The toughest part for getting into bodybuilding is deciding whether you want to cut or bulk when you start. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. Lets Dive In!...
The toughest part you have to overcome to obtaining your ideal physique is constantly seeing yourself as who you want to be. I'd suggest picking one or two bodybuilders whose physiques you want and use them as motivation for your training, diet, and lifestyle. My two personal favorites are Arnold Schwarzenegger (obviously) and Steve Cook who is an IFBB pro in men's physique. The reason I look up to them is because of their work ethics, achievements, and their aesthetics. If your looking to be a mass monster you may want to look into bodybuilders such as Evan Centopani, Ronnie Coleman(YEAH BUDDY!), Seth Feroce, or Phil Heath for example. Everyone has different goals, you just have to find what you truly want and what will keep you motivated to keep progressing.
"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe one hundred percent."
The toughest part for getting into bodybuilding is deciding whether you want to cut or bulk when you start. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks.
|- Diet isn't as strict
- Pack on muscle a lot faster
- Strength goes up
- More energy
- Body fat will most likely increase a bit
- You feel like a monster (hopefully like the Hulk and not Shrek)
||- Diet is very strict, but is also very rewarding
- If you diet right your strength shouldn't go down too much
- Cheat meals are amazing and you really learn to appreciate food
- At first you have an overall healthier feeling then it gets physically and mentally tougher week by week
- Last but not least, girls dig the abs
If you’re just getting into it and are a skinny person you may want to get started bulking right away. If you’re overweight and have a high body fat percentage then you'll definitely want to cut first. When I first got into this I was very overweight so I cut down, and then bulked back up. Eventually you'll just be going back and forth between the two and that's how you can stay fairly lean and still put on lean muscle. Let's get into what guidelines a typical bodybuilding diet should follow.
"I don't eat for taste, I eat for function."
Jay Cutler, four time Mr. Olympia, couldn't have said it any better. This literally has to be your mindset if you want to get serious about bodybuilding. When people ask me what supplements they should take to “get ripped” or “get massive.” I ask them what their diet looks like first. If your diet isn't in check, then you have no right taking supplements, but we'll get more into that later. When you’re at the gym training and tearing down those muscle fibers; what do you think will build them back up bigger and stronger? Food! My favorite analogy is comparing it to gasoline in a car, if your car has no gas it's not going anywhere, same with your physique. If your not fueling your body with the food and nutrients it needs to grow, your physique isn't going anywhere either.
• Eat five to six meals a day, protein should be in every meal
• Eat every two to three hours
• The two most important meals should be when you wake up and post workout
• When you wake up your body is in a catabolic state from sleeping so you have
to break that and go into an anabolic state by fueling your body with carbs and
protein right away
• Post workout your muscles should be screaming from the torture you just put them through and they need nutrients to recover and grow, you should have a protein shake with fast acting carbohydrates to spike your insulin and shuttle that protein directly into your muscles, about an hour later you should eat a meal with protein and slow digesting carbohydrates. Recovery should begin right after your last rep of your workout. If you could see a little kid eating it, put it down. I know we all love Captain Crunch, but we're not ten years old anymore.
• Drink LOTS of water. I can't stress enough how important water is. I carry a gallon of
water with me almost everywhere I go so I'm always hydrated. It helps keep the lactic
acid out of your muscles also while your working out.
• Try and keep your fats under 15-20 grams per meal and your protein and carbs about equal.
Some examples of good protein sources would be
- Lean beef
- Protein powder
For carbohydrates some good choices would be:
- Whole wheat bread, rice, or pasta
- Sweet Potatoes
- Rye bread
Good choices of fats:
-Peanut or almond butter
-Avoid saturated fats and look for poly and mono fats
Everyone is always so curious about supplements and which ones will work best. When I first got into bodybuilding, the supplement store was my second home. I would buy all the new products every week and half of my paycheck would go there. I realized that I wasn't making any progress and then when I combined a proper diet with the supplements, that's when I started making noticeable gains. My friends would ask me what I was taking and I would tell them food. Let me tell you something, supplements are called supplements for a reason, they are meant to SUPPLEMENT a proper diet.You could take all the supplements in the world and won't see any results unless your diets in check. I can't tell you how many times I hear people telling me they get all these “stacks” and what-not, and yet they don't grow. It's easy and convenient to read labels on a bottle and swallow a few pills but it's not convenient to grill chicken breasts or cook meat in bulk to last you a few days. Everyone would be big and cut if supplements worked that way, but they don't. So once you got a handle on nutrition and diet I would start looking into supplements then. Supplements can be an amazing addition to your lifestyle once everything else is in check.
What type of supplements should you begin with?- Whey protein
- Creatine monohydrate
- Pre workout of your choice (my favorite is Hyper FX by BSN)
Those are all the basic supplements that you can take, once you get a little more into it. There are advanced supplements such as test boosters, BCAAs, fat burners, nitric oxide boosters, etc., the list can go on and on. Don't even THINK about taking steroids. When you’re young your test levels should be high enough to put on a lot of lean muscle, if your not, then some things not right. It can either be your diet or you’re not training hard enough. If you’re still not convinced then go to your doctor and get some blood work done to see where your levels are at. Being natural holds so much pride and honor these days because it's all YOU. Everyone is always looking for a shortcut, but some things you just can't force. One of my favorite quotes is by Steve Reeves where he says, "I don't believe in bodybuilders using steroids. If a man doesn't have enough male hormones in his system to create a nice hard, muscular body, he should take up ping pong." I have nothing against ping pong, but you get the point. STAY NATURAL!
Are you surprised we haven't discussed the training aspect yet? That's because it is the easiest part. If you really want to get into bodybuilding then having a love for weights is a must and should come naturally. Always make sure you warm up to avoid injury and stretch after to expand the fascia to allow growth. Keep all the basic compound movements in mind such as the bench press, dead lift (my favorite), and squats. Compound movements are crucial for putting on hard dense mass to your physique. Machines and cables also play a huge role in growth and shaping the muscle. I like to keep the volume high with a rep range of 12-15 on cables or machines. For dumbbells and barbells I'll do two heavy sets of 6-8 reps and then two sets of 12-15 reps to force a bunch of blood and nutrients into the muscle. An NPC competitor who goes to my gym told me it's all about the “squeeze” and squeezing as much blood into the muscle as possible as that will cause the most growth. There are a whole bunch of different methods and techniques, but as long as you go hard and push yourself past your limits you will grow.
If you’re not motivated you’re not going to make progress on your physique. Motivation is what keeps you going and moving forward. Everyone has different reasons for staying motivated. It doesn't matter what your reason is as long as you have a reason and a drive. Everyone will hit a plateau eventually and that's when you really have to try to stay motivated because eventually you will slam that plateau, it just takes an extra effort. Some of the things I do when I feel my motivation is low( which is rare) are:
|- Train with a friend
- Watch training videos
- Go on illpumpyouup.com
- Read tips from pros
- Pose in the mirror
- Look at pictures of bikini and figure athletes
You just have to find whatever works for you. I notice that whenever I am stressed from personal life issues such as relationships, family, or just self issues, I always have the best workouts. Put all your stress and problems into your training and use it as fuel.
Well now that we covered all the basics it's time for you to get to the gym and move some weight then get to your kitchen and eat some food! Bodybuilding has been the most positive and influential experience I have ever had in my life. I love the anticipation of going to the gym and psyching myself out before big lifts, blasting my favorite pump up songs on the way to the gym, meeting new people, cooking my food (you'll have to like it eventually), and seeing my buddies at the gym. I have met some of my best friends through bodybuilding and it has dramatically changed my life on every level. It's a good feeling when you’re at the beach and you notice that you’re making people's heads turn or when you’re working out and random people will come up and give you a compliment or ask for your advice. Its little things like that that can make your day and keep you motivated. I am always glad to help people and give thoughtful advice. Everyone was once a beginner and had to have some help to get started, it's a rewarding feeling knowing that you’re helping someone else start their journey through the positive experiences of bodybuilding.