So you want to be a bodybuilder! Good choice – there is no other sport that has the potential to improve your body from head to toe so dramatically. At the same time, it will make you far healthier on the inside. But it will only do those things if you do it right.
OK, let’s get started. . .
The first step on your muscle-building journey involves taking stock of where you’re at right now. It’s a bit like those pre-tests that you used to take at school. You want to find out the following:
- Your raw weight
- Your lean body mass
- Your body fat percentage
- Your key bodily measurements (chest, waist, upper arms, thighs, calves)
You will want to get hold of a good set of scales. Ideally, your scales will have a built-in body-fat function. If not, get yourself a set of body fat calipers and follow the instructions on how to use them. If you are planning on joining a gym, you can expect a full body analysis and fitness test on your first session. So, whatever way you accomplish it, you will need to find your body fat percentage.
Once you have your overall weight and the body-fat percentage you will be able to calculate your lean body mass. Simply multiply the overall weight by the body-fat percentage. Then subtract the fat amount from the total weight to get your lean body mass.
Here’s an example:
- Raw weight =165 lbs
- Body-fat percentage = 18%
- Actual Body-fat = 29.7 lbs
- Lean Body Mass = 135.3 lbs
Now you know exactly where you’re starting from. You’re in a position to monitor every ounce of muscle gain – as well as how much fat you’re losing.
Next, you’ll need a decent tape measure with which you can take your key muscle measurements. Take the measurements around the mid part of the muscle and be as accurate as possible.
Machines or Free Weights
In your local gym, you will find a mixture of free weights (barbells and dumbbells) and weight machines. When you use a machine for an exercise it helps you to follow the ideal exercise path more closely than when you use free weights. On the other hand, machines are not as multi-functional as free weights. The frame of the machine doesn’t allow for an ideal exercise position for all body types. Nor does it promote functional strength. In addition, machines cannot provide anything but an approximate match between a person’s strength curves and the machine’s resistance curves.
Use machines for the first 6 weeks of your training to learn how to perform the movement
After that, opt for free weights for your basic movements like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts
Use machines and cables as secondary movements to provide isolation of the working muscle
Meet Your Body
Successful physical transformation is all about knowing your body and how to build, shape and refine every part of it. To do that you’ve got to be familiar with your muscles. The difference between a bodybuilder and a guy who lifts weights is that the bodybuilder systematically works for every muscle group in her body.