If you’re reading this you’re probably pretty into working out just like me. For the most of you it’s probably because you want to look good and you’re most likely following a bodybuilding routine. Now that’s absolutely fantastic I really appreciate bodybuilders but in order to get the best results and avoid injury you have got to understand the three concepts of bodybuilding:
1. Looks are first priority
2. Structural integrity over size
3. Dieting is equally important as training is
Now I’ve been going to the gym for at least 4 years now, and when I was doing a bodybuilding routine I disobeyed each and every one of these commandments, and I can count on two hands the people that came to my gym that implemented them, everybody disobeys at-least one of them and it has a harsh effect on their gains.
I’ll start with the first one, I mean, bodybuilding doesn’t require setting weightlifting scores the only thing that matters is your looks, NEVER sacrifice your form for lifting a heavier weight. We’ve all done this, don’t even try to deny, if I can be honest and admit my mistakes so can you. As I said earlier, you don’t do bodybuilding routines to get stronger, you do them to look better. What happens is that a lot of bodybuilders can lift very heavy weight due to the fact that they weigh a ton, and that misleads people to believing that bodybuilders train to get stronger. Now before you start ranting on Ronnie Coleman or some other roided dude, I will clarify, unlike other sports bodybuilders don’t purposely enhance the functionality (strength, flexibility, agility, stamina etc.) of their bodies. The people who do that are athletes (football players, track, power lifters, strongmen, olympic lifters, pretty much any other sport). When you think about it like that, you have absolutely no reason to push your weights to the max as a bodybuilder, you just have to make sure you reach failure in 8-12 reps with good form. There is no excuse for lifting more than what you can handle especially when volume (the amount of reps you do) is such a key factor in bodybuilding. It’s better you do more reps with a bit lower weight than a little with a heavy one. So I suggest we all stop “ego lifting” and start taking our training seriously. Don’t be this guy:
Next off is structural integrity, or in other words posture and proportion, and into this category any guy in his first year at the gym pretty much fails here. The most basic key factor in bodybuilding contests today is proportion. Thats what helped the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger win the Mr. Olympia contest six times in a row. When training you have got to understand that there is more to looking good than having a big chest, big biceps and amazing abs, and even if that’s all you want I’ll explain a way to get that in a faster, safer and more efficient way. First of all you have got to understand that for every one of the muscles in your body there is another muscle to balance it, for example biceps have the triceps, the quads have the hamstrings and so on. You can’t neglect ANY part of your body, not even your legs. Why? Because training only one of the muscles in these couples will first of all look silly, second of all reduce your range of motion, demolish your posture and lastly assure you will be injured within three months of consistent training. My proposition is this, for every bench rep you get, get a rep on a bent over row, for every incline bench get a rep on a weighted pull up, for every bicep curl get a tricep extension and so on. You will thank me later because you will look much better, and your body will thank me because it will feel much better.
The second mistake people often make in this category, is neglecting their legs, and I admit to foolishly doing this, and it has been one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my training. Any bodybuilder you ask “whats the most important day of the week?” will answer “leg day”. Not only will this day make your legs look like two massively awesome trunks, it will also be the most important day for your abs and core muscles (remember that perfect 6 pack your craving). Training your legs with full body exercises (compound movements). Doing squats and dead-lifts utilizes not only your legs but also your core and abs, your forearms and even your upper body, that means, gains will occur in your whole body, not just your legs. Moreover that the two key movements to boosting testosterone, which is a main key to growth and building muscle (and even being more confident), are surprise surprise squats and dead-lifts, meaning that if you skip leg day, your whole body will grow slower! Think about that for a second and be fair with yourself, if you have been neglecting your legs, get under that bar and start squatting, its not too late.
Last but not least I’m going to talk about dieting. If you are a body builder I don’t care how big you are, if you have high fat percentages it just looks… bad. You must understand that dieting is just as important as training if you want to look good, in other words if you eat garbage you will look like garbage. I know that technically calorie wise you can eat pretty much anything you want, but if you are striving for the best results, it is recommended you should avoid eating out more than 2 times a week, and convert your diet to organic and natural foods over processed and canned crap. This is pretty much common sense, a good looking body is a healthy body and a healthy body eats healthy food. Regarding supplements of all sorts my opinion is, if you are not a professional athlete/bodybuilder you probably shouldn’t take them. Try sticking to the basics, fruits vegetables, whole grains and lean meat and I promise you that if you eat enough you will grow, if you’re not competing you don’t need extremely fast gains, a consistent program and diet will do the trick, its all about habits and getting used to it, the first two weeks are always the hardest in this case. If you do decide to take supplements of any sort make sure you know what you’re taking and be super cautious with it, I can recommend from personal experience that when I was training for a local Crossfit competition Creatine was a great supplement for recovery, then again I took small doses with a lot of caution.
Now that you know the commandments its time to go hit the weights! Good luck 😉