By Echelle, Pure Matters

Women often want to train and condition their bodies to look more toned, defined, and strong. They see guys getting muscular definition and believe it’s out of reach for them. Not true! Here’s some insight into how women can build muscle -- and why it happens faster for men.

Don’t be scared of your strength
In order to build up your muscles, you first have to tear them down. That’s right! Lifting heavier weights will create tears in the muscle fibers, and when they repair, muscles grow.

Separate the muscles in your body into large groups (legs & glutes, back & shoulders, abdominals & arms) so you can work out a new group each day. Here’s a suggested schedule:

Monday: legs & glutes,
Tuesday: back & shoulders
Wednesday: abdominals & arms

After the targeted body parts have been strength trained, do some cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes or more. The complete workout should be approximately one hour. You’ll be exercising each muscle group and giving the group a break in between. Your goal should be to increase the weight by five pounds every few weeks. The key is to set small, measurable, and attainable goals -- and follow through.

Besides looking leaner and stronger, strength training benefits women by increasing bone density and increasing joint health. Plus, it helps us feel a lot more confident about our bodies.

Don’t be scared of resting
Give yourself a break. Choose which two days during the week are going to be your ‘chill out’ days and then do just that. You need to be disciplined about your rest time too!

Don’t be scared of food
Eat lots of protein, fruits, and veggies. And because you’re working your muscles hard and strengthening your joints, don’t forget to take your fish oil and other important vitamins and minerals. It’s also important that you remember to hydrate. As you become more and more engaged in your workout routine, you will also become more in tune with what your body needs; you will see the difference it is making and your body will share its innate wisdom with you. You’ll begin to eat in order to fuel the magnificent system that is your body instead of just eating to feel full or because something looks tempting. You’ll naturally want to feed your body food that is good for it. Every calorie matters and muscles need the calories in order to grow. So make those calories count.

Why it’s easier for men
Everything described above applies to men as well. Because of the difference in hormones men and women have, men will see a dramatic difference earlier in their training. So, women, if you fear that you will ‘she hulk’ by strength training, please don’t. Your feminine estrogen will prevent that, I promise!