As of August 28, 2001, I have been seriously bodybuilding for a one whole year! As I look back to when I started I realize, I didn't have a clue about what I was doing. In this article, I'm going to tell you things that I learned along the way.
I remember the very first time I lifted weights. I lifted with my friend Mike, who was taking weight lifting in school. We used a wooden bench, a pole, and some plastic weights to bench press. We just lifted to bar up to each other because there were no uprights. All we did for an hour was bench press. That was the beginning of my weightlifting addiction. We did this a couple times a week. He then taught me the concentration curl. So for about a month, I bench pressed and did concentration curls. I thought that was all I needed to do. While doing this, I paid no attention to my diet at all. I really did not think it was important. I thought if I lifted I would automatically get big.
After my Uncle learned that I was interested in lifting weights, he gave me his old bench and some weights. I was still only bench pressing and doing curls. I quit for a while then got back into about 18 months ago. I then began to read magazines and look at different web sites. I started doing a routine from a Men's Health Magazine. It only had exercises for the chest, biceps, triceps, and shoulders (I don't know why). I did this on and off until last summer. I got a job working on a construction clean up crew during the summer of 2000. The three guys that I worked with all lifted. Throughout the summer, we talked about lifting and different aspects of nutrition. At the end of that summer, is when it all began!
With some money I earned over the summer, I bought a standard cable machine. I could now do leg extensions, pull downs, tricep pressdowns, and other exercises like those. I made a basic routine for myself and followed it for like three months. During these first three, the only leg exercise I did was leg extensions and I hardly worked my triceps, calves, and traps. That is where most beginners go wrong. They do not work every muscle. They work the biceps and chest like there's no tomorrow and forget about everything else.
The more I read on the net, and the more I posted on message boards, the better my routines became. I started hearing people talk about squats, militarty press, and deadlifts, and I was like what are those? I then found out squats and deadlifts are basically the two best muscle building exercises there are. I decided to add military presses into my routine. I did them in a sited position. I placed the bar up the uprights in the bench and just lifted to my chest, then pressed it.
Next, I added squats into my routine. I did squats by using the uprights on my bench. I turned them around and raised them up. I could not go heavy on squats because of the equipment I had to use. I usually did 20-rep squats. I still remember the first time I squatted. I could not even walk after the workout.
Next, I added deadlifts into my routine. Deadlifts are great be bring out overall back development. When doing deadlifts, I can feel my entire back being worked. In the beginning, I did sets of 10 reps. So now, I was doing bench presses, military press, squats, and deadlifts along with other exercises. Once I started using these compound movements, I started seeing major gains.
For about six or seven months, all I used was a bench, a bar, and dumbbells. By this time, the weight stack on my cable machine was not heavy enough for me to do anything with. My uncle bought me some new equipment as a present. It had cable attachments, a new bench (Which has 10 different angle settings), and a power rack. Every since then, I have been working out in my garage.
This summer was my first experience with bulking (Check out my summer of mass articles). I was always afraid of putting fat on. After competing my first bulking cycle, I realized the importance of bulking.
Here are some main points:
- 1) WORK EVERY BODY PART!, ESPECIALLY TH E LEGS! I cannot stress this enough.
- 2) Work each body part only once a week.
- 3) Get at least 8 hours of sleep
- 4) Get at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight.
- 5) Do not be afraid to bulk! When gaining muscle, you have to eat more calories than you burn. Therefore, you will put on some fat, but it nothing to worry about.
- 6) Do compound exercises. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, etc.
- 7) Be consistent. Just because gains are not coming at the speed of light of no reason to quit or become discouraged.
You will make mistakes and learn from your mistakes, it's all part of the game. You will find what works for you and what doesn't along the way. One way to make this process easy is to find out what other people have done and learn from their experiences.
IT TAKES TIME!
"My biceps have only grown half an inch in the last six months." "I've only gained five pounds since I've started lifting weights." Have you heard people say things like these before? Have you yourself said something like this? Every bodybuilder, young or old, wants gains to come fast. Young bodybuilders often become very discouraged because they are not as big as Arnold and they have been lifting for a year. They forget that it takes time to grow, especially when dealing with muscles. I know how discouraging it can be when you are busting your butt in the gym day in day out, and you are not seeing gains like you would hope to. I've said this a million times, but mentioning it here is appropriate. My chest seems like it won't grow. I pound it every week, and I am not seeing much growth. I have to remind myself that I can't expect massive gains overnight. It takes time to develop the physique you want. If it was easy, everyone would be huge and ripped and in shape.
If you look at all the successful bodybuilders, especially the natural ones, you'll see they have been lifting weights for years; some for decades! Most of them also started when they were teenagers and are just now competing. If you are a teen bodybuilder, you should be happy that you decided to start at an early age. Just remember that the perfect body doesn't come in a bottle. It doesn't matter what kind or how many supplements you're taking, if you are not consistent in your workouts, you will not make gains or make the gains that you could have. Many teens fall victim to marketing hype and depend solely on supplements to make them huge. "Gain 10 lbs. Of pure muscle in two weeks!" When a bodybuilder, especially a teen, hears this, they think, "Wow! How much?" Because we all want to get as big as we can as quickly as possible, we often want to use anything that will help us get there. For a list of supplements that actually work and are safe, check out Big Cat's supplement article: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/catbulk.htm
When trying to gain weight, you can't just shove 15,000 calories down your throat and expect not to get fat. To gain weight, you have to intake more calories than you burn. So it would seem like, the more you eat, they bigger you will get. Well in a way, that's true. You will get bigger, but it will all be fat. To learn how to bulk correctly, check out: Big Cat~ http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/catcommand.htm Layne Norton~ http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/layne2.htm
It also takes time to lose fat. Losing fat involves strict dieting and cardio. Some bodybuilders want to lose a ton of fat all at once. This will lead to muscle loss. In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you intake. Oh, I guess I'll just eat 500 calories and run on the treadmill for two hours. Yeah, that's a good idea if you don't want to keep all the muscle you worked so hard to gain. It is important to take your time when dieting and losing fat. Check out Layne Norton's cutting article to see the proper way to cut: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/layne1.htm
One thing to remember is never to let people put you down. People are always criticizing others. Sometimes, to make themselves feel better. When you post pictures, you will receive criticism. People will tell you, "You're small and you'll never amount to anything." The worst thing to do in this situation is to believe them. I was just telling this story to a fellow teenbodybuilding.com writer. About after I had decided to take bodybuilding seriously, I posted my pics on a web page. I later received an email from a guy saying all sorts of crude stuff. At first, I thought, "Maybe he is right." After I talked to some friends I met over the net, I decided to use what he said in the gym. I lifted harder than I ever had. Three months later, I posted new pics on the site. I then received an apology/compliment email from the same guy who made the crude comments. It all goes to show, people will say things that are untrue or just plain mean just they are jealous of what you are doing. Remember, always believe in yourself!
You must be committed! If you are trying to become a bodybuilding, you have to stay focused. Everything takes time. If you keep your head up and continue to work and strive to overcome obstacles, you will succeed!
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