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Bodybuilding for Beginners: Everything Beginner Bodybuilders Need to Know About Bodybuilding Nutrition and Strength Training to Quickly Transform Their Bodies

  Nov 2nd, 2011

Start Here for BodybuildingIt was over 10 years ago when I first became interested in using bodybuilding as a way to add muscle to my scrawny teenaged body. Looking back at the things I tried as a beginner bodybuilder makes me wish I could go back and do things over.

It honestly took me over 2 years to figure out why my results were so unflattering. While those 2 years have given me a great appreciation for what it takes to build a muscular physique, I can’t help but wonder where I might be today if someone would have taken the time to show me how to eat, train and rest as a beginner bodybuilder to get the best results possible.

If you are someone who is new to bodybuilding, or have been training for any length of time with very little to show for it, I want to help you by sharing with you everything that I wish I would have known years ago when I was getting my start as a beginner bodybuilder.

My hope is that when you are looking back at your formative bodybuilding years later in life you won’t have to wonder what could have been because someone took the time to give you all of the information you needed to get off to the best start possible.

I started because I have a sincere desire to help others transform their bodies and experience the same kind of life changing results from bodybuilding and strength training that I have. If you trust what I tell you, and follow my instructions to the best of your ability, you will get life-changing results.

I know because I have personally tested and experienced everything I share on in order to guarantee that my followers receive nothing but the best information on building muscle and burning fat that can be found on the internet today.

Alright, let’s get started…


How to Start Bodybuilding – The Right Way

As I mentioned earlier, I was a really scrawny teenager. I am talking skin and bones! My only real purpose for starting to lift weights was to get bigger as fast as possible.

My first training program consisted of lifting relatively light weights using the same 3 or 4 lifts each day. I trained pretty much every day and only took a day off if I absolutely did not have at least 30 minutes to lift.

It seemed logical at the time that lifting 7 days a week would provide the best possible results, but this simply wasn’t the case. My 7 day per week training plan was actually hindering my results.

More on this a little later…

On top of my less than effective training program, I was also paying zero attention to my diet. As silly as this sounds, I have noticed that improper training, insufficient rest and lacking nutrition are problems that are quite common among beginner bodybuilders.

I am going to address each of these topics (along with a few others) so you can be armed with the right knowledge to help you avoid the mistakes that prevent most beginner bodybuilders from realizing their full muscle building potential.

Nutrition for Beginner Bodybuilders

I know from experience that nutrition is the aspect of bodybuilding that requires the greatest amount of patience and dedication to master. To be honest, even though I now know how I need to eat and what I need to eat to reach my goals, following a disciplined nutrition plan is still extremely challenging.

Unfortunately, proper nutrition is simply too important to your results to just ignore. The good news is that I have made following a structured nutrition plan about as simple as it gets. But before you can know what kind of diet plan you should be following you will need to answer a couple of questions:

1. Are you more concerned with short-term goals or long-term results?

2. What are your short or long-term goals?

When I started lifting weights I was doing it with the sole purpose of getting as big as I could as fast as possible. I wasn’t really concerned with long-term results. My focus was on the here and now.

Now that I am a little older and wiser I don’t believe that someone should ever look at bodybuilding as a short-term endeavor. The benefits of overall health and vitality provided by lifting weights are just too significant not to make it part of your lifestyle.

Nevertheless, I can certainly sympathize if you are only concerned with transforming your body as fast as possible.

So, why does it matter whether you are in it for the long haul?

The Sculptor’s Mold

As I explain in my posting regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger and steroids, Arnold’s idol, Reg Park, believed that building the biggest and most muscular body possible was analogous to the way a sculptor builds a statue.

Just as a sculptor starts with a mold that is much larger than what the end product will ultimately be, Reg believed that a person that wanted to build the largest amount of muscle needed to first focus on building their body to be as large as possible before trimming away the excess fat, leaving a well defined masterpiece.

And I agree whole-heartedly with this philosophy.

That being said, not everyone who takes up bodybuilding does so with the sole purpose of getting huge and jacked. In fact, many beginner bodybuilders are simply looking to use weight lifting as a way to shed unwanted fat and get a lean, muscular and ripped physique.

My point is that beginner bodybuilders will want to have a good understanding of why they are taking up bodybuilding in the first place and have a clear vision of the ultimate results that they hope to achieve. Without an end goal in mind, you won’t have a clue as to how you ought to be feeding your body to reach your bodybuilding goals.

If your goal is to get as big and muscular as possible, you will want to follow Reg Parks’ philosophy of packing on as much mass as possible before shifting your focus to fat loss.

On the other hand, if you aren’t so much concerned with increasing the overall size of your muscles, and have more of a desire to shed some unwanted body fat to get lean and ripped, you will want your nutrition plan to be centered on fat loss.

By the way, your goals will likely change as you progress along your bodybuilding journey. I started out with the goal of gaining muscle mass, switched to focusing my efforts on getting lean and ripped and have again begun focusing on building mass.

By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with periodically changing your goals. Actually, a change of pace can be a great way to regain your focus while also providing a boost to your level of motivation.

Just make sure that you understand the results that you hope to achieve, train consistently and dedicate yourself to eating in a manner that is consistent with your desired results. Do these things and you will transform your body over time.

Bodybuilding Diet Plans

Hopefully you have an idea about the kind of results you are looking for. If you need some help deciding on the best path for you, feel free to contact me with any questions that you have and I will point you in the right direction.

Once you have decided between building maximum mass and getting a lean and ripped physique, you will then be ready to learn the most effective ways to feed your body to achieve your desired results.

Here are links to my postings that will provide you with detailed nutrition instructions, depending on your bodybuilding goals:

Diet for Burning Fat and Getting Lean and Ripped

Anabolic Diet for Building Maximum Lean Muscle Mass

Final Note on Nutrition:

Your nutrition plan is the only aspect of your bodybuilding program that you should ever change when you switch from muscle building to fat loss, or vice versa. The goal of weight training is always to build and develop your muscles, and as long as you follow the instructions that I am about to share with you below, your training sessions will do just that and will not need to be changed.

The way that you are feeding your body will determine whether your body responds to your training by packing on muscle tissue or burning off unwanted body fat.

The only difference in the way that you train when focusing on fat loss, compared to muscle building, is that you will want to make sure to devote a certain amount of time to cardiovascular exercise (in addition to your weight training) in order to maximize your fat burning results.

Here is a link to an article in which I explain everything you will need to know about using cardio for maximizing fat loss:

The Best Way to Perform Your Cardio Workouts for Optimum Fat Burning Results


Strength Training for Beginner Bodybuilders

Whether you are a man or a woman, your start in weight lifting should always be focused on strength training. Strength training is centered around getting stronger by continually lifting heavier and heavier weights.

It is extremely important that beginner bodybuilders work on building up their strength as fast as possible. Since beginners do not have much strength when they are starting out, building a strong core and balancing muscles will be extremely important to their long-term success.

When starting your strength training program you will also need to focus on using correct form. The best way to combine strength training with proper form is by starting with weights that are light enough that you can easily control them throughout the whole movement. You will then slowly increase the weights that you use for your various lifts during each subsequent training session by 2.5 – 5 pounds.

I know it will be tempting to quickly ramp up your weights to see what you can do, but trust me when I tell you that this is the fastest way for you to injure yourself. Injuries will keep you out of the gym for weeks or months at a time and should be avoided like the plague.

Anyway, after a month or two you will reach the point where the weights you are using are becoming quite difficult to perform and you will start to struggle to perform a set of 10 or so reps. At this point you will want to continue to add weights to your lifts (by 2.5 to 5 pounds each week) until you get to the point where you can only complete 4-6 reps – while maintaining a focus on solid form.

When you reach the point which you can perform no more than 6 reps of a given weight, you will only increase your weights by 2.5 to 5 pounds every 2 weeks or so. If after 2 weeks of using the same weight, you increase the weight and still can’t do at least 4 reps, you will want to drop by 20 or 30 pounds and start ramping back up by 2.5 to 5 pounds each week.

Nine times out of ten, when you restart the progression and reach the weight that you couldn’t perform for a second time, you will be able to push past it to new strength records.

Training for muscle growth is actually very simple in concept. If you want larger muscles, lift heavier weights – it really is as simple as that!

This is why strength training is such an important aspect for all bodybuilding beginners to focus on. Strength training allows beginners to build muscle as fast as possible while giving them a solid base of strength that will benefit them for as long as they continue lifting.

A Note for Women Bodybuilders…

Lady bodybuilders are often turned off by the term “strength training” because they have heard that lifting heavy weights will lead to their building a masculine physique. This is a myth! Women bodybuilders who look masculine have built those manly bodies by using steroids – not from simply lifting heavy weights.

Women do not have the physiological makeup to build massive amounts of muscle and do not need to worry about becoming too muscular. In fact, few things are sexier than the kind of tight, toned and sexy physique that women will achieve from strength training.

If you are concerned about building too much muscle, simply follow my fat burning diet plan with your strength training program and you will maintain a lean and tight, womanly physique – no matter how strong you become.

It is a shame that so many women are turned away from bodybuilding because of their unwarranted fear of building too much muscle.


Perfect Squatting Form

Best Lifts for Bodybuilding Beginners

Beginner bodybuilders typically start training using a program that consists of mostly isolation exercises that target a very specific area of a muscle group while using sets comprised of 10 or more reps. This is the kind of training plan that I followed for many months as a beginner bodybuilder.

Unfortunately, this is the complete opposite of how a bodybuilding beginner should train!

The best way to train to build muscle is through strength training that primarily uses compound lifts that simultaneously incorporate several different muscle groups – not isolation movements. As I mentioned above, heavier weights that allow you to perform 4-6 reps should be used as often as possible.

Here are a few compound lifts that absolutely must be a part of every beginner and experienced bodybuilder’s training plan:

• Barbell Squats

• Dead Lifts

• Pull Ups (weighted if necessary)

• Bench Press (Flat and Inclined)

• Military Press

These compound lifts are those that I have found to be the most effective at training several muscle groups at the same time.

So, why is that so important?

Because compound lifts allow you to train several different muscles at once, they effectively enable you to more fully develop all of the heads of each muscle.

Compound lifts like the squat and dead lift are also great for improving your balance and core strength.

But, perhaps the greatest benefit that a beginner or experienced bodybuilder will receive from compound lifts is the increase in testosterone that follows a training session that uses compound lifts. All weight training provides some amount of testosterone enhancement, but compound movements have been shown to provide a much greater hormonal boost – especially dead lifts and squats.

Compound lifts also allow for greater weights to be used, which provide the best opportunity for maximum muscle fiber stimulation. Lifting heavier weights leads to larger muscles, period. And because compound lifts can be performed using more weight than other lifts, they provide the best opportunity for fast muscle growth.

If you want to incorporate a few isolation exercises into your training regimen to target your biceps or calves, this is certainly okay. However, you want to make sure that most of the lifts that you are using while weight training are compound in nature.

Next, I want to go through a few of the mistakes that I made as a bodybuilding newbie so you can avoid making the same mistakes that led to the wasting of years of my life and thousands of dollars…

Common Mistakes Made By Beginner Bodybuilders

Training for Too Long

After a couple months of lifting weights, I began to see some results in the size of my arms could see some more definition in my upper body. This was encouraging and it made me want to get even faster results moving forward. As a way to kick my progress into high gear I decided to start spending 2 hours in the gym lifting weights each night.

This turned out to be a bad idea!

After only a couple of weeks I began to notice my energy levels and my motivation to train starting to quickly decline. This was the first time I experienced the symptoms of what is commonly known as overtraining.

Overtraining occurs when the body is being stressed beyond its capability to recover. Overtraining can lead to a variety of symptoms including decreased immune system function, loss of appetite, lower energy levels, lack of motivation and irritability.

I found out that when the body is in an over-trained state building new muscle tissue takes a back seat to rejuvenating the other more vital bodily functions.

I have also since learned that after 45 – 60 minutes of weight training the spike in muscle building hormones induced by weight training begins to quickly decline and that training for longer than 60 minutes can actually have a catabolic affect on the body.

Because of this undesirable affect, I now keep my weight training sessions under the one hour mark.

By the way, if you want to fit more sets into your 60 minute training sessions, you should try to take shorter rests between sets. If your cardiovascular system can take it, your muscles really only need about 45 to 60 seconds to recover in between sets.

You will be surprised at how many sets you can fit into a one hour training session when you only rest for a minute between sets.

Getting Insufficient Rest

The muscles of the body do not grow during times of training, but during times of rest – especially during deep sleep. This is why sleep should be a high priority for every serious bodybuilder.

Ideally, you will want to get 7+ hours of quality sleep in each night.

Sleeping any less than that will cheat your body out of getting building the most muscle tissue possible during the most opportune time to grow each day. If you consistently sleep for less than 7 hours each night, your long-term muscle building results will inevitably suffer as a result.

An Over-Reliance On Supplements

Every beginner bodybuilder has fallen into the trap of thinking that if they only had a certain supplement or stack of supplements they would finally be able to get the incredible results they are looking for. I too fell victim to this kind of thinking and my bank account is thousands of dollars lighter because of it.

There are a few supplements that can provide a small boost to your results, but the truth is that supplements should never be relied upon to transform your physique. I tried all of the latest supplements when I was first getting into bodybuilding and was never satisfied with the results I received for my investments in various supplements.

The truth is that the most effective way to quickly transform your body is to dedicate yourself to training with the methods I have explained above and combining your training with a diet plan that is consistent with the results that you want to achieve.

I promise you that eating and training for success will get you far greater results than any you will receive from using supplements. Your success as a beginner or experienced bodybuilder is entirely dependent upon your determination and commitment to training and nutrition.

Save yourself the wasted money and constant disappointment that I experienced when putting my trust in supplements to get me a body that I could be proud of. Supplements should only be used as a way to supplement your training and nutrition plan – not to replace them!


Beginner bodybuilders have completely no idea how long it takes to get significant bodybuilding results. But how could they? After all, they are beginners, right?

The problem comes when after several months of lifting weights and eating right a new bodybuilder becomes frustrated that they don’t look like the guy on the latest issue of their favorite muscle magazine.

I will be the first to admit that I would love nothing more than to get my ideal physique in a matter of months.

The inconvenient truth is that real life, steroid-free transformations happen slowly over long periods of time. This isn’t to say that you can’t get significant results in a matter of 8 to 12 weeks (after all, I certainly have), but don’t expect to have 20″ biceps after 1 year of training.

The bodybuilding icons that you see on television and in magazines have worked for many years to build their bodies and most of them are cheating by using steroids.

If you are consistently progressing towards your goal of building muscle mass or shedding body fat, you are doing just fine.

It is also important to keep things in perspective. If you are working on building muscle mass, don’t be discouraged if your weight only increases by 0.2 pounds in a given week. After all, that is 10 pounds of muscle that you will build over the course of a year, which will make a huge difference to your physique.

Likewise, if you are trying to cut fat and are only losing 2 pounds per week, you need to understand that 2 pounds per week equates to more than 100lbs over the course of a year.

We all would like instant results, but unfortunately, bodybuilding is about patience and persistence – not instant gratification.

You don’t develop an unflattering and out of shape body over night and you won’t get rid of it over night either.

You Are Now Equipped for Bodybuilding Success

I understand what it is like to be someone who wants to get started using bodybuilding as a means of transforming their body without having the right information to make that happen. The information I have shared with you in this posting will give you the tools you need to start getting incredible results right away and set you up for short-term and long-term bodybuilding success – regardless of your personal bodybuilding goals.

If you are a bodybuilding beginner who needs to build muscle and get big as fast as possible, I recommend checking out Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets Program. It is full of powerful tips and instructions that are perfect for beginner bodybuilders who have an immediate need to pack on pounds of additional muscle mass.

I have actually posted a review of my experience using the Muscle Gaining Secrets program on You can check it out here:

My Review of Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets Program

If you have any questions about the information I have provided, feel free to contact me with your questions, or leave your questions in the comment box below.



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