Bodybuilding 101 – Muscular Fitness for Beginners
Developing a slim, muscular physique is a popular goal – but one that can often seem out of reach, especially to beginners.
Bodybuilding is an activity that revolves around a number of basic principles. By following these basic principles you can greatly increase your chances of success.
1. You don’t grow in the gym:
90% of bodybuilding is diet and having JYM pre workout. This can be the hardest lesson to learn. You are what you eat, and you have to eat big to get big.
This doesn’t mean chowing down on burgers and fries, but you do need to increase your daily caloric intake if you want to see increases in size. This is doubly true for people who are naturally thin and have a hard time putting on weight. Concentrate on lean proteins, i.e chicken, tuna, eggs amp; lean red meat and complex carbs, like brown rice amp; pasta, potatoes, whole-grain breads/cereals, oats etc.
You should aim for 5-6 small meals each day rather than 3 larger ones. This allows for a constant flow of nutrients throughout the day and makes it easier to consume a higher number of calories.
You grow while you are asleep, so aim for 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
2. Keep it Simple:
There is absolutely no need to “customize” your routine when you are starting out. There are plenty of great workouts tailored to beginners that have been developed by fitness amp; bodybuilding experts – the 5×5 and Rippetoe’s Starting Strength are two of the most popular. These workouts focus on the core bodybuilding exercises that will give you the greatest gains and even give you a week-by-week progression to follow.
Regardless, all good workouts are centered around big compound (multi-joint) exercises such as the squat, deadlift, bench press, row and pull-up. These exercises activate the greatest number of muscle fibres and are the most effective way of developing whole-body strength and size.
Avoid all isolation moves. Don’t waste time in the gym doing forearm curls or trying to feel the burn in the long head of the biceps – small stimulus = small results. You want to focus on exercises that involve the movement of a lot of weight – your arms will get a great workout from their involvement as synergists in rows, presses etc. If you like, add on a few sets of heavy barbell curls at the end of your workout.
3. Intensity amp; Progression
Building strength is all about progressive overload. If your maximum lift is 100 lb x 10 reps then your body will have no need to adapt (grow) if every week you continue to lift that 100 lb 10 times. In order to produce a growth stimulus you must do one of either two things:
Increase the Load or Increase the Repetitions
By increasing the weight you lift, or by increasing the number of times you lift it, you are placing a stress on your muscles that they have not experienced before – you should aim to increase either the weight you lift or the number of repetitions every single workout.
It can be very helpful to keep track of your workouts and your progression from week to week in a logbook.
4. Work out your legs
Don’t forget about your legs! The temptation to solely work the ‘beach muscles’ can be overwhelming for beginners to bodybuilding. Endless curls and benchpresses not only leads to an unproportional body, but it actually cheats you out of greater gains.
Your legs contain the largest muscles in your body and when you perform lower body exercises (such as the squat), these large muscles release growth hormones that lead to whole-body muscle gains. So do squats. Your biceps will thank you for it.
5. Stick with it!
You will not become the next Arnold overnight. However, with a little bit of persistence and dedication you will see results!