Bodybuilding is a unique pursuit because it involves the sculpting of your own body into an incredibly defined shape. While the results can be jaw dropping, and while there is the potential for a lucrative professional career through bodybuilding, it can also feel intimidating to start. Transforming yourself into a confident, sculpted, powerful, and successful bodybuilder takes time, effort, and commitment. Following are a few of the basic steps involved in becoming a bodybuilder.
Commit yourself to the lifestyle.
The first step to take in becoming a bodybuilder is mental. Before you begin your diet regimen and workout schedule, you need to commit yourself to the lifestyle, with all of the sacrifices and self-discipline that it requires.
This type of commitment is necessary, because bodybuilding requires, above all, time and discipline. You will not wake up suddenly one morning with a sculpted body and wins on the bodybuilding circuit. Nor will you get the body you want if you cheat on your diet or skip workouts because they feel too hard. The real secret to bodybuilding success is a determination and a commitment to taking the steps needed, every single day, as long as necessary, to achieve your bodybuilding goals.
Consult a doctor.
Bodybuilding is a physically rigorous lifestyle, and as such, is not for everyone. Before you begin your bodybuilding pursuit, therefore, you need to consult a doctor to make sure that there is nothing that would prevent you from safely becoming a bodybuilder. Once you have received the all clear from your healthcare professional, you will be ready to continue the next step in the bodybuilding process.
Select a reputable gym, trainer, and nutritionist.
Once you are sure that you are both able and willing to to undertake the bodybuilding lifestyle, you will need to select a reputable gym and an experienced trainer to help you get started on the bodybuilding journey. The gym will provide you with a place where you can access all of the weight training and body sculpting tools you need to conduct your workouts. The key is to select a gym that has a strong reputation as a specifically bodybuilding gym. These facilities will be able to provide you with the array of high quality tools you need to achieve professional body building status.
A trainer, likewise, can help guide you down the bodybuilding path. Their assistance can be especially helpful in the early days, as you get into a routine, learn which exercise routines work best for you, and navigate plateaus and challenges on your journey. As with a gym, select a trainer with a proven track record of success helping others in the bodybuilding realm.
Because bodybuilding requires you to follow a certain diet, you will also need the services of a nutritionist. Someone experienced in helping bodybuilders can provide you with the best guidance regarding the diet that will work best for you. Since your body is unique, your diet will need to be tweaked to meet all of your specific nutritional needs. The nutritionist’s assistance can be vital in helping you get all the nutrients you need to become a powerful bodybuilder over time.
Take the time to study the bodybuilding basics.
The last step to take before you hit the gym and start sculpting your muscles is to study the bodybuilding basics. While it may feel frustrating to be unable to just get to the gym and start getting the body you want, obtaining the necessary knowledge will help you to be more productive once you are in the gym.
First, you need to learn about basic anatomy, especially from a bodybuilding point of view. This information will help you to understand where your muscle groups are, which muscle groups will help you to achieve the look you want, and help you to more knowledgeably target the correct muscle groups in your workouts. Books such as Grey’s Anatomy and Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach, are good resources to get you started.
Second, you need to learn how to properly conduct the basic exercises necessary to target each muscle group. If done correctly, these exercises will boost the strength and growth of your muscles. Done incorrectly, they can be ineffective at best and damaging at worst. That is why you should practice each exercise without weights and with your trainer before you add it to your exercise regimen.
Focus on one body part at a time.
After you have completed all of your preparations and practice, you can begin to dig into the meat of bodybuilding: Exercises targeting one body part or muscle group at a time. These exercises are at the heart of bodybuilding success. By targeting one muscle group at a time in your exercises, you can focus on developing that part of your body into the shape and size you want.
The key to these exercises is to conduct a variety of exercises that stress that one muscle group. By doing so, you build the muscle group from a variety of angles. The result is that you create a well-rounded, highly sculpted look on that part of your body. In general, you will target a different muscle group each day during your workout in order to gradually develop your entire body into a defined, bodybuilding machine.
Change up your routine with occasional full-body workouts.
Targeting just one area of your body at a time is not the only method for building your body into the defined powerhouse you wish to achieve. Instead, reserving one workout a week for a full-body conditioning workout can help to maintain your overall strength and build up your overall muscle mass. These workouts will complement your isolated exercises to craft a body that is both super strong and super defined.
Don’t forget to rest.
Bodybuilding is an intense profession. The intensity with which you workout will be quite high, because your muscles need to be challenged in order to grow. In fact, power and repetition during your workouts are key in encouraging growth and strength in your muscles. However, this intensity needs to be balanced with periods of rest and recovery in order to keep from damaging your body.
As a result, the best approach is to wait at least 72 hours before working the same muscle groups again. In addition, you should make sure that your muscles are no longer sore before you work them again.
Good steps to take to help yourself recover from your workout include staying nourished and hydrated, engaging in cool down exercises, keeping your circulation flowing, and using certain ointments to soothe your muscles. Your trainer should be able to help you achieve the right balance of intense workouts and sufficient recovery time to keep your muscles strong and growing over time.
Eat the right foods.
Successful bodybuilding consists of more than just regular, high-intensity workouts. It also consists of eating the right foods at the right times. In particular, bodybuilding relies upon eating five or six small meals a day, and making them consist of lots of lean proteins (such as grilled chicken) and complex carbohydrates (such as oatmeal and whole wheat). In this way, you will give your muscles the steady stream of fuel they need to grow and to weather the workouts you put them through.
Many bodybuilders also engage in carb loading. This is a process in which they consume most of their carbohydrates right before their workouts. The rest of their meals consist of fewer carbs in order to help them balance out their total intake of carbohydrates. By doing so, they provide their bodies with the carbohydrate fuel needed to enjoy a successful workout.
Finally, be open to the possibility of consuming protein shakes and other supplements. The calorie, carbohydrate, and protein demands of a bodybuilder are high. Meeting these needs can feel intimidating, especially if you are too busy to sit down to six meals a day. Supplements can fill in any gaps in your diet and allow you to meet your nutritional needs on the run. Make sure you consult with your nutritionist to see if supplements might be a good choice for you.
No bodybuilding diet plan is complete without the addition of plenty of water. In fact, bodybuilders need to consume about 10 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of workout time. These liquids need to be in the form of water, or a sugar-free sports drink, that can replace the electrolytes you use. Doing so can help you recover faster and supply your body with the liquids it needs to deliver the bodybuilding results for which you are looking.
Begin to compete.
Once you have the body you want, you can begin to compete. Start at the regional level, and see where your participation gets you. You may be surprised at your success, and you will always come away with more ideas about how to succeed at bodybuilding.
Once you are comfortable at the regional level, you can register with the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBF). Joining this organization will allow you to compete at the national level. From there, you may some day be able to go pro with your bodybuilding, as long as you remain consistent, open to new techniques, and eager to advocate for yourself with potential sponsors.
Build on your successes.
These basic steps are only an introduction to the world of bodybuilding. With the help of your trainer, nutritionist, and others, you will soon be able to build on your successes in order to develop an ever more effective bodybuilding routine. For instance, once you begin to see results, you can advance your workout regimen to more demanding exercises, or learn how to fine tune your bulk to capture a truly sculpted look. Once you begin competing, you will learn tricks (such as tanning) to further highlight your body, and you will find ways to shape your body to succeed even more at the next competition. As you get to know how your body responds to your diet, you will be able to achieve a diet that maximizes your muscles’ ability to grow.
The key is to always be learning, talking, reading, getting feedback, and, of course, sticking to your diet and workout regiment. By doing so, you can create a truly effective bodybuilding career that gives you the body and the satisfaction you crave.