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so you want to be a bodybuilder?

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posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 11:03 PM
Everyone knows that diet and exercise are important to being healthy right? How about when a person decides to make the leap into the world of bodybuilding?Or competitive BB`ing? There are clear advantages such as increased muscle size, big strength gains, more respect from people around you, heightened sense of confidence, etc. Taking that next step is life altering. Becoming a bodybuilder is not something you do just for something to do, it is a lifestyle, one that can be very consuming and is not to be taken lightly.
The sacrifces required to get to the level of a competitor are too much for most people and eventually give it up. You no longer are able to go out for a drink with friends, the effects of alcohol to a BB are obvious, staying up late to watch that next episode of the Simpsons is out of the question, BBing requires lots of rest pre and post workout, you grow when you sleep so at least seven hours sleep a night is required plus one or two naps during the day if possible, especially leading up to a competition. The diet needed is extremely strict and will the limits of anyone, denying yourself that bag of chips while watching a movie can be tough but is a must. The diet leading up to a comp. can be unbearable, but if you make a mistake, it will show in the judging. You must, must be in the gym a minimum of 3 days a week, more before the season starts. In the off season you can slack off a tiny bit but you will have to make up for it big time in order to come back better than the previous year, as long as you start the preseason training a little earlier. The stress alone is enough to make people give up the quest for a title. I have seen guys throwing up in their gym bags backstage minutes before their routine, some have even let it go on stage, try performing with that stench in the air when you are dehydrated and starving with your stomach clenched into knots.
Before even thinking about becoming competitive, you must learn what you are doing and what is required in the different areas to be able to proceed up the levels without being stuck on a plateau.
First off, in the gym. You will need to learn about the the basic exercises, bench press, squats, deadlifts, bicep curls, pull ups/downs, military press, and the proper technique and form for each. Without knowing the proper form and function and what muscle group/s you are targeting you stand the chance of becoming seriously injured and possibly putting an end to further training. Proper form is key. Once you have the basics down, you move into targeting specific muscle groups individually for maximum definition. The amount of single muscle group exercises is vast, and some work better than others depending on what you are going for.
As you progress, you will start learn which muscle groups work best when trained with others,called splits, such as back/biceps, chest/shoulders/triceps, quadraceps/hamstrings etc. Or if it best for you individually to work only one group each time at the gym. A lot of trial and error involved in finding what routine works best for you. Due to each person being different, what works best for one person, may not work as well for another. I personally spent two years finding what combintions work the best for me. Another factor is the rep./set/weight ratio. One I train with will do sets of 12-15 reps. Of moderate weight for five sets, and I will do sets of 8-10 reps. of heavy weight for 3-4 sets. As you progress, you will learn about pyramiding(increasing weight then decreasing), supersets(doing one exercise then moving to another without resting in between), then you get into the advanced areas like pre exhausting, which means you would train tri-ceps or shoulders or both before doing chest. Or the push pull ideal, train chest then back the same day, or bi`s then tri`s etc. How much cardio you do is a big part of it all, to shed fat, increase stamina, and make it easier to lift heavier weights.
During your time in the gym, talk to the bigger guys, ask what works for them, some may not tell you, or will give you the wrong info., a lot of the bigger guys are unwilling to give out their training secrets to anyone, especially if they think you might prove to be competition. Watch their routines and what they do, how much rest they take between sets and exercises, if you can learn from a pro for free, take advantage, the price of hiring a personal trainer can be high, even then they will not divulge their secrets.
Nutrition. You can lift/ push all the weight you possibly can, but it will be utterly futile if you do not know the proper dietary needs to put on the pounds of lean muscle mass. The first and best thing I can tell anyone is to get a copy of the glycemic index, and follow it. A google search will give many results for this. Protein is the biggest factor when it comes to building lean muscle mass. A basic rule is one gram of protein per pound of body weight, but to gain mass, you need more. How much more depends on your level of training and body weight. Prepare to eat a lot of skinless plain chicken breats and rice. Turkey is even better but isnt really cost effective for most, and the dose of tryptophan can put an end to your evening.
Throughout the day, you must eat every 3-4 hours, up to 6 times a day, plus any supplements in between. There are many different sources for a bodybuilders diet found on the net, and the diet, like the weights, works differently for each person. Being knowledgable about nutrition will get you to the size and shape you want.
Supplements add yet another element to learn about. There are so many different types and brands on the market, it is hard to know what is best. Avoid anything containing aspertame, unless it is under 40mg per day. This artificial sweetner has been proved, in its break down products, to have methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. The concerns are that it may cause epilepsy, brain tumors, and effects on the nervous system.
Whey protein is the best overall product for BB`s as it is protein that builds the muscle. Then there others like creatine(pulls water to the muscle and aids in muscle recovery, may also increase strength, lots of water is needed when taking it so as not to damage the kidneys), glutamine(prevents the body from breaking down the muscle for fuel, excellent for calorie reduced diet, also brings water to the muscle fiber), lysine(essential amino acid, aids in muscle repair), efa`s(essential fats, the good kind) meta cell,(creatine protein hybrid, one of my pers. faves), arginine(essential amino acid). The list of brand names is extensive, get what is in your price range and you cant go wrong. It is not necessary to take all, or any of the supplements, by learning about nutrition you can achieve the same results, just may take a little longer.
Steroids are a big NO. Unless you really want to look like a giant overstuffed sausage ready to explode. Sure they make you stronger, but they also cause pre mature balding even if no one else in your family has the balding gene, they cause irreversible damage to basically every vital organ, cause genitals to shrink, then not to mention the emotional torture you go through, including severe depression. Ever see anyone have a roid rage? They dont even remember what they were pissed about when it is over, and can cause serious injury to anyone close enough for them to get a hand on, or even kill the person without knowing it. I admit the super heavy weights like Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and the like are all impressive looking beasts, but to stay that way they have to pretty much be on a permanent cycle. I know a few actors who have erectile dysfuntion from roids, and have had other ways of "pumping it up" put in surgically.
Another problem facing BB`s, is when they feel they have had enough, and want to drop the muscle mass. One way to do it involves training twice as hard as you did to get the size, by doing a lot of light weight high rep/sets with countless hours of cardio to fight off the fat that develops when the muscles are no longer being taxed. Or, simply stop going to the gym and sit on the couch with the chippies and chocy bars and let nature do its thing.
The biggest and best thing you can do for yourself if you want to get in bodybuilding, or at the lower spectrum, or to the extreme of competition, or any other part of life, is to learn as much as you possibly can about every aspect, proper form/technique, excersises/routines, diet and nutrition, and if it is right for you, supplements. Find what works best for you, and go hard, or go home, learn to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs, and do not over train, keep a minimum of 72 hours between muscle groups, but once a week is better for growth. Over training can cause serious set backs and can lead to burnout.
This is a very basic outline, too much detail would be giving away my own secrets and I would be sitting here for a week straight, missing the gym.

If I see ya on the stage at a comp., all you will see is my back as I accept first place

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