Are you trying to grow your muscles, but you’re not sure where to start? Whether you want to be a professional bodybuilder or you’re just looking to improve your physique, it’s intimidating to get started.
You see all of those people with shapely muscles lifting the heaviest weights in the gym and get discouraged, right? We’ve been there.
Lucky for you, we have a list of tips for bodybuilding for beginners. From good bodybuilding exercises and workout structures to overall bodybuilding basics, these tips will get you started off on the right track.
Get ready to take notes and head to the gym. Read on for more.
Determine Your Overall Goals
Before you start your bodybuilding journey, it’s a good idea to get an idea of what your goals are. Are you trying to build lean muscle for a well-balanced and strong body? Do you want to lose fat, or are you happy with just gaining strength?
Do you have any specific body goals or fitness inspirations that you want to match up to?
Keep in mind that all bodies are different. If you have a specific athlete, bodybuilder, or fitness guru that you want to emulate, you may not get the same body even if you follow their routines to a T.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t try. Your body goals may change over time as you discover what looks best on you. You may find that you prefer your body with less or more bulk. You may like yourself shredded and lean, or you may like some extra body fat.
When you know your goals, write them down somewhere that you can see them all the time. As you start approaching them, check them off and develop new ones.
Shed Your Gym Anxiety
Gym anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles for beginners. When everyone else looks stronger than you, how are you supposed to feel confident going to the gym?
Try to put it out of your mind. Everyone starts somewhere, and these bodybuilders were once at the same level that you’re at now.
It’s helpful to keep in mind that other people aren’t nearly as interested in what you’re doing as you think they are. At the gym, most people are focused on their workouts so they can get them done in time and perform to their best ability.
If someone does take notice of you, it may be because of your form, because they want to try an exercise that you’re doing, or because you simply caught their eye when you passed into their line of vision.
People are more likely to be impressed with a newcomer aiming to better themself than they are to be critical. If you notice people laughing near you, rest easy knowing that they’re friends talking and joking, not mocking you.
If you’re still anxious, try going to a gym with extended or overnight hours. Go at a time of day where there are fewer people so you can get your bearings before you’re ready to be “public.”
Take Initial (and Progress) Photos
Progress photos are so motivating! Take a photo at the beginning of your journey and every week or two afterward.
The first photo can be hard if you’re dissatisfied with your physique. Again, remember that this is a starting point, and later on you can reference this photo to see how far you’ve come.
While it might not seem helpful to take photos often, it’s the best way to notice small changes that you wouldn’t otherwise see in the mirror.
Take photos at the same time every day (preferably in the morning before meals) so you don’t have any discrepancies.
Going gung-ho into your new workout routine without careful planning and attention to your actual capabilities is a recipe for disaster and injuries. Try not to overdo it.
Some people get too ambitious with their weights from the beginning. They might be ashamed of lifting lower weights and they let their pride get in the way of their progress. If you can only lift 10 lbs per hand, that’s a valid starting point.
When you start slow and make gradual progress, you’ll find that you’ll improve faster and your routine will be more sustainable.
Create a Sustainable Workout Routine
Speaking of sustainability, creating the right workout routine that allows sustainable progress is crucial if you don’t want to burn out early on.
The first aspect of this is your time commitment. While bodybuilding requires a lot of discipline and a large time commitment, you need to fit it into your schedule in a way that won’t overwhelm you.
As we mentioned before, finding a gym that has extended hours is helpful. This allows you to fit your workouts into whatever time that you have to spare after you’re done with your responsibilities.
Keep in mind that it’s okay not to exercise every day. If a sustainable routine is three times per week, that’s valid and you’ll still make progress.
Sustainability also includes making progress the right way. Most people suggest using the progressive overload technique to build muscle.
Progressive overload is when you gradually increase your repetitions or weight over time in small increments. This allows you to make progress faster with a lower risk of reaching a plateau in your training.
Find the Right Exercises for You
Different goals require different exercises, but you want to have a well-balanced routine.
Many people make the mistake of ignoring certain body parts when they’re trying to build their physiques. That’s where the joke of “skipping leg day” comes from.
Overall, doing this isn’t helpful. When you work to strengthen the entire body, you’ll find that your progress is easier in the muscles that you want to focus on. For example, some lower body exercises are also great for your core. You need a strong core to protect your back when you’re doing some heavy upper-body exercises.
This also means that you shouldn’t neglect cardio (another common problem with people who are too devoted to building muscle).
It’s a good idea to create a workout split. This means that you’re focusing on different areas of your body on different days. When you do this, you can still go to the gym while your muscles are recovering.
Common Bodybuilding Exercises
So what kinds of exercises should you do to get started?
As you start to develop your own routines and put research into your goals, you’ll discover new exercises that target the specific areas in which you’re lacking.
To get started though, there are a few exercises that play a strong role in every bodybuilder’s gym routine.
For your lower body, you want to include deadlifts, lunges, and squats, among other things. While deadlifts and squats are often done in their standard varieties for the greatest effect, there are plenty of variations of lunges that can target different areas of your legs and glutes.
For your upper body, the exercises have more variety. When you’re working on your chest, you want to include a classic chest press, chest flies, and reverse flies as your “always go-to exercises.”
Other good upper body exercises include dumbbell pullovers, bicep curls, overhead presses, and even tricep tips. You want to make sure that you cover all sides of your arms.
As far as your core goes, you eventually want to move beyond classic planks and sit-ups. Instead, opt for weighted core exercises once you’ve developed some core strength.
Don’t Neglect Rest Days
We get it. You want to see progress as fast as possible, right? So you’re at the gym every day overworking your muscles and burning the candle at both ends.
This is a great way to get burned out or even injured. Even when it feels unnatural, you need to incorporate rest days into your routine. One of the best muscle-building tips that we can offer is to make sure that you rest.
Rest days can help you build and maintain muscle. When you do heavy workouts, your muscle fibers develop small tears. This is how they grow. Rest days allow those tears to repair so you’re ready to workout again.
Your rest days can be active rest days if you prefer that. This means that you aren’t sitting around motionless (though this is also a valid option), but you’re doing something easy enough that it gets your blood flowing without putting excess strain on your muscles.
This is a good day for low-intensity cardio, like a walk or a bike ride around your neighborhood. If you need to work on your flexibility, consider doing yoga or pilates instead.
Taking care of your body is essential when you’re trying to grow muscle.
Get Your Diet In Check
Exercise is only half of the battle when it comes to building your body into your ideal physique. You also need to make sure that your diet is working for you, not against you. After all, it’s a common saying that abs are built in the kitchen.
So what does this mean for you?
Many people who are starting their bodybuilding journey are trying to lose fat first. If you’re trying to build muscle, though, you want to make sure that you’re consuming enough calories that you aren’t wasting away.
This is another area in which it’s important to know your goals. If you’re dedicated to cutting fat, consider doing that first or accepting that you won’t have an easy time cutting it completely while you’re building muscle.
Use an online macro calculator to get a rough idea of what your diet should include based on your age, weight, height, and overall goals. You want to make sure that you have a healthy and well-balanced diet that’s rich in protein. Most people also perform better when they consume sufficient carbohydrates.
Keep in mind that carbs are your friends. While low-carb diets are valid, carbs are what can give you a lot of energy for your workouts.
There’s nothing wrong with using supplements when you’re trying to build your body. There are plenty of different kinds of supplements, so there’s sure to be something for your needs.
The most common supplement that people use is extra protein. Protein supplements come in all different forms, like cookies, chips, and even breakfast foods like pancakes.
That said, the most common and affordable protein supplements are bars and powders. They’re easy to bring with you on the go and they’re quick and easy energy.
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are also popular. They’re supposed to decrease your fatigue, boost muscle growth, and improve your performance while you’re exercising. The powders often come in caffeinated and flavored varieties
Finally, some people have been turning to SARMS for their performance. SARMS are performance-enhancers that may help you build muscle and lose fat. This makes them a tempting choice for beginner bodybuilders. There are several places that you can find SARMS for sale to suit your needs.
Don’t Give Up
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to start your bodybuilding journey. While you’re building your physique, make sure that you’re noting your progress with your pictures and updating your goals as you go.
Consistency with your diet and exercise program is key. If you don’t give up, you’ll notice visible changes in no time.
Consider joining online forums or finding an accountability partner at the gym to keep you on track. This is often enough to keep you motivated so you can reach your goals.
Bodybuilding for Beginners: Are You Up to the Challenge?
Armed with these bodybuilding basics, are you ready to hit the gym? Bodybuilding for beginners isn’t easy, but it’s a fun and rewarding process that leads to incredible results, regardless of your goals.
You’re well on your way to improved fitness, stronger muscles, and a physique that you’ll be proud of. Don’t quit now!
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