Things to remember when getting started:
1. Be consistent and patient - Remember everything comes in time whether you like it or not. If you are consistent with your training, results of some type will inevitably come. There is no stopping it. However, most beginners get discouraged at the slow on come of results. This is normal, but as you move around and adjust your routine, gains will be a little more continual. Results take time. That's all there is to it. If it were that easy to get big, or get lean, or become physically fit, everybody would be that way, and we all know they are not. Make yourself stand out from most others; make yourself special! If you are training hard, you will get what is yours, just be patient with your training. Don't be discouraged by sore muscles. They are going to hurt the next day. This is normal and necessary for growth. Stick with it and stop at NOTHING and nothing will stop you!
2. Don't worry about what others think - Don't fall into the egotistical game that takes place in every gym every day! It is critically important when you are starting out, that you don't let other people's thoughts of you get in the way of you building a safe and effective training program. For example, if you are just beginning, you CANNOT squat 450 lbs, so don't try it! You will not look impressive; you will look crushed and broken. Remember, start small and you will grow in leaps and bounds. And so what if you can squat 450 lbs? You are not the greatest person in the world, you will not get an award, you will not get put on a pedestal, and you will not be above anybody so don't lie about it or even attempt it in the first place. It is not going to make you any better than anybody else. To be better than somebody else, it takes a lot more than physical strength. Everybody is equal to you in this world as far as the quality of your individual attributes goes. Remember that there will always be someone bigger and stronger than you. no matter WHAT you do. Also, when performing exercises, don't worry about how you look in other people's eyes. Their opinion doesn't really count anyway. If everyone's opinion counted as to how we looked, we would constantly be changing every second. Think about any length of time into the future be it 2 months, 1 year, 5 years, or 20 years down the road. Is what that person thought about you on any given particular day really going to matter? I highly doubt it, and if it does, it is better that you didn't trade in your entire life of self-regard just for that one opinion anyway. Do what you have to do in the gym, and see to it that it gets done without the slightest bit of self-consciousness.
3. Stay motivated - It is easy to fall off track and deviate from your training regimen to things that are giving you more pleasure, more results and more comfort in life than your training routine. To get results, YOU have to WANT them. Nobody is going to give them to you; you have to take them for YOURSELF! If you don't want it bad enough, you'll never have it. It is as simple as that. Establish why you want what you do and constantly think about that. If you want it for a good enough reason, having the drive to get it will come natural. If you don't advance, someone else will and knock you down a step. In reference to bodybuilding, there is always someone coming up trying to take your spot. There always will be, and YOU have to do something about it. Have the WILL to succeed at what you are doing and what you are doing it for! Take what you want, and nobody can stop you!
4. Build a foundation - With any solid structure, a good foundation is it's base and helps keep it strong. It prevents it from falling down, and gives it a place to stand on. It is what the structure is built on and from. Your body is that solid structure. You need something to launch yourself off of into a whole new world (resistance training). When first starting out, it is vital that you learn and MASTER the basic compound movements. This will give you a good building block and send your training to levels you never even knew existed. A compound movement is a movement that involves many muscle groups to perform the movement. There is the primary muscle group that you are targeting, and many secondary muscles helping out. For example, the bench press. The primary muscle used in the bench press is the chest (pectoralis major and minor) but secondary muscles also come into play. You are not moving that bar with just your chest. Your triceps and deltoids are helping you move that bar. Other basic compound movements are squats and dead lifts. Learning these types of movements first will prepare you for the onslaught you are about to put your muscles and joints through in the following years of training. Build a strong foundation and nothing can bring you down!
5. Read all you can - If you want to succeed in bodybuilding, you have to learn about it. Learn what works, what doesn't work, learn what your doing what you should be eating and so on. Bodybuilding is a never-ending process and the learning never stops. There will ALWAYS be something new to learn when it comes to bodybuilding. New training principles, new studies, and new information regarding safe and unsafe bodybuilding practices. Read every chance you get and you will eventually be able to piece things together and grown almost right out of your skin. Subscribe to a magazine, read books at your library, borrow magazines from your friends if you have to. Whatever you have to do to read about it, get it done because it's important. If you are that serious about it you will want to learn about it anyway so it won't be much of a big deal at all. There are books out and tons of information on it all over the internet. The more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the more you grow!
6. Ask questions - If you don't know something ask someone in the gym or someone else you know that has a good chance of knowing it. Having someone to answer your questions is a HUGE benefit when starting out. If you know someone at school that might know, ask them. Chances are that if they are a bodybuilder they will have NO problem answering your question with enthusiasm and with as much information as you can possibly handle. If they really love the sport then they will be happy to help you out. Knowledge is power and without it, you cannot push yourself through your current limits. Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn about bodybuilding and forge ahead into a whole new world.
7. Start with high reps - Many newcomers to the sport of bodybuilding or weight training make the common mistake of starting too heavy. If you are new to a movement and don't have it mastered to the point of perfection, then you have no business handling a weight that you can not do at least 12-15 times. Learn the moves first and you will be able to use them for the rest of your lifting career. Also, your muscles and joints need time to get used to handling the weights. If you are just starting, chances are your body has never felt anything like a workout. The training is new to it and it needs time to adjust. This will prevent injuries and help you build your new foundation of a wide variety of exercises in the safest way possible.
8. Set your goals! - Without goals your training can become meaningless. If you have nothing to work for, then how are you supposed to get there? You need a destination before you can start traveling. Set a goal, map your route, and go get it. Hopefully there will be no stop offs along the way. Setting goals high for yourself and striving as hard as you can to achieve them is a very important in both weight training as well as all other aspects of life. No goal is too high if you truly want it and truly put your mind to accomplishing it. Remember that you can have ANYTHING you want you just have to work for it. That is what is so great about this country. There are no limitations. nothing holds you back, so why don't you achieve your goals? Because there are always interferences, most likely lack of dedication or motivation. If you need motivation, talk to me, or someone else that can motivate you. Remember that there are 3 steps to getting what you want. 1. Set a goal 2. Plan your route 3. Achieve!
9. Proper Nutrition - If you want to look big, you have to eat big! It can not be said any more simple than that. Depending on your goal, you have to eat to reach that specific goal. It is amazing how humans can be so controlled by food but it is undeniable that food is necessary to live and to grow. Nutrients are the building blocks of every ounce of your weight training goals. Without them, you will go nowhere. In fact, you will retrogress into the past. Be sure to take a multi-vitamin every day whether you are training or not. You can't afford to be sick or unhealthy. You only have one life and you want it to last as long as possible. Treat it like your most valuable possession and you will not be let down. Face things for what they are. You are born and your natural instinct from the time you first come into the world is to stay alive. Why would you want to hinder the length of your life in any way? That is another extreme benefit of weight training and bodybuilding. There is nothing like someone that is big, ripped to the bone, healthy, and in shape at the same time. That is the essence of being in good shape. And to be this way you must eat correctly. If you are trying to get big, eat big. If you are trying to get small, eat small. It is not as complicated as everyone makes it out to be. A few things however are undeniable. Good nutrients are vital to your health and can in no way be harmful to you. They will benefit you in almost every way possible so eat a good variety of foods. Fruits and vegetables are always fun to eat! Give up the "junk food" that you eat almost every day. After a while you won't even want it anymore. If I can give up drinking soda, then you can give up eating your "junk foods" and sugary drinks. Eat well, Live well!
10. Supplements - Before taking supplements to enhance your training efforts, understand one thing! Supplements are NOT necessary! In spite of what advertisers tell you, you do not NEED supplements to make gains. About 98% of the population believe the contrary and they are sorely mislead. Clever advertisers and marketers have "brainwashed" them into thinking that to make gains you need supplements. This is not true at all. Supplements are just that; they supplement your current training and eating habits. They are NOT replacements and don't take the place of any foods. Good nutrition comes WAY before any supplements. If you don't have good nutrition, you have NO business EVER even touching a bodybuilding supplement or otherwise. When you are of intermediate experience, then taking supplements may be beneficial but still not necessary. They are NEVER necessary. They are merely in my opinion a short cut to what you would have attained anyway had you kept at your goal a little longer with hard work and consistency. I view supplements as a shortcut for lazy people but I will also probably receive heavy criticism for writing any of this because people are so hooked on their supplements. They live and breathe supplements believing that it is the only way to go. Not so. Enough Said.
Once you begin training, things can get confusing. There are many questions to ask and so much information to know. It is easy to fall off track and disregard your training routine but if you do, you will be doing yourself one of the biggest disservice's possible. Stick with it, ask questions and most importantly, never give your dreams and goals up for anything! Treat yourself. train yourself!