Bodybuilding is a lifestyle few can handle. Many people simply give up due to the relentless dedication it takes to make any progress. To be a bodybuilder, you cannot just train hard and expect results, you have to train smart. This means proper nutrition, adequate rest, and a hardcore training regimen with a do or die attitude.
Let’s break down the basics
The nutrition basics. Protein comes first. Forget the creatine, forget the nitric oxide, without protein you simply will not grow. You should be taking in at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. The protein you take in should come from a variety of sources and consumed evenly throughout the day. For example: A 200 pound bodybuilder taking in 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight would have to consume 300 grams of protein in one day. That is a lot of protein! The same 200 pound bodybuilder should space this between 6 to 8 meals for the day. Let’s say 6 meals, this means that each meal the 200 pound bodybuilder consumes needs to be around 50 grams of protein.
Eat your fruits and vegetables. Without proper nutrition your immune system will just break down causing you to catch every cold and virus floating around. When you are sick you are not eating and you are not training, causing you to lose all that hard earned muscle. Bodybuilding is not all about building muscle, you need to live a healthy lifestyle to stay on top of your game so you can keep training hard.
Drink lots of water. Water is vital in keeping you healthy. It helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and keep your energy levels up. Lots of water daily is vital for muscle performance and endurance. So, unless you want to have a less than great day at the gym, it’s recommended for a bodybuilder to consume 1 to 1.5 gallons of water throughout the day with the largest intake being during your workout.
Adequate rest is critical. Without adequate rest your performance in the gym will suffer. Going without adequate rest will also slowly break down your immune system causing you to once again catch any cold or virus floating around keeping you out of the gym and laying in bed wasting away precious muscle. It’s vital for any bodybuilder to get lots of rest. It’s recommended to get 8 to 10 hours per day of rest to get proper recovery and ensure maximal muscle growth. After all, you are not growing in the gym, you are growing while you rest.
Your training program needs to push your muscles to the limit. There are many different routines out there. Some with high volume (doing many sets per body part). Some people see better results with low volume (doing very few sets per body part) training regimens. The same goes for repetitions, some people claim 12-15 reps per set is best, and others claim 6-8 reps per set is maximal. It’s up to you. You need to experiment with all of them and see what works for you. Always keep an open mind and monitor your progress by your appearance in the mirror.
Keep in mind that bodybuilding is not about comparing yourself to others. It’s about pushing yourself and achieving goals you set forth. So before you look at the huge guy in the gym and give up in despair, take this into account. That huge guy has probably been training longer than you and has put his time in. You also have to take into account your genetics. As badly as you may want to be a muscle bound freak, your genetics can hold you back. I am not saying to give up, you will just have to train harder and smarter, and make the most of what you have. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start pumping some iron.