What should a woman eat to gain muscle? (With DIET PLAN)

diet for gain muscle

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M.D.

¿Muscle gain? Many women want to have a lean, petite body. How doesn't love some arm definition, muscular legs, and a lifted butt. Unfortunately, unlike men, women focus too much on losing weight by burning fat, and when they do this, they also lose a lot of muscle mass.

Nutritionists recommend establishing a surplus of energy to optimize muscle mass hypertrophy. This increase in calories should be combined with an appropriate intake of macronutrients and resistance training to improve muscle gain and avoid fat accumulation.

diet for muscle gain

Primarily, women have less testosterone, which keeps them from getting the required definition, and then after following fad and restrictive diets, they just make things worse for themselves.

You must have to know that if you want to have a lean body, you would need to take some supplements. That's only to rip some capital off of you. If you're going to tone your body, you need to fix a lot of problems, first of which is your diet. 

Table of Contents

How to diet for muscle growth 


Calculate the calories you have to eat

Before starting any diet you should first calculate the calories you should eat to gain muscle mass.
There are many calculators on the internet that will give you precise information.
I always recommend using the Harris-Benedict calculator, which I consider to be the most accurate.

Track the calories you eat

This point is very important, because you may be eating fewer calories than you need, so you will not gain muscle mass.

Or maybe, on the contrary, you're taking in too many calories, which will lead to you gaining body fat.

I always recommend using apps like MyFitnessPal. You only have to enter what you eat and it will automatically tell you the calories you are taking in.


Eat at least 1,7 grams of protein per kilogram

Women who want to build muscle mass should eat 1.7-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Your diet must include high-quality protein as it provides everything to gain some muscle mass. 

Eat 6 times a day

To gain muscle mass it is critical to give the body the nutrients it needs. Try having a small meal every 2 or 3 hours.

Remember that at every meal you have to take in protein, if you don't, your goal of gaining muscle mass will be taken away.

Have pre and post-workout meals

According to the Journal of Nutrients, Always have pre-workout and post-workout meals to build muscles and recover fast.

Ingest protein supplements 

People with a busy schedule may take protein supplements to see the desired changes in the body.

Eat high-fiber carbs

Eat more fruits and veggies for high-fiber carbs. You can get enough vitamins, minerals, and other healthy ingredients from fruits and vegetables. 

Avoid alcohol 

According to research, too much alcohol adds calories and ultimately causes weight gain.

Avoid junk food

For a good muscle mass, you need to pay heed to your nutrients intake. Carbs, fats, and protein are all essential for muscle gain. Don't eat junk food. For vegetarian, quinoa and soybeans are excellent options. 

Sleep a lot

Try to sleep as much as you can. It is important because the muscle growth hormone level becomes highest when you sleep.

Visit the doctor

If you are still not gaining any muscle, visit a doctor. 

Example of a muscle gain and fat loss diet for women

Now I'm going to give you an example of a one-day diet to gain muscle mass. I'm not going to give you the amounts you have to eat because you have to do the specific calculation for your body as I indicated before.

You can vary the foods to your liking while always respecting the macronutrients your body needs.


  • A cup of oatmeal.
  • Two boiled or grilled eggs.
  • One apple.

Mid-morning snack

  • Tofu and lettuce sandwich.
  • A Greek yogurt.


  • A roasted sweet potato.
  • Two grilled chicken breast fillets.
  • Two slices of pineapple.

Pre-workout meal

  • A bowl of rice.
  • Two cans of tuna.
  • One apple.

Mid-afternoon Snack

  • Skim milkshake with strawberries and a banana.


  • A large salad with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.
  • A large piece of wild salmon.
  • One pear.

Remember that to increase the feeling of satiety you should drink a lot of water during the day.

Foods to gain muscle mass

Enlisted are foods that you should add to your diet to help you gain muscle mass. 


Lean Beef

If you want something full of protein, lean beef should be your go-to. A juicy steak will help you build all the muscles that you need. According to a 2014 study from the Journal of Clinical Medicine, a diet that includes lean meat is ideal for enhancing muscle mass.

You need to combine a healthy protein-rich diet alongside some strength training to reach your goal. Not only that, but lean beef also helps you build your physical performance immensely.


The protein you consume also needs to be absorbed by your body. For which you need a food that is rich in bromelain. Bromelain helps dietary protein to be engaged in the muscles, and pineapples are full of it.

Moreover, pineapples also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can easily soothe your muscle aches. Pineapples are great in fruit salads or on their own too.

With their sweetness, you would be able to avoid any sugar cravings, too.

Wild Salmon 

Omega-3 fatty acids are the best and the most recommended solution for your lean muscles. It also boosts your metabolism and energizes the body.

Most women do not take the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which results in weak tissues and low metabolism. Salmon is one of the most nutritious fish that contains high mega-3 content and boosts your metabolism.

Furthermore, a six once salmon offer 350 calories, 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and 34 grams of protein. According to the Journal of Nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids improve muscle health and muscle strength during exercise.


Although protein builds your muscles, no one can deny the importance of healthy fats when for muscle health. 

Researchers have found that fat consumption leads to growth hormones to build significant tissue, and luckily avocados are the home to healthy fats.

Avocado contains potassium in abundance that prevents muscle cramping post-workout. It is also very helpful in boosting cell and muscle functioning.

One small serving of avocado fruit contains 20 different vitamins that are essential for your health.  


Chickpeas are the most underrated food item for muscle building. You have to understand in a way that a half cup of chickpeas contains 7.5 grams of protein along with useful nutrients.

Not only protein, but these are also an excellent source of fats, fiber, and healthy carbs. This food provides almost everything that you need to build your muscles.


With the combination of resistance training and the richness of protein in milk, women can gain muscle mass. Milk has fast and slow digestive proteins, as well as healthy fats and carbs.

All of which are ideal for keeping the body fit and active. As noted by a research in 2010 by an Exercise Metabolism Research Group, milk can also actively help in fat-loss and strength gain.

You can make milkshakes with strawberries and use it as a post-workout drink.

Chicken Breast 

Who doesn't love a good piece of chicken breast? If you are looking forwards to gain muscle, then you know what to have for dinner.

Not only does the protein in the Chicken breast help you gain mass but also has plenty of vitamin b6, which is essential for you if you are staying active.

Chicken breast can make a good dinner with a side of rice and some steamed veggies, or enjoy a nice Caesar salad for lunch.


These small flakes are full of so much goodness that you would be alarmed. First of all, if you have them, for breakfast, the carbs and high fiber will keep you full the entire day, so you don't need to worry about getting hungry.

They are also low in fat, so you would not gain any fat, but burn it. Moreover, it has the essential minerals and vitamins that your body needs to gain muscle

Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes will help up bring back all the energy that you need. They have low carbs and are full of potassium, folic acid, copper, and much more. When you have them, they help you boost the muscle gaining process.


What comes in your mind when you hear eggs? Of course, a lot of protein. Eggs are an enormous source of protein. Eggs should be the compulsory food item in your daily breakfast when it comes to gain some muscle naturally.

Eating 1-2 eggs every day will induce torrents of energy and power in your body. Aside from 8g of protein, a regular egg also contains essential nutrients and vitamins.

The protein that we can find in the eggs is possibly the best protein with the highest nutritional value and a utilizable type of protein.

It contains leucine that helps in muscle building, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Today. Try to add eggs in your daily meal as you experience no side effects.  

Fruits and Vegies 

Who doesn't love a good plate food of delicious fruits and vegetables? Even though in considerably small amounts, all fruits and veggies contain protein, and that helps you in muscle gain.

The vegetables that have prominent quantities of protein are spinach, broccoli, and other green vegetables and also potatoes, mushrooms, and Brussel sprouts.

To kill a sweet tooth, grab some cupcakes or chocolate to help you but the cravings; however, you should avoid doing that because it is going to kill your progress massively. If you want to have something sweet, have fruit.

Berries are ideal to have because they are less in calories, and their anti-inflammatory properties will help you ease down muscle aches.

Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber and work like a charm when it comes to cleaning down your bowl. They are refreshing and can add a variety to your diet. You would never get enough of them.


If you get tired of overeating meat, then you have tofu to save the day. It is full of protein, and it comes from soy milk. You can use this in salads, or as the main course or as s side, that is totally up to you.

But to build up your muscles, it's an excellent alternative for vegans and vegetarians, too. The best part is that you can even make it at home very easily.

Reed Mangels, a Ph.D. wrote in his book, "Simply Vegan" also lists tofu in the vegan options for protein alternatives. He also included broccoli, zucchini, and chickpeas to the list and said it is ideal to use when one wants to increase muscle.

 Dried Fruit  

Nuts have a lot of protein. Only with a handful, you get about 7-9 grams of protein. However, you need to be careful of roasted and raw nuts and dried fruits because heating them caused them to lose their properties.

So, make sure to have them raw or blenched, you can add them into smoothies, salads, or oatmeal. They can be an excellent late-night snack as well as a quick on-the-go breakfast. 

 Greek Yogurt 

Everyone loves dairy and its product because of the protein and whey protein it provides. Greek yogurt differs significantly from regular yogurt.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Greek yogurt offers more protein than that of regular yogurt. This excessive amount of protein is beneficial in building the muscles.

Greek yogurt has many other health benefits, as well. People love to eat it as a snack. It is full of the slow-digesting protein, so; you should try to eat before you sleep.


Soybeans are also one of the most underrated food items you can ever find. You will love to eat this food if you know the hidden treasures in it. Half a cup of soybeans offers 14g of protein along with several useful vitamins and minerals.

Soybean contains enough iron to support the body. Iron deficiency is common in women because of blood loss during menstruation.

Therefore, soybeans are the excellent foods that you need to add to your meal. It provides the body with protein as well as iron.


Banana is a healthy choice for the muscles. This carbs dense food is very nutritious, which fills with essential nutrients to boost the muscle's health. If you want to build muscle mass, energy-dense food is most important.

According to PLoS One, banana is cost-effective food with various nutrients agents. Because of the excellent source of potassium and carbohydrate, this fruit plays a significant role in the athlete's body performance.

It will help in the muscle glycogen storage, which ends the muscle breakdown procedure. Starts the day right with banana will also improve the body electrolyte balance. 


High protein food is essential to gain muscle mass. According to Nutrition Data, shrimps have an outrageous amount of leucine, which is the essential amino acid for the human body.

This amino acid plays a crucial role in the muscle's development. This omega three enriched food is one of the healthy choices to gain muscle mass and consummates the body protein requirement.

Shrimp omega-3 content also reduces muscle inflammation and delays onset muscle soreness chances. Shrimps can be grilled, bake, boil, and quick addition to any meal which comes with low calories.

Workout tips to Gain Muscles for Women 

Till now, I have discussed the food that you must eat if you want to gain some muscle. This section of the article will discuss some of the proven tips that you should keep in mind.


how to eat for hypertrophy

We hope you gained the information you need. You should always be careful about your diet and not go very extreme with it. Do not follow fad diets, listen to your body, and eat healthy meals to help you lose fat and gain muscle.

Moreover, you also need to start training, because as reported by a study in 2012, resistance training helps maximize the benefits of dietary proteins that you consume.

Eat healthy, train hard, and keep shining. Your body is precious, so don't damage it with harmful acts.

If you want more tips to improve your body do not hesitate to visit our fitness section.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://buildyourbody.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Nataniel-Josue-Alvarez.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]The article was reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josué Alvarez. Medical Doctor graduated from Medical School Universidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de Miranda. Área Ciencias de la Salud. •Awarded winner IV Science Fair of Research Methodology - April 2012 •Recipient of Asesor Estudiantil Institucional Scholarship •Thesis: Relationship Between Parasitosis, Anemia and Hygiene Habits in patients aged 20 yo 70 years old in Amuay, municipality of Los Taques, Falcón State, Venezuela •Thesis: Intervention Plan in Rural Healthcare in Monte Verde and La Puntica sectors, of the Amuay Community, Los Taques parish, Los Taques municipality, of the Falcón State, Venezuela. During the period March 2018 - July 2018[/author_info] [/author]