by Robert Cheeke, Vegan Bodybuilder, May 18th 2004
To be a successful bodybuilder, you need to first start with the basics and be patient and allow your progress to take place. You must understand that results do not come overnight and to achieve a desired look you have to put in the time and dedicate hard work toward achieving your goals.
Bodybuilding basics include creating a workout schedule and sticking to it. This doesn't mean doing the same exercises, it means training consistently with purpose and having a goal in mind. It means going to the gym even on the days you don't really feel like it. It means making time to stay on schedule and stay on track. Don't ever say, “I ran out of time to train today;” make time. The basics of bodybuilding also include an understanding of the role that a sound nutritional program plays in the progression of your physique transformation. Nutrition in a key element in bodybuilding, perhaps the most important and most overlooked component in the whole bodybuilding lifestyle. Other basics to remember are the exercises themselves. There are a few somewhat primitive power exercises that do more for you than any of the new-age equipment that is floating around late night television infomercials. These base exercises will be the foundation of your training and include squats, bench press, dead lifts, military press, leg press, chin-ups, barbell bicep curls, lunges, hanging leg raises, dips, dumbbell curls, and lateral raises. You don't need cables or complicated machines for these exercises, you just need the basic equipment and a sense of determination and you will succeed in bodybuilding.
When in comes to your nutrition program you also stick to the basics as your core, but include other key elements to enhance your bodybuilding progress. The basics for nutrition are consuming large amounts of fresh green vegetables and a variety of fruits, to load yourself up with vibrant vitamins and minerals. When it comes to bodybuilding nutrition, the most important keys are to keep your immune system strong and to consume a large amount of protein and calories. Quality protein sources include tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, isolated protein powders and shakes, soy protein bars, nut butters, seitan, soymilks, and other soy products. In addition to all the great food that you need to consume to feed your muscles and build your body, it is also very important to drink plenty of water. Everyone talks about it, but not many drink as much water as they should. As a bodybuilder, you should shoot for a gallon a day, or even more. Drinking lots of water helps carry all the nutrients to your cells and creates greater cell nutrition and a body capable of functioning on higher levels.
Efficiency is another important component to the basics of bodybuilding. This means that you don't have to spend two or three hours in the gym to get desired results. This doesn't mean that you have to stuff yourself full of food at each meal until you can't possibly eat anymore. Efficiency is understanding what actions need to take place to enable your body and your body's systems to perform on optimum levels. Train just as much as you need to, not more. If you spend too much time in the gym, you will break down muscle fibers at a faster rate than they are recovering and this could lead to injury. Spend about an hour of weight training during your session, anymore time spent weight training can be counter-productive. You can get away with 90-minute workouts for some larger muscle groups but in most cases that amount of time is not necessary. Allow yourself anywhere from 30-180 seconds rest between sets, depending on the muscles being trained, and you should be fresh to continue your workout full of energy. Being efficient will keep you ahead of the game, and assist in your overall bodybuilding progress.
Supplementation can be a major factor in bodybuilding. Again, there are countless options out there for products that could possibly enhance your physique, but stick to the basics and you will reap plenty of benefits. Protein is one of the most popular supplements you can take. Every bodybuilder seems to want to increase protein intake. Take a protein shake in the morning and another one at night time and you should accumulate all the protein you need, assuming you are eating plenty of foods throughout the day. Taking a multivitamin is another common practice and a great idea for everyone, not just bodybuilders. Multivitamins help bring up levels of certain nutrients you may be lacking in your diet from day to day. Liquid forms tend to be the most effective because they are absorbed the fastest and are the most bioavailable. This means your body uses a higher percentage of the nutrients than is does from other forms such as pills or powders. Amino acid L-Glutamine is another very popular supplement for bodybuilders to take. Glutamine is the most important amino acid in muscle recovery and growth and becomes “essential” for bodybuilders trying to make the most gains with the help of effective supplementation. There are plenty of other basic supplements such as Vitamin C to promote a strong immune system, and flax oil for omega fatty acids.
Setting specific goals is not only a crucial component to a bodybuilding program but is also another bodybuilding basic. You don't train without motivation, do you? There has to be something that drives you to push your body to its physical limit. For many bodybuilders, the thought of a chiseled, fit, strong, aesthetically pleasing physique is enough to make them train without fear of pain or failure. Whatever your reasons are, make your goals clear, and specific as possible. Tell others about the things you desire and show them the work ethic that it takes to achieve greatness in a demanding sport.
The final basic rule to becoming a successful bodybuilder is to live the bodybuilding lifestyle. This means making responsible decisions and getting enough sleep at night. This means preparing meals ahead of time so you will never have to go long periods of time without food. This means budgeting your money so you can afford the food and supplements that the sport of bodybuilding demands. This means being accountable for your workouts in the gym, ensuring that your time there is valuable and not wasted. Follow your instincts, but also seek advice from those who have walked in your shoes and succeeded in bodybuilding. Learn from those who know the ropes and who have “been there,” before.
Following the basics of bodybuilding will not only enhance your physique but your overall bodybuilding program. You will become more efficient in your workouts and more effective in your nutrition programs. Stick to the basics and you will become extraordinary.
Bodybuilding BasicsRobert Cheeke