How Can One Achieve Bodybuilding Success?

Our forum members give comprehensive details on what they believe will make for great bodybuilding success. Information includes philosophies for a better foundation, detailed training routines, nutrition and supplement tips.


TOPIC: How Can One Achieve Bodybuilding Success?

The Question:

There are so many keys to bodybuilding success; dedication, motivation, consistency, etc. All are important pieces to the bodybuilding puzzle.

How can one achieve bodybuilding success?

What are some important characteristics a bodybuilder should have?

Compared to other sports, how difficult is it for one to achieve success in the bodybuilding sport?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

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1st Place - ManInTheBox
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

There are so many keys to bodybuilding success; dedication, motivation, consistency, etc. All are important pieces to the bodybuilding puzzle.

It's not easy to get into the sport of bodybuilding; there are so many preconceived notions about bodybuilders these days. I think one of the greatest misunderstandings is that in order to be large, you have to be on steroids and that taking supplements such as protein or creatine, is the same thing as taking steroids - Ignorance in today's society is one of our greatest obstacles.

It is difficult to talk to friends about bodybuilding because it is simply misunderstood and hard to relate to. What people don't realize, is if they go to the gym regularly to workout and get bigger, they themselves are bodybuilders. Anyone who tries to get bigger is a bodybuilder, it's up to you if you take it to the next level.


Keys To Achieving Bodybuilding Success
How can one achieve bodybuilding success?

There are a lot of different keys to achieving success in bodybuilding. Unless you have superhuman genetics, and a godly metabolism, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration in order to achieve that Zeus physique. Zeus Was Built!

-> Strength:

    "Yeah, I can bench more than 200, what about you?" No, I am not talking about physical strength. I am talking about mental stability and strength. There are days where you will not feel the pump in the gym. You won't have a lot of motivation, and you're tired. It's up to you to push through this barrier and still give the weights all of your own motivation.

    There are days where you will walk out of the gym not feeling like you completed a good workout; you will not have hit your bench press, or squat target. It is up to you to take that frustration and energy and turn it into something positive. I've seen too many guys give up after they miss a workout, and didn't reach their short term goal. In order to achieve your goals in bodybuilding, you must learn to have mental stability to push on.

-> Discipline:

    alcohol "Hey, you wanna go out tonight and get smashed?" This is pressure that we will all experience at one time or another in our lives. Whether it be ourselves or when we have to talk to our children about drinking, it will arise. In order to succeed in bodybuilding, your diet, sleep, and overall relaxation need to be a priority.

    Going out partying four times per week will not yield optimum results. We all have a life, and we all need to live our life. The weekends are when I try to squeeze in having fun and going out with friends, but during the week, I am all business. It's hard having a girlfriend, and it's hard having friends who don't workout and don't understand the concept of relaxation, but in order to achieve your goals, sometimes you need to do what's best for you, and not what makes you popular.

    Alcohol has detrimental effects on a bodybuilder. Alcohol feeds on muscle tissue, hinders your body's fat burning process, slows metabolism, lowers motivation, depresses your body's responses, has lingering effects for up to 48 hours, and lowers testosterone temporarily. All of these effects are what we as bodybuilders do not want! In order to achieve success in bodybuilding, you need to do what's best for you, not what makes you popular.

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-> Dedication:

    Along with discipline comes dedication. Bodybuilding in itself is a long-term goal-You will not gain that 20 pounds of muscle in a month. I have gone through three training partners in about 6 months because they decided that bodybuilding was not for them. I have been training for nearly 2 years now.

    A lot of people chuckle at the sport of bodybuilding; people think it's easy going to the gym and pushing through a grueling workout. Bodybuilding and most bodybuilders share a love/hate relationship with it. As I said earlier, there will be workouts where you just do not feel the pump or the energy you want to feel, but you have to push through that and get into a mental state of confidence.

    Dedication means that you are willing to set aside an indefinite amount of time to not only reach your goal, but go beyond that goal. I can remember when I weighed 130 pounds-I told my physician that I wanted to weigh at least 175. She said it would be impossible for me because my frame would not allow it. This motivated me to prove her wrong. I not only reached 175, but went to 185, and over a year's time, I now weigh 205.

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-> Consistency:

    Things to consider

    • No matter what gym you go to, you will see clients coming in and training biceps 3+ times a week.
    • There will be people coming in and never training their legs.
    • The few and far between will be the ones who are built, and have a solid plan they stick with.

    Consistency in training is a very important aspect of trying to slap on muscle and whether you have a 3, 4, 5, or 7-day split, it's crucial that you stick with that plan and vary the exercises regularly. Consistency is not restrained to just training either, this also applies to diet.

    In order to gain muscle, it's critical that you are aware of your diet and that you are eating enough at the right times of the day. Most bodybuilders take in upwards of 4000 calories per day, and eat 6-to-8 meals per day as well. A consistent regimen of diet will yield you optimum results!

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    It is also very important to remember that muscle needs calories even when at rest, unlike fat. Furthermore, consistency does not only apply to training and diet, but sleep as well. Sleep may be one of the most important roles in gaining.

    When you sleep, that is when your body is under repair and maintenance. Massive amounts of growth hormone and testosterone are secreted and this is what will make you body grow! Going to bed on a full stomach will give your body nutrients to feed your muscles all night long.

RELATED POLL
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Yes.
No.
Sometimes.

    Taking in a casein protein product such as milk and/or cottage cheese will give your body all of the nutrients and calories your body needs to grow. Consistency in training, diet, and sleep will yield you the results you want to see in bodybuilding!

-> Knowledge:

    Knowledge is power these days! It's so important for bodybuilders to keep up to date on the latest nutrition breakthroughs, and training news. Everyday we are discovering bigger and better methods of getting bigger and better! It's important not to stick with that 3-day split and 3 sets of 10 rule.

    There is so much knowledge out there to be absorbed, it's important for us bodybuilders to have open minds and open ears to these aspects, and I will elaborate more on these two keys next!


Important Bodybuilding Characteristics
What are some important characteristics a bodybuilder should have?

-> An Open Mind:

    As I touched briefly on. It's so important to try new things! When most get into bodybuilding, we go off of the old 3 sets of 10 idea. Not that this is a bad program, but it's important for our bodies to experience new methods of training for greater results.

    Many people are not willing to try the new exercise that looks awkward or makes them use less weight than normal. Nobody likes lowering weight and doing something that feels awkward, but these can be the greatest exercises for our bodies!

    In order to achieve success in bodybuilding, and possess a body that others want, you must think outside the box, and be willing to open up to new possibilities.

-> Have Open Ears:

    Sometimes bodybuilders don't like to be critiqued or be told they are doing something wrong. I know I most certainly am guilty of not being great at taking constructive criticism. Sometimes it pays off though to stop and listen.

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    I've been told many times that I am doing something wrong, most of the time their advice was less than helpful, but time from time, people who are older than you can really help you out. Many young bodybuilders are definitely bad at taking constructive criticism when it comes to anything, much less working out.

    We must be willing to take constructive criticism, as sometimes other's advice can be helpful, and even help you increase weight!

-> Maintain A Strict Diet:

    Unfortunately, most fitness enthusiasts who are not serious, usually lack this the most. Most of your growth aside from relaxation and sleep, comes from what you put in your body. It is imperative that your body is taking in enough calories for growth, period.

    Protein

      Secondly, you need to take a look at those calories, and see where you are getting most of them from. It's vital that you are taking in at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. The longer you workout, and the more advanced you get, you will want to even look at taking in 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

    PROTEIN NEEDS CALCULATOR

    Enter your body weight (in pounds or kilograms) and press "Calculate".

      This correlates with something called a positive nitrogen balance. Simply put, a positive nitrogen balance is when your body is taking in more protein than necessary. As long as you are staying within your caloric needs, taking in more protein than necessary should not pose a problem at all.

    Water

      Remember though, to be taking in enough water, as a high protein diet can cause dehydration rather quickly. The norm for the average bodybuilder is usually between one and three gallons of water per day. Water is possibly the most important nutrient to keep us functioning at our best!

    WATER INTAKE CALCULATOR

    Good Fats

      Peanut butter

      Along with protein, many forget about taking in good carbohydrates and good fats. They can be recognized in a few simple ways. We want mostly unsaturated fats, a few great sources are fish such as salmon, oils such as olive oil, and foods such as natural peanut butter.

      All of these sources give us the essential fatty acids that we need to keep our hormone levels healthy and our joints swinging without pain!

    Carbohydrates

      The good, the bad, and the ugly! Within the past decade, carbohydrates have gotten a really bad reputation, which is depressing. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy and muscle gains! When it comes to carbohydrates, it's all about timing. Even simple carbohydrates can be fit into anyone's diet.

      The best time to take in fast absorbing carbohydrates such as dextrose, is directly after a workout. These carbohydrates will be utilized and stored as glycogen in the liver, and also distributed to your muscles. Glycogen is your muscle's best form of energy for completing exercise.

    Glycogen
    Muscle cell glycogen appears to function as an immediate reserve energy source of available glucose for muscle cells. Other cells that contain small amounts use it locally as well.

      For other times of the day, morning is the best time to consume most of your carbohydrates, as your body needs this unit of energy to perform it's daily tasks, especially for bodybuilders. Many like to taper their carbohydrates as the day progresses as well and increase their fat and protein intake.

-> Proper Supplementation:

    This is a gray area with many starting bodybuilders. There are so many preconceived notions on the so called "dangers" of supplements-this keeps starting bodybuilders away from them. Although food is the first thing that must be straightened out and put into priority, there is no doubt that supplementation will boost gains and speed recovery.

    Whey Protein

      Whey protein The first, and most important of all supplements is whey protein. Whey protein is absorbed and utilized in the body at a rapid rate. This makes the product an important one as soon as you get done lifting. When you get done lifting, your body is in a state that makes it optimum for using protein and other nutrients.

      When you take whey protein, it is rapidly absorbed and floods the muscles with protein and nutrients! These attributes place whey protein at number one. My recommendation for choosing a whey protein product would have to be Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey Protein. It's great tasting, and fast absorbing!

    Creatine

      creatine Secondly, there is no dispute that creatine, in any form, whether it be ethyl ester or monohydrate, is extremely effective for gaining weight, muscle, and strength. There is much talk about the safety of creatine, but as the studies go on, there is no proof that creatine is bad for the body.

      I actually recommend a creatine transport product. This is a product that not only has creatine in it, but dextrose as well, which I touched on earlier for replenishing depleted glycogen levels. I recommend Optimum Nutrition's Pre-Load Creatine for great dextrose servings, 6 grams of creatine per serving, and additional electrolytes for recovery!

    Branched Chain Amino Acids

      amino acids Third, would be branched chain amino acids. These are the building blocks of muscle tissue, and speed recovery greatly. BCAAs are metabolized quickly into the body and are sent directly to the muscle tissue. After trying a BCAA product, you will experience great gains and sped up recovery.

      I recommend a fairly simple product such as Optimum Nutrition's BCAA 5000 or another extremely popular product: SciVation Xtend, which contains glutamine for boosted recovery.

    Nitric Oxide Product

      Lastly, for a boosted workout, I suggest a nitric oxide product. Nitric Oxide is a free-form gas that is produced in the body and is used by the body to communicate with other cells in the body.

      NO-Xplode In layman's terms, NO2 is what gives you that "pump" that you are always trying to achieve in the gym. This is a supplement that I would encourage people to try after they have been lifting for working out for more than a few months. It's a semi-advanced supplement. It is completely natural and safe, but can be a bit pricey. I have tried a few products concerning nitric oxide. My top three picks are:

    These are my personal favorite supplements. There are a lot of supplements out there, and a lot that are nothing more than sugar pills. It is important that you do your research and not waste your money. It's also important to pay attention to the ingredients in supplements. You have to watch for sugars, caffeine levels, and any other fillers. Take your time when choosing a new supplement, as the time you spend doing so will pay off.


Achieving Success
Compared to other sports, how difficult is it for one to achieve success in the bodybuilding sport?

As I stated earlier on, there is a great opposing force against the sport of bodybuilding. Especially for those of us who are fairly young. I am a senior in high school and started my sophomore year. Junior year was tough at times-accused of being on steroids and poked fun at for bodybuilding.

As I bulleted earlier, strength is one of our greatest attributes that we must possess before going into bodybuilding. There is a lot of resistance when it comes to the acceptance by friends or even family. Bodybuilding is highly misunderstood.

-> Debunking The Myths:

    When your friends accuse you of drinking steroids or using, prove them wrong. It all comes down to jealousy because they know that you are bigger than them. It's easy to accuse someone of using steroids when you're small and ignorant. There are a lot of teens out there who think that creatine is a banned substance and is barely legal. There are two roads you can take with this.

    For more information on the safety of creatine, you can find great articles on Bodybuilding.com, such as Layne Norton's "The Safety Of Creatine."

    You can either throw a fit and tell them what for, or go along with it, and give people the image that you are on steroids. Not that being on steroids should ever be condoned, but throughout my life people will not listen to reason. I have even tried to show people evidence of creatine's safety, and they deny it.

    The next step is to say, "Well, if I am on steroids, you better watch out" and this will get people out of your way. Of course, if you are involved in sports, you may want to avoid this technique.

-> Attitude And Personality:

    You must be confident in what you do or people will disrespect the sport even more. If you hesitate telling people you are into lifting or bodybuilding, people will feed on that hesitation. Confidence in and outside of the gym is important. More about confidence here!

    Being helpful, and friendly to people will also help you with the acceptance of your interests. Helping people in the gym and with their technique can often gain you a lot of respect. People who are cocky and put others down will not be respected, and will only be the target of the reciprocated behavior and negative attitudes.

    - Opening the doors for others can be another powerful technique. Having people try your protein shake can be hard for you to sacrifice, but will give you the image of being a nice person, and will once again gain yourself respect. A friendly person will obviously be much more well liked than a jerk.


Conclusion

Once you have established yourself as an aspiring bodybuilder, you should stick with it, and apply your interest to things that involve the art and sport of bodybuilding. Going into a profession, such as personal training or athletic training will help you and your goals. Being in such a profession will not let you slip up on your diet and training.

It's crucial to keep yourself around people who accept and support your goals as well. Being in a relationship with someone who does not support your bodybuilding career can be detrimental on your goals. It's important to keep yourself surrounded by positive forces and the ones who support you.

Finally, you need to remain constant and positive in your training. When you step into the gym, you need to let all of your worries out of your mind and focus on one thing, and one thing only.

Having a training partner can help greatly with this as well. You cannot let emotional stresses bring you down, as this will also bring down the quality of your workout. Not to be cold hearted, but as Arnold Schwarzenegger said in "Pumping Iron", you have to go into the gym with a mindset, and focus all of your energy on the workout to be a champion.

Always remember to keep your family and friends first and never let bodybuilding keep you from significant events. Bodybuilding is a part of life, just as everything else is. But there are moments that you can never replace, so remember to always incorporate bodybuilding into your life.

Through these steps, which I hope helped you, you can build yourself into a champion, and whether you turn professional or remain an amateur, bodybuilding will always unite you with rewards, and continue to bring out what kind of person you really are.

Kevin B.

Email: BKevin89@aol.com


2nd Place - Blink41
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


Introduction

In order for one to be successful in the sport of bodybuilding, one must have a strong passion for the sport. There are also many other factors that contribute to the success of most bodybuilders, but the key reasons are passion, dedication, consistency, motivation and unfortunately for some of us, genetics. Genetics determines an enormous part of our success in this sport and cannot be altered. In this article, I will reveal the secrets to achieve bodybuilding success.


Keys To Achieving Bodybuilding Success
How can one achieve bodybuilding success?

Simply put, if you want to win in this sport, you have to be HUGE. Bodybuilding is a tough sport, and an even tougher sport to win. In order to become huge, you must first know what you are doing.

  • If you don't have access to weights or are limited in weights, then you will NOT succeed.
  • If you do have a membership to the gym or have access to weights at home but have no knowledge of this sport, you will NOT succeed.
  • If you have weights and knowledge but no passion, you will NOT succeed.
  • If you have all the above with poor nutrition, you will still fail.


Diet Rules To Follow To Become Huge

First of all, you must understand that the body can only absorb so much food at a certain period, varying in different people. The average male body can only absorb 30 grams of protein for every 1-2 hours. Based on this fact, you must adjust your meal plan accordingly and eat at a constant 2-3 hour interval.

Don't overeat and stuff yourself completely in one sitting because most of the food will make its way to the other end before the body can absorb the nutrients. Instead, eat 6-8 medium sized meals every 2-3 hours. Make sure you get enough protein, carbohydrates and fats in your daily diet.

What foods should I eat and which foods should I avoid when bulking? Try to eat foods high in protein and low in fat. However, some fats are considered healthy fats such as peanut butter and should be consumed daily as well. Avoid the unhealthy unsaturated fats that occur in almost every potato chips and junk food.

-> Healthy Foods You Should Try To Consume:

    Fruit

  • Tuna
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Low Fat Yogurt
  • 1% Skim Milk
  • Chicken Breast
  • Oats
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat (Steak, Meatloaf...)
  • Fruits (Strawberries, Oranges, Pineapple ...)

-> Top 10 Unhealthy Snacks According To Askmen.com:

    French Fries 10) Krispy Kreme doughnut (200 calories and 12 grams of fat)
    9) Nachos with Cheese (306 calories and 16 grams of fat)
    8) Frappuccino (610 calories and 22 grams of fat)
    7) Chicken Thigh from KFC (360 calories and 25 grams of fat)
    6) French Fries (342 calories and 18 grams of fat)
    5) Pork Skins (538 calories and 32 grams of fat)
    4) Big Mac (600 calories and 33 grams of fat)
    3) Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter Ice Cream (380 calories and 26 grams of fat)
    2) Chips (536 calories and 35 grams of fat)
    1) Deep Fried Mars bar (688 calories and 13 grams of fat)

    Information above taken from http://www.askmen.com/sports/fitness_top_ten/7b_fitness_list.html

-> Carbohydrates:

    Carbohydrates are organic compounds that usually contain carbon hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates play an important part in our diets. They provide the easiest accessible energy source for your body. When it comes to carbohydrates, there are two different forms, complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.

    Simple Carbohydrates

      Simple Carbohydrates are found in sugary snacks/foods such as candy or soda. These carbohydrates are basically seen as sugar by the body and thus immediately get absorbed by the bloodstream, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. This quick rise and fall in blood sugar levels caused by excess production of insulin by the body is extremely unhealthy.

      Ultimately, the result of this "sugar spike" causes hunger and can lead to impaired glucose tolerance. This is just another reason to avoid junk food.

    Complex Carbohydrates

      Complex Carbohydrates are found in bread, pasta, rice and some vegetables. These carbohydrates are basically starches or indigestible fiber. This type of carbohydrates gives the body a long running source of energy. Unlike simple carbohydrates, they do not leave you depressed after an hour or so.

      Instead, they provide long lasting energy that does have an after effect. Athletes always carbo-load (a process of consuming lots of complex carbohydrates before an event such as a marathon) in order to have that sustaining energy during an important event.

-> Vegetables:

    Nobody likes to eat their vegetables but the truth is that they play an important part in our diet, they provide fiber. Dietary fibers are the indigestible portion of plant foods that move food through the digestive system, absorbing water. Because of the fact that they absorb water, they aid the body's bowel movement by creating softer "stools".

    This is especially important for bodybuilders because we eat 7 or more meals daily, all high in protein, forcing the liver to work very hard. By consuming high levels of dietary fiber, we help the liver's job.

-> Protein:

    As a general rule of thumb, always consume 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight when you're bulking and 1-1.5 grams of protein when you are cutting. Protein is extremely important for your body because it helps your body build and repair muscles.

    It is very difficult to consume these ratios of protein per pound of body weight so you should take protein powder to aid you. The most critical times the body needs protein is when you wake up, before and after you head to the gym and before you sleep.

    Whey protein I recommend Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey protein for pre and post workouts and Cytosport Muscle Milk before and after bedtime. The reason for this is because ON 100% Whey is a "whey" or "fast acting" protein and Muscle Milk is a "casein" or "slow digesting" protein.

    Why Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey? Throughout the years, I have tried to figure out which type of protein suits me best. I have tried many different whey proteins and although there are many good proteins out in the market today, I choose ON 100% Whey; it is cheap, effective, and reliable. I take ON 100% Whey before and after my workouts to flood my body with proteins to be in an anabolic state. With this supplement, I also notice an increase in muscle recovery.

    Muscle milkWhy Cytosport Muscle milk? Have you ever heard your stomach growling at night? You might just say, it's probably nothing but it's the scariest sound a bodybuilder can hear. This sound indicates that your body is in a catabolic state, a state in which your body is eating itself for nutrients.

    Your body would most likely digest your muscles for the proteins in order to survive. To prevent this state, simply consume one serving of Muscle Milk before you head to bed. Cytosport also claims that Muscle Milk contains "good" fats, which actually help burn fat when you are sleeping.

-> Water:

    Water Water is important if you're a bodybuilder or an athlete. Notice all the sweat pouring out your body when you are at the gym lifting heavy. You must replenish your body's source of water by drinking at least 1.5-2 gallon of water daily.

    Water is a natural cleanser for the body and also helps clean out you liver. Bring a water bottle to the gym and make sure to refill the bottle at least 4-5 times, depending on the capacity of the bottle. If you don't like drinking water, look into sport drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde.

-> Multivitamin:

    Multivitamin A good multivitamin is often neglected by many people but true bodybuilders understand the importance of a good multivitamin. How are we supposed to get 100% of this vitamin and 100% of another if we live such busy lifestyles? Another question is if 100% is enough?

    The standard protein intake is only 50 grams of protein but some bodybuilders go up to 300-400 grams of protein daily. We don't sacrifice protein, why should we sacrifice any other vitamin.

    For a good multivitamin for bodybuilders, I recommend Universal Animal Pak. It has all the nutrients and vitamins a serious bodybuilder needs.

-> Creatine And Nitric Oxide:

    Size ON Creatine and Nitric Oxide will greatly help you achieve your bodybuilding goals quickly. However, these supplements are simply optional and are not essential in order to get bigger. Creatine regenerates ATP in your body; giving you additional energy bursts for a short period of time.

    Creatine also helps your cells absorb additional water and therefore helps your body build more protein. Nitric Oxide, or N.O., dilates your blood vessels so more blood can flow through your muscles. By doing so, N.O. helps increase recovery rates and gives you more energy in the gym.

    Like I said before, these supplements are optional. I recommend BSN N.O. Xplode for a good Nitric Oxide product and Gaspari Nutrition Size ON for a good creatine product. However, these products are pricey and if you're on a budget, like I am, simply go with Universal Shock Therapy for a good affordable Nitric Oxide product and Universal Storm for a good affordable Creatine product.

-> Real Food:

    food Real food is probably the most important supplement to the bodybuilding community. Even with all the different proteins out there and meal replacement bars, nothing can replace real food. I cannot stress the importance of eating 6-8 meals per day and drinking 1-1.5 gallon of water per day.

    I see so many young naive people go to buy some expensive creatine and Nitric Oxide when they haven't even seen what a gym looks like on the inside. They think that supplements are magic pills that will magically give them muscles.

    A friend of mine from high school claims that he is a bodybuilder because he takes a protein shake in the morning, one pre and post workout, one for lunch and 1 meal replacement pack at 3 p.m. and then a casein shake for dinner. I asked him "how much REAL food do you eat?" and he told me only one because he already has sufficient protein and calories. I said in my mind, no wonder he's so small.

-> Cutting:

    So your bulking season is all over and you are a few months away from competition, what are you going to do now? Sure you can bench 400 plus pounds and Deadlift 600-plus pounds, but you look more like a powerlifter instead of a bodybuilder. You look in the mirror and you're HUGE, but you also notice that you have about 20-plus percent of fat. It's time to cut.

    In order to cut, you must lower your calorie intake while maintaining protein intake. In order to lose the fat, you must do cardio 4-to-5 per week. Some bodybuilders take fat burners to help aid the process of shedding fat but some bodybuilders can do without. The reason for this is because of their genetic makeup.

    Some people can lose weight faster than others such as ectomorphs compared to endomorphs or mesomorphs. If you decide not to take fat burners, then you could look into other natural alternatives such as green tea. Simply drink one or two cups of green tea in the morning before you eat breakfast and run on the treadmill for about 45 minutes. Be sure to take a protein shake or something before you start running so your body won't be using your hard earned muscles as fuel.

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    Cutting season should last about 4-6 weeks for the average bodybuilder. After cutting is over, you will notice defined muscles and a very hard body. You will start to see your abs showing if you're body fat is under eight percent. However, you will most likely notice a decrease in strength and overall size.

    This process is what separates bodybuilders from power lifters. It is important to maintain protein intake while you are cutting because your body will most likely be in a catabolic state during this phase.


The Routine

  • Monday: Chest / Tricep
  • Tuesday: Back / Biceps
  • Wednesday: Shoulder / Traps
  • Thursday: Legs / Calves / Abs
  • Friday: Chest / Triceps
  • Saturday: Back / Biceps
  • Sunday: Shoulder / Traps

-> Routine For Bulking Up:


Important Bodybuilding Characteristics
What are some important characteristics a bodybuilder should have?


1st) Patience:

    Muscles don't just get big overnight. It takes years of smart training to see good results and even more time to become a professional bodybuilder. For most bodybuilders, it takes about 10-to-12 years of smart training plus a strict diet to reach professional status.

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    For some people, it might take longer because of the lack of good genetics. For example, I am an ectomorph and also a creatine non-responder, so I would expect to see results later than most people.


2nd) Discipline:

    alcohol You need discipline if you want to succeed in the sport of bodybuilding. You must fight through peer pressure and do what's right for your body. For instance, you go to a party with your friends and everybody drinks. They offer you a drink but you regretfully decline because beer can do some serious damage to your bodybuilding gains.

    You also need discipline to fight through the everyday urges of eating junk food or drinking soda. Hey, nobody said this sport was easy.


3rd) Toughness:

    Everyday, you will encounter people who mock you for being a bodybuilder; whether you are too big or too small. You need the mental toughness to get through the constant ridicule and do what you love. You also need mental toughness to get through plateaus and those days when you have a bad day in the gym.

    You need to understand that everybody has their off days and not simply give up. You won't be the next Arnold with an unoptimistic attitude.


4th) Knowledge:

    To be truly great at the art of bodybuilding, you must first understand the sport. It is not just mindlessly lifting weights up and down, but it's about active rest, proper nutrition and a smart planned-out routine. There is no "perfect" routine for everybody to follow and gain 10 pounds of muscles in a month because everyone's body is unique and responds differently.

    Basically, the more knowledge you have about bodybuilding, the more successful you will be. I remember when I was a novice at the sport of bodybuilding. I would go to the gym everyday and bench and then do curls, seven days per week. I didn't know how wrong that was until I visited the forums on Bodybuilding.com.

    It is truly the best supplement that a bodybuilder could ever want. Visit http://forum.bodybuilding.com/ if you have any questions about bodybuilding.


5th) Motivation:

    Motivation is very important factor in the gym. Sometimes, you just don't have the energy to lift all those weights. Believe me, everybody has had those bad days in the gym, there's no avoiding them. However, there are ways that you could limit them to a minimum.

    The first and most used option is to look into a pre workout supplement. Supplements such as BSN N.O. Xplode or GET Diesel Ready for War can really get you dialed up and get your mind focused on hitting the weights.

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    Other options are simple mind tricks that you can play on yourself; Tricks such as an imaginary spotter or magnetic weights. The best thing you can do to limit these bad days is to simply get 8-to-9 hours of sleep at night.


6th) Confidence:

    It takes confidence to walk the stage in front of all the bodybuilding judges. You won't win many contests if you can't convince yourself that you're the best on stage, not to mention convincing the judges. Some good ways to gain confidence about your bodybuilding gains is to be helpful to young bodybuilders, showing them the ropes to achieve your success.

    When helping out the young bodybuilders, avoid being cocky and arrogant, but instead try to be as helpful and as kind as you possibly can. By doing so, you will become more confident about your bodybuilding gains and you will also become a better person.


7th) Persuasion:

    A successful bodybuilder always knows when to be persuaded and when to reject it. Everyday, your family and friends and even strangers might critique you and give you some helpful/unhelpful advice but it's up to you to know when to listen and when to close your ears.

    The ability to take constructive criticism can determine how far you will go in this bodybuilding business. For instance, when I first started bodybuilding, I was 112lbs and I was curling the 100lb barbell, with 11 inch arms.

    As I was curling, some gym member came up to me and told me that I was curling with bad form. I said "okay" but really didn't care about his opinion. After about 3 months, I noticed that my biceps did not grow a centimeter. I stopped and thought to myself, maybe I should try curling in a very slow and controlled manner, focusing only on form.

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    Of course I couldn't lift the hundreds so I got the 60-pound barbell and starting doing sets of 12s. After about 6 months, my arms grew to be around 14 inches.

    **Remember: Good form > Heavy Weights **Don't be offended by constructive criticism, think about it.


Achieving Success
Compared to other sports, how difficult is it for one to achieve success in the bodybuilding sport?

It is difficult to achieve success in the sport of bodybuilding. Bodybuilding, unlike most other sports relies heavily in the genetic makeup of a person. In basketball, if you are born to be a tall 7-footer, you are able to play a center position.

To those unfortunate people who are not blessed with the tall genes, it is still very possible to be a good player. In that case, that player can play as a point guard position. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the sport of bodybuilding.

If you are not blessed with good genes meant for bodybuilding, then you are just not meant for bodybuilding regardless of how much you train or eat. Some people are born ectomorph and others are born endomorph, and because of that, you are already at a huge disadvantage compared to others born as mesomorph.

basketball player Compared to the NBA, bodybuilders get paid too little. Only the first, second and third place winners get prize money, while the others leave the show with absolutely nothing. Despite money issues, bodybuilders will not receive much, if any, fame if they do not win the Mr. Olympia title.

Think about it, how much does the average person know about the sport of bodybuilding. If you were to ask a random person to name a professional bodybuilder, they will probably say Arnold Schwarzenegger and maybe if you're lucky, Ronnie Coleman. Try it, you'll be surprised.

On the contrary, ask the average person to name a professional basketball player. They will say Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Wade, Lebron, Iverson, Shaq ... Unfortunately, even though bodybuilding may be one of the toughest sports, the bodybuilders don't have the respect and fame that they deserve.


Conclusion

Hey, nobody said this sport was easy. It is a difficult and tiresome lifestyle, but nothing great ever came easy. To be successful, you must never doubt yourself. You should always see yourself as number one on stage as well as number one in the bodybuilding community. However, you should never be arrogant to other bodybuilders, especially young novices.

There is a fine line between KNOWING that you are number one and ACTING like you are number one. You should also know your weaknesses and your strengths about your physique. Understand what you can offer the bodybuilding community that is unique.

Ask yourself "Why should you become Mr. Olympia?" "What can YOU offer the bodybuilding community that nobody else has?" Always remember "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." -Lao Tzu

Thank you for reading my article, I hope you have learned a thing or two. Good luck on your bodybuilding career and on your future competitions.


3rd Place - coolness
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


Keys To Achieving Bodybuilding Success
How can one achieve bodybuilding success?

Bodybuilding success comes in many different styles and forms, ranging from biggest size, to most defined. But what is really bodybuilding success? Is it to have the most muscle mass, with the least amount of fat? To be the biggest person you can be, while still achieving muscularity and balance? Or is it something more ... what is true bodybuilding?


A Look At The Start

When we go back, deep back, into ancient bodybuilding, we see people from the Greek and Roman Era, as well as Egyptian, in the Olympics, were people went, and literally trained and altered their body for the first time, with weightlifting.

In other cultures, you see a time when people began to go and run, lift heavy objects and run with them, and hunt. However, in the ancient times, you first see a glimpse were people actually ran to get faster, lifted heavy objects to get stronger, and throw things, to be able to throw them farther!

People raced, and ran, and even shot bows and arrow, and for the first time, competed with others, in an organized event, to see who was the strongest and the biggest! At this point, people grew in size, and in strength, with no real distinction between the two, and no real reason to care.

However, TRUE bodybuilding did not come until the time of Eugene Sandow, who literally competed for size, and started the phenomenon of size building. However, it wasn't until the 1930s and 1940s when bodybuilding began to peek. People, or popular culture, did not realize bodybuilding up until this time, and in this era is when people started to spark. They wanted size, and strength, and thought of the two the same, and simply trained for as big and strong as they could be.


Basics Of Bodybuilding Success

But let's get back to the real subject here: how does one become a bodybuilding success? From a standpoint, every bodybuilder wants one thing-to have a lot of lean mass. It doesn't matter what you want to train for-being fit, being big, having the biggest arms, legs ... they all want lean body mass, that makes them look good.

-> Skinniness:

    First of all, being a bodybuilder means that you need to be big, strong, and have a balanced physique. However, to look at the start, you're never going to get anywhere unless your defined! You've got to be skinny at the waist and joints, and have six-pack abs, and muscles that shine through your skin so well that you can't even tell a difference between you and a replica of the human body with no skin (that's big of course ...)!

    This is the idea, what separates bodybuilding from powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and strength trainers, is that they DO train for skinniness! However, as this prohibits gains for size and mass, your going to want to bulk, and then cut anywhere from, 12-to-4 weeks before the competition.

-> Size:

    Size. The part that separates a bodybuilder from a normal person. Besides the fact that bodybuilders are defined, skinny, and have incredible strength, the size portion always make a person look powerful and large, and big huge arms and legs that stand out in a crowd give the idea of what the people really are-big, huge, freaks!

    How To Get Size

      How to get size and be big is a debatable subject. However, what works best what helps you the best.

      Getting started, you need to know what it is that help you. At first, you need to get your rep ranges and sets ranges in check, and now what best helps you. How to determine this, is take about 70-to-80% or your max, and perform as many reps as you can. You might have to do this with a multiple of body parts, to see how to train each muscle, or muscle group.

    Rep Rannge Endurance Level Sets Days Of Recovery
    3-4 Very Low 2-4 5-8
    5-8 Low 4-6 4-6
    9-12 Medium 6-8 3-4
    13-15 High 8-10 2-3
    15-20 Very High 10-12 1-2

      How the chart works, is that if your rep range is between the certain rep range, then you want to probably perform that many sets, are probably at that level or endurance, and probably want that many days for recovery.

      However, this is not perfect, and results may vary, as well as different body parts might be more endurance than the other (for instance, you could possibly be able to do 15-20 reps with 10-12 sets every 2-3 days with your legs, and could maybe do 3-4 reps with 2-4 sets every 5-8 days, with your chest and lats). Also, this is reps and sets per exercises. Not for an entire workout, or even for an entire muscle group.

      Next up, is the exercises. In the beginning, you must search for the best exercise, by what makes your body part grow. You want to stick to doing 1-to-2 heavy compound exercises, and 1 isolation exercise per body part, and keep this ratio if you are to do more exercises.

      To do this, take your body part, such as your legs, and workout with them, 1-day per week, with one compound exercise, and do this with many exercises, over a period of time, and measure your legs before and after each exercise, look for devolvement and definition, and measure and take pictures of them at the beginning of the week, and at the end of the week.

      Do this with all body parts. Eventually, after awhile, choose your best 1-or-2 compound exercises per muscle group or muscle. Once this is achieved, start working out with these exercises, and add in isolation exercises. Until you find the right isolation exercise, keep adding a new one, or ones, to your workout, until your find the right combination that makes your muscle the biggest, and best looking.

      Now eventually, you are going to hit a plateau, so, when you do, or start, take an exercise that mimics or replicas your before workout, with a changed idea (for instance, squat to hack squat, or squat to box squat, or something) or that is completely different! Go back to your normal workout once the plateau is over.


Bulking and Nutrition

Now as far as bulking goes, you want to have a good set of bulking food. Percentages on how much protein, carbs, and fat you should have is based on your body, however, 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbs is a good way to go.

When cutting, 40% protein, 20% carbs, and 40% fat is a good way to go, however, upping your protein intake should be taken with precaution. As far as calories go, the only way to bulk is to take in more calories than you are expending. To do this, just measure your average calorie intake for a day, and then ad 500 calories to it. When you stop gaining weight for a week or 2, up your diet with 250 calories from then on!

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As far as bulking goes, your going to want to eat clean. But don't be mistaken, this is bulking. Don't be too lenient on what you eat-if you feel hungry eat more, and don't be afraid to go out and eat a hamburger or two. However, don't go too crazy, and remember to have a balanced diet. Reduce cardio, and up weightlifting. You're going to gain fat-there is no way around that. However, if your smart, you'll lose this fat with cutting, and won't gain much.

Also, drink water, lots and lots of water, as this will make you gain weight, and pass the proteins and fat through your system easier. Also, eat things like bananas, carrots, beets, and broccoli, as they give you extra calories, and make for an over-all healthy body.

-> Good Foods To Eat:

    Fruits

      fruit eaters Fruits are a vital part of the weight-gaining, weight losing, and muscle-building process. Without fruits, you would have no good source of good carbs, wouldn't get the added effect of antioxidants and would have a REALLY bad metabolism.

      Fruits help increase metabolism, help the digestive tract stay clean and process, and help the body to stay healthy and help the kidneys process protein. Although fruits don't normally contain a high level of protein, they are essential to maintaining and helping your body.

      Sugary fruits - Pineapples, apples, oranges, berries, melons, peaches, watermelon, strawberries

      Protein Fruits - Avocado, Banana

      Good fruits - Lemons, Limes, Tomatoes, Coconuts

    Vegetables

      veggies Vegetables are an essential part of gaining muscle, as well as fruits. Although normally considerably low in protein, they too contain antioxidants, and water. They help to clean and regulate the digestive tract, and keep the body "clean." Below are some ideas for vegetables:

      Vegetables - Broccoli, Carrots, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage

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    Red Meat

      beef Red meat is the one of the most protein filled, iron-filled sources of food! Red meat has all kinds of benefits, ranging from calcium to iron, to protein filled things! Red meat is muscle, and is the muscle of some legendary power animals!

      When you eat red meat, you are eating pure and plainly muscle-what could be better for building muscle? However, red meat comes with lots of fat, and often is put as bad stuff. Good lean red meat is home-made hamburgers, brisket, and homemade tacos.

      Also, meatloaf and occasionally steak can contain good amounts. Make sure that you buy GOOD meat, and possibly even meat from a deli.

    White Meats

      tuna Good white meats, are chicken, tuna, fish, and other birds. White meat is good because it is normally "cleaner" and contains less fat and harmful preservatives than red meats do, as well as containing more protein.

      All kinds of fish and birds are okay, just stick to chicken, tuna, salmom and other fish. Herring contains the most creatine of all fish, and lots of fish is good for you, and has omega 3 fatty acids. Make sure to get good fish.

    Dairy And Other Farm Products

      Ahhhh ... my favorite! Milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs ... the perfect combination! Although these products are considered LOADED with fat, if you choose good cheese, skim milk, and toss out the yellow part (yes the best part) of the eggs, then you lower the fat, and up the protein tremendously.

      Yogurt in itself is good for you, and products like this should be consumed regularly. Milk, should be consumed by the gallons every week, about 2-to-3, or even 4 gallons per week should be drank, and should and can replace other drinks. Once you get used to milk, and eggs, and cheese ... you won't want to stop!

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      They provide major benefits for the body, as well as taste good. For people who are lactose intolerant, drink soy milk and eat soy stuff. It won't be as good ... but will help you in the end, and will give you some of the added benefits.

    Good Carbs

      Now when eating carbs, you're will want to eat foods that contain good carbs. Now what is that? Eat pineapples, apples, oranges, grapes and overall sugary or sweet and sugary fruits. This will limit your fat and crap intake, and will increase your metabolism and size.

    Good Fats

      nuts Now believe it or not, there is good fat intake! Fatty acids, fat from peanuts, nuts, and beans, and fat from other things of like, is good for you! Take fats that are unsaturated, and avoid saturated fats.

      Unsaturated fats will STILL make you gain weight, and contain normally 9 calories per gram of fat! This will DEFINITELY increase your caloric intake.

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    Take In Proteins

      Now there is NO such thing as bad protein in bulking. However, avoid eating 10,000 potato chips for 10 grams of protein. You want to eat low saturated fat, low bad carb high protein food, that is good. Many of these are chicken, fish, tuna, lean red meats, and peanut butter, ramen noodles, nuts, and milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt, and other dairy products.

->Cutting:

    In cutting, it is pretty simple. You don't want to lose any of your hard-earned muscle-so don't aim for losing weight! Cut back on carbs and bad fats, and increase protein intake! Take about 40% protein, 20% carbs, and 40% good fats, and try to increase your protein intake by about 2% each week, and decrease fat by 2% each week.

    Now, your going to want to up your cardio, and up your working out. Don't be afraid to lose weight though. Losing weight can be water retention, fat, and other things. Be sure to lose mostly fat. However, you're going to lose muscle, as what happens when losing weight, but not much- about 1 pound at the most, probably 1/4 to 1/2 if you do it right.


Important Bodybuilding Characteristics
What are some important characteristics a bodybuilder should have?

In bodybuilding, your going to want to have discipline, courage and toughness. You will have to lift through pain, live through soreness, and face crap from EVERYBODY who will tell you you are too small, too big, and how bodybuilding is "useless."

Keep to your dreams, and don't let anyone tell you what to do. However, your going to have to be a hard-worker, and diligent person, as your going to have to get 8 hours of sleep, plenty of water, and food. And your going to have to balance out everything that you do. This is not for the light-hearted ... you may spend this much work and get last place. Don't get discouraged! It's going to be hard ... but worth it!


Achieve Bodybuilding Success
Compared to other sports, how difficult is it for one to achieve success in the bodybuilding sport?

In the bodybuilding sport, it is the hardest sport to win. Only 11 winners in the past 41 years have won the Mr. Olympia title, and only 34 winners have won the professional Mr. Universe in the last 58 years!

In bodybuilding, you are chosen by the judges-they will choose based on personal opinions, and may or may not ever judge again! Also, considering the fact that other teams and sports still get paid and sponsored millions of dollars per year, you only get money for the first, second, and third-place winners, and sometimes only the first! This leaves the top ten with no money, no stuff, and no recognition!

Even the second-place winners are forgotten in pro times, and many pro bodybuilders have never even won! So first, it takes a lot to become and be considered a pro. And of the pro's, only a few people have ever actually won contests! A good example is Mike Matarazzo, who has not won a single Mr. Olympia contest, but was considered good and known by many!

Jay Cutler The sport of bodybuilding is a hard and difficult sport to win in. With few winners and many participants-the fact that the place is not drug tested, people get up to a whopping 260 to even 300 pounds of muscle at competition weight, by the age of 30, training since they were 5 or 10-few barely make it to the top 10.

Injected with steroids and drugs-Those with the best supplements and drugs make it to the top; endorsing products they use, coupled with many years of training, makes it difficult and puts pressure on other bodybuilders. It is hard to tell whether or not bodybuilding will ever be drug-tested or not.

People around the globe and especially the United States are taking steroids at an alarming rate, and are taking them to get stronger and bigger. Even the ones with steroids get mediocre results. People are forced and pushed to go past the other milestone, just to win!


Conclusion

Bodybuilding is simply the hardest sport to possibly win in, putting your heart and soul in 15 weeks to even year's time, just to be judged by a judge who takes your body into consideration, over personal preference ...