Any new journey that we embark on is never easy. It’s understandable when you don’t know when and how to start.
A bodybuilding journey is also the same. You can’t just start picking up weights and hurl yourself into a barbell. The start of your bodybuilding journey is just as important as the journey itself and the destination.
So how do you start?
We give you the comprehensive guide on how to start bodybuilding, especially if you have zero idea at all.
Bodybuilding for Beginners: How to Start
Creating a plan is absolutely important. It shows you the right direction. Before you sign up on a gym, you must create a checklist first of the things that you need to do. Here are some of the preparations that you should make before starting your bodybuilding journey:
Consult with your doctor first.
You may not know any underlying conditions that could hinder you from working out intensely. If you have a condition, your doctor may be able to prescribe a specific diet plan or workout routine. Your health is important and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remove the trash – be in mental, social or nutritional.
Examine what negative toxics you don’t need and remove them from your life. Same goes with the food in your kitchen. Take out all the unhealthy foods. It’s easy to get tempted to eat unhealthy when you have them at the comfort of your fingertips.
Prepare the necessities.
When you go out to do your grocery shopping, make sure that you have a list of healthy foods to buy. You should have stocks of healthy foods, such as nuts, whole grain cereals, oats, quinoa, salmon, olive oil, and spices in your pantry. You should also buy greek yogurt, fresh foods, low-fat milk, turkey, and frozen meat.
Must have training items are dumbbells or kettlebells, resistance band, jump rope, heart rate monitor, towel, water bottle, mp3 player, comfortable workout wear, and properly fitting running shoes.
Priming your body and mind is critically important especially if you have not exercised in a long time. Perform light cardio training, such as push-ups, chair dips, and side crunches. You should also start practicing strength training. These fundamental exercises are important to get you prepared with heavier weights and training.
Bodybuilding for Beginners: Workout Plan
Now that you have prepared yourself, it’s time to get started with the real battle.
There’s no place for mediocrity or latency, especially if you are a beginner. Train as much as you can. You need to get as much experience to push your muscles harder.
Invest in exercises that are proven and tested to build muscles. During the initial phase, you should only do one exercise per muscle group. If you go more than one, your exercises would be painfully long and could be too much for your muscles.
Aim for 10-12 repetitions per set. This is the perfect range for you to learn the routine and for you to build the strength and size in a beginner’s body. The weights that you will be using should be determined by the range of repetitions. Choose the right amount of weight that will allow you to complete at least 10 reps but not any more than 12 reps. As you go stronger and exceed 12 reps, you can increase the weights by 5 or 10 pounds.
Below is a sample workout that you can use for the first 3 weeks of your bodybuilding training.
- Barbell Bench Press – Medium Grip. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Bent Over Barbell Row. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Barbell Squat. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Barbell Shoulder Press. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Triceps Pushdown. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Barbell Curl. 3 sets, 10-12 reps (2-3 minutes rest)
- Standing Calf Raise. 3 sets, 12-15 reps (1-2 minutes rest)
- Crunches. 3 sets, to failure (1-2 minutes rest)
Perform this workout at least three times a week and you should have at least one full day of rest in between workouts.
Bodybuilding for Beginners: Diet and Supplements
You also need to revamp your daily nutritional intake to support your new active lifestyle. There is no “perfect diet” applicable for everyone. Each of us has different dietary needs. There are common guidelines that you must follow though if you want to have a healthy source of energy and strength.
Cut out all of the unhealthy foods.
This maybe basic but it’s the most important rule. Turn your head away from fast food, sugary sodas, candy, potato chips and other unhealthy foods. They are packed with empty calories that give you nothing of the nutrient that you need.
Increase your protein intake.
You need protein in order to build muscles. Opt for lean, protein-rich foods, such as tofu, no-fat milk, lean beef, tuna, and chicken.
Load on fiber too.
Fiber is necessary to keep your digestive system at its optimum performance. Legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains are an excellent source of fiber.
Keep yourself hydrated.
You should know how important water is. If you are dehydrated, you won’t be able to function properly and complete your workout routines. Aside from feeling sluggish, you’d experience headache, fatigue, and even mental breakdown from dehydration.
Bodybuilding for Beginners: Sample Meal Plan
Rather than few big meals, try to divide them into several smaller meals. Below are some sample meal plans:
1 cup oatmeal, 5 egg whites, 1 banana, and 8 oz orange juice.
8 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, and 1/2 cup mixed greens.
1 granola bar, 1 small apple, and 12 oz milk.
1 can of tuna and 1 can of apple cider.
Sports supplements are also important to give you an added boost in your performance. They help you get increased strength and energy, prevent injury, and speed up recovery.
It’s easy to get lost amongst thousands of available supplements in the market. As a beginner, you only need two supplements. These are protein supplements and multivitamin/mineral tablets.
Your road to bodybuilding may still look far ahead but you can never reach your goal if you don’t take the first few steps. There’s no better time to start your journey than now.
Brewster, J. (2019). Beginning Bodybuilding: A Comprehensive Guide!. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/beginning_training_guide.htm
Clark, S. (2019). Your Transformation Starts Here: 7-Step Beginner’s Guide. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/transformation-preparation-7-step-beginners-guide.html
Danielsson, M. (2019). Beginner’s Bodybuilding Program: A Step By Step Introduction To The Iron Game!. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/beginners-bodybuilding-program-a-step-by-step-introduction-to-the-iron-game.html
Hayes, A. (2018). The Complete Guide to Bodybuilding: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a759236/complete-guide-to-bodybuilding/