Bodybuilding is becoming more popular with each passing day. Whether it be for the aesthetic purpose of looking good in the bedroom mirror or the long term health benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet, the potential upsides are hard to deny. There are as many different approaches to bodybuilding as there are gyms that incorporate them.
Inherently bodybuilding is the progressive use of resistance to develop strength and endurance. This can be done using weights, resistance bands, or even bodyweight exercises. All are arguably equal in effectiveness depending on preference and access to equipment. Each has it’s own pros and cons that should be weighed by the participant. Most important is to engage in an exercise activity that is sustainable and enjoyable. This will make it easier perpetuate the habit over long periods of time maximizing effectiveness.
There are several components to successful bodybuilding. For optimal results it is important to incorporate a healthy balanced diet tailored to your specific needs, supplements, an adequate rest schedule, and of course a challenging workout schedule.
Diet: The old saying goes you can’t out-train bad habits. No matter how much work and sweat you put in at the gym if you go home and erase it all with poor eating habits you are wasting your time. Diet is the core of all weight loss and muscle gaining endeavors. The gym is a place for breaking down. you stress your muscles and encourage them to strengthen and grow. Once you stop, the rebuilding process begins. Without the proper nutrients to encourage growth and replenish what was lost you are gradually wearing yourself down and become counter productive. With good nutrition your efforts will pay off sooner rather than later.
Supplements: Many bodybuilders choose to use supplements for the reasons outlined above. A good workout is a strain on the body. Providing supplements in proper ratios helps aid the recovery process and can speed up the gain phase. Which is after all the end goal.
Rest: This is a commonly overlooked but extremely important aspect of any regimen. The majority of muscle growth occurs during the recovery phase. This is when you are sleeping, resting or even sitting on the couch. Your muscles are hard at work repairing the microscopic damage caused by working out and strengthening their fibers for the next round. Without proper rest, fatigue can set in and possibly lead to injury. Injury equals time away from training which is counterproductive.
A challenging workout schedule: A workout is meant to be intense. You have to challenge the body to get out of its catabolic stasis mode. Levels of intensity will vary dependant on the participant and the desired results. However, it’s safe to say if you’re not breaking a sweat you’re not going to see much of a change. As a general rule larger muscles are gained through lower reps with heavier weights. 8 -10 is the maximum. Weight is chosen based on reaching muscle failure somewhere in this rep range. Each major muscle group should be targeted once in each week with rest periods between. Training every other day or on a ‘split’ schedule is the most popular approach.
If all of these considerations are taken into account you can be well on your way to achieving your goals and having that well defined beachbody we all dream of. Dedication and consistency will play a large part in how far your efforts will take you.