Bodybuilding has become a trend amongst the youngsters of the 21st century. Being healthy and sporting the best body is the mantra of the season. So, if you are in a quest for that perfect shape, here is a short guide for you to follow.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha.
Exercising often brings a big change in our outlook towards life. With a good body the personality of a person changes. Today, we can see people, irrespective of age or sex in the league of sporting the best body. If you want to join the league of bodybuilding, then there are certain basic rules that you must follow.
- Determination is the key. If you really want to become a bodybuilder you have to be determined and religiously exercise every day.
- Be loyal to yourself and dedicate at least an hour to exercising. The human body takes time to shape, so you have to be patient and calm till you see the result.
- Along with exercising you will have to give up all the temptations that might lead to the gaining of weight.
But wait! Before you start with the rigorous training, you should first consult your doctor and ask him/her whether you are physically fit to undergo the training to become a professional bodybuilder or not. Depending on your health history and current health status, your doctor will give you the best advice. People who have certain diseases or suffer from bone problems might not be advised to go in for rigorous training.
Exercising under the guidance of an experienced fitness expert is extremely essential for those who wish to become bodybuilders. A good trainer knows your body well, he knows the time it will take to get in shape and is well aware of your capacity. Just follow what your instructor says sincerely and you will get the desired result.
When you start off with the training, you should know the number of days you can work out each week. For starters, it is ideal to work out 3 days in a week and later on it can be extended to 6 days a week. Initially, it is advisable to go slow as your body takes time to accept any kind of exercise, and too much exertion may lead to fatigue of muscles.
It is very important to decide as to which time of the day you are going to train and for how many hours it should last. For bodybuilding exercises one and a half hours should be the limit, but initially you should start off with an hour a day. It is advisable to exercise in the morning, as it keeps you active throughout the day, but if it’s not suitable to your daily schedule, then you can go for an evening session.
» Before starting any kind of exercise you should always begin with warm-up exercises. The warm-up session consists of exercises like skipping, jogging, pushups, etc. To become a bodybuilder, you have to concentrate on building your strength first. Doing the aerobic exercises for around half an hour, thrice a week, will increase your endurance and strength. You can then, choose the type of exercise that is concentrated on a particular muscle or body part.
» The exercises that are specifically for the upper body are: dumbbell bench press, chin ups, military press, butterfly, triceps pushdown, etc.
» Exercises for the lower body are: leg press, leg extensions, seated leg curls, lying leg curls, crunches, etc.
» Each type of exercise should be assigned to a particular day. The upper body exercises without abs can be executed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while the lower body exercises with abs can be executed on the remaining days barring Sundays. With this, you can train each muscle twice a week.
As a beginner you will be starting with:
- Bench Presses
- Bent-over Rows
- Overhead Barbell Presses
- Stiff-legged Dead Lifts
- Barbell Curls
- Calf Raises
|Leg press||Buttocks, calves, hamstrings and thighs||2||12|
|Chest press||Chest and triceps||2||12|
|Seated row machine||Biceps, rear shoulders and upper backs||2||12|
|Shoulder press machine||Front shoulders and back shoulders triceps||2||12|
|Lat pulldown, cable, wide grip||Lats, mid-back, biceps and upper shoulders||2||12|
|Chest flyes, Pec deck machine||Chest||2||12|
|Triceps pushdown, Straight bars||Triceps and forearms||2||12|
|Bicep curl machine||Biceps||2||12|
|Ab crunch machine||Abdominals and obliques||2||15|
After mastering the basic exercises you can then move to the complex ones like weight training. Weight training is the most important part of the exercise routine, as the underlying principle of weight training is to develop strength and size of the muscles.
Initially, you should go pretty light just to get the right movement. When you become comfortable with the movement you can gradually increase the weight by adding few plates and do 8 to 12 reps, and then after a certain period, you can increase the weight. The increasing of weight will continue till the time it becomes difficult for you to complete the required reps. You should be able to do four weight training sessions for around forty minutes in a week to get the desired results in the fixed time frame.
Setting a Benchmark
You should set a benchmark for yourself which should be achieved by a particular time. The goal set should be something that is possible to achieve, and should give you a feeling of encouragement when it is achieved. Getting posters of bodybuilders or talking to people who have gone through the session can give you some encouragement. Apart from that, reading about the lifestyle of the famous bodybuilders like well-known actor and Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has the best body in world, will definitely motivate you.
To support your rigorous training you need to review your diet. Your diet should provide you with all the essential nutrients to make you strong enough to do the strenuous workouts and tone your body well. The diet should be rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin C and vitamin D. You should have a well-planned bodybuilding diet chart made by an experienced nutritionist and it should be followed on a daily basis.
» The heavy weight training leads to fatigue of muscles. These muscles need to be effectively repaired, and in order to do so your protein intake should be increased. Food items like chicken, fish, eggs, tofu and low-fat milk that are rich in proteins should be included in your daily diet.
» Apart from this you should have more of green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc. In order to fulfill the fiber content of the body you should increase the intake of fruits on a daily basis or have oats or flakes with milk.
» The other prime source for workout is carbohydrates. Food items like whole grains, rice, banana etc., are rich in carbohydrates and these should be consumed at least once a day. Intake of carbohydrates late at night should be avoided, because when the body rests, the carbohydrate stored in the body is processed into body fat. It is always advisable to have protein-rich food late at night, as the protein is unlikely to get converted into body fat.
» Along with the proper diet, you should also have the right amount of water in order to fulfill the water content of your body. Water is such a critical part of our health that insufficient amount of it leads to negative health effects. Ideally, you should have 12 glasses of water every day, but 10 glasses is also a decent quantity.
»Apart from what you eat, the way you eat your food also matters. Instead of eating one or two very large meals, you should ideally eat four or five relatively smaller meals to meet the energy requirement of your body. As far as possible, you should avoid eating junk food and unhygienic food which can cause many health problems and interfere in your preparation of becoming a bodybuilder.
With the right diet, there are certain dos and don’ts that you must know as a beginner.
- To ensure that you have enough energy required to complete your workout, eat an easily digested meal or snack about an hour before the session. Besides this, eat a post-workout meal with a good source of protein within 45 minutes of completing a workout. This will help in repairing the tissue and building new muscle.
- Don’t cut carbohydrate from your diet. Our body prefers using glucose for energy, so consuming 2-2.5 g of carbohydrate is not harmful.
- Add more of protein to your diet.
- Instead of having one large meal at a time, eat snacks that consist of protein and carbohydrate every three to four hours throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Replace coffee with green tea as coffee increases the stress levels, while green tea is rich in antioxidants.
- Never skip a meal. It’s a myth that if you’re training you need to lessen your food intake. Controlling leads to starvation, resulting in the loss of energy. Instead have the right food, at right time and in right amounts.
- If you are habituated to smoking and drinking, then stop it, as it won’t give you the desired result of the hard work done.
- Don’t overexert. Our body needs time to recover in between the workouts.
- If you have a sweet tooth, then watch out as it will add to your calories.
- Stop drinking regular or diet sodas as the added sugar in the content is a huge source of calorie intake.
- Don’t go for multi-grain food items as it is just a fancy word for processed carbohydrate; rather opt for whole grain food products.
- Avoid canned food items as they contain added sugar that leads to weight gain.
When it is about workout sessions the first thing that comes to our mind is keeping a count of the calorie intake on a daily basis. There is a certain amount of fat required by our body, which should be fulfilled. In order to keep a record of the calorie intake, maintain a logbook with the columns that include the type of food intake, the amount of calorie and the time of intake. You can also add columns of protein or carb intake to make it more refined.
To get the details of calorie content, buy a book on calorie counting which will definitely help you keep a record of your calorie intake. Here is a sample list of foods, which will give you a clear idea about your food intake.
After the workout session gets over it is always advised to wait at least for 45 minutes before taking the first morning meal. The meal can include:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 5 egg-whites
- 1 banana
- 8 oz. of orange juice
This meal should be a bit heavy to keep you full for a long time. The meal includes:
- 8 oz of chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup boiled vegetables
This meal can be called your evening snack. It can include:
- 1 granola bar
- 1 small apple
- 12 oz. of skim milk
When you are working out it is always advised to have light dinner. This meal can include:
- 1 can of tuna
- 1 can of apple juice
The last thing that is a must for bodybuilders is a glass of protein shake. You should have a glass of shake every day after dinner as it helps to boost the energy required by the body.
You should avoid steroids but a sufficient amount of supplements is necessary for your body. A supplement is necessary as it fulfills all the nutritional requirements of your body which is not fulfilled by food alone. It also gives you an extra edge when it comes to speed of recovery, strength and injury prevention.
There are different kind of supplements available in the market, but as a beginner you just require two basic types of supplements, i.e., multivitamin/mineral tablets and protein supplements.
These tablets are available in different forms. They can come in liquid form, hard tablets, powder-filled capsules or in packs with a whole bunch of pills and tablets. This is the basic supplement, and should be your first choice, if asked to take one. But be careful before taking them, as some are so hard that they might not fully dissolve in your stomach, and before getting any benefit it makes its exit. There are thousands of brands available in the market, so always go for a good brand with a decent rate. Talk to your dietitian before consuming any of them.
Protein is the basic source to repair and grow your muscle tissue. It provides a building material to our muscles. The most common form of protein is a powder that you can mix either with water or milk. Apart from this, it is also available in the form of bars (don’t confuse them with the sugar-content energy bars). To fulfill the protein requirement you can also buy pasta that is rich in protein and other foods. Protein powder is available in three basic forms.
- Gainers: These are powders that are heavy in calories and are only for skinny people who cannot gain weight with the normal food. It is rich in carbohydrates that can go with protein.
- Meal Replacement Drinks: It is a product that you can have in place of a meal. It has a balanced content of proteins and carbohydrates with comparatively less amount of calories.
- Pure Protein Drinks: These drinks are low in calories with almost no carbohydrate. They are mostly preferred by overweight people who have to keep a low calorie count.
You should always keep in mind that these supplements might fulfill your protein requirement but the main source of food should always be healthy and never skipped.
There are certain basic tips that you must keep in mind.
- Firstly, when you choose your gym, choose it carefully. Take a look at the machines and equipment available in the gym. Ask the people who are regulars at that particular gym. Always join the gym that is nearby to your place so that it becomes easy for you to commute.
- For exercising you should always wear loose clothes, that is, a loose T-shirt, a track pants and a pair of good shoes. Apart from these you can also carry a small towel, a bottle of water and other optional things like gloves, lifting straps and hooks.
- You should avoid any kind of distractions like discouraging friends and relatives.
- If your gym is full at a particular time then reschedule it to the time when it is least crowded.
- You should follow certain gym etiquette like wiping off the sweat from the machines and pads that you used, let the others use your machine while you are busy in lifting weights, and remove plates when you are done.
Apart from the diet and workouts, taking proper rest is also essential and should be always remembered by those who wish to become a professional bodybuilder. Ideally, you would be advised to sleep for at least eight hours to help your body recuperate completely from the wear and tear. You should never deprive yourself of sleep, as a good night’s sleep keeps you active throughout the day.
There are certain safety measures that you should adopt when training.
- Hire a personal trainer for yourself. Trainers are perfect guides as they know your body type and can tell which exercise will be more effective for your body.
- When undergoing weight training you should start with light weights and move gradually to the complex ones. There is a technique to lift weights that you should be clear with, as a small mistake can lead to a muscle tear or any other injury.
- Take the help of your gym instructor whenever you are working out on some new equipment.
- Get your basic exercises clear before getting into the complex ones.
You should not get disheartened even if you fail to get the desired results immediately. Have patience and you will see the wonders. So gear up for the training and get what you always wanted.