While the stories we normally read about in bodybuilding and fitness magazines usually focus on the training successes, the truth is, about twice as many beginners fail in their bodybuilding training than actually succeed. With the wide variety of training tools available to serious bodybuilders today, one of the most common reasons for failure is not too little information but too much. For beginners trying to find a successful training program, the information can often be overwhelming and confusing.
The most important thing that you need to be aware of however, is that the information you're reading in your bodybuilding magazines is usually sales copy, not science. While most lifters consider these sources bibles, in reality, magazines dedicated to bodybuilders are normally just catalogs of supplements, programs, and smooth articles written to entice you into purchasing a product. To be successful in your training, it's important that you know your own body and the way it reacts to stress. You need a mentor or a partner, preferably someone that has already achieved the results you're hoping to attain, and you need to do your research. Successful bodybuilding is a science. The more you know, the more successful you'll be. There are, however, a few tips that can be gleaned from the wealth of information that have proven to be important aspects of successful training.
Plan your work and work your plan!
The most important thing to consider when structuring your training program is to include short and long term goals. The old adage, plan your work and work your plan could not be more fitting. A successful training program needs to be well thought out and followed religiously. In all aspects of life, the number one reason people do not succeed is because they do not have a concrete plan of action. Bodybuilding is no different. According to the experts, a successful training program will actually be broken down into 12 week blocks. As your body adapts to your training style, it will be important to make the necessary changes to stimulate continued growth. The initial 12 week block can be further broken down into 2-3 week mini-blocks. In most cases, variety in your training program will be the catalyst that determines success or failure. Set goals for both the twelve week block and the 2-3 cycles.
Write it Down!
Successful bodybuilders also realize the importance of keeping a log or journal of their progress. Let's face it, in our busy lives, we often can't remember what we had for dinner last night, let alone how many reps we completed 2 weeks ago. Buy a small notebook and make it a point to record the "facts" of your progress or lack of it. Putting your goals down on paper will also help solidify them in your mind. Your log doesn't need to be a creative flowing piece of literature, simply recording your accomplishments on a daily basis will provide the information you need to identify potential problems or a lack of progress.
Everybody needs a break
One of the most common mistakes that bodybuilders make is in holding on to the belief that more is always better. In some cases, however, overtraining will create severe setbacks in the success of your training program. If you're using the 12 week cycle, it's an excellent idea to take the thirteenth week off. While most lifters will fret about possibly losing momentum during a break, experts actually suggest that a week of rest will propel your training forward rather than backward. Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness and we all need an opportunity to regroup. Once you get over the initial fear of taking a break and realize that you actually return to your training fresher and more motivated, you'll realize the importance of avoiding overtraining.
Don't ignore your post workout meal!
Another common mistake that bodybuilders make is in not realizing the importance of the meal they consume immediately after their workout. Quite often, after a great training session, the last thing you feel like doing is sitting down to a meal. The meal following your workout is, however, probably the most important one of the day. To take advantage of what you've accomplished in your training session, it's important to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to maximize the benefits. According to experts, the post workout meal should actually consist of at least 20% of your daily protein needs. You should also make sure to include a mixture of carbohydrates including glucose, maltodextrin and a small amount of fructose. The best way to calculate the grams of protein that should be included in your post workout meal is to use .20 x your actual body weight. To meet the requirements of a postworkout meal, most bodybuilders use protein shakes. These are not only convenient but make it extremely easy to get all the necessary ingredients into your system quickly.
Obviously the four tips provided in this article are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a successful training program. They are, however, the ones that seem to receive the least prioirty and actually carry the biggest impact. If you're able to incorporate these four simple concepts into your training program, you'll be surprised at the difference they can make. As for all of the other information out there, take it with a grain of salt and remember that not everything works for everybody. The key to a successful training program lies in the ability of the lifter to make it personal and to be able to adapt and make changes as necessary.