Female Hardgainer

Question (part 1):

Goal:  Female Muscle Gain

I have been doing weight lifting for the 5-6 months and I am going crazy because I haven't gained much, just small tiny bit.

I have tried many different work out, splits, full body work out, full body and split work out same week different days and nothing is happening. what can I do?

Answer (part 1):

Unfortunately, I cannot give you a thorough answer if I know nothing about you. Because of this, I highly recommend that you first read our pages on muscle building and muscle building diets for more guidance.

After you've had a moment to take a look over those pages, please email me back with more information, such as age, height, weight, actual exercises, diet, sleep, etc. Thanks!

Here's the links to the two pages mentioned above:

Question (part 2):

About me:

My height is 5'2 and I weight 49Kg (107.8 lbs.)

I do shift work and is very hard to eat every 2-3 hours but what I have been doing is : when I wake up the first thing I have  is protein shake, then I will have 2 slices of brown bread with cheese ( I normally buy cheeses high on protein, like organic cheeses and stuff like that) sometime a would have some tofu with my toast, natural yogurt and a low fat cappuccino.

In my coffee break I would have some peanuts and a green tea. After work I go to the gym, after the gym I would have a protein shake or dinner with some chicken, tuna or pasta with vegetables (from the gym home takes like 20 minutes or so) so that's  my diet.

My work out looks like this:

Full body workout: 10 minutes bike, lat pull down, seated row, chest press machine, incline bench press press, rope triceps pushdown, dips on a bench, DB curls, shoulder press, wide stance squats in the smith machine, stiff legged deadlift and lunges or leg press, hanging leg raises, crunches; I do 3 sets/8 reps.

Day off.

After the day off I do lower lower body work out, 10 minutes bike, smith machine squat and wide stance squat, stiff legged deadlift, stationary lunges, leg curl, leg extension and leg press, hanging leg raises, crunches and 10 minutes interval cross trainer, 3sets/8 reps.

Next day I do upper body : lat pull down, seated row, one arm row, chest press machine, incline bench press, incline flies ,Db curls, rope triceps push down, dips on a bench, lying triceps extension, shoulder press, military press, 10 minutes interval cross trainer.


As I mention before I do shift work so I try to work out around that, I am a skinny fat body type, so I kind of don't want to do loads of cardio because every time I do more than minutes cardio my body looks very unfit.

I have tried loads of workout and my upper body seems to be responding better than my lower body.

I haven't manage to put on any muscle on my lower body, what am I doing wrong? 

Another thing I always sleep between 7/9 hours, sometimes maybe more.

Answer (part 2):

It sounds like your Situation is a Classic Case of under Eating

In order to gain muscle mass a person (man or female) must eat more calories than they consume. For the amount of weight training and cardio you do, consuming a surplus of calories will be difficult.

Your diet you mentioned is severely lacking in complex carbohydrates which are the main fuel for your body.

Not Enough Complex Carbohydrates in Diet = Inability to Gain Muscle Mass

Even if you work a busy job, complex carbohydrates which are best consumed along with protein and low-moderate fat for your situation are easy to add to your diet. There are numerous supplement bars out there such as Powerbars and Cliff bars as well as classic granola bars which contain oats which are one of best complex carbohydrates.

After your workouts you must consume a large amount of calories in around a 4:1 carbohydrate : protein ratio food or preferably liquid supplement. A regular powerbar performance has around this ratio (4.5 :1) and there are numerous post workout supplements.

Even low fat weight gainer products would be good to consume after your workouts which are the most important time to consume a high calorie meal.

Your Inability to Gain Muscle is Most Likely 90% Diet

Your weight training and cardio program sounds pretty good.

Ditch the elliptical trainer and go for the stairmaster or stepmill to get added muscle building benefits for your legs during your short high intensity cardio workout.

Make sure you change your sets and reps scheme periodically to avoid a training plateau.

Follow the form tips on the best leg exercises (http://www.askthetrainer.com/best-leg-exercises/) page very closely and you should get more benefit out of your leg exercises.

Pack granola bars and eat balanced (protein/carb/healthy fat) meals every 2.5 or 3 hours and you should be able to put on some leg muscle. It is always a good idea to measure your body fat so you know if your added calories and/or training is having the desired effects.

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