Majority of the people who come to me for any type of fitness assistance, after they’ve seen piles upon piles of pictures of me, or just my profile pictures on various forums I am on, are newbies. I welcome them eagerly, because helping you, helps me. By helping you, I cement the knowledge so that it’s second nature. In fact, it helps me revamp my own training, when I write out what it is one NEEDS to be doing if they ever want to gain any muscle mass.
In this one post, I am going to try to go through majority of the basic knowledge one needs to have when they enter bodybuilding. I am going to touch on macro-nutrients and what they are, what’s a split, what kind of training should one do when starting off, and what should one eat or consume, supplement wise, when starting off.
Firstly, you need to figure out what your long term goals are. What would you like to improve, or what would you like to see your body go towards, when it comes to your overall physique. Do you want to become muscular, like a beast? Do you want to lose body fat, and lean out? Do you just want to lean out and just have a body of a fitness model? If so, you have to make up your mind. Generally, people’s goals tend to change over time, as they start training, but in the end, it’s almost nearly the same. That true desire that made you decide to pick up some dumbbells, is where you’ll end up at the end of the day.
So say, as you’re on a site that’s most likely you reached via a bodybuilding forum, or knowledge of my desire in bodybuilding, I am going to assume the majority of you want to pack on some mass. Maybe not become a beast, but adding mass on nevertheless is your overall goal. Adding muscles, to many newbie’s surprise, is actually pretty easy if you follow some basic rules. If you keep on it, and rest when you’re suppose to, eat when you’re suppose to, and etc, the muscle mass will come.
To add on mass, we have to look at what we put into our body; protein, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are what we use to build muscle, carbohydrates is the energy we use to help build muscle and fats are also another essential energy supply.
Now, bodybuilders try to keep their protein to a specific range. The general consensus is 1 gram of protein per body weight. As time goes on, people tend to increase that to 1.5 grams of protein per body weight. So a range of 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per lb, is what is needed. Some people actually go as far as to mention that you need 1 gram of protein per LBM (lean body mass; will talk about this in another post). As it’s the muscle you’re focusing on, that is fine to do also. But the 1.5, allows you to be secure in the muscle building aspect of weight training.
Next, carbohydrates tends to be on a higher end of the grams; 2 to 2.5 grams per body weight. The fats, people tend to like to keep it below or above 100 grams. I personally, try to keep it around 90 grams.
Now that we have the macro nutrients down, we have to figure out how much you need to eat to gain weight. Before you can do that, you have to figure out how much times a week you are able to actually workout. You generally have three options but as a newbie, you’re going to have to workout 3 times a week to begin with. You should do this for the first week and then increase your training to 4 or 5 days a week. Generally, people are more on the 5 day split, as it allows them to workout each body part without restricting growth via compiling too many exercises in one training session, which can lead to over training. Over training will be a topic for another post, but it’s a very important concept to know, as it could hinder any growth or progress one makes in the gym.
Go to the calories maintenance calculator, and enter your current information and add the 3 day training per week in the form, submit and it will provide you with your maintenance calories. To gain weight, the general number is 500 calories over your maintenance. When your first week or the 3 days per week training routine has come and gone, you will want to choose the 5 day split (training sessions per week) and then recalculate your maintenance calories and add the 500 calories to it.
Remember when you’re consuming your meals, you need to meet your macro nutrients recommended values for the day, to yield any benefits from your training sessions. Also when you’re eating, focus on high protein, and carb sources; for example; fish and whole grain/whole wheat products, respectively. Generally, the foods you’re probably eating now, aren’t going to cut it. But don’t sweat it, if you service the first few weeks clean, you can always do what bodybuilders have grown to love; cheat meals or cheat days. Will touch on those later on though, just not today.
So now, you know how much of the macro nutrients you need to eat, also how much times a week you should train. But, you need to know how to train on those days. For beginners, they are provided a full-body training routine, to get their muscles accustom to the load that’s going to be placed on it. You have to use weights you can do about 10 reps with easily. Do about 2 exercises per body part, to make sure you don’t over train or get too overwhelmed. If after your first week, you’re not confident about moving onto a 5 day split, then just keep with the 3 day split one more week and then transfer over to the 5 day split afterward.
If you can’t afford a gym membership, you can always purchase two 15 lb dumbbells from your local walmart, and then increase to 25 lbs when you’ve grown accustom to the 15 lb dumbbells even when you’re in your 5 day split. You may be stronger, and if so, you can then purchase two 20 lb dumbbells and then increase as time goes by. Last time I checked, the price is about $1 per lb. You may realize in the long run, that this option is only beneficial short term. There are some very affordable gyms, that provide you the necessary equipment to get where you need, in bodybuilding. Later on, I will touch on recommended guidelines to follow when joining a gym for the first time, and things you need to keep your eyes open for.
Finally, the supplements. A lot of beginners are enthusiastic to start consuming protein shakes and other types of supplements. Others follow a misconception that protein shakes are not tasty, or anything of the sort. In fact, they can be absolutely delicious. Some even taste like ice cream but don’t have the same amount of fat distribution in it! So you can enjoy it as much as you want, and not worry about gaining too much body fat.
All you need when you’re starting out, is a protein and vitamin supplement. I drink ON Whey 100% Gold Standard, majority of the time. It has all the nutrients you’d ever want in a protein supplement and has about 25 grams of protein per scoop!
Before I wrap this up, here is a sample 3 day split, that you will want to utilize for as long as you find it necessary to learn the correct form, etc, when it comes to weight training. Remember, good form is very important, along with warming up. They both prevent serious injuries from occurring that can set you back months, in the gym.
Crunches – 3 x 20-30 Reps
Squats – 3 x 12-15 Reps
Leg Curls – 3 x 12-15 Reps
Flat-Bench Presses – 3 x 10-12 Reps
Military Press – 3 x 12-15 Reps
*Tricep Pushdowns – 3 x 10-12 Reps
Barbell Curls – 3 x 10-12 Reps
*Standing Calf Raises – 3 x 15-20 Reps
*If your gym doesn’t have a pushdown machine, you can do tricep kickbacks.
*If no standing calf raises machine, you can hold two dumbbells in your hands and just do them.
If there is anything in this post entry, that you would like me to touch more on. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email!Read More »