Before explaining any of the principles about training if you have never lifted or have any health problems now or in the past check out with your doctor if it is safe for you to lift before you think about entering the weight room. In some cases it could be dangerous to lift if not healthy and have problems as bodybuilding puts tremendous stress on your body which you will soon experience.
Before stepping into the gym you need to ask yourself-
*Do I have the will power to stick with it?- There is no use in starting if you know you are going to work hard for a year make tremendous gains then quit.
*Do I possess the discipline needed to eat right?- This is the one part of bodybuilding which often frustrates me when I see everyone around me eating snacks. You need to have the discipline to eat healthily even certain foods you are not keen on and do not stray to far away from that.
*What goals should I set myself?- You need to set realistic (small) goals so you can accomplish them and not enter the weight room for the first time thinking by the end of the year you will be able to compete in the next Mr. Olympia.
*How will bodybuilding have an affect on my life?- You still want to have a life outside the gym so think about other sacrifices you will have to make if you want to keep up with your usual schedule at the gym.
The first thing the beginner who has just entered the weight room for the first time should know for the first 4 months forget about supplements. Supplements are great but the beginner would make good gains without them. You will eventually hit a plateau. This is when you have been making amazing gains which you will when you first start out but it will then come to a halt. This is when you should re-think your program and switch to other exercises and then its time for the supplements. From articles and my experience when I first started I found creatine to be one of the best supplements and is perfectly safe for users. Another supplement that I think is just as important is multivitamins as it is hard to get all the vitamins from diet alone. For most of you in school eating every 3 hours can be a problem so I recommend investing in a pack of protein bars which you could then take between classes. Glutamine is also another safe supplement that could be used. Just remember if you are going to take both creatine and glutamine take them at least an hour apart or they will cancel each other out so they will be no use. When starting out on supplements for the first time don't go overboard and stick with the basics. There are lots of articles on the supplements which people have tried and their comments on them that you can use as a guideline. The message boards also have a lot of information from people wanting to know about supplements and there are a lot of good advice about supplements and other topics on them. Always research your supplements before investing in them to make sure they are safe to use and good for the purpose you want them for.
Don't go straight into complicated programs which people who have been training for the last five years are doing even if they say what gains they have got from it. Stick with the simpler programs with the basic exercises (there are plenty of these on Bodybuilding.com.)
If you are quite fat to begin with you should think seriously about dieting first before adding mass rather than adding further pounds of fat with the muscle as if you bulk up to begin with by the time you want to cut up you will have great trouble getting rid of those extra pounds of fat.
Your nutrition is also a vital part in building muscle. They say nutrition is around 70% of your bodybuilding program so it is vital you clean your diet up. Unless you are already eating healthily you would probably be having a diet which includes crisps and chocolate THIS WON'T WORK. Going straight from this type of diet to a perfect nutrition program is almost impossible. Small steps is the key. At first try swapping a packet of crisps for a piece of fruit. Then another snack to a tuna sandwich. Small steps like this will make it easier to change your diet into a clean top notch one. You should be having 5-6 small meals a day. The most important meal is your post workout meal and then breakfast as you would have probably been without food for around 8 hours.
Like with your nutrition building muscle should also be done in the same way using small steps. Your first step could be to raise your bench and then to add an inch to your chest and so on. You can dream of having a physique like Ronnie Coleman but don't think you will become like that in the first week it takes a lot of time and hard work to get where the professionals are.
When starting out don't be intimidated by the men with 20'' biceps who are benching 150kg. Trying to lift more you are capable of will only cause you to use terrible form or get an injury. Remember even the biggest people in the gym had to start at the beginning. It actually often helps to ask them for advice, as most of them are quite knowledgeable and would not mind helping you out.
Don't try and get a head start and get all your information from magazines. Most of the information is from people on steroids and you trying to do the programs they do would only lead to you over training.
Try getting a training partner. Some people like a training partner to motivate them and if you are at the same stage you will pick up information that you can share with each other to help your training.
The one thing any bodybuilder wants is abs. When people start out they think all they have to do is crunches and leg raises. This won't work! Doing hundreds of crunches will only lead to over training and cause potential injury.
To get abs you need a low body fat % around 10% any more and your abs would not be visible behind the layer of fat on top of them. To get them you need to do cardio and watch your diet carefully. Remember abs are built in the kitchen not in the gym.
The most underrated part of a bodybuilders program is SLEEP. You need to get at least 7 hours sleep every night. You're muscles don't grow in the gym they grow when your muscles are repairing which is while you're sleeping the more you sleep the more you will grow its as easy as that.
Another part which is included (or should be) in a bodybuilders workout is BREATHING. Yes exhale when you use force and inhale when you let the weight down or during the exercise that does not include the force to move the weight. The reason for this is when you use force you also put force on your internal organs it is important to breath out when you use force. For people who do not know inhale is breathing in and exhale is breathing out. When you start out lifting start learning to breath using lighter weights as some people who did not start now find it hard to get the breathing timing right as they are focusing on every rep which is also important.
You should try and keep the rep range around the 8-12 mark and stick to 2 to 3 sets per exercise. Doing to many sets will only lead to over training which I will explain. They say you should keep around the 9 set range per body part and spend between 30 seconds to 60 seconds between sets and give your self around 2 minutes between each exercise.
Remember not to OVERTRAIN. Over training is where you constantly train so you do not give yourself enough time to recover from your workouts. In an article someone described over training like riding a car up hill. For a while you will make it but after a while the car starts to slow down (this will happen to your gains). You could be pushing the car (yourself) to the limits but can't overcome the hill without a change. To fix this you need to change gear and slow down so you can reach the top of the hill (your goal). Remember less is usually more.
Most people starting out do not release how important WATER is in their diet. Your body is 70% water so it makes sense to drink a lot of it and not get dehydrated throughout the day and especially your workouts. You all have no excuses, as it is free. Saying this do not over do the water to the stage where you need to go to the toilet every five minutes.
One last note. The biggest excuse in bodybuilding is saying I have no time to go to the gym. I don't believe anyone can not spare 45 minutes three days a week to train and if you really can't get out of the house to go to the gym there are alternatives. You can always do exercises like pushups, sit-ups to name a few even in front of the telly if you cannot miss the football match which is on.
Other than the excuse I have no time to go to the gym the other excuse which I'm sure everyone has said at least once is I have no time to eat. I actually understand you with this one as most of you are at school or work but you can still take protein bars that can be eaten at break or between classes.
NOW YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES NOT TO GET HUGE!
Some key terms which you will hear on this site and in the gym which you will probably not know what they mean if you are starting out are-
Bulking up- This is gaining as much muscle mass as possible normally done during the winter.
Cutting up- This is normally during the summer and is crucial to being able to show your abs of and defining your muscle. It is when you try and get rid of body fat while keeping as much muscle as possible so you would looked 'ripped'.
Mass- The size of your muscles. When bulking up this is what you plan to achieve in the gym and a lot of it.
Burn- The burning sensation in a muscle that comes from the lactic acid and pH build up resulting to exercising muscles to failure.
Cheat reps- When you use other muscle groups other than the ones you are working to help get the last few reps or using momentum to complete that last rep.
Intensity- This is the pace you keep while you train or the weights you use are to heavy for you.
Isolation- Focusing on a individual muscle without using other muscles to aid it.
Lean body mass- This is fat free body tissue, comprising mostly muscle.
Pump- This is the look and feeling a bodybuilder experiences when their muscles fill up with blood after intense exercise.
Rep- Out of all the key terms I had to sit back and think about how to describe what a 'rep' is. A rep is short for 'repetition' and is the complete movement of an exercise. For example I'm sure you all know what a bench press is well pushing up and then down back close to your chest is one rep.
These are just a few of the key terms that are brought up a lot on this web-site and in your gym.
Just work hard, have patience and grow,