Learning how to become a bodybuilder requires an intimate knowledge of the human body. More specifically, you need to understand your body and how it works.
Building muscle takes time. You won’t see mind-blowing results after a week or two of hitting the weights. As a beginner, you can expect to see visual changes in your physique in four to eight weeks, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It will take at least six months of dedicated training to develop a modest physique. And no, overtraining won’t speed up the process. Your body needs rest just as much as it needs physical exertion to grow.
However, you can accelerate the process if you know what you’re doing. We’re here to help you get started in the right direction. Keep reading for five steps you need to know about becoming a bodybuilder.
1. Know Your Body Type
Before setting out on your journey to becoming a bodybuilder, it’s important to understand your somatotype. There are three body types you could fall under:
Endomorphs are generally bigger and have the potential to be stronger and more powerful. They gain weight easily, which makes putting on muscle a straightforward task for these somatotypes. However, this double-edged sword makes it easier for endomorphs to gain fat as well.
Ectomorphs fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. They are naturally thin and lean. While this makes it more difficult to bulk, every ounce of muscle they put on will be clearly visible, which creates a pleasing aesthetic.
Mesomorphs have the ideal body type for people learning how to become a bodybuilder. These people can add or drop weight with relative ease. This makes it easy to add muscle without putting on too much fat.
If you’re not a mesomorph, you might have to work harder in some areas. But each body type has pros and cons in the bodybuilding game. Knowing which type you are will dictate your nutrition and how you train.
2. Hire a Weight Lifting Coach to Teach You the Basics
If you want to learn how to become a bodybuilder, you need to understand your body’s mechanics. Do you know what exercises to do to train each muscle group? More importantly, do you know how to perform these exercises properly?
Lifting weights with bad form is detrimental to your success as a bodybuilder for multiple reasons. Poor weight lifting form will:
- Lead to injuries
- Limit the effectiveness of each exercise
- Restrict your progress
- Make you stand out in the gym (not in a good way)
To avoid any of the above scenarios, we recommend hiring a personal trainer. More specifically, hire a weight lifting coach or experienced bodybuilder.
They can teach you how to train each muscle group, give you exercise tips, and ensure you’re using good form. They can also help you develop a workout routine and optimize your nutrition.
3. Focus on Compound Exercises
There is a time and place for bicep curls and calf raises, but these exercises aren’t the money-makers. Learning how to become a bodybuilder means figuring out which exercises give you the most bang for your buck.
The answer to this question lies in compound exercises. Compound lifts should be the staple of your workout routine. These are the exercises that use multiple joints and multiple muscle groups.
For reference, here are the best and most common compound lifts:
- Bench press
- Bent-over rows
- Military press
These exercises recruit the most muscle fibers, and therefore, will inspire the most growth. Place these at the beginning of your workouts and finish up with isolated movements, like curls, tricep extensions, and other auxiliary exercises.
4. Adopt a Progressive Overload Training Program
Becoming a bodybuilder won’t happen by accident. There’s a science behind building muscle. You can’t just walk into the gym, throw weights around, and expect good results.
You must use progressive overload to ensure constant muscle hypertrophy. Progressive overload is the practice of adding a heavier workload to your workout routine over time. These changes are small enough that your body can handle them, but big enough to force growth.
Here’s what it might look like, using barbell squats as an example.
- Week 1 – 3 sets of 10 squats at 100lbs.
- Week 2 – 3 sets of 12 squats at 100lbs.
- Week 3 – 3 sets of 8 squats at 120lbs.
- Week 4 – 3 sets of 10 squats at 120lbs.
- Week 5 – 3 sets of 12 squats at 120lbs.
- Week 6 – 3 sets of 8 squats at 140lbs.
- And so on
As you can see, you’re incrementally (but consistently) forcing your body to do more work. During this time, your muscles are getting bigger and stronger.
This is just one variation of progressive overload. You can also keep the reps the same while adding a small amount of weight each week or more sets.
To execute this method effectively, you must journal every workout. Document each set and rep to make sure you’re making improvements each week.
5. Perfect Your Nutrition
Finally, optimum nutrition is one of the best-kept secrets on how to become a bodybuilder. The work you do in the kitchen is just as important as the work you do in the weight room.
Based on your somatotype, figure out how many calories you need to build muscle. No matter what, you’ll have to consume a surplus of calories; otherwise, your muscles won’t have the fuel they need to grow and get stronger.
Generally speaking, it’s impractical to try to build muscle and lose weight at the same time. Fortunately, as you increase your lean muscle mass, you will naturally begin to burn off fat. However, the cutting phase of bodybuilding careers typically comes right before a competition, once you’ve already established a respectable amount of muscle.
To avoid gaining too much fat while bulking up, make sure you line out your macro-nutrients according to your body type. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Additionally, do some research to learn about the best bodybuilding supplements on the market. New weight lifters, particularly those who are ectomorphs, should look into supplements designed purely for beefing up. For endomorphs, look into fat-burning supplements that can help you shed excess fat while building muscle.
Staple workout supplements include products like protein powder, pre-workout, BCAAs, and creatine.
Do You Understand How to Become a Bodybuilder?
If you’re learning how to become a bodybuilder, we couldn’t be more excited for you. For most people, bodybuilding can change their lives in a highly positive way. Aside from getting healthier, it’s an exciting hobby that always keeps you on your toes.
Follow our guide and exercise tips for the best results. Remember, this is a hobby that requires consistency and dedication. And if you’re looking for more health and fitness tips, stick around and read through some of our other articles.