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The Basics

If you are considering taking up Bodybuilding for the first time, you need to sit down and decide what your workout goals are. If you are looking to tone down and have a healthier looking body without bulking up or if you want to be a serious power lifter there are different guidelines your workout will require. Don't expect to jump right to free weights from the onset. Free weights provide a different set of physics than nautiluses. You will definitely find that most gyms have two different types of weight training stations.

Companies like Cybex manufacturer workout stations. These stations provide certain exercises and have adjustable seating with varying weights and resistance. Each station will provide a benefit to a certain quadrant of the body. Each station will perform a specified exercise, including:

  • Abdominal Crunch
  • Arm Curls
  • Bench Press
  • Military Pull-Down
  • Leg Curls
  • Lateral Pull-Down
  • Leg Press
  • Overhead Press

These systems or nautiluses are very popular for beginners and those who look to only tone muscle.

Serious body builders will workout in a different area entirely. This open area has free weights stacked on racks as well as various bars. Each station is designed to maximize muscle mass and work on an individaul part of the body. You may often see mirrors lining the walls as a tool for the bodybuilder to make sure they are doing the exercises correctly. You will need a spotter when working with free-weights should you reach total muscle failure during the exercise. While the nautiluses are ergonomic in design free weight machines do not resemble them in design but do provide the same results (and in some cases better effects).

The Role of the Personal Trainer

In most cases it will pay to get with a personal trainer at your local gym to show you what exercises are in line with your goals before starting out. Most gyms have personal trainers that will spend your first few sessions with you going over cardiovascular exercises as well as weight training machines. Their job is too make sure you know how to use the machines properly as well as teaching you safety techniques and stretching.

A trainer should be able by the end of the first or second workouts provide you a written routine that will help you get to your goal. It is then up to you to continue to add weights and learn the physics of lifting heavier weight with just a bar by itself. Once you feel that you have worked up to and past the routine you can ask the trainer to show you more exercises or routines that will continually help you define and sculpt your body to your specifications.

A good personal trainer should also discuss your diet and supplements you may want to take during your first year. It will be vital to help your body recuperate between workouts. One of the downsides to a personal trainer is the cost associated with hiring one. Some gyms will give you a free personal trainer for a determined amount of exercises to get you going. Then it is up to you to pay the trainer yourself.

How Often Do I Work Out

This question has been approached in various ways. Time and energy always play the biggest factor in exercise. You have to keep your routine on schedule. Sometimes it's better to workout with a friend as they can help motivate you to go to the gym on a bi-weekly basis.

A key piece of advice is to start slowly and work your way up. Set a realistic schedule for 3 – 5 times a week. If you can swing 5 days a week you can work on different parts of the body on even days and others on odd days. But every workout should include some type of cardiovascular activity.

In the beginning you will be sore after a complete work out and may feel compelled to take a day off, but working through the muscle soreness will help increase the size and mass of the muscle. Should you take a week off you will have lost the full benefit from the workout. Sticking through the program is hard to do, but once you have motivation, you will notice the results within a few short weeks.


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