Beginner Bodybuilding Guide

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Bodybuilding For Beginners

STICK TO THE BASICS. A beginning bodybuilder should stick with the basic free-weight exercises and forget about using machines and cables for a while. Such equipment definetly has its uses but only when your musculature becomes more advanced. It is the free-weight execrsises which builds your basic foundation.

We call it training because we're not just building muscle, we're developing the skills involved for getting the most out of the weights. By keeping this in mind, you can also keep your motivation. This is not to say you need an excessive amount of sets. I recommend two different exercises of three to four sets each per body part, but they must be heavy free-weight compound movements. Its hard to beat the bench press for chest, bent rows and pulldowns for back, and squats and hacksquats for legs. Remember. you dont need a large variety of exercises because you are trying to build a foundation. After a foundation is built, you can perfect a muscle group such as"striations in chest and legs" by using cables and specialized machines. Always remember to be patient and to keep up your motivation, set short-term goals for yourself such as putting 25 pounds on your benchpress in 2 months. Keep in mind that beginners need to stick to the basics. Doing the proper exercises at the proper times will ensure you will get the most out of your training. For example, You will gain mass in the chest a lot quicker by using the basic bench press and dumbell press instead of cable crossovers and dumbell pull overs. The latter are used for perfection of the foundation. Consitency and determination, along with proper exercise will help you attain your goals.

Below is a list of the most FAQ's by beginner bodybuilders just click on the question that relates to your concern.

  1. How many times per week should I train each bodypart?
  2. How many exercises should I do per bodypart?
  3. How many sets and reps should I do per exercise?
  4. How soon after I start should I see gains in muscle size?
  5. Should I do the same routines as the Pro's?
  6. Is it necessary to work out 8 hours per day in order to build mass?
  7. Can I still eat normal foods?
  8. Is it better to have a training partner?
  9. Do supplements really work?
  10. Which supplements should I take to put on mass?
  11. Should I take Carbs and Proteins before or after my workout?
  12. How many grams of carbs should I consume per day?
  13. Ive been working out for months, why am I not getting bigger?
  14. Im at a plateau, how do I get past it?
  15. Should I combine aerobics into my bodybuilding routine?
How many times per week should I train each bodypart?
You should try to train each bodypart at least twice per week. Muscle deterioration starts 48 to 72 hours after the muscle is idle. Try not to train each part any less than twice per week. Some people can train a part up to three times per week and do just fine. People are different, and different people respond to different types of routines. Its more of a trial and error, but twice per week is normal for most people.

How many exercises should I do per bodypart?
You should try to do at least 2 different exercises per bodypart. Beginners should stick to only 2 exercises and they should be basic exercises. After a basic foundation is built, then go on to more exercises which will define the bodypart. Remember to stick to the basics as a beginner You are just wasting you time doing cable crossovers when you should be doing the basic benchpress.

How many sets and reps should I do per exercise?
When a person is just starting out, it is wise not to do too many sets per excercise. Young builders tend to overtrain and they have the mentality that the more they train the bigger they will get. This is a fallacy because muscle growth occurs when the muscle is at rest. you need to rest your muscles a lot more than you train them. The amount of reps you do should be in the range of 8 to 10 per set. Try to do at least eight but no more than 10. If you can do more than 10 reps or 10 reps very easily with a particular amount of weight, then the weight is to light and should be increased. If you cant achieve at least 8 reps with a particular amount of weights then the weight is too heavy and should be decreased. You should do 3 or 4 sets per exercise.

How soon after I start should I see gains in muscle size?
This question is probably the most difficult to answer due to the different body types of individuals. People respond differently to weightlifting. Some gain quickly while others take so long to see any results. The time it takes to see muscle gains depends on many factors such as diet, routine,sleep, and supplementation. If any of these are off the path, then your results will be effected. Body type is a factor which cant be altered but can be dealt with. Usually larger body frames tend to grow faster than smaller ones. When I say body frame, I mean bone size and not body height. Smaller frames just may have to work much harder to achieve the same results. "Thats life". Also, if you are a shorter person, muscle gain is usually faster than for a taller person.

Should I do the same routines as the Pros
No, the Pros do the routines they do because they are at an advanced level. You should not try to do the same. Contrary to popular belief, all Pro Bodybuilders are taking some type of Steroid or Growth Hormone, to aid in improving muscle size. Steroids and Growth Hormone both have anti-catabolic properties which limits muscle deterioration during intense workouts and provides for an extremely fast recovery after the workout. Natural bodybuilders cannot subject their bodies to the type of torture that Pros put their bodies through and expect to grow. You will need to give your body plenty of rest after workouts. Most Pros do not have a regular full time job other than bodybuilding. Most are paid to workout and have the time to spend a substantial amount of time in the gym. Most normal people can't do this.

Is it necessary to workout 8 hours per day in order to see results?
No, Like a said above, Pro bodybuilders do this because they get paid to workout, most do not have a regular job. The reason that they can workout for so long is because of the supplements they are using whether it be Steroids or GH, both of which are anti-catabolics. Beginner bodybuilders only need to workout from 1 to 1 1/2 hrs per day max. Anymore than that usually means that the person is overtraining. You should be able to get in a full workout in that amount of time. (of course if you spend a lot of time talking to friends and resting, it could take a lot longer) You should limit your rest to as little time as possible between sets which is usually the time it takes for your partner to complete his or her set. You don't want your muscles to cool down until you're done.

Can I still eat normal foods?
Well this depends on what you call normal. You are not limited to eating just herbs, nuts and wheat, you can and should continue to eat chicken, steak, fish, any types of vegetables and fruit. Just limit the intake. You may want to leave the fast food restaurants alone if you want to build your perfect shrine. Junk food period should be a thing of the past for bodybuilders. Don't get me wrong, you may have these things once in while, actually you should eat them once in a while just to keep you sanity, but do it with self control. The only exception to this is that some bodybuilders who are having trouble putting on weight may want to eat more of these type of things just to add a few extra calories. In this case, I see nothing wrong with as long as your metabolism can handle it. Also try to eat smaller meals more frequently rather than larger ones, this will keep up your metabolism and increase slower ones.

Is it better to have a training partner?
This all depends on your individual needs. It is nice to have a partner to push you to get that extra rep or to convince you that you really need to get out of bed and go to the gym, but there are some partners that are lazy and are reuluctant to try different things. This is the type of partner that you do not want, they will only hinder you efforts. If you can find a partner that will be in it 100%, willing to complete a workout when he's tired, willing to do that extra rep, and willing to try new things, then a partner can make a world of difference. One of the hardest things to do is to find a motivated partner and one that will stick with it.

Do supplements really work?
Some supplements do actually work but most dont. If all the supplements worked as well as the manufactures claimed, everyone would be musclebound. Unfortunatly, companies make millions selling bogus products to unsuspecting buyers. A good rule of thumb is that if a claim of a supplement sounds too good to be true then it is. There are some supplements which are available which aid somewhat in the musclebuilding process but they are far and few. If you do find a supplement which does work for you, cycle it and stick with it. You may click here to go to my Supplement Review Page to get non-biased reviews on supplements which I have personally tried or know someone who has.

What supplements should I take to put on mass?
Please click here to go to my Supplement Review Page for a complete non-biased view of supplements which work and those which are definetly not worth trying.

Should I eat carbohydrates and proteins before or after my workout?
You should do a combination of both. Even though you may eat enough carbs and proteins througout the day, It is still wise to consume an adequate amount of carbs and protein before and after training. If I had to say which is more important I would have to say after because it is very important to replenish what was taken away during training. But if possible try to consume both before and after training to ensure your body has adequate fuel to fuel to burn before you train and is properly restored after you train.

How many grams of carbs should I consume per day?
The amount of carbohydrates needed depends on the individual. For example, I weigh 170lbs. I try to make at least 65% of my food intake complex carbohydrates. This amount varies with each individuals needs and how well your body can handle the amount of carbs ingested. If you overload the carbs there is a chance that they will turn to fat, but this depends on your metabolism. If you are a smaller build person (thin), I would consume a lot of carbs because chances are you're body will not store them as fat. But, If you are a person who has trouble losing weight, I recommend you limit the carbs and use your current excess bodyfat as you primary fuel source.

I've been working out for months, why am I not getting bigger?
The reason for the lack of growth can be many things. The usual reasons are overtraining and workout routine. Most new bodybuilders tend to overwork the muscles in hope to gain faster but end up burning up their own hard earned muscle in the process. If you do not give your muscles ample time to recuperate between intense training, this is the outcome (no growth). Try working a bodypart only twice per week for a while and see it this works. Overtraining is the number one error made by beginners. The other most common reason for no growth is the workout routine itself. You have to ask yourself questions when you're doing each set. Is my form correct, is this weight too light for me, or, is this weight too heavy for me, and lastly, am I doing the proper exercise. If your workout weight is to light, you're not giving your body the stimulation it needs to grow, If its to heavy, you're doing the same but at another level. The proper exercise and form are important because only the basic exercises which are done correctly will promote growth.

Im at a plateau, how do I get past it?
A plateau is a sticking point in training where you either stop growing or are stuck on a particular amount of weight such as the bench press for a lengthy period of time. The best way to get over a plateau in either case it to shock the body. This means changing you're routine totally to something different whether it be all new exercises or the number of reps per exercise. You need to wake up the body from the normal stress that it is use to. It is the difference is you're routine that will do this. For example, if you normally do benchpress and dumbell presses for chest, change up and do enormous sets of benching only and combine with mega-sets of pushups after each set of benchpress. This might sound awkward but it definetly works, try it yourself just once. You're body will respond because it is something that it is not use to.

Should I combine aerobics into my bodybuilding routine?
The answer to this question is yes because you need to be aerobically fit as well BUT, you will need to limit the amount of time you spend doing it because aerobics burns alot of valuable calories that may be needed by the body to build muscle. If you are a thin person trying to put on muscle and has trouble gaining weight, I recommend you spend minimal time doing aerobics because you are working against youre efforts of putting on mass. If youre are a heavier build person and can afford to lose a few calories, then I do recommend you do some type of aerobics because not only are you getting you're cardio-vasucular system in shape but you're are helping yourself to lose the extra fat will let you have the sharper body that you want.

Note: For information on volume training for natural bodybuilders checkout Muscle Express Training.

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