service for its delivery convenience, but also because it has broadened my family’s fruit and veggie selection from the everyday apples and cucumbers.

Skinny to fit transformation
No Nonsense Magazine

Supplements for a Skinny to Fit Transformation

While supplements are always optional, once you have your training and nutrition is great places, the right supplements can really help you make a skinny to fit transformation!  Here are the ones that I use everyday.  
Skinny to Fit Transformation Supplements:

Fit Tabs: 2 in the AM, 2 in the PM
Density: 3 tablets, 3x’s a day
Muscle Synergy – 1 scoop before training
Glutamine Select – 1 scoop with training
Ultimate Muscle Protein – 2-4 scoops per day as part of your meal plan.

Skinny to Fit Transformation with Dana Taggart

Age: 28
Occupation: Police Officer
Current Residence: Trenton, OH
Years training: 5

Height: 5’6”, Weight: 135-138
Favorite Fitness Meal: 2 Lundberg’s Organic Honey Nut Brown Rice Cakes, topped with UMP pudding (1 scoop Rocky Road UMP mixed with water and 1 tsp local organic honey) and sliced organic strawberries
Favorite Supplements: Hands down, UMP is my #1. I love how versatile it is. Not only is it delicious as a shake, but I can make pudding with it, or French toast, or No-Bake cookies… the list goes on. My 2nd favorite is Glutamine Select to help diminish any post workout muscle soreness.
Music: I love using Spotify on my iPhone. I enjoy many genres of music and it depends on my mood or what kind of workout I’m doing, though I would say that it is most often some- thing upbeat, Hip Hop or Rap.
Most Inspiring Book:My most recent favorite, in my new found obsession for audiobooks is Born to Win by Zig Ziglar. His concept of planning to win, preparing to win, and expecting to win can be applied to your next competition prep… or just life in general.
Favorite Words of Wisdom: “If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.” “Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.” “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.

Lean Muscle Workout

When I first began training I really wanted to know what is the best workout for lean muscle and how do you build lean muscle.  Well, Julie took the guess work out for me when she put together my workouts plans.  I currently lift 5 days a week along with 4 cardio sessions a week, 15 minutes each (most commonly HIIT). 
MONDAY
Back / Hamstrings / Glutes
Lat Pull Down 4×10-12 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Straight Arm Pulldowns 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Squats with Wide Feet 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Dumbbell Deadlift 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Low Cable Kickbacks 3×10-12 reps
Hamstring Ball Curl Ins 4×15-18 reps
TUESDAY
Chest / biceps / Abs
Flat Bench Press 4×6-8 reps
Dumbbell Flye 2×6-8 reps + 2 drop sets
Pushups with Feet Elevated 4×6-8 reps
Standing Barbell Curl 4×6-8 reps
Hammer Curl 2×6-8 reps + 2 drop sets
Weighted Ball Crunch 4×15 reps
Hanging Leg Raises 4×10 reps
Oblique Raises 4×10 reps each side
THURSDAY
Delts / Triceps / Abs
DB Lateral Raises 4×15-18 reps
Bent Over DB Raises 3×15-18 reps + drop set
Sumo Dead Lift High Pull 3×15-18 reps + drop set
Press downs 4×15-18 reps
Bench Dips 3×15-18 reps
Reverse Decline Crunch 4×15-18 reps
Weighted Floor Crunch 3×15-18 reps + drop set
FRIDAY
Quads / Glutes / Calves
Leg Press 4×10-12 reps
Walking Lunges w/ weight 2×10-12 reps + 2 drop sets
Leg Extension with 1 second pause at top 2×10-12 reps + 2 drop sets
Standing Calf Raise 2×10-12 reps + 2 drop sets
Supersets:
Pushups 4×15
Switch Lunges 4×15
Crunches 4×25
Squat Jumps with Medicine Ball 4×15
Lying Leg Raises 4×15
Bench Rebounds 4×15
SATURDAY
Delts / Back / Abs
Seated Overhead Press 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Front Raises 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Inverted Pushups 4×10-12 reps
Butterfly Sit Ups 4x 15 reps
Plank Position DB Rows 3×10-12 reps + drop set
Upward Hip Thrusts – 4×20 reps
Assisted Pullups 3×10-12 reps + drop set

Sumo deadlift high pullX Band Walks

Need more help in your quest to gain lean muscle?  Work directly with Women's Fitness Expert Julie Lohre!

How to gain lean muscle female