Muscle Building for Women: 5 Tips for Women Hardgainers

Here’s a fantastic post from a good friend of mine, Joyce  Cherrier. She’s 48 years old and look at how she’s got a body many teenagers will kill for!

Ladies, I encourage you to get inspired and pay attention to these 5 muscle building tips for women. At first glance you may think they are all basic or simple, but often it’s the basic principles that are the most important – and also the ones we usually fail to apply!

Read it, absorb it, then do it!


by Joyce Cherrier

Sometimes I think there’s a misconception about women with muscle. First of all, unless you are a genetic wonder, most women have to work hard and smart to gain the bit they have.

Muscle in the right places on a female is incredibly feminine, giving her wider shoulders for symmetry, a full chest, shapely legs and a great butt.

Being a hard-gainer myself and now 48 years old, I have found some tried and true basic rules that have worked for me over the years to gain strength and some muscle size.

Joyce Cherrier

1. Eat lots of high quality protein. At least 1 gram for every pound of body weight. It’s not always easy to do, but really important! I love eggs (and yes, sometimes that includes the yokes). You’ll have to decide if dairy is for you, but personally I do like to include greek yogurt. I also make nuts and seeds a big part of my diet along with lean cuts of meat.

2. Eat a bit less and do less cardio. If I do too much cardio, which I consider more than 30 – 45 minutes a day, I look “stringy” and all my friends ask if I’ve been ill. I do enough for heart health and increase it for a day or so after a particularly indulgent cheat day. During the other 6 days I try not to eat so much that I have to make up for it with tons of cardio to keep my body-fat in check.

3. Concentrate on compound moves. Moves like the bench press, squats, cleans, overhead presses, pull-ups and the like require bigger, more powerful motor units. Exercises like dumbbell bicep curls require smaller motor units. The fibers of bigger motor units gain size more than smaller ones. It’s really that simple.

4. Change it up. Muscle adapts very quickly. And we humans bore easily. Each workout has to be the best you can do and always changing. Mix in a variety of exercises along with alternating really heavy days with easier days. Always keep your body guessing.

5. Rest. Recovery is so important for the hard-gainer. Not only is this when muscle repair and growth happens, but it’s also very important leading into your next training day. When I have less than 7 hours my training seriously suffers. The intensity and endurance is just not available. It also affects your immune system. There is nothing more frustrating than having some great days of training and then getting hit with a bad cold that sets you back a week. Make getting enough sleep a part of your training schedule.

It’s important to keep in mind that although there’s basic ideas and tips, each one of us has to become an expert about our own bodies. Journaling your progress after trying a new exercise, food or supplement is great way to find a pattern of success that works for you. Continually search for knowledge to keep yourself informed and motivated.

Get Free Coaching from Joyce!

If you need motivation and would like to get started with a plan specifically for you today, you can join free here and receive personal coaching from Joyce as part of your membership. Go there now,  take advantage of this offer and take your first steps towards gaining muscle and achieving the youthful, beautiful, sexy body you deserve!


Want to see more women hardgainers who are able to transform their bodies using the same muscle building principles shared here? Read their Muscle Building journey (with before and after pictures!) by clicking below.


Founder & Fitness Nerd

Founder of Muscle4Hardgainers. Loves to experiment and teach others the best ways to reach their physical goals.

  1. Great article Joyce! You did a great job getting in shape.
    I also have to cut back on the cardio if i am dieting down.I tend to lose to much muscle mass! So i just up the protein and only allow good carbs to be consumed.
    Keep up the work.
    Thanks, Jodie