NOTE: The following article is the first in a series on bodybuilding basics for beginners and intermediate lifters. Please stay tuned for more to come…
The word invokes images of oiled man (or women) with shaved and tanned bodies, bowling around on stage, showing off their steroid-gorged physiques. It’s not a pretty picture.
Yet, building our bodies is the goal of nearly everyone who exercises. Here’s my definition of bodybuilding:
Bodybuilding: striving to improve your physique through the toning and/or building of muscle, while simultaneously attempting to lose bodyfat.
Simple definition? I hope it is a definition that hits home for you. It does for me.
It is my goal to gain muscle and lose fat. End of story. I want the best body I can get, as fast as possible, without spending endless amounts of money on supplements. I want a body that wows people wherever I go – a body that looks damn good in any clothing. I want a body that makes my partner hunger for me, and a body that turns heads when I walk down the street.
This is the goal of bodybuilding.
So put aside the images you have of the oily, the shaved, the steroid bloated stage wanderers. This book is not here to help you achieve glory in the niche sport of professional bodybuilding. What this book on bodybuilding will do is help you get as big and as lean as you desire, naturally.
And women, this includes you too! You cannot get tone without having muscle. And you will not get huge without taking steroids, so put aside those fears and read on.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MUSCLE TONE
What is muscle tone?
Most people who begin a workout or exercise regimen have the goal of toning up. What does that mean? Generally, it means losing bodyfat with the goal of revealing the muscle below.
It can mean getting ripped. It can mean having six pack abs. It can mean having a rump and legs to die for. It can mean having a flat stomach. It can mean having a beach body that turns heads.
Muscle Tone: having a degree of fat loss that brings you to your desired body goal of having a lean, fit, firm, and for many, a muscular body.
A toned body is a body that is streamlined; a body that does not carry around unwanted bodyfat. But this is only half of the toning equation. Once you strip off your bodyfat, there must be muscle underneath for your body to be toned.
No ifs, ands or buts. This is the truth.
You can lose fat and achieve your goal bodyweight, and still look flabby. In fact, this is quite common. Why is this? Again, without muscle, a body cannot be toned.
Without muscle, your rump will not look full and perfect. Without muscle, your legs will look like twigs. Without muscle, your arms will look like sticks that are much more fat than muscle.
Without muscle, you cannot have a beach chest. And women, without muscle, your beach chest may just choose to sag towards your belly button.
Without muscle, your flat stomach may be nothing more than a smooth(er) and flatter bag of fat.
Without muscle, your body cannot be toned, no matter how much fat you lose. End of story.
So what does this mean? To be toned, you must gain muscle, to some degree. Without trying to generalize too much – because this trend is changing – men want as much muscle as possible, but women fear looking like the Incredible Hulk.
HOW MUCH MUSCLE IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT STEROIDS?
Let me talk to women first.
Without steroids, you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get big and bulky. Never! That means forever and ever. Even if you lifted for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the age of seventy, your body (without steroids) would never look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Women who word out hard – very hard – could see a gain of 5 pounds of muscle per year, on the average. This gain would taper off after several years. A natural, drug free body has limits as to how much muscle it can pack on.
To look toned, you would need to add 6-10 pounds of muscle to your frame. This amount of additional muscle would not make you look huge. It would make you look firm, tight and sexy. Another 5-10 pounds would make you look a bit more muscular, but surely not like a huge bodybuilder. After twenty pounds of muscle, your physique would start to resemble that of a world-class female track and field star.
And after 20 pounds of muscle? Well, only about 20% of women can really pack on the muscle mass. Even so, it takes years and years and years of dedicated hard training to gain that much mass. In fact, most men who spend years at the gym never gain 20 pounds of muscle.
So have no fear. You will likely gain just the perfect amount of muscle to give you your dream body.
And now for the men…
Here are the cold, hard facts. Gaining muscle is a long, hard and slow process, even for the most testosterone-filled male. Even seasoned steroid free bodybuilders have a hard time pushing their bodies over the 200 pound mark, at 10% bodyfat. This means that achieving a lean mass of over 180 is very difficult.
But have no fear…a bodyweight of 200 pounds @ 10% bodyfat looks awesome! Bodybuilder John Grimek weighted in around 203 pounds, and his toned physique looks incredible muscular. Of course, he doesn’t look anything like a steroid monster, but if you want a body like that, than this is not the book for you…
So lift hard. A muscular, big, sexy and awesome physique is within reach, for man or woman.
BEFORE WE DIVE IN
Before we dive in, let’s look at some of the health benefits to bodybuilding.
1) Strong Bones. Weightlifting gives you stronger bones, or better bone density. The older we get, the more bone density becomes a health concern, especially among women.
2) Strong Back. Bodybuilding gives you a stronger back, helping you to stave off back injuries.
3) Better Metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body requires every day simply for maintenance. This means you can eat more without gaining fat.
4) More Energy. More muscle and less fat increases your body’s efficiency, leading to more energetic days (and nights).
5) Self-Esteem Boost. This is a no-brainer. When you look into the mirror and see the body of a Greek god, who can’t feel good about themselves?
6) Less Pain. With greater muscle and joint strength, your body will lose some of the nagging aches and pains that came from lack of exercise.
7) Healthy Heart. Weightlifting pushes your body to lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and a healthier heart. And remember, the heart is a muscle.
8) Increased Performance. Bodybuilding improves your other athletic endeavors. You will be a better football player, gymnast, runner or cheerleader.
9) Diabetes Fighter. Weightlifting helps prevent adult onset diabetes.
10) Reduce Effects of Aging. Weightlifting helps you look younger, feel younger, and stay younger at heart.