"Where to start"
Hey, everyone, here is the start to my beginners thread that I've been talking about. I am compiling the ideas and practices that are most widely used, and that are proven to work, in sections. I will continue adding to it as time permits. Other experienced BBers, feel free to add in! Just please keep it straightforward. Mods, if this is in the wrong place, feel free to move it.
Nutrition-this is said to be the biggest factor for success. Log onto Fitday.com, and monitor your current eating habits. Try to get somewhere around 60% Protein/20%fats, and 20% carbs. Eat lean meats.
Refer to the "What a bodybuilder eats" sticky for a list of good foods for bodybuilders.
For carbohydrates, which should not be a major part of your diet, eat oatmeal, rice (brown is better), whole wheat bread.
Avoid highly processed foods, or foods that are enriched, such as saltine crackers. Basically, the better foods will have less ingredients-but not always.
-Have at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
-Eat healthy meals, with meats, fruits and veggies.
-Preferably eat about 6 meals a day, or 5, or 4 if possible-it helps prevent insulin spikes-which aren't good.
-Drink a lot of water. Shoot for about 1 gallon a day. If that seems like too much, increase the amount you drink little by little. Water is the most important liquid for us, and it helps in nearly every bodily process.
First off, DON'T CARE ABOUT WHAT BRANDS THE PROS TAKE! You know which brands they 'take', and 'love'? The ones that pay them the most!
Despite all the supplement garbage floating around, the bare minimum you need is protein powder. Other proven supplements are creatine, dextrose, and maltodextrin. Those help a bunch as well.
Buy whey protein powder-it can be found at Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and a lot of other places. Don't worry about fancy labels, or big claims. Look for a good amount of protein-about 22-25+ grams of protein per 30 gram scoop.
Take 1-2 scoops of protein within 15 minutes after your workout. For optimal results, take about 5 grams of creatine, and about a tablespoon of dextrose or maltodextrin as well.
Also, take a multivitamin, some fish-oil capsules, and others to consider are calcium tablets, liver tablets, and glucosamine-which is said to help keep bones and joints healthy.
Lift weights about 3 times a week. Two is OK. Each session should last about 1 hour. See the maximum you can lift one time on benchpress, squat, and deadlift.
As far as repetitions, shoot for about 5-6. That is, lift weights for a certain exercise 5-6 times, rest about 3 minutes, then do the same lift 5-6 more times. Do this, until you have done 5 sets of lifting, and weights. Once you're done, move onto the next exercise. This is based on the 5x5 routine, which is very well known.
Exercises that are good for beginners and intermediate bodybuilders (and even experienced ones, and the pros in the magazines) are compound exercises. Examples of compound exercises include: Squats, deadlifts, benchpress (all GREAT!), variations of the previous three, chinups, pullups, dips, rows, and many more. BASICALLY, LOOK FOR EXERCISES WHERE MORE THAN ONE JOINT IS MOVING. This means that more muscles are being used, and the brain is getting a bigger signal to make more muscle.
Exercises that you SHOULD NOT base your routine on are: curls, machine-based exercises, although they have their places, these are by far not the best for beginners. Many machines do not have you use stabilizer muscles, like the forearms, as much as freeweights do. So, they are not as effective as freeweights, but machines are better than no weights!
Is important to send oxygen to the muscles, which helps alleviate soreness. It burns fat, and improves endurance. Run, or do some other fast-paced activity such as swimming, for about 30-40 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
Sleep at least 6-7 hours, but preferably more. You can feel the greatest 'burn' or 'pump' ever while in the gym (burns and pumps really aren't the best sign), or the best, most complete workout, but without rest, you're not going to see results. Sleep is when the body repairs itself and creates new cells (including muscle cells)!
If while lifting, you feel a sudden pain, such as a tearing, or a popping sensation in the body, immediately stop lifting. Don't just do another body part-we very often tense up our whole bodies while lifting, which could injure you more. Get some ice, and have something tight around the injured area. If it's really bad, go see a doctor. Don't lift alone, especially not with free-weights.
I'll continue on this later. Any questions so far, ask away.
Sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta, and any other unprocessed grains will be a good carb source.
I will also say that it is detrimental to try and eat a diet devoid of fats. Fats are necessary for the production of hormones and in joint health/cushioning. Learn what constitutes a good protein, a good fat and a good carb.
I'll start you out... Bologna is not a good source of protein, Fat used for frying in fast foods are not good fats (regardless of the absence of transfats), and sugars in an apple are not the same as sugar in your iced mochalatte.
In regards to supplements:
Imagine your total potential to build strength and muscle as a ratio. The best you can ever be with all things being ideal would equal 100%. The amount of rest you get would make up something like 30% of that total, nutrition being another 30%, how you exercise being 20%, attitude being 10%, factors beyond your control (stress, allergies, injury) making up 7% and last you would have supplements making up 3%. All totalling 100%
Now, you could look at that and see that the most difference can be made simply by looking at how you rest and eat. These two things perfected would get you better than half way to your peak performance regardless of anything else. I would say that your typical American is drawing maybe a third of the total benefit from these areas. Fast food (referring to any food that is ready made for easy consumption, chips, cans of ravioli, whatever, in addition to the burgers and fries) and long nights watching TV really are holding you back more than you realize.
Notice I didn't simply call your physical output "lifting" because there is more there than just pumping some iron. True performance in any sport will require cardio endurance, flexibility and strength. If any of these are neglected then you are simply holding yourself back no matter if your sport is power walking or power lifting. To what level cardio, flexibility and strength are developed will be dictated by the sport, but never think that you can neglect any of the area and reach your full potential.
Attitude, or simply your undying belief that you CAN (or can not) accomplish something (likewise that something is, or is not "fun") makes a huge difference. Attitude can often undo the benefits of sleep or exercise or nutrition. If you eat healthy and hate it... how effective is your diet when you are tempted to slip at every turn? If you believe that you are missing out on all the fun in the world by going to bed at 10pm, how likely are you to get enough sleep? If you hate a lift, then how likely are you to give it your all? See the point?
Now, factors you can not control play in as well. Injuries will come, work schedules will not mesh with your peak hormone release and sometimes you will be distracted by bigger things in life... it happens to all of us, and it can impede our progress. Or, to the contrary, we can simplify our lives, stay away from crazy people, avoid potentially harmful scenarios (don't choose to jump off of the garage roof onto the questionably solid trampoline in an effort to reach the pool).
Lastly, you have your supplements. 3%. Wow, there may be some nominal nutrient or chemical loading that might help us along, but assuming it is a major factor in your development as an athlete is simply hog wash. As such, any dollar spent on supplements is a dollar better invested on real nutrition, rest or exercise.
The good news is that the biggest changes you can make are usually the most obvious and "easy" to fix (with the exception of attitude). Need more sleep? Sleep more. Bam, easy and obvious! Need to clean up your diet? Even if you were without a wit in your head, I'm certain that you could deduct that fruit is better than fruit rollups.
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