Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers and diet professionals at every level.
Many aspiring bodybuilders devote all their time and energy to the gym, assuming that the key to strengthening and enlarging muscles is rigorous strength training. Although exercise constitutes a part of the equation, don’t forget about your diet. Without the right fuel, your body can’t turn into the muscle-building machine you’ve been dreaming of. So instead of spending all your time in the gym, head to the grocery store. Then, use our diet tips for bodybuilding to start crafting your meals.
Stress causes trouble for all of us. But for those interested in transforming, high levels of stress can really put a damper on your progress. It can have behavioral implications, such as increasing your risk of overeating and skipping workouts, but it's also just bad for your body on a number of levels. Utilize constructive stress management techniques like journaling, meditating, talking to a friend, or going out for a long drive around the city. Learn what works for you and then put it to use.
Learn to isolate specific muscles. Steady, controlled movements are the key to learning what it "feels like" to work a specific muscle or muscle group. It takes about three weeks for the novice to maximize the neuromuscular coordination necessary to identify and fully recruit muscle fibers from individual muscle groups. At this stage, you will be able to efficiently target these groups and minimize cheating with sympathetic muscles. This will also enable you to use virtually any unfamiliar piece of gym equipment (and invent your own exercises) simply by duplicating the appropriate "feel" when trying a new exercises for the same body part.
In the realm of fitness, three-month workout programs dominate the landscape. You’ve even seen plenty of them in our magazine over the years. Are they effective? Absolutely. But we’re going to let you in on an interesting secret: It doesn’t necessarily take 8 or 12 weeks to get your feet wet in the gym. Not that you’ll be a seasoned vet after four weeks, but if you can just get that first month under your belt, you’ll get yourself over the proverbial hump, where so many fail and give up, and set the stage for a lifetime of muscle gains.
In his phenomenal book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business," Charles Duhigg dedicates an entire chapter to what he labels the "habit loop." Without giving away any spoilers—I'm not kidding, it's a book that will melt your brain, and you should read it—Duhigg explains that one of the most fail-proof ways to create a habit is to preface the behavior you want to reinforce with a cue.
In a study published in the journal Amino Acids, Finnish scientists discovered that weightlifters who consumed whey protein before and immediately after workouts produced more of a compound called cyclin-dependent kinase 2, or CDK2, than those who didn’t take whey. CDK2 is believed to activate muscle stem cells involved in hypertrophy and recovery from intense training. In addition, a 2009 study by Japanese researchers found that consuming whey and glucose prompted larger stores of post-training muscle glycogen (the main energy source for working muscles) than ingesting just glucose. Shoot for 20–30g of fast-digesting whey protein isolate or hydrolysate 30 minutes pre-workout and immediately post-workout.
. Be very careful who you take advice from! I just cringe when I hear some of the bad advice I hear some guys dishing out to other people at the gym! Just because someone runs their mouth virtually non-stop and appears to sound confident in the words they are saying doesn’t mean that they are an expert! Most often, the people with the greatest levels of expertise are the ones who quietly seem to be progressing above, and beyond what the people around them are. You must also make sure that the person your taking advice from is on the same playing field that you are. In other words, if they are taking steroids but you are not, what works for them will not work for you. The body chemistry is drastically altered by the use of steroids. Chemicals can make up for many training and dietary blunders that you wouldn’t get away with without the use of chemical enhancements.
Terry follows the old-school bodybuilding mentality of isolating each muscle group (back, shoulders, chest, legs and arms) on a five-day cycle. If he’s trying to grow a certain muscle group, he’ll introduce a second workout on the sixth day. Each of Terry’s workouts lasts between 60 and 90 minutes – “any longer and you're either not pushing yourself hard enough or you're talking too much” – and he makes the most of each session by targeting different parts of each muscle.
For us recreational enthusiasts, there are few things that provide more inspiration than the audible feats of strength that take place in our own gyms every day. The clanging of non-collared plates on a big set of squats. The seismic thud of a stacked set of dumbbells hitting the floor. The primitive, rep-beating grunt of fellow strength-seeking men. It’s this cacophony of iron that pushes us to push ourselves. We want to move more weight - lots more - and we’re ready to put in the work.
Heat grill. Combine lemon juice, chili sauce, Dijon mustard, basil and parsley in a baking dish; mix well. Place chicken in a baking dish. Cover dish and marinate chicken in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Drain marinade. Grill chicken over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Bake sweet potato in a microwave for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve chicken with baked sweet potato topped with pecans, broccoli and side salad.
Because the upper traps get some degree of stimulation during many shoulder exercises, Arnold trained them with delts. His main upper-trap exercise was the shrug, though he noted that maximizing the size of this muscle required a number of other movements, including power pulls, cleans, and upright rows. Because the range of motion in a shrug is fairly short, Arnold recommended backing off on the weight in favor of being able to fully shrug your shoulders as high as possible.
Figure out how to pay the bills. Bodybuilders don't make lots of money, so the idea of becoming a professional bodybuilder is a lot like the idea of become a professional poet or professional painter: it'll take a lot of your heart and soul, but you'll also need to figure out how to take care of the practical details. You've got to support your bodybuilding with some other kind of work to pay the bills.
The lateral raise (or shoulder fly) is performed while standing or seated, with hands hanging down holding weights, by lifting them out to the sides until just below the level of the shoulders. A slight variation in the lifts can hit the deltoids even harder, while moving upwards, just turn the hands slightly downwards, keeping the last finger higher than the thumb. This is an isolation exercise for the deltoids. Also works the forearms and traps.
“The stimulus to put on muscle that won’t be beneficial for running is much higher than people realize, and unless you’re either lifting relatively heavy and frequently and/or eating a hyper caloric diet, you’re unlikely to put on muscle,” says Joe Holder, USATF-certified running coach, Nike+ Run Club coach in New York City. “Just think about strength training one to two times a week, focusing on compound movement patterns, such as a lunge or squat, and shoring up the areas that could lead to increased injury if they are weak, like the hips.”
Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of back row would be fine here, so pick your favorite. If I had to make a suggestion, I might go with a chest supported row of some sort because chest supported rowing doesn’t require any real lower back stabilization like a bent over barbell row would. And, since you will be deadlifting the next day, this may be a beneficial choice for some people. Otherwise, feel free pick any type of horizontal back row you want (chest supported row, any Hammer Strength machine row if your gym has them, a bent over barbell or dumbbell row, t-bar rows, whatever). As long as it’s a back row of some sort, it’s fine. If you think you’d benefit from not using any lower back the day before doing deadlifts, then stick with something chest supported to give your lower back a break. If not, pick anything.
Develop your strength training routine. The exercises you perform will depend on your goals for your body and your stage in the training process. It's generally suggested, though, that you stick to the same major compound movements that most bodybuilders use, making this the cornerstone of your strength training. Later you can incorporate isolation exercises and machines into your routine, but right now you should be focused on leaning up and gaining muscle, doing the following exercises:
To get the most gain from resistance training, progressively increase the intensity of your training according to your experience and training goals. This may mean increasing the weight, changing the duration of the contraction (the time during which you sustain holding the weight at your muscle’s maximum potential), reducing rest time or increasing the volume of training.
As a result, the Old School bodybuilding meant relying on the basic movements using primarily barbells and dumbbells to develop their physiques. This lack of variety turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the free weights helped to build greater muscle mass and strength compared to the more sophisticated equipment that was yet to come. Barbells and dumbbells required to body to utilize greater coordination and balance in order to perform the movements. The result was increased strength and size, much more pronounced than when machines are used.
26. People who tell you that you can’t go wrong with squats is a liar. False advice is everywhere, and this is one big example of them. Squats that are done above parallel are extremely dangerous, and they’re instantly bad for your knees. But, if you’re doing it right, doing 20 rep squats does a lot of burn to your body and will be amazing. Try it for yourself.
Caffeine helps to increase alertness and improves concentration. This helps you to focus on your cut. Products such as Promax Lean and Thermobol contain caffeine should you prefer not to overdo it on the coffees or want to combine this intake with protein. However, it is recommended not to exceed a daily intake of 400mg of caffeine from all sources.
Getting comfortable with a steady running routine is definitely something to be proud of, but when you're on that cardio grind day-in and day-out, you might be ready to change things up and take on a new challenge. Time to throw some strength training into the mix. It can be a little intimidating at first if you don't know where the hell to start, but understanding the basics can help you feel confident in your refreshed fitness routine.
With this in mind, focus less on single-joint movements (sometimes called isolation exercises) in favor of multijoint ones. The bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press, bent-over row, and power clean are examples of solid multijoint exercises that require several muscle groups to work in coordination. These exercises should form the foundation of your training plan.
In your zeal to bring up a stubborn muscle group, you might be tempted to employ the "throw everything at 'em but the kitchen sink" approach, but Arnold warned that this strategy might be counterproductive. "There will be times when a body part lags behind because you are overtraining it, hitting it so hard, so often, and so intensely that it never has a chance to rest, recuperate, and grow," he wrote.
A brief, fairly unscientific explanation will do for this one. You cannot work the fat off any specific area of your body because, well, you cannot work fat. People mistake that good old muscle burn for something that magically removes adipose proximally from wherever it burns. Those were your oblique abdominals being worked, not the love handles next to them.
This period also saw the rise of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding and many other sports. In bodybuilding lore, this is partly attributed to the rise of "mass monsters", beginning with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, and Lou Ferrigno in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and continuing through the 1980s with Lee Haney, the 1990s with Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and Markus Rühl, and up to the present day. Bodybuilders such as Greg Kovacs attained mass and size never seen previously but were not successful at the pro level. Others were renowned for their spectacular development of a particular body part, like Tom Platz or Paul Demayo for their leg muscles. At the time of shooting Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger (while never admitting to steroid use until long after his retirement) said that "you have to do anything you can to get the advantage in competition". He would later say that he does not regret using anything.
And not all weight training is created equally. “Some strength workouts—like CrossFit WODs or circuit-based fitness classes—include too much of a metabolic or cardio component to be effective at prioritizing the main goals for runners, which are strength and power,” Fitzgerald says. Runners get enough cardio, so Fitzgerald recommends focusing on relatively heavy weight for a moderate number of repetitions with full recovery. And don’t forget that your own body serves as weight. So if picking up a barbell or dumbbells is a big stretch for you, know that there are other ways to add resistance with weight. [Get a complete weight training plan – created specifically for runners.]
Our body needs a breather. When we rest or when we sleep is the time when our body conducts a synthesis of proteins, that is, the breakdown of proteins which results in the reconstructive process of muscle building and repair. Regular and adequate rest is needed in order to gain muscle. Also, metabolism takes place during the night when we sleep, and fat is burned during this process as well. This makes sleep the most effective tool when it comes to fitness and health, and we must give our mind and body 48 hours of rest before hitting the gym again, as this is the optimum time for muscle recovery.
Many years ago it was unheard of for women to bodybuild, let alone work out in a gym with weights. What a bunch of rubbish! Times have changed drastically, and for the better, I must say. If you’re female and want to get your groove on, look no further than your own living quarters. With the right tutelage, you can be carved up and turning heads in no time!
A bodybuilding diet aligns with all the general advice for a healthful diet: A balanced mix of macronutrients and plenty of micronutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Even in the bulking phase, the idea is to bulk up by eating more, but sticking with mostly healthy choices. Similarly, in the cutting phase, the goal is to cut out less nutrient-dense foods, not slash calories extremely and give up nutritious foods.
You will have to bid adieu to your favourite processed and fried foods as a part of your bodybuilding program. Consume five or six small meals each day with lean protein to repair muscles, carbs to fire your workouts and healthy fats to meet hunger. It is advisable that you create meal plans for your week. You should also rest your muscles for a full 48 hours before working the same muscle group and get plenty of sleep.
An obvious one I know, but many misjudge this. If you have two weeks to get ready for the beach then the quickest way to drop fat (and subcutaneous water that can blur muscle definition) is to drop your daily carbohydrate intake to 50 grams of fibrous carbohydrates. So say hello to broccoli, cauliflower and kale, and kiss goodbye to breads, cereals, fruit, rice and pasta. Where people go badly wrong when dropping carbs is that they simply switch to eating lean proteins and don’t replace some of the lost carb calories with calories from fat. This inevitably leads to an energy crash and the subsequent blowing of the diet because the trainee simply runs out of steam and willpower. A few whole eggs, a piece of steak and plenty of supplemental Omega 3s (I prefer 10 grams a day for carbohydrate tolerant individuals, more if there appears to be insulin resistance) work wonders.
Here is a very good bodybuilding workout routine tip you can use to determine the exact number of rest days between training sessions. Track your weight, and reps. If your strength continues to increase, you are resting between training sessions in an optimal manner. If the weight plateaus, or decreases, add additional muscle building rest days between workouts.