Advancing As A Bodybuilder | Building For Beginners

Written by Jack Boardman

Bodybuilding For Beginners

For some, bodybuilding is about developing monstrous muscles as part of a hardcore routine. For others, it is about general health and fitness, which involves weightlifting to correct and strengthen their physique.


Bodybuilding, by definition, is the act of repeatedly performing strenuous exercises that strengthen and grow your muscles. But, to many, it is a more relative term for health and fitness goals, which aren’t necessarily about mass muscle gaining and spending hours in the gym, it is for competitive and professional bodybuilders. It is a way to address health and fitness goals.


Sure, for mass-gaining bodybuilders this might mean exercises that isolate the biceps to develop them, but it also applies to general health. If you’re out of breath after a short flight of stairs, presuming you don’t have any other health issues, you might need to put in a bit more cardiovascular work. If your back is stiff from sitting down at work all day, core and posture strengthening exercises are in order.


Before You Start


Before committing to an exercise regimen that you might not be able to commit to in the long run, or that might not be what you need in functional terms, or maybe what you don’t want (depending on your motivation and goals), it’s a good idea to learn what’s involved. We’re not trying to put you off here; rather, it is important to understand how weightlifting and bodybuilding works.


First of all, it is a lifestyle choice, not a phase – that is, if you want to see results. Bigger muscles and improved strength and endurance is the result of repeatedly burdening your muscles with resistance and heavy weights, followed by rest and always, always, with the right nutrition.


If you are going into weightlifting with zero experience, any strengthening and resistance training will feel at first uncomfortable and also make a notable difference to your physique as well as mental health, as you will be balancing your stress levels. But plateaus should be expected without serious growth until you put into place some lifestyle changes that you are able to stick to.



The most effective exercises we would suggest at this point are compound lifts, which work larger muscle areas at the same time. Keep it simple and work on the following:


Bench Press

Barbell Shoulder Press

Seated Row




If you’re an absolute beginner, we recommend generalised strengthening exercises to begin with a focus on high rep sets of a moderate weight. What does this mean? Take, for example, the bench press. Choose a weight that you are comfortable with, but that also requires effort upon approaching the later reps in a set. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. This will build up your general strength and also allows you to develop the correct technique at a more comfortable weight.


Nutrition & Rest


You need to look at what you’re putting into your body and how you are taking care of it. We applaud your desire to workout every single day, but rest is essential for growing muscles. Growth happens when you rest. While you’re at an early stage, stick to three days on, one day off approach for the first month.


Nutrition is your be all and end all. Protein is the building blocks that help your muscles to recover and grow. Remember that you’ll be burning off a lot of calories when your exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is a highly effective way to burn off calories and achieve a lean muscle look, but if you’re looking for mass muscle gains you will have to ensure that you have the energy resources, keep in mind what you consume and how much you’re burning off.


At this point, while you’re finding your feet and determining whether a weightlifting routine is for you, keep things simple and stick to the rule that you need carbs and protein an hour before your workout, and protein immediately after.

protein shakes


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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