Bodybuilding Basics

The Bodybuilder: overtly muscular and looked carved from stone these men and women work on building muscle mass, muscular symmetry and proportion, and have relatively low body fat. To achieve a truly aesthetic and almost superhuman look many advanced lifters take pro-hormones, steroids and supplements to achieve this, but do not take that away from their immense hard work. And yes, you can look like Hercules without taking enhancements as well. They are not the strongest athletes so don’t let the muscles fool you but they are still powerful, athletic and are perhaps the best unofficial anatomists, endocrinologists, physical therapists and dietitians; if not better.

What is training like?

     Traditionally, bodybuilders focus on hitting specific muscles within an 8-12 rep range. This rep range is considered ideal for reaching hypertrophy, which simply means increasing the size of cells in muscle tissue. The muscle being exercised is usually pushed for 12 – 20 sets depending on the intensity of the workout with 45 – 90 second rest periods in between. The amount of weight used in a specific exercise is typically 70 – 80 percent of the lifters 1 rep max. For example, If the maximum amount of weight someone can bench press one time is 100 lbs., he would want to start lifting weight from 70 to 80 lbs. The bodybuilder will use machines, free-weights, and body weight exercises to achieve his or her goals. Many advanced lifters can no longer go the tradition lifting route because they adapted to the exercises. They have to incorporate different techniques and methods to fully exploit the muscle to grow even further than what it has. If you enjoy really feeling the muscle explode and looking like the hulk than this program is for you.

Example of a simple chest workout:

Exercise      Reps           Sets                    Rest
Bench Press       8-12             3-4           45 – 90 Seconds
Cable Cross overs       8-12             3-4           45 – 90 Seconds
Incline Dumbbell Press       8-12             3-4           45 – 90 Seconds
Flys       8-12             3-4           45 – 90 Seconds

What is a bodybuilders diet like?

     Like many other athletes, the success of bodybuilders resides within the diet. A bodybuilder’s diet is usually very ridged and constructed perfectly to build muscle and grow big. Calorie intake for bodybuilder is usually much greater than the average man because the bigger the body gets the more food the body needs to maintain size and maximize muscle growth. Small meals eaten periodically throughout the day is ideal and contains a blend of carbs, fats and proteins. A higher ratio of protein, usually around 1 gram per pound of body weight, is needed to aid in the synthesis of muscle. Serious bodybuilders know the benefits of eating whole foods in their purity and aim to have them on the plate at all times. Since bodybuilding is based on aesthetics many lifters go through cycles of bulking to gain weight in muscle and then cutting weight to minimize muscle loss while decreasing body fat to single digit percentages. To look like a muscular god, many have to tweak the amount of macronutrients in the diet such as protein, fat and carbs as well as eliminate certain foods to look like one. Carb cycling, low carb diets, and calorie counting are some dieting techniques used to shed body fat. Dieting is precise to get to competition levels.

     Of course this is a very general view of bodybuilding. I can assure you that it is a lot more technical and scientific than what is written above. This is a true art and many serious bodybuilders have to sacrifice many aspects of their lives to achieve the body they want.

​“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ~Hippocrates

Nutrition is 80% of living a healthy lifestyle. Changing your nutrition can be extremely hard but our free nutrition report will make it easier for you. So lose weight, increase your energy and athletic performance now.

​Image courtesy of Daniel Sallai Photography at

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John Machado

John Machado

John Machado is a co-founder/editor in chief of Bodyforward. He has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Stony Brook, ACSM certified with 15 years of experience with fitness and nutrition, and he aims to achieve his Master's degree in Nutrition.

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