Weight lifting, much like real life has rules by which you should live by if you wish to live properly. The 10 commandments set out by God are also similar to the 10 commandments I am about to speak on; if you follow them properly you will meet a higher power, which will be yourself after following these commandments:
1. Thou Shall Train Ones LEGS
Leg training is very important. People love to focus on their upper body and leave their legs out of their program altogether. Who cares about big legs they say. Personally I would like to have big legs, walking around with a large upper body and chicken legs will make you a complete joke in the bodybuilding community. Plus if you want big arms, you gotta work your legs.
Your body grows proportionately with other parts. Want another 2 inches on your arms? Well you need another 10-20 pounds in your body as a whole. Where are you going to put all this weight if none of it is going into your legs. Not only that, but training your legs releases chemicals in your body that makes all your muscles grow better. So that means get in the gym and start squatting today!
2. Thou Shall Not Overtrain Thy Muscles
Overtraining is probably the most common mistake new weight-lifters make. Make sure you aren't one of them. People have it in their heads that the more they train, the more they grow. This is a hard idea to get out of people's minds. The idea does make sense, but unfortunately it is completely incorrect. You grow outside of the gym, not in the gym. In the gym you are merely tearing your muscles down. This doesn't make them bigger; the healing process makes them bigger. It's the eating and sleeping that will make you huge, not being in the gym.
3. Thou Must Consume A Whey Protein Shake Immediately After Each and Every Workout
Immediately after a workout is a very important time for muscle recovery. Your muscles have just been damaged and they are trying to recover and they need the proper fuel to do it. Eating is important, but eating the right thing is what matters most during this time. Your body needs carbs, so a sugary drink would be a good idea. Also during the same time, or very shortly after, you body will also need protein. Your best protein source during this time is whey protein because it is the quickest absorbing protein by your body.
Other sources of food, such as chicken or tuna or something are slower to get to your muscles. There are many different kinds of protein. Casein is used before bed because it is slow absorbing, whey is the after workout protein, and egg and soy protein I never use at all. I have nothing against these proteins I just have no use for them. I do eat eggs, but I do not take egg protein powder. Many studies have been conducted showing the great benefits of having a protein shake after a workout. I'd recommend it to everyone.
4. Thou Shalt Not Commit Gym Idiocy!
There have been many articles written on proper gym behavior lately so I won't go in to great detail about it here. But the overall idea almost always can be summed up with the following tips:
- Don't make excessive noise (by screaming, slamming/dropping weights)
- Wipe up sweat!
- Don't hog equipment
- Don't talk on cell phones/with anyone excessively in the gym
- DO NOT fill up water bottles when people are waiting to drink
5. Honor Thy Dumbbell, Barbell and Machine
Don't stick with any one piece of equipment. Use them all, and that includes machines. There is nothing wrong with occasional use of machines. They isolate the muscle you are trying to hit much better than a dumbbell can. The only thing wrong here is that you don't need to isolate the muscle all the time. You need to build on those stabilizer muscles or you will never get strong. Use machines, dumbbells and cables all in your workouts to add the variety that your body needs in order to grow.
6. Worship No Other Advice Except Mine... (yeah right)
Never listen to just one person's opinion on anything, especially when it comes to weightlifting. Weight-lifting involves to much personal taste for you to follow someone else's ideas. You need to find out what works for you. And it's always the case that you'll find something pointless that other people love and others will hate exercises you like. Try everything a few times and see what really works for you.
7. Thou Shall Not Complain About Being A Hard Gainer
Being a hard gainer is a term that gets used a lot. But it's just an excuse for a lot of people. People whine that they can't grow because they are hard gainers, and it's just not in them to be strong, but some of these people are just making excuses to be lazy. Try harder, eat more, and train well. Size will come with time. Don't dismiss yourself as a hard gainer all the time, building muscle is hard for everyone, you need to work at it.
8. Thou Shall Rest Adequately
Rest is very important to bodybuilding. You don't grow any muscle in the gym. You only grow outside the gym. You need to give muscles time to recover from the damage you did to them in the gym or else overtraining may set in.
9. Thou Shall Eat Properly
Just like resting properly you must eat properly. Your body needs fuel in which to grow. You can't fill your body with chips and coke and expect it to grow muscle. You'll grow a gut, not a bicep. You need high amounts of protein, at least a gram per pound of bodyweight you have.
Also make sure to spread your meals out over the day. You need more than the typical 3 meals a day, try for 5 or 6. Spread them out, it keeps your metabolism high, which is always a nice thing. Plus spreading your meals out means that your muscles get a steady supply of nutrients over the entire day.
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10. Thou Shall Not Quit!
You won't grow if you don't train, that is one thing I know for sure. Don't give up after a few weeks of training if you aren't seeing the results you need. Bodybuilding takes time, an entire lifetime to be exact, the longer you do it, the more results you see. But quitting means you lose it all. Bodybuilding really gives meaning to the phrase "if you don't use it, you lose it". Keep going with it. There is nothing wrong with taking breaks to rest the muscles, a lot of people take a long weekend off here and there, or a week off.
But don't quit for a summer or stop for months on end just because you are feeling lazy, you'll lose all the work you put into yourself, which seems to me like such a shame. Keep going to the gym, and keeping growing, if only it were that simple, but hey, it's a good start.