Best Female Diet Plan for Building Lean Muscle

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Last updated on September 5, 2022

Diet makes up to 80 percent of your fitness journey. The right diet will shorten the period it takes you to achieve your fitness goals. On the other hand, the wrong diet will see you work out for years and never gaining the lean muscles you need. For a long time, women (as well as men) have overlooked diet and instead focused on the workout. While it is important to have a strong workout routine, diet determines your progress. Well, eat too many calories and you might end up with body fat around your waist. Eat too little calories and you will not gain any lean mass. So, we provide you a perfect balance with this lean muscle diet for female.


Do You Count Your Calories?


Before you choose the best diets to gain lean muscle mass, you need to calculate the calories you intake. It is not fun counting calories but doing so will help you attain your fitness goals fast. Today, there are many calorie calculators online, some even in the form of a smartphone app.

Your calorie intake should match your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Taking more calories than your BMR will either make you gain body fat or lean muscle depending on how much you take over your BMR. Eating calories less than your BMR will lead to weight loss. However, because as a female all you may be in need of is toning up, you can eat 20 percent under your BMR. This will lead to gains around your arms, legs, waist, and glutes.

Again, you can build lean muscle mass with a calorie deficit. While this does not mean you will go from a 20 to a size 8, body recomposition, as it is referred to, will enable you to cut body weight as you experience muscle growth. While cutting down your calories, you should consider your ‘NEAT’ expenditure. ‘NEAT’ is short for non-exercise activity expenditure and it means the calories you burn when walking around the house or just fidgeting. If you continue with your NEAT routine, you might burn more calories and gain muscle as you need.




Best Diet to Build Muscle in Females


  1. Lean Protein


The body needs amino acid to build muscles and repair the body after strenuous exercise. When you increase your protein intake, you shorten the period it takes to burn fat and gain lean muscles. Your body has to work hard to digest the protein you ingest and by doing you burn fat. Some of the lean protein sources include chicken breast, lean red meat, fish, legumes, Tofu and Mycoprotein  for the vegetarian option.


  1. Green Vegetables


Because you do not need to eat more calories when you are trying to tone up, green vegetables can help you cut down your calorie intake. These green vegetables are also packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K. the vegetables are also packed with chromium, a micronutrient that helps your body make better use of carbs. Chromium also helps you avoid insulin spike when you take simple carbs such as white bread.


  1. Eat Complex Carbs


While cutting carbs, which are calorie dense, helps you cut down your calorie intake and consequently your weight, complex carbohydrates should be your friend if you are interested in muscle building. Carbs will power your workouts making it easy for you to build lean muscle mass.

While you should take more carbs in your diet, it is recommended that you stick to complex carbs as they are digested slowly in your body helping you avoid insulin spikes. Insulin spikes are dreaded because they will make you feel tired and consequently make you lower your NEAT and calorie expenditure. However, they are great when you need a quick energy rush.


Foods To Avoid When Building Muscle


While there are no specific foods that you should avoid, you should always go for healthy options when you are picking your food items. For instance, a plate of fries will give you more calories than a good serving of chicken breast. As such, you need to avoid these calorie-dense foods and instead go for wholemeal carbs that leave you satisfied throughout the day. When you consume nutritionally rich food, you achieve your daily macros early in the day.

Some foods to avoid include:


  1. Pasta


A plate of pasta is healthy but it is not easy to control your portions. When taking pasta, it is not easy to control your portions and you might end up going overboard. This is especially so when you are taking spaghetti Bolognese or any other sweet treats. If you love a good plate of pasta, limit the days you eat pasta.


  1. Deep-Fried Food


Deep-fried food isn’t good for you. During cooking, the calorie content of the food increases significantly. For instance, baked potatoes contain fewer calories than the same amount of fries. Again, when you reduce your intake of deep-fried foods, you reduce ‘bad; fat in your body and consequently improve your health.


  1. Sugar Treats


You need to stay away from chocolate as much as you can. It can be tempting for females to stay away from chocolate but reducing its intake will help you cut down your calories. You can treat yourself now and then as long as you do not go overboard.

You can either take small quantities of these sweet treats or save them to treat yourself every once a week or so. While at it, avoid any other calorie-dense foods and instead go for healthy options such as brown rice, brown bread or chicken breasts. If you can control what you eat, you can ultimately enjoy any meal you like; just ensure you reach your daily macros including your daily protein and calorie intake and be sure not to overeat your BMR.


Nutrition Tips to Note


Ultimately, you do not need a ripped female body if you are not healthy. As such, go for healthy carbs and healthy food options. This will help you gain muscle and stay healthy. You should create diet plans that include ‘cheat meal’ or a sweet treat as a reward for being so disciplined with your goals.

If you forget the list of food items to take or to avoid, remember that you need to watch your calorie intake. Failure to watch your calorie intake will mean no results irrespective of the strength training workouts you engage in.


Create a Meal Plan


A good meal plan coupled with a good workout plan will help you lose weight and gain curves in all the right places. You can take the junk and lose weight and gain lean muscle mass. However, junk foods do not satisfy you for long and as such, you will be hungry the whole day. Instead, fill yourself up with vegies, healthy fats, sensible carbs, and lean proteins. To ensure you can follow a strict diet to gain lean muscle mass, create a meal plan and follow it.

You should also add thermogenic foods in your diet. These are foods that boost your metabolism helping you shed body fat. Because you might not like chili or may not be able to take green tea at intervals throughout the day, you should look for an effective fat burner to add to your meal plan.

You May Also Like: Best Fat Burning Supplements for Women




There are so many foods that can help you in lean mass gain. Most of them are packed with proteins to help your body recover post-workout. However, you should also take carbohydrates and fats to increase your strength and persistence during a workout. Even better, choose foods that give you other nutrients such as vitamins and micronutrients. This way, you will be fit and healthy.

Good nutrition should match good workout. So, ensure you work out consistently to gain lean muscle mass. You also need to assess your progress monthly to see whether the meal and workout plans are working or some changes are needed.

Karla Isaac is an ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) Certify Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach (ISSA CNC) with over 10 years of experience in Fitness and Nutritional one on one personal coaching. She has lived, work and study in California for 14 years. Karla’s passion for fitness began when she was 22, due to feeling unhealthy and overweight. Ever since she’s been passionate to change her life and help others transform their lives by making health and wellness accessible, so they can achieve their goals for a healthier and a more active life style.

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