There are plenty of people who have been thinking about starting bodybuilding for years, but don't really dare to take that first step. Everybody wants a divine body, but for beginners bodybuilding can seem very complicated. A lot of people are afraid that they will do something wrong, which may even damage their bodies.
I am writing this article to take some of that fear away from beginners. I'm going to give you some simple tips to help you get started with bodybuilding. That way you don't have to be afraid of doing it wrong. So read the Ultimate Bodybuilding Guide for Beginners!
Tip 1: Start with loose weights
When you walk into a gym for the first time, you might be a little overwhelmed by all the big and complicated devices you'll find there. Many people immediately get the urge to climb on such a device. They often feel they are best for growing muscles as quickly as possible.
I understand that urge, but I would advise you to just ignore the devices at the beginning. If you haven't really grown muscles yet, chances are you don't have enough muscle mass to handle such a device effectively. There is then a greater chance that you will hurt yourself, which will only get in the way of your training.
You should not try to run before you can walk.
Moreover, you also need to know very well how to use such a device in the right way. If you don't know this yet, that's another reason not to start using equipment. Training the wrong way can cause injuries and asymmetric muscle building, which can make your body look strange.
For these reasons, I recommend that you just start with loose weights. This is a safe way to build up the first muscle mass, the foundation, as it were, that you will need later on the devices. Moreover, they are easy to use for beginners, so there is little chance of you doing anything wrong.
Tip 2: Make a plan and stick to it
If you just want to stay in shape a bit, then it's enough to exercise only when you happen to have time. In bodybuilding, unfortunately, that won't be enough anymore. You want to train all your muscle groups evenly, and you want to avoid losing muscle mass between sessions.
That's why it's important that you make a plan, a training program that makes sure you train as much as you need to. Of course, you personally won't immediately know how to do this. I advise you to call in the help of an experienced bodybuilder or a personal trainer. They know exactly how much training you need and what you can and cannot do as a beginner.
A number of things need to be included in such a program. It should contain which exercises you are going to do every day, the number of sets you are going to do, and the number of rehearsals per set. It should also tell you which days you are going to train, and the exercises should be spread over those days/training sessions.
For bodybuilding the same applies as for most things in life; without preparation it becomes nothing.
That way you know exactly what to do as soon as you walk into the gym. Not only do you make sure you train in the right way, but it also saves a lot of time. Bodybuilding can be quite time consuming, so it's better to plan everything well in advance.
Tip 3: Train each muscle group at least once a week
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginner is to focus only on the muscles you want to train. People who want bigger arm muscles or abdominal muscles, for example, often only train those muscles. Even if you manage to do this, you probably won't be too satisfied with the result. In the mirror you will see an asymmetrical person with strange proportions.
It just looks strange when certain muscle groups are left behind compared to others. That is why it is important that you train your whole body. In this context, I advise you to train each muscle group at least once a week. That way you will get a nice, well proportioned body.
Of course, you don't have to train all your muscles exactly the same. If you think your leg muscles are less important than your arm muscles, then your arm muscles should be a bit bigger. My point is just that your leg muscles shouldn't be left behind completely, because otherwise it seems like your upper and lower body don't belong together.
Tip 4: Eat a lot of protein
Proteins, or proteins, are building materials that you, as a non-bodybuilder, don't really need that much. However, protein is indispensable for building muscle mass. Proteins are essential for building and maintaining muscle. If you have too little protein in your body, your body simply won't be able to build muscle mass.
How much protein you need will vary slightly from person to person. Most experts recommend at least 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. This is the lower limit, and for bodybuilders it will be better to take in a lot more protein.
What exactly is protein in? Protein can be found in many foods, but especially animal products contain a lot of protein.
* Poultry (such as chicken and turkey)
* Fish (tuna is mainly a protein-rich fish)
* Certain vegetables
If you find it difficult to get enough protein through your diet, protein shakes can also be a good option. Virtually all successful bodybuilders use these kinds of shakes. Depending on the shake you choose, it can be completely natural, so there's no reason to be afraid of it.
Tip 5: Do mostly compound exercises
Novice bodybuilders are often inclined to immediately try out all the possible exercises they see in magazines and on the internet. I would advise you not to do this. Some exercises are a lot more effective than others. You're probably not experienced enough yet to determine which exercises are useful and which are not.
I would recommend compound exercises, because they are the most effective and efficient way to build muscle mass (which, of course, is your ultimate goal as a bodybuilder). By choosing these exercises in particular, you avoid being inefficient.
If you are going to exhaust your body completely, then of course you want it to have some effect.
But what exactly are compound exercises? Compound exercises is a collective name for exercises that allow you to train several muscle groups at the same time. Probably now you understand why these kinds of exercises are so effective. With one compound exercise, you can train as many muscles as with several separate exercises.
I would advise you to start with compound exercises that aren't technically too difficult. That way you don't have to think about technique, and you can fully focus on effective training. Examples are squats, bench presses, deadlifts and shoulder presses.
In this article I will not explain in detail what all these exercises involve, but with 5 minutes of Googling you will be able to find lots of useful articles and videos that explain this for you.
Tip 6: Don't overtrain yourself
Another real beginner's mistake: overtraining. Slightly too enthusiastic beginners often have the tendency to train themselves completely every day. They think that this is the quickest way to see results. In reality, overtraining can cause you to get in the way.
If you exhaust your body too much, the chance of injuries will increase a lot. Injuries mean that you can't train for a while. This is annoying in itself of course, but it can also be a lot worse. You can also suffer permanent muscle damage as a result of overtraining, so that you may never be able to get the body you want anymore.
There is such a thing as too much of the good...
It is therefore important to take rest days first. Training every day is simply too heavy for the body of an inexperienced bodybuilder. A beginner should train about 3 or 4 days a week, and rest the rest of the days. So don't think you can do a few push-ups in those days; just don't train during your rest days.
It is also important that you get enough sleep. Your muscles grow the most while you sleep, and your body needs this time to recover from your workout. A bodybuilder should get at least 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night to allow his body to recover.
Tip 7: Build up the weight of your workout slowly
If you want to keep training your muscles, it is very important that you keep challenging your body. After all, if at some point you have steel cables of arms, you cannot maintain them by lifting weights of 15 kilos. That's why you have to keep challenging yourself by slowly building up the weight of your training.
The speed at which you have to do this will vary greatly from person to person. In general, you will automatically notice when exercises are not going to cost you enough effort. At that point you will probably have to train with slightly heavier weights. If you notice that it will again be difficult for you, then in principle you are doing well.
Maintaining your muscles is often even more difficult than building them.
I would advise you to be a bit careful with this, because here too the danger of overtraining is lurking again. If you want to build up the heaviness of your workout too quickly, you may suffer from injuries. In this way, you may sustain permanent muscle damage.
It is therefore important that you build up the weight of your training slowly. If you start training with heavier weights, they will take about the same effort as the lighter weights did at the beginning. If lifting those weights costs you more than that, then you've probably taken a little too much hay on your fork, and you'd better use a little less weight.
Original article by Glenn Goossens.
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