An excerpt from my London Personal Training Group Q&A on Female Figure / Female Bodybuilding.
Question: “I’m 23 years old and have been going to the gym for the past 8 years, but over the last 2 years my goals have changed. I am so desperate to do female figure bodybuilding but am too scared to try the diets because I put on weight easily and don’t want to take that chance. My boyfriend is a bodybuilder so my training is sorted. But he isn’t 100% sure about female nutrition so I thought I’d come to you for some advise. At the moment i’m doing 30-40 minutes of cardio in the morning with my heart rate sitting at 130-140 as this is what I’ve apparently been doing wrong – getting my heart rate up to 160 and thinking that is good. Then i do weight training 4 times a week. It is just the nutrition that i need a bit of guidence with. I’m so scared to up my protein intake because i see that as more calories which means more to burn off.. hmm.”
Answer: First of all I don’t quite understand this 130 versus 150bpm heart rate thing. Why is it bad? Are you trying to get leaner, then if so its not bad, and if you’re trying to put muscle on then cardio every day is a real no no.
Secondly, what are you goals? Muscle mass or leaness?
Either way, you should eat like a male bodybuilder with the the one exception being that you need slightly less protein relative to bodyweight. Perhaps 1gm per lb, wheres many men will thrive on much more than that.
Also remember the thermogenic effect of feeding. Protein calories are not the same as other calories. Approximately 30% of your protein calories are used in the simple act of digestion.
Continued: Well.. the whole bpm thing has always confused me because some personal trainers have told me to stick in the ‘fat burning zone’ and others have told me the opposit. Ok, will take your advise on it.
Monica Brant-Peckham is my idol in this figure bodybuilding. Wow, i love that look! So increasing the protein is what it’s going to have to be I see. Cos the training is there – it’s just the nutrition that is lacking protein.
I currently weigh about 65kg and this is a basic meal plan for me:
7am – normally 40 min cardio (which i need to cut down on)
8am, oats & 3 egg whites
10:30am, 1/3 cup ff cottage cheese + 1 organic oatcake +1 fruit
1pm – 100g chicken/turkey o 1 tin tuna. 1/2 cup rice/potato/egg pasta
3:30pm – half tin of tuna or Metrx shake (10g protein)
5:30pm – weights (only 4 times a week)
Universal iso-whey (20g protein) straight after workout
8pm – (4/5) egg white omlette with green veg
Sometimes i’ll swap egg whites for yoghurt too. I also cut carbs for lunch on the days that i don’t do weight training (i’ve just started to do that)
So all in all i’m getting about 90g protein in a day – I guess that’s not enough now is it!
This group is excellent and so is your personal website. Well Done!!!!
Answer: Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate that.
If your goal is to add muscle to the level of a Monica Brant then you would be better off shooting for a minimum of 150gms of protein per day. You especially need a heck of a lot more protein in the morning.
Your diet looks pretty good if you can just increase the protein, and I would also take out the oatmeal in the morning (and maybe the starchy carbs at lunch), and replace them with 2/3 whole eggs at breakfast and something like red meat at lunch.
Finally, post workout add 50 gms of vitargo to your shake.
Do all these and change nothing else and I guarantee you’ll add noticeable muscle within the next couple of months.