We all have to start somewhere and many of us look to others for information, inspiration and usually motivation. Fortunately I didn’t really have anyone to train me, which means I looked for posts like this to educate myself. Everything typed here is from my head and what I have picked up along my journey. I hope it helps you…
First of all, bodybuilding is a sport that YOU have to do yourself! It is not a team activity and you will not gain anything by sitting back and not putting the effort in. The results are all about what YOU put into it!
There are three main components that any bodybuilder will need to remember. These are, Intensity, Nutrition and Sleep (INS).
Like many new comers to the sport, I thought that lifting a weight would make me muscular over a few months. I was far from right, so here’s a run down of a few things that will give you a good head start.
I lifted weights for a year at home and here’s a short list of how and what I was doing.
- Cereals for breakfast
- Pasta and cheese for dinner (Hot or cold)
- Random meal at night. Usually oven chips.
- Snacks in-between would be biscuits, flap jacks, crisps etc.
My workout would be;
- Biceps – Isolation curls, hammer curls, alternating curls
- Tricep – Extensions, press, kick backs, dips
- Chest – on the floor barbell press, floor flyes, press ups
- Shoulders – Front, side, rear raises, standing alternating press
- Legs – Nothing ( I thought being on my feel all day would build my legs. See intensity section)
- Back – Pull ups, wide grip pull ups, one arm rows
- Abs – Ab ripper x
I was doing this for a year and the weight I was lifting went up by pounds only. I never progressed at all. I thought I was doing it right, but I really wasn’t. I had no idea what muscles the human body had, I never understood even the very basic principals of weightlifting. I was working out every day, but with seriously low intensity looking back at it. I never pushed myself at the time, although I thought I really was back then.
I could workout everyday as my muscles never ached. I was going through my routine without intensity. Although I did think I was pushing hard, my form and the weight used wasn’t at all right.
A year later…
This is when I found the gym. I was taking my daughter to ballet and found a gym directly below it. I thought all my dreams had come true until I went for an induction to find that it was more of a small cardio gym. I was gutted to be honest as I had my heart set on this for weeks and it had nothing that I wanted.
Just one week later I took the children to the park and my youngest daughter was potty training and she needed the toilet. I panicked as you do and found a building where I politely asked if I could let my daughter use the toilet. Whilst in there I noticed a building plan with the magic words GYM wrote on it. I asked about it and the gym told me there was one directly below.
After a short natter he opened it up and showed me around. It was a dirty old, messy, small, basic, rough gym with paint hanging of the walls and smashed boarded up windows. It was perfect! I spent the next couple of weeks trying to find the owner and eventually got to join. The gym community was established in 1956 and most of the old guys are still there. It was nerve racking to say the least being an English man walking into a Welsh gym, but they took me in and made me feel welcome from the start.
One of the guys gave me a routine to do for six weeks which I did for a few weeks and tried to be clever doing extra routines which led to me pulling my lower back. This trapped a nerve. Let’s just say the pain was excruciating!
Here’s what they got me doing to start;
Every session for six weeks I was advised to do the following; ( I went twice a week to start for 1 hour per session, Monday and Friday)
- Bench press
- Overhead Press
- Power Clean
(Some of my videos can be found here)
These are all compound movements which require more than one muscle group to carry out the exercise.
Let’s take bench press for example. This uses more muscles than just the chest muscles (Pectorals- pecs). When performing the exercise you will also use your triceps and your front deltoids. Each repetition will include all these muscles and not just your pecs.
Let’s take a Bicep curl on a preacher bench. This exercise isolates just the one muscle which is the bicep. This allows full concentration on that singular muscle rather than a group of muscles.
Doing the above routine will allow you to get a good whole body workout and it will strengthen the whole body before you go into splitting up the muscle groups. I always try to aim for 8 reps on upper body and 15 on my lower body now.
Doing the exercises in a good controlled manor is essential when you are bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is all about focusing on the muscles that you with to build and sculpt. You will find that you won’t be able to lift as much weight when using good, controlled form, compared to when you are weight lifting.
Weight lifting – Lifting weights from point A-B.
Bodybuilding – Strict form ensuring specific muscles are target and all 3 parts of the rep are carried out correctly and controlled. Positive rep, static, negative rep.
Now we need to discuss nutrition
Have you ever heard the expression, ‘abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym’?
Nutrition is crucial for repairing, building and fuelling your body, before, during and after exercise. You can’t have a big breakfast that contains nothing nutritious and expect your body to absorb what is needed to grow. You must eat frequent and each meal should contain protein.
I now aim to have 6 small meals a day, every day. I will eat around 30g of protein per meal, equalling out to 180g of protein per day. Aim to have between 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, spread over the day.
20% of muscles are protein.
The body can only absorb 50g of protein per meal
The body will only store that protein for 2-3 hours.
The above shows that a good supply of protein every 2-3 hours will keep you topped up and help your body to keep repairing the muscle tissue when resting. You also need to know that muscles are made up of 75% water and 5% fat, carbohydrates, and assorted proteins. Make sure you keep hydrated and have around 2 litres of water a day to keep your body flushed out and help prevent damage to your kidneys.
It is pointless having 6 eggs, chicken, and what ever in one meal every 5 hours thinking that 100g of protein will make you bigger as it won’t.
Don’t forget to eat plenty of fruit and veg too!
How to build muscle
The three components for building muscle are Intensity, nutrition and sleep.
Intensity – To build muscle you have to break the fibres creating micro tears in the muscle strands which will then repair bigger and stronger by protein synthesis. The idea is to create enough stress on the muscle to tear some of the fibres. The body will then repair them whist making them stronger and bigger.
You can tap a stick of dynamite with a pencil all day, but I dare you to BANG IT with a HAMMER! – Dorian Yates
Nutrition – In order to ensure the repair of a muscle (making it bigger and stronger) you must have a good nutritional diet. High protein, a few portions of fruit and veg, 2 litres of water a day depending on perspiration etc. Having a poor diet will hinder the recovery process.
Sleep – Your muscles do not grow in the gym, the muscles are torn in the gym and they grow when resting. You need to understand that going to the gym every day will not make you grow. If the muscle group feels tender then you MUST let that muscle fully recover in order to grow. Resting is equally important as intensity and nutrition.
Example – Dorian Yates said this and it is a perfect example of the above.
Imagine rubbing sand paper on the palm of your hand. If you rub it too soft then nothing will happen. If you rub it hard so it bleeds and then 5 minutes later rub it again, it will just keep on bleeding. If you make it bleed and then let it fully heal, after a few times your skin will grow back thicker and stronger. This is the same principle for your muscles.
My biggest issue since I joined the gym has been sleep. Having two daughters and my son being born has removed sleep from my life up until a month ago.
Everyone speaks about protein supplements and what they do. They are simply supplements to top up your protein levels if you can’t get enough from food. Never substitute a good nutritious meal for a protein shake if you have the choice. If you do have protein shakes, have them with water as the body absorbs it better and it is again easier on the kidneys.
There are a ton of supplements to use and I have had most of them. (This is not everything and I have tried many more in the past)
So what have we covered?
A beginner workout routine which targets all your bodys muscles.
The difference between compound and isolation exercises.
A simple look at protein.
I will add a part 2 to this soon, so stay tuned and I hope this helps… *In progress 30-07-13*
Knowledge is the key…