Beginners guide to becoming a bodybuilder.
So you want to be a bodybuilder? Who doesn’t: those guys are big, ripped and look great. But there’s more to being a bodybuilder than lifting the heaviest dumbbells on the rack. Here’s your beginners guide to becoming a bodybuilder.
Figure out your body type
Different body types need different types of training, diet and recovery. Are you a mesomorph, ectomorph, endomorph, or a combination? The three body types are known as somatypes, they describe your shape, your ability to gain (and lose muscle), and even how you’ll lose body fat. Know your somatotype, and training (and eating) like a bodybuilder will be a lot easier. One size doesn’t fit all!
What’s your bodybuilding goal?
What does “bodybuilding” mean to you? For some, it means training with weights, consistently, year on year, and making improvements in size, muscle mass, shape or body composition. For others, you’re not a bodybuilder unless you compete. Figure out your personal goals, then you can make a plan.
Train smart to train hard
More is not necessarily better when it comes to training as a bodybuilder, and pain doesn’t always lead to gains. If you want to pack on more muscle mass and fine tune your physique, you need to train smart, and recover hard. Get your training right, and pay attention to nutrition, supplementation, sleep and stress levels too. Your training should be periodised and structured, you need to think about tempo and time under tension, and realise that there are more important factors than the amount of weight on the bar.
Cardio or no-no?
Do you need to include cardio in your bodybuilding training? If so, should it be LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio or HIIT (high intensity interval training)? Everyone’s needs are different, and your somatype will have a big influence on whether you should avoid or embrace cardio. So will other factors such as how active your job is, how stressed you are, how much body fat you have to lose, and how well you’re managing your nutrition.
Get your diet dialed in
Diet is key whether you want to add muscle mass for lifestyle goals, or whether you want to get huge and ripped for a bodybuilding competition. Without the correct diet, consistently applied with intelligence and patience, you are very unlikely to meet your ultimate bodybuilding goals. Don’t get caught up in the old-style “bro” diets of chicken, rice and broccoli. Don’t think you have to go super low-carb. Get advice from someone who can help you design a diet suited to your body type, your goals, your lifestyle and your budget. Then stick to it. That’s the key.
Beginners bodybuilding supplement stack
The third part of your beginners bodybuilding plan will be your supplements. There are some basic, effective bodybuilding supplements which will be really beneficial for anyone new to bodybuilding, or taking it to the next level. Definitely consider creatine (Creapure is the best type available), amino acids (or BCAAs – branch chain amino acids), l-glutamine or l-leucine (very important essential amino acids) and a good whey protein (or pea protein, if you can’t tolerate whey at all). Take your bodybuilding supplements consistently and see what a difference they make over the first few months of your journey.
Train to your genetic potential
Before you make any major decisions about moving over to the “assisted” side of bodybuilding, make sure you have exhausted your genetic potential. This is particularly true if you’re male, and even more true if you’re young. Your body’s natural hormone levels are sky-high, so make the most of them. Train hard, rest harder, get your diet right, and enjoy seeing how far you can push your body naturally before making any decisions which you can’t reverse.
Above all, be patient, consistent and enjoy the journey. Welcome to the world of bodybuilding!