Bodybuilding is an excellent way to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve overall health and wellbeing. Bodybuilding helps you achieve a leaner, stronger physique, as well as supporting better cardiovascular health, increased bone density, and improved immune function.
If you’re a beginner looking to start a bodybuilding program, knowing where to begin can be difficult. Here, we’ll outline the essential steps and exercises to help you get started on your bodybuilding journey.
Bodybuilding: how to get started
Establish Realistic Goals: Before you begin any bodybuilding program, it’s important to establish goals and a realistic timeline for achieving them. Consider whether you want to focus on building muscle mass, losing body fat, or both. Set specific, measurable goals, such as increasing your bench press weight by 4.5 kg in a month or losing 1% body fat each week.
Develop a Workout Plan: To make steady progress in bodybuilding, you’ll need to develop a well-structured workout plan that targets all major muscle groups. Your workout plan should consist of weight-bearing exercises that build muscle mass, such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and lunges. A beginner’s bodybuilding workout plan might include three or four full-body workouts per week, consisting of two or three sets of eight to 10 reps per exercise.
Eat a Muscle-Building Diet
Proper nutrition is a critical component of any bodybuilding program. To build muscle mass, you’ll need to consume enough calories to fuel your workouts and support muscle growth, as well as enough protein to repair and rebuild muscle fibres. Aim to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day, along with a balance of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Stick to whole, nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoid processed foods and sugary snacks.
Rest and Recover
Rest and recovery are just as crucial to building muscle as lifting weights. Your muscles need time to recover and repair after a workout, so be sure to schedule rest days into your bodybuilding program. Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to support muscle recovery and hormone balance. You can also incorporate stretching, foam rolling, or other recovery practices like yoga or meditation into your routine to help reduce muscle soreness and improve overall wellness.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress in bodybuilding is an important part of staying motivated and seeing your results. Take measurements of your body composition and weight regularly and keep track of your workout progress by recording the weights you lift, reps you complete, and exercises you perform. Smaller changes in strength and body composition can be hard to see visually, so tracking your progress can help you stay focused and motivated.
Focus on Proper Form Over Heavy Weight:
Although it’s tempting to lift heavy weights from the start, focusing on proper form is essential for avoiding injury and maximising muscle gains. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you master proper form. Focus on good posture, controlled movements, and a full range of motion to target the muscles properly and improve overall muscle activation.
Consider Hiring a Personal Trainer
If you’re still unsure where to begin with bodybuilding, consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you develop a workout plan, teach you proper form, and hold you accountable for sticking to your goals. A trainer can also provide you with additional support, guidance, and motivation as you work towards your bodybuilding goals.
Bodybuilding is an excellent way to increase muscle mass and boost metabolism. It’s also brilliant for improving overall health and wellness. By establishing realistic goals, developing a well-structured workout plan, and eating a muscle-building diet, you can start seeing results in just a few workouts. Don’t forget to rest and recover and track your progress, however. Meanwhile, focusing on proper form over heavy weight is a great way to maximise your muscle gains. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve the lean, strong physique you’ve been dreaming of.
Best Bodybuilding Exercises
Are you ready to take your bodybuilding journey to the next level? Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a seasoned gym-goer looking to optimise your workouts, incorporating the best bodybuilding exercises into your routine is essential to achieving your goals. In this blog, we’ll explore the top exercises that will help you build a strong and muscular physique.
Squats: The King of Exercises
When it comes to bodybuilding, squats reign supreme. This compound exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. By performing squats with proper form and progressively increasing the weight, you can build overall lower body strength, increase muscle mass, and improve power. Don’t be surprised if you also notice improvements in your posture and balance.
Deadlifts: Unleash Your Inner Strength
Another foundational exercise in bodybuilding, deadlifts engage several muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and traps. Deadlifts not only help you develop a strong posterior chain but also improve grip strength and enhance overall athleticism. With proper technique and gradually increasing weights, deadlifts can contribute to a well-rounded and muscular physique.
Bench Press: Building a Powerful Upper Body
No bodybuilding routine is complete without the bench press, which primarily targets the chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor). The bench press also engages the triceps and front deltoids. By incorporating various grips and angles into your bench press routine, you can stimulate different muscle fibres and promote overall upper body strength and muscle development.
Shoulder Press: Sculpt Your Shoulders
Strong and well-defined shoulders are a hallmark of a solid bodybuilding physique. The shoulder press, also known as the military press, is a compound exercise that specifically targets the deltoid muscles. By incorporating different variations, such as the standing, seated, or Arnold press, you can develop well-rounded and strong shoulders. Don’t forget to include lateral raises and rear deltoid exercises to complete your shoulder routine.
Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups: Sculpt a V-Shaped Back
To achieve that sought-after V-shaped back, pull-ups and chin-ups are key. These body weight exercises primarily target the latissimus dorsi (lats) and biceps. By incorporating a variety of grips, such as wide grip, close grip, or neutral grip, you can target different muscles in your back. Pull-ups and chin-ups help build upper body pulling strength and contribute to a well-defined and muscular back.
Dips: Build a Solid Upper Body
Dips are a challenging yet effective bodyweight exercise for building upper body pushing strength. This exercise primarily targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. By incorporating dips into your routine, you can enhance triceps definition, develop strong chest muscles, and improve overall upper body strength. Experiment with different variations, such as weighted dips, to continue challenging your muscles.
Rows: Strengthen Your Back Muscles
To ensure a well-balanced physique, it’s important not to neglect your back muscles. Various rowing exercises, such as bent-over rows, cable rows, and seated rows, target the back muscles, including the lats and rhomboids. Rows help improve back strength, posture, and overall muscle development. Make sure to incorporate different rowing variations to target different angles and muscles in your back.
Lunges: Sculpt and Strengthen Your Lower Body
Lunges are an excellent exercise for targeting the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. By performing lunges with proper form and gradually increasing weights, you can build lower body strength, improve muscle symmetry, and enhance overall leg development. Lunges also engage the core muscles for stability and balance.
Bicep Curls: Define Your Arms
To achieve well-rounded arms, bicep curls are a must. Bicep curls specifically target the biceps, aiding in building arm strength, size, and definition. By using different variations, such as dumbbell curls, barbell curls, or preacher curls, you can target different angles and muscle fibres in the biceps. Don’t forget to balance your arm routine with tricep exercises to ensure overall arm symmetry.
Tricep dips are an effective exercise for targeting the triceps muscles, helping to build definition and strength in the back of the upper arms. This compound exercise engages the triceps, chest, and shoulders, contributing to overall upper body development. Experiment with different variations, such as bench dips or weighted dips, to continue challenging your triceps.
Incorporating these best bodybuilding exercises consistently into your workout routine, focusing on proper form and gradually increasing weights, can help you build a strong and muscular physique. Remember, consistency and progressive overload are key elements of bodybuilding success. If you’re unsure about proper form or how to structure your workouts, consider consulting with a certified fitness professional or personal trainer to guide you towards your goals. Get ready to unleash your full potential and achieve the physique you’ve been working towards!
Note: It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified personal trainer before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or injuries.
Diet is key to Bodybuilding
It’s not just in the gym where you forge your chiselled bodybuilder’s physique, however. Eating correctly, drinking correctly and getting the correct fuels in your body and at the right time are just as important. Here, we’ll give you a run down of the most important things you can do in order to get your diet right when beginning your bodybuilding journey.
Protein, the Building Block of Muscles
When it comes to bodybuilding, protein is the undisputed champion. It’s the holy grail for muscle growth and repair. A typical bodybuilder strives to consume around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. This ensures a steady supply of amino acids, the building blocks of muscles. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and plant-based proteins such as tofu and quinoa. Protein shakes or supplements are also used to meet daily requirements conveniently.
Complex Carbohydrates for Sustained Energy
Carbohydrates provide energy to fuel workouts and aid in muscle recovery. However, bodybuilders should focus on consuming complex carbohydrates rather than simple sugars. This is because they provide a more sustained release of energy. Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa, are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Vegetables and fruits also contribute to the carbohydrate intake while providing essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Healthy Fats for Hormonal Balance
Contrary to popular belief, fats are an essential part of a bodybuilder’s diet. Healthy fats not only provide energy but also support hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Sources of healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon. Balancing the intake of fats is crucial, however. This is because excessive consumption can hinder progress and lead to unwanted fat gain.
Timing is Key: Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
To maximise gains, bodybuilders pay close attention to pre and post workout nutrition. Consuming a balanced meal or snack containing carbohydrates and protein before a workout supplies energy and prevents muscle breakdown. This can include a banana with a protein shake, a chicken breast with sweet potato, or Greek yogurt with berries.
Post-workout nutrition is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Bodybuilders aim to consume a combination of fast-digesting protein and carbohydrates within the first hour after their workout. Examples include a protein shake with a banana, a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, or grilled chicken with brown rice. This helps replenish glycogen stores, prevent muscle breakdown, and stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Adequate Hydration for Optimal Performance
Hydration is often overlooked, but it is vital for bodybuilders. Water is involved in numerous metabolic processes, aids in nutrient absorption, and helps regulate body temperature during intense workouts. Bodybuilders aim to drink at least 1.8 to 2.3-litres of water per day, adjusting that amount based on factors like body size, activity level, and climate.
Customisation and Measurement Matters
No two bodybuilders are alike, and individual differences play a significant role in diet requirements. Every bodybuilder fine-tunes their nutrition plan based on factors like weight, body composition goals, metabolism, and training intensity. Tracking food intake, measuring progress, and making adjustments accordingly are key to success.
Supplements: The Extra Edge
While a well-balanced diet can meet most nutritional needs, bodybuilders often turn to supplements as an extra edge. Popular supplements include protein powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and multivitamins. It’s important to note that supplements should complement, not replace, a nutrient-rich diet.
Achieving a chiselled and muscular physique requires a combination of dedication, hard work and a well-planned diet. Bodybuilding is an excellent way to increase muscle mass, boost metabolism, and improve overall health and wellness. By establishing realistic goals, developing a well-structured workout plan, and eating a muscle-building diet, you can start seeing results relatively quickly. Don’t forget to rest and recover, as well as tracking your progress. Focus on proper form over heavy weight to maximise your muscle gains is also important.