Interested in learning how to begin bodybuilding? These bodybuilding tips for beginners will put you on the right path to becoming a bodybuilder!
The road to building a professional bodybuilder’s physique begins with a single step, but that step needs to be the right one.
Rather than listening to any old gym bro’s advice that may or may not (you can bet on the latter though) get you results, why not stick to several tried and tested bodybuilding tips that got the pros to where they are today and are bound to accelerate your fitness journey?
How to Start Bodybuilding – Your First Steps
If you want to begin bodybuilding, there are a few fundamental things you are going to need to know. Here are a few tips you should focus on when you are starting your life as a bodybuilder.
Establish a Fixed Time Schedule for Maximum Results
Bodybuilding is a sport that takes total commitment. From the time you wake up, until the time you head to sleep, you are going to need to schedule nearly every aspect of your day. It is possible to be a bodybuilder without doing this, but it will likely be more difficult to reach the pinnacle of your appearance and goals.
Although I believe you should try to keep a schedule for as many aspects of your life as possible (I do this as a professional basketball player), things which must be scheduled to become a bodybuilder are:
- The Time You Wake Up
- The Time You Will Go to the Gym
- The Time You Will Go to Sleep
- Your Meal Times
Making a firm schedule for these aspects of your life will give you an outline of your day, and will help keep you on track.
Limit Your Training Intensity for the First Month
If you are beginning a bodybuilding routine for the first time, you don’t want to jump into this too fast.
Try to find a schedule that you believe you can maintain for months and even years. In your first month of trying to become a bodybuilder, focus on developing a workout strategy you enjoy, and finding a training “groove.” Over time, you can increase the intensity of your training and add additional sessions to your training schedule.
Bodybuilding Advice for Beginners – Choosing Your Exercises
No matter what exercise you are doing, you need to perform each exercise as perfectly as possible. Your goal as a bodybuilder is to build an aesthetic body, and this takes focus and patience. Building perfectly sculpted muscles takes perfection on every rep, so do your best to improve your form and only do exercises you can do with proper form.
Here are some additional bodybuilding tips for beginners about choosing the right exercises and how to workout properly:
Progressive Overload is Key
What you will experience in the first months of your bodybuilding venture is called “newbie gains”, a truly blissful period in your life when you will rapidly grow muscle mass and lose fat in your body’s desperate attempt to survive the horror you’re putting it through.
Alas, this blissful period will be short-lived, the rapid gains will stop, and you will plateau. In order to maintain your steady ascension into bodybuilding super-stardom, you need to constantly implement progressive overload and reap its benefits.
Whether you increase the weight on the bar, decrease rest times or increase the sets and reps, you need to constantly present your body with new challenges that will force it to become bigger, faster, and stronger.
Isolation vs Compound Movements – Which Are Better for Bodybuilding Beginners?
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to build muscle.
However, no single way is necessarily the best or the be-all-end-all of bodybuilding, and the best option is usually a comprehensive approach that includes different training methods.
Therefore, you need to harness the muscle-building potential of both isolation and compound movements in order to reap the greatest rewards.
Start your workouts with heavy compound movements such as squats and deadlifts and slowly dial down the intensity, finishing off your session with light, concentration work such as curls and extensions.
If you want to try a difficult compound exercise workout, try 20 Rep Squats!
Dumbbell vs Barbell vs Bodyweight Exercises for Bodybuilding Beginners
When it comes to building muscle, you are going to need to utilize a variety of different stimuli to challenge your muscle. As you become an advanced bodybuilder you are going to want to add in kettlebells, exercise machines, and advanced bodyweight exercises, but the bulk of your training will be with dumbbells and barbells.
Here are some of the specific benefits of each type of training:
One of the most common debates in weight training is whether it is better to use dumbbells, or barbells, for specific movements. Regardless of what anyone tries to tell you, both should be used in similar amounts if you want to build a well-rounded and healthy body!
Each of these pieces of equipment has advantages over the other, and they are most effective when used in correlation with each other!
Benefits of Dumbbell Training
The advantage of using dumbbells lies in the fact that they can be used in a wider range of motion, and they much more effectively work your smaller muscles and stabilizing muscles.
If you are looking for a place to find which dumbbell might be best for you to purchase for home, you should check out this awesome guide!
Choosing the correct dumbbell to work with can have a huge impact on how you train, as well as how often you use the equipment!
For an athlete or sportsman, dumbbells can be advantages to use for many motions that help you build stability and strength for athletic movements.
Even for simple motions such as biceps curls or the bench press, dumbbells can be an effective alternative because they are less stressful on your joints, and allow you to use a much wider range of motion.
People who suffer from shoulder injuries may find it very difficult to perform the bench press or any type of overhead press with a barbell, but may easily be able to perform these movements with dumbbells.
Since I personally have been dealing with a shoulder injury since about 2011, the dumbbell floor press has become my best friend for upper body mass!
By understanding the proper situations to use dumbbells, you can effectively build and strengthen your body without overstressing certain joints.
Athletes are required to have total control over their movement patterns when playing sports, and using dumbbells can be more effective than barbells for training many sport-specific movements.
Along with all of these benefits, dumbbells are definitely much more convenient to have in your home.
Learn More: The Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises
Benefits of Barbell Training
The main advantage of barbells is that it allows you to easily and effectively move more weight, work multiple muscles at once, and perform movements in a more condensed range of motions.
Many movements such as the Olympic lifts, squats, and deadlifts, do not correlate well with dumbbells. Although you certainly can do variations of these movements with dumbbells, they are generally not as effective.
Movements such as the goblet squat are a great way to use dumbbells for squats, but it won’t have nearly as much of a benefit for building mass or explosive power as a barbell front squat or back squat.
Since barbells do not require you to use as many stabilizing muscles, you will be able to move more weight overall, and stress your muscles in a uniquely different way. For some people, it can be much easier to bench press 300lbs on a barbell, than it is to press 80lb dumbbells.
Although it would certainly help this person overall to become stronger on that part of their body they are weak in, it is generally beneficial to work towards your strengths.
Long term use of barbells only can damage your body by over defining the larger muscles, and leaving smaller muscle groups behind. Barbells are great because they easily allow you to perform compound movements and work your body intensely all at once, but there certainly is more to training than this alone!
As an alternative to both types of training, bodyweight-only exercises are also very effective for training your body. Bodyweight exercises such as the push-up, sit-up, body squat, pull-up, and inverted row can effectively train your larger muscles, smaller stabilizing muscles, and multiple muscles all at once!
These movements are often overlooked because they seem easy, but they are sure to stress your body in a unique way!
A person who has mastered the ability to perform a wide range of bodyweight-only exercises will certainly be able to perform dumbbell and barbell movements effectively!
Stick with a Workout Routine for at least 6 Weeks at a Time
Regardless of which workout routine for bodybuilding you choose, make sure you stick with your program for at least 6 weeks at a time.
There are tons of different workout routines for bodybuilding beginners that you can choose from, but make sure you choose one you know you can stick with. If you are changing your workout routine too frequently, you will not be able to make linear progress.
As a good example, one of the latest workout routines that you can consider is the Steele Training System, the brainchild of Hayden Steele.
If you are struggling to figure out which workout routine you should use, the workout routines at BodyFit by Bodybuilding.com are perfect to follow along with.
BodyFit by BodyBuilding.com has two tiers for people who don’t know what workouts to do on their own. BodyFit Plus, the first tier, includes more than 2,500 workout articles and workout videos. BodyFit Plus also includes information on over 3,500 exercises!
BodyFit Elite, the second tier, includes everything from BodyFit Plus, and it also includes over 90 specific workout plans and programs. BodyFit Elite also contains meal plans and unique daily workout videos.
You can click below to check out BodyFit by BodyBuilding.com and see what workout programs are available:
Bodybuilding Tips for Beginners – Diet and Nutrition Tips
If you want to start bodybuilding and become a bodybuilder, the primary task is to lose weight and build muscle mass. To become a bodybuilder, you will need a focused diet and workout plan, along with a long-term plan on how to win competitions.
Here are a few absolutely essential bodybuilding tips you need to know that will get you results.
Get ready for the hard truth!
Eat Real Foods – Don’t Rely on Supplements Alone
The core of any bodybuilder or athletes supplement stack should be whole foods, as confusing as that may sound.
If you are spending hundreds of dollars per month on supplements, you are doing something wrong.
Supplements are supposed to be an investment in your body, and there is no reason to start making this investment until you have your mind wrapped around the fact that body transformations come from improving your daily diet, and exercise routine.
You could easily spend $500 per month on the best supplements in the world, but you will not see any difference if you are not making these other necessary changes in your life.
In fact, probably 90% of all the supplements on the market are incredibly ineffective.
It is very rare that a supplement can be proven to be effective for everyone, which is why supplements such as creatine monohydrate, whey protein, BCAAs, Citrulline Malate and other effective products are sold so widely.
When people find a product that works 100% of the time, they buy it in incredible amounts.
Many supplements, however, are marketed extremely well- but are ineffective. Instead of wasting your money on these products, you would be much wiser to invest in healthy, whole foods.
For example, one month of whey protein, BCAAs, creatine monohydrate, multivitamins, a fat burner, and a pre workout would probably cost you about $250 total.
If you took this money, you could easily buy organic fruits and vegetables for 1 month, with extra money to spend.
Many people complain that they do not have money to buy organic and nutritious food because it is too expensive, but at the same time spend loads of money on products such as this which may have little to no positive effects on your body.
If you are looking for an “even medium,” a better solution may be to buy approximately 14 days’ worth of these products, and spend a little bit extra money on real foods. This way, you can have the best of both worlds!
One of the main reasons that people decide to spend their extra money on supplements, compared to healthier food, is simply due to marketing. Supplement companies promise incredible gains or fat loss to everyone, although they are never held accountable for this.
If you are going to purchase any supplement, you should make sure it is absolutely going to do something positive for your body!
Related Reading: The Best Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
Eat More – You’re Not Eating Enough
If you want to look like a beast, you have to eat like a beast. No amount of curls, squats, or deadlifts will get you the physique of your dreams if you’re not in a constant calorie surplus.
On the other hand, if you are overweight to begin with, you need to tailor your diet to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Fitness, as well as general health and well-being, boils down to nutrition for the most part. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to calculate your daily caloric requirements, calculate your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and stick to a rigorous hydrating regime.
Only when you start eating the right way can you start building muscle.
Additional Information: Complex Carbs for Bodybuilding
Drink a Lot of Water
Muscles are comprised of water. Not only do you need water for hydration like a non-bodybuilder, but you will need additional water if you are sweating during your workouts and if you are taking supplements containing caffeine. Bodybuilders should drink around 2 gallons of water per day.
Additional Information: Hydration for Athletes
Take the Right Supplements
A combination of healthy eating and proper exercise can easily allow you to gain strength, but supplements will maximize your body’s ability to add muscle. It can be overwhelming to sort through all the supplements essential to your fitness regimen.
From those useful energy-boosting supplements to the natural vegan protein powder that will help you build more muscles, you need to take the supplements you choose to use very seriously!
Vitamin B Complex Supplements
To start, you should know that there isn’t just one vitamin that belongs in the category of “Vitamin B.” The entire Vitamin B complex consists of 8 water-soluble vitamins. The water solubility characteristic of these vitamins means that you have to constantly replenish them for your body to properly maintain its health and progress in gaining muscle.
However, it is important to ensure you don’t over-consume them if they are being taken in a supplement form.
These 8 vitamins, while loosely related, serve different functions that keep your body operating at its prime.
For example, Vitamin B-1 plays a key role in your body’s energy production. Vitamin B12 can help you lose weight and protects your central nervous system by upholding the health of the myelin sheath. The variety of functions that B vitamins perform are especially helpful for bodybuilders who need a constant source of energy.
There are many brands of Vitamin B supplements on the market. Online research should be conducted to determine which vitamin B supplement is right for you based on your energy needs and the intensity of your workouts.
Whey protein is a protein powder that is a by-product of the cheese production process. Whey protein is ideal for bodybuilders because the essential amino acids it contains encourage the release of anabolic hormones.
These promote muscle growth and stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the genetic and molecular level. In addition to providing the body with essential amino acids, whey protein also contributes to calcium and some dietary fiber.
Whey protein is absorbed much more quickly than other sources of protein. For ideal results, whey protein can be consumed immediately preceding or following a workout, or even during one.
This flexibility makes it ideal for a bodybuilder who is trying to adjust to their new lifestyle.
While unpalatable in its raw state, whey protein is great as a supplement because it comes in a variety of flavors, like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. It is a tasty addition to smoothies, oatmeal, and other wholesome recipes.
If you are a vegan, hemp protein is an excellent alternative. For additional options, check out my article about the best vegan protein sources!
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements
This supplement is a great way to obtain the essential fish oils your body benefits from without having to consume potentially contaminated seafood like tuna and salmon.
Fish oil has been generally known to maintain or even increase testosterone levels, speed recovery after workouts, burn body fat, and encourage overall muscle growth.
Fish oil also serves to prevent problems that are commonly found in bodybuilders. Bodybuilders often struggle with high blood pressure due to their participation in taxing workouts and their higher-than-average intake of red meat. Bodybuilders can benefit from fish oil because it has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure.
Fish oil also reduces joint pain and inflammation, which can lead to more productive and rewarding workouts.
Additional Information: The Best Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
Additional Tips for Bodybuilding Beginners
Along with these fundamental tips for bodybuilding beginners, here are a few additional tips which will help you on your journey to becoming a bodybuilder:
Clothes and Accessories Could Save Your Life
Training in dedicated bodybuilding clothes is not for show, as proper apparel serves a much higher purpose.
You should not only wear breathable clothing, such as shorts and t-shirts made of dry-fit materials, but you should also wear quality bodybuilding accessories like the ones TwoTags offers, that provide enough traction to keep you safe, such as lifting wraps, knee sleeves, and even a weightlifting belt for those super heavy, mass-building sets.
Check out these other accessories you should have on your way to becoming a bodybuilder!
While there are hundreds of accessories you can get for your bodybuilding journey, there are some essential ones you can always rely on and should invest in. Here are a few items which are a must-have for every bodybuilder-in-training!
The Right Shoes
You must have perfect fitting and comfortable gym shoes if you’re going to exercise. Sport shoes are made with a special material to manage your weight and ensure you have full support for your exercise routine. Proper sports shoes are commonly comprised of longevity features.
If you are interested in exploring some options, visit this website and check the kind of shoes available and the ones you can get as per your exercise routine.
There are a variety of shoes available depending on the different exercises you are going to do. For example, there are running shoes, trainers, walking shoes, and athletic shoes. Select as per your preference and save your feet from getting injured!
Along with your shoes, the most essential item to carry during your workout routine is a water bottle. The best idea is to carry an acrylic water bottle that does not break easily and looks attractive.
You need to understand the importance of keeping yourself hydrated while you work out. You can even fill your bottle with your favorite protein shake or amino acids if you want to.
Additional Resource: Hydration for Athletes
When you are exercising, it is always easier to complete your routine when you are listening to your favorite music. You need to have a portable music player with you during your routine at the gym or if you’re running outside.
Time passes by quickly when your favorite singers are with you in the background! Wireless earphones are the best investment in this regard.
A Workout Watch
With the updated technology, we can measure the number of calories we have lost and our heartbeat on the go. Get a fitness watch (like the HELO health monitor or Apple Watch) or a fitness band that measures your vitals, keeps you on your toes and makes sure you know how much time you’ve invested in your fitness routine.
Wearing a wristwatch while you workout is an excellent idea for tracking your fitness accomplishments and the intensity of your workout.
Fitness bands come in a variety of colors and features. You can select the one that matches your workout clothing and earphones!
Rest Properly and Remain Persistent
Rest and recovery, the two most underrated elements of bodybuilding, and any sport in general.
If you fail to adhere to proper recovery principles after your workouts, you will not only find it impossible to overcome your plateaus but you will also slowly pave the road to serious injuries.
Therefore, you need to maintain healthy a sleeping cycle, allowing your body enough time to rest and rebuild muscle mass, while eating enough and nurturing a healthy micro-nutrient intake as well.
Lastly, you need to remain persistent. Even if you’re a natural athlete, reaching your goals is going to take time.
Do not fall prey to disappointment if you do not see results right away, simply remain adamant in your reaching your goals, adjust your training, diet, and recovery cycles accordingly, and results will follow in due time.
If you have trouble falling asleep, CBD Oil or other legal cannabis products can help. For more information, go to my article about marijuana and bodybuilding!
Concluding Thoughts – How to Begin Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding is a sport that is beneficial to long-term health, positivity, and general well-being.
While it is not always easy for beginners to find their way in the iron jungle, by following these simple tips, you can easily create a perfect fitness regimen to reach your goals with strength, vigor, and determination.
About the Author
Peter is a fitness and health editor at Ripped.me and Gentleman Zone magazine, living between London and Brisbane, Australia. Besides writing, he’s a total fitness & yoga devotee. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.