Everyone's heard of bodybuilding - it seems like an intense fitness regime that conjures up images of people with bulging muscles, popping veins, and ripped abs. But, if we are to break it down, bodybuilding is simply the act of building your body.
Another popular misconception is that bodybuilding is reserved for people who compete in bodybuilding competitions, but this isn't the case; anyone can be a bodybuilder. Most bodybuilders don't compete and simply take up the sport to improve their fitness and physique.
Bodybuilding for Beginners
If you're keen to start bodybuilding but unsure where to begin, the easy answer is to start at the beginning. Unfortunately, with a sport like bodybuilding, you have to start from the bottom and build your way up.
Before you begin, you must have a plan and goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by bodybuilding and which areas of your body you'd like to focus on.
Once you have your goals, you must have a plan. Since you're new to bodybuilding, it's best to start slowly. When drawing up a workout plan, you must consider what will fit into your life, as you will only make progress if you're consistent. Think about your work and other commitments and see how you can fit bodybuilding in.
A good start would be to exercise three times a week for about half an hour, and as you progress, you can increase the number of days and the duration of each workout. Ending your session with about 15-20 minutes of light cardio is also helpful.
Many bodybuilders prefer to split their workouts into focus areas and reserve a day for each body part. For example, they may work out the upper body, lower body, and abs on a particular day. But how you split it, or if you split it at all, is up to you. You might want to work out your full body during each session if you're just starting.
It's important to start slow, lifting light, and increasing as you become comfortable. This allows you to ease into it and reduces the risk of injury. As a novice bodybuilder, lifting heavy can cause you to tear a muscle that will put you out of action for a long time. So, if you're impatient to see gains, rushing to lift more than you're ready for is counterproductive.
When it comes to reps, a good starting point is 8-10 reps with 2-3 sets and focus on doing two exercises for each body part.
If you've been bodybuilding for a while and do the exercises every session, you may notice a plateau in your progress. This is because your body becomes accustomed to the workouts and adapts. For muscles to grow, they have to be stressed and challenged, so changing up your routine is essential.
You can change your routine by varying your exercises and the number of reps. You should also add compound exercises into your routine, along with isolation movements. For example, you may do concentration curls, an isolated exercise, and pull-ups, a compound exercise. Isolation exercises focus on one muscle, whereas compound exercises work multiple muscles simultaneously.
Other tricks to help you increase gains include:
- Reducing your rest time between sets
- Changing your pace (lift faster or slower)
- Alternating how you grip (overhand and underhand)
- Mix up your workout routines by splitting your training and doing a full-body training
The key to progress is to keep challenging your muscles without allowing your body to become accustomed to a routine.
Nutrition and Supplements to Take to Help You Progress
As hard as you push yourself in the gym, it won't be as effective if you aren't eating the proper diet. If you're a beginner, a good starting point would be to cut out processed foods and empty, simple carbs. Instead, eat whole foods and ensure you get enough macros: protein, complex carbs, and fats.
Everyone has different nutritional requirements, so you must know how your body reacts to understand what you need.
Concerning how many meals you eat, there's much debate in the bodybuilding community. Some bodybuilders swear by eating six meals daily with one or two protein shakes between meals, while others require fewer meals. Again, everyone is different, so it's helpful to experiment to find what works for you.
It's safe to say that you should aim to eat between 3-6 meals a day. The number of calories you consume daily also depends on whether you're bulking or shredding. When you're bulking, you need more calories because you're looking to gain mass, and if you're shredding, you will need fewer calories since your focus is to lose fat.
Besides meals, most bodybuilders rely on supplements to get all the nutrition they require to power through a workout and achieve growth. Again, each bodybuilder has different needs, so the supplements they use may differ.
Still, many bodybuilders use supplements that contain protein which helps them hit this macro requirement. Other vitamins and minerals you should look for when shopping for supplements include Vitamin B3 since it aids muscle growth, Vitamin A because it supports the synthesis of protein and glycogen creation, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids since they can reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery.
Bodybuilding is a work in progress; you must be consistent and patient to see results. As a novice, start slow and eat clean. When you become more experienced, focus on challenging your muscles by changing your routine and adding complexity. Regarding nutrition, make sure you hit your macros and use supplements to meet your nutritional needs.
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- About Strength and Fitness
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- The sport of bodybuilding