How to start going to gym? Basics of bodybuilding and training

A new category, fitness/bodybuilding related. Which I wasn’t originally supposed to create, but now I got an inspiration to share some training tips.

I will start this category from the very basics of bodybuilding. If you have zero experience and have no idea how to start going to gym, or you get social anxiety for going to gym, this post is for you.

My background

Firstly about mine experience of training. I’ve been going for gym now about 10 years, trying every possible routines and diets. I’m completely natural, and that’s why I don’t look like a Hulk. It’s very hard, if not impossible to acquire huge amounts of muscle and low body fat percentage naturally. Genes plays a huge role in here.

I used to bulk hard to 210 lbs/95 kg (I’m 5’11) with maintaining slightly visible abs, but not very ripped thought. No hot veins, not ripped abs. I’m not at all as big as I used to be, but I’m much more cut. Nowadays I’m aiming for low body fat% with decent muscle. That’s the optimal body for being the most attractive for women.

Veins and ripped abs mentioned above are thing that get’s girls wet. On the dance floor example on club, when you are dancing with her, pull her arm on your abs and her jaw drops. Then slightly tease her by pulling little bit of your shirt to show the abs, but then pull it back. This is a good way to make her more wet on dance floor game.

Anyway, let’s stay on topic and not go for picking up girls. I just wanted to mention the body type that’s women want.

The Basics of training

The routine is not important, at least when you are natural. The more important is:

  • Lift hard. Go for limits with every rep you do. Doing light lifts won’t improve you.
  • Rest enough. Muscles are not build when you lift, but when you are resting. That’s why you should not do the same muscles, especially the ones that can easily be over trained like shoulders, for many days a row. Have those rest days. Let your body rest. The overtraining is the last thing you want when you are starting this. It will hinder your development. Sleep is important also!
  • Diet. This is probably more important than the actual training part. Either you want a build muscle or lose fat, the diet determines that. A muscle can’t be build if there isn’t enough calories in your body, and fat can’t be burned if there are too many calories in your body. Later on this.
  • Supplements. Not necessary, but can help greatly. Either it’s pre-workout boosters or post-workout protein drink. Or  testosterone boosting supplements. Check this list of supplements what works and what not.

What to do in gym?

Train your whole body. Legs, abs, upper body. Don’t blindly go from machine to machine and do one exercise in each of them.

Sets and reps

Reps are the amount of lifts you do in one exercise. Example you lift bench press a 8 times, that’s 8 reps.

Sets are the amount of reps your do. Example you do 8 reps in bench press, and after a minute of break you do another 8 reps. Now your set was 2 x 8 in bench press. Breaks between sets should be about 1-3 minutes.

Beginners do usually the mistake of going lifting with light weights about 30 times in machine, and then go for next one. Firstly, 30 reps are way too much for building muscle, it’s more like cardio training and building the stamina of the muscle. Not the size. And secondly, it’s better to stick with few basic movements and do 2-4 sets in them, and then go for next exercise. Sticking with your routine, example like this:

  1. Warming up. Light cardio on treadmill or on crosstrainer.
  2. 3 x 10 Bench Press  (Chest/Triceps)
  3. 4 x 12 Barbel Curl    (Biceps)
  4. 3 x 8 Standing Barbell Press (Shoulders/Triceps)
  5. 3 x 10 Wide Grip Lat Pull Down or Pull Ups (Back)
  6. 3 x 12 Squads (Legs)
  7. 4 x 14 Leg raises (Abs)

This is a routine for whole body. Something like this can be done 3-4 times a week. Have a rest days between. Then there are 2-split routines and more. Like you do a biceps and backs on one day, and the triceps and chest the next day. Or you do chest in one day, shoulders next day and back after that.

The routine is not so important as long as you train well-rounded and don’t skip some muscles. The routine should also be changed in time to time, so body won’t get used to it and get new resistance as you change the exercises.

The amount of reps you should do

  • When you want to get strength, go for low reps and high weights. Like 1-5 reps. So you can barely lift it. This develops your strength. Longer breaks between sets, like over 3 minutes.
  • When you want to build a muscle, go for 6-14 reps. That’s a good range, have a weights you can lift that many times. 1-3 minutes of breaks.
  • If you want  to build stamina, go more than 15 reps. Muscles requires resistance to break the muscle cells for building a muscle, and doing many reps will increase the stamina of the muscle. Short breaks, like under 1 minute.

Don’t rush, do clean exercises

Don’t force the exercises and do dirty movements. Focus on doing the clean movements, even if you do lift less this way. It’s not a compete who lifts most. By doing it clean you get pressure in right muscles and won’t break yourself. Doing dirty movements can cause injuries, so focus on doing them clean.

Don’t train when you are sick

If you are feeling like having a cold or flu, skip the gym day and wait until you are completely fine.

When you are sick, the extra stress is the last thing your body wants. It needs a rest. Your body won’t build a muscle when you are ill. It uses it’s energy resources for healing.

Training while sick can only do a harm. Not only it prolongs the illness, but also there is a risk of getting serious some consequences, like getting a Myocarditis, a heart disease which can be fatal. So rest well and skip the gym when you are feeling sick!

Protein, Carbs and Fats

A good diet is the key for success.

Protein

The fitness industry have symbolized a protein as the most important thing you have to have when you train.

Don’t get me wrong, protein is an important ingredient for building a muscle. Muscles requires protein to get built. But the overuse of protein that fitness industry is pushing is a pure madness. Too high protein intake only turns to fat and can be harmful for kidneys.

Your daily intake of protein should be a 1 g of per your body weight when you are not training. When you are training, the intake should be a  1.5-2 g per your body weight.

Example you weight a 154 lbs / 70 kg and train, your daily intake should be around 150 grams per day. If not training, then 70 grams.

Here are examples of protein rich foods:

  • Egg = 7-9 grams of protein. Eat 6 eggs and you already get a 40 grams of protein.
  • Chicken Breast = 20 g protein / 100 grams chicken.
  • Nuts = 25 g protein / 100 grams of nuts.
  • Cottage Cheese = 13 g protein / 100g.
  • Whey Protein = 20-30 grams per scoop, depending on brand
  • Beef = 20 g protein / 100 grams of meat

Carbs

Carbs are also required to build a muscle. They helps to give an energy and keep you filled.

Best time to eat lot of carbs is before and after workout. This way you get more energy in gym, and when you are done, your body  gets immediately the necessary ingredients to start to build a muscles.

If you are cutting fat though, you should cut carbs. By packing a muscles they are necessary, but while cutting fat, avoid them.

Examples of good sources of carbs:

  • Bananas
  • Brown Rice
  • Potatos
  • Pasta

Fats

A word fat creates a negative image in head. People may be avoiding fats by thinking they will pack a fat on their belly. This is wrong.

The good fats are necessary for your overall health. They have many important functions like affecting your hormones. By eliminating them from your diet you make a lot of harm for your body.

A good fat intake would be around 0.5 lb / 1 g of your body weight. Again as a 154 lbs / 70 kg guy intake would be 70 grams of fat per day. Half of that is not bad thought. But under it, it’s too low.

They are also important when you are losing weight, as if don’t get enough fats, your body starts to retain your fat and use the muscles firsts as fuel to function body.

Examples of good sources of fats:

  • Olive oil – 1 Tablespoon = 15 grams of fat
  • Eggs – 5 grams per egg
  • Peanuts – 40 grams of fat per 100 g

 Conclusion:

Eggs are the No. 1 food of bodybuilders. They contain the good amount of protein and fats. Also they have a good amount of calories – about 500 calories in 6 eggs.

Example diet for bulking

An average male, around 150-180 lbs / 70-80 kg’s calorie intake should be somewhere around 2500-3000 calories. Now if you want to pack a muscle, you should get at least that much and little more. The more calories the more size you get, but there will also be fat gains. So don’t overdo the calories, as you can get too much fat, and when you try to cut it, you may lose the hard earned muscles. Good amount would be 500-1000+ calories of your daily intake.

Example diet for cutting fat

For cutting fat, you need to go under your daily calorie need. 1800-2000 calories are good. If you go to very low body fat %, you may have to go as low as under 1500 calories. Remember to have an high protein intake when cutting! So you don’t lose all your hard earned muscles. Also don’t forget fats.

Train boosters?

There are pre-workout supplements out there that can be taken before gym to boost your gym performance. I’ve never personally taken them, I only drink coffee or take caffeine pill before workout. Caffeine pills are great to take when you are changing your gym gear, they will kick on the warming up and peak when you are doing the hard lifts. Caffeine sucks though when overused, you don’t get that energy boost. So try to keep the tolerance low.

Testosterone is the key

Testosterone, the man hormone. This hormone is responsible for muscle growth and high levels of testosterone makes it easier to get strength and muscle gains. You can naturally boost your testosterone levels greatly with healthy lifestyle. I’m not going to rewrite a guide how to maximize your testosterone levels naturally, as I already made a post of it here.

What people think of beginners in gym? Social anxiety of going to gym

None. Cares.

Everyone is focusing on their own training. They are not laughing at you for being a complete beginner. Everyone have to start somewhere.

Now imagine which is more important:

-The thoughts of other’s you’ll probably never have to say a word and won’t have anything to do in your life. You are afraid of what they thought of you and you can never achieve a good body because of this.

OR

-You will train hard and don’t give a f@#k what other’s think. You are focusing on your own goal and achieve a good body. You’ll get more attention from girls and respect from guys.

It’s a playing with your mind. You are the only one holding your back. Check this post how to not give a f@#k what other’s think of you.

The beginning is the worst, but you have to step outside of the comfort zone. Put a headphones and listen some music you like and pumps you up, so you can’t focus on other people in gym.

Conclusion

  • Lift as hard as you can. 6-14 reps to gain muscle, around 2-4 sets per exercise.
  • Clean movements when doing exercises
  • Remember to rest well and get enough sleep
  • No training when sick!
  • Clean diet is important either you are packing a muscle or losing fat.
  • Maximize your natural testosterone levels for better gym performance.

 

 

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