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Recent Bodybuilding Articles
Showing posts with label fitness training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness training. Show all posts

Setting Training Goals

training goals

So you've decided to become a bodybuilder, you've joined a gym, you purchased some fancy workout clothes and are prepared to build up a few calluses on your hands...what next?

Well, the only person who can decide what's next for you...is you. You need to determine what you'd like to do, how you'd like to do it and for how long; but more so, you need to figure out what you want to get out of it. The best way to answer those questions is to do some goal setting. You're probably having flashbacks to your high school guidance counselor, harping on you about setting goals for the progression of your life, but don't worry, there's no pressure here. This is simply an exercise in focusing your intent to better allow you to predict and track your progress as a bodybuilder.

It's certainly possible to achieve results, gain muscle, lose weight, increase strength and get healthier without setting and writing out goals; after all, what is a goal? A goal is nothing more than an outlined and usually written idea of something you want, whether that be a gain, a loss, a strength achievement, or even just setting a record for the fewest missed workouts. So if that's all a goal is, why do you need to go through the effort to set them? Why can't you just jump in, head first and start grunting that weight up? Well, by all means, you can, but isn't it better to have a written statement of your intention, to be referred to in times of frustration; so that any time you ask yourself why you're doing all that strenuous work, you can read back on your goals and re-inspire yourself to achieve them?

This is the true reason for setting goals in any endeavor, and for a few minutes of effort, goals can be a powerful tool in maintaining steady progress and gains in your bodybuilding career.

Your goals of course, pertain only to you; they are a personal and intimate reflection of your ideals and ethics as they pertain to bodybuilding, and as such you are the only person who can set your goals. You can use the assistance of trained professionals either at your gym, through a nutrition clinic and even bodybuilding clubs to help you identify what you are capable of and what might be a reasonable goal for you as an individual, but ultimately, your goals are your creation and your responsibility.

Bodybuilding as a sport is quite different from most others; while you may choose to enlist a workout partner and you may seek advice and guidance from others within your gym community, being a bodybuilder means you are competing only with yourself. No one has exactly the same genetic make up as you, no one can build muscle at the same rate as you, or make strength gains at your pace, and therefore no one else will have exactly your goals.

The average person, of reasonable heath and motivation, can achieve a lean muscle mass gain of approximately 20lbs within six months. This takes for granted that the person eats properly, gets plenty of rest and has taken an intelligent approach to training. It would be easy enough to simply make that your primary goal and be done with it, but eventually you'd run into a problem. Six months later, you could assess your progress and find that your gains have been less than optimal; you failed to achieve your goal and can't figure out why, not to mention you have no direction and no idea where to go next. What you should have done is taken that one goal and added it to a list of short and long term goals, as steps to be taken over time, in order to achieve overall results. So that a time line or progression of where you want to be and when is already laid out in front of you.

Ok...point beaten to death; let's talk about what goals to set.

First of all, let's acknowledge that no one has ever become a successful bodybuilder by accident, no bodybuilder anywhere, has ever made muscle gains without a least some effort, and in most cases, it took a great deal of effort. This means that the process of building your body into a rippling and bulging mass of pecs and biceps is going to take some very deliberate and long term effort. It's going to take dedication, commitment and stamina, and halfway effort is only going to produce halfway results.

When you consider the long term nature of a bodybuilding career, it's important to set your goals to be sustainable lifestyle choices. Obviously the overall goal is to develop your body into your idea of the perfect physique, though you must know that this process has no real end, you will never achieve perfection and thus it is pointless to list that as your top goal. Instead you might consider breaking that idea down into term specific goals, such as five, three and one year goals, supported by six, three and one month intermediate goals, which are supported even further by weekly goals. The shorter the term of the goal, the more specific and measurable the content of the goal should be; the longer the term the more general, and more event specific the goal should be. For instance, once you've determined what is reasonable for your body, set your immediate goals in terms of strength gain over all of your various exercises for a short period of time (one week), next set your intermediate goals in terms of pounds of lean muscle mass gained within longer periods of time (one month); set your long terms goals according to your original idea of what that ideal physique might mean to you or what you'd like to do with it.


A sample list of immediate, intermediate and long term goals might look like the following:

-Weekly – Attend gym according to my training plan, don't miss any meals and increase my strength by 3-5lbs on all exercises

-1 Month – Expand my training plan to include more isometric movements, increase my strength by 15-20lbs on all exercises

-3 Months – Increase my weight by 10lbs, while maintaining my current body fat percentage

-6 Months – Achieve a lowered body fat percentage and increase my weight to 210lbs (beginning at 190lbs)

-1 Year – Attain a physique that is recognizable as an intermediate Bodybuilder, increasing my weight to 220lbs

-3 Years – Enter and participate in first Bodybuilding show

-5 Years – Enter and participate in a National Bodybuilding show You might notice that as the goals progress from short term to long term, and each preceding goal provides the means to reach the next. The short term goals are specific and detailed, providing measurable gains to be tracked and recorded, while the long term goals speak of almost peripheral events or achievements that are only quantifiable based on a one time participation that relies on the fulfillment of all of the short term goals leading up to it.

Notice of course that the short term goals are realistic and measurable with the use of a log book and daily recording of your reps, sets weights and even meals. The best place to record your goals would be in the front of that log book, allowing you to read them over daily or weekly, renewing your motivation each time. It remains important to maintain an understand of what you want and why you are doing this, and the best way to do that, is to read over your goals as often as possible.

Not everyone need go into such detail on their goals and there is some argument about setting long term goals more than one year in advance; at the same time, there may benefits for some people in going further in depth and even providing more of a step-by-step progression toward the longer term goals. Any way you do it, the most important thing to remember, is to be realistic. Understand why you are outlining your goals and use them as a reminder to keep you motivated and moving forward.

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Create A Plan For Muscle Gain

plan for muscle gain

Beginning a bodybuilding career is a step toward a disciplined, structured and ultimately healthier lifestyle. There’s a lot to consider when embarking on this kind of journey, and make no mistake, a bodybuilding career is a journey. Most people start out joining a fitness club or gym randomly; maybe they’re looking to shed a few pounds or possibly they just want to get healthier, but during that process something happens, something clicks for them and they catch the bodybuilding bug.

They begin to notice changes in their physique, they’re becoming stronger, tighter, and they notice lean, sinewy muscle starting to develop in their legs, their arms and their chest. They’ve learned a few basic exercised and some simple understanding of the processes of the body, the processes that help them build muscle. It’s likely that they have little knowledge of proper nutrition and even less knowledge of supplementation; but the bug has caught them none-the-less.

Many people who catch that bug move on to longer, more intense workouts, they copy some of the movements they see in magazines and generally fumble their way through, until time and experience either teach them the right way (sort of) or chase them screaming from the gym. Well here’s a way to make the transition from casual fitness club patron to beginner (and eventually intermediate) bodybuilder a little easier and more effective…create a training plan.

Creating a training plan will help even the most knowledgeable bodybuilder focus their training according the goals they set out for themselves, whether short or long term. It will help to track progress, refine techniques, and identify problems; like the diet plan, the training plan is integral to the success of any bodybuilding career.

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When creating a training plan it is important to consider a few issues, not the least of which is setting realistic goals for your development; it’s important to consider your lifestyle, the type or size of gym you will have available (home gym or fitness club), your schedule (work or otherwise), and of course, where exactly you want this endeavor to lead you.

When setting your goals, it’s easy to day dream about the physique of your favorite professional bodybuilder, imagining that your biceps and quads will be just as massive and defined as theirs in as little as a few months (because of course, your imagination can make anything happen). Though when you think in more realistic terms, you need to get a sense of not only where you want to be, but where you can be. As a general rule it is possible and not particularly difficult for the average person to achieve a gain of 20lbs of lean muscle mass within six months of intelligent and rigorous training. This number would vary greatly depending on several factors such as diet, the degree of dedication and energy put into each movement, and whether or not the individual is participating in regular cardiovascular exercise and/or trying to lose body fat at the same time. Many people will state that it is not possible to trim body fat and gain muscle at the same time, and generally this is true, though it may simply be that muscle mass gains will be reduced (greatly) in that case.

When setting goals for your training, it is good to understand that maintaining a higher body fat index during a bulking phase (as compared to a cutting or fat burning phase) will aid in preventing injuries, and assist in the metabolism of protein or amino acids in the development of muscle. It’s also a good idea to not set your goals too high, while it might be possible to gain more than 30lbs of muscle mass in a relatively short period of time, it might be a wiser proposition to identify a target of 15-20lbs in the same period of time, to account for interruptions, diet conflicts and changing work schedules…setting your goal too high can set you up to fail before you start. For the beginning bodybuilder, set your weight gain goal between 10-15lbs in eight months, to allow for a period of adjustment and to ensure that you are correctly learning each movement without strain and the possibility of serious injury. The intermediate bodybuilder would do well to push their personal envelope (depending on their individual results and level of knowledge), to be gaining close to or more than 20-25lbs of lean muscle mass in approximately six months.

Now that you know, in specific terms, what you hope to gain from your bodybuilding experience, it’s time to consider the logistics of your training. Firstly, where will you workout? Have you set up a modest home gym in your basement or spare bedroom, or will you be attending a local fitness club or gym on a monthly membership?

While there may be a certain amount of convenience involved in training in the comfort of your own home, that situation can be and often is less than conducive to the goals you just set out. Laziness, distraction and a lack of assistance are some of the pit falls of training in a home gym. When you workout at home you will be more prone to allow distractions to enter your training time, kids, chores, TV, work and an entire gamut of things that should be left at the door; not to mention the likelihood that you will not have competent and knowledgeable spotters and guidance at home. The alternative would be paying for a monthly membership at a local gym or community fitness center (stay tuned for articles on selecting a good gym). The benefits of this might not be obvious at first; aside from providing trained staff to assist with spotting, advice on various movements and exercises and even nutritional advice; most gyms offer towel services, have a large array of equipment (which you would likely not have access to at home) and personal assessment services. If you are serious about your bodybuilding career, you will likely gravitate toward the social environment of a public gym rather than the secluded privacy of your basement anyway.

Next you should be indentifying when you will work out; there are several schools of thought concerning the best time of day for cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, though likely your work schedule will dictate and restrict your options in this regard, at least at first. Generally it is best to perform any cardio exercises first thing in the morning, either before your first meal or shortly after, restricting yourself to a maximum of 40 minutes, but no less than 20. Many bodybuilders will tell you that, unless you are trying to cut your physique for a show or event (trim body fat) you can eliminate deliberate cardiovascular exercise from your training plan, as it tends to waste precious energy and even protein from your system, while rigorous resistance training can provide ample cardio stimulation, incidentally, through your regular workouts. Transversely, it is generally thought to be best to schedule your resistance training for mid to late afternoon (or early evening if your work schedule won’t accommodate afternoon); this is so that your diet can adequately provide enough energy and protein throughout the day to accommodate a strenuous workout later.

Equally as important as determining what time you will workout each day, is knowing which days to workout on and which days to rest. A typical training plan will outline a four on, one off schedule, with the intention to target one major muscle group each day. There are many variations of training schedules; from three on, two off, to five on, one off. Mainly these variations are the result of personal preference, but there is some credence to each one. Some beginners may not recognize the importance of rest in their training program, opting to workout every day without a day off, eventually burning themselves out. At the very least every training plan should allow for one day of rest in five days of training, though some would say it is more advantageous to incorporate two days off in five. Rest could possibly be the single most important element of any bodybuilding plan, more so even than protein intake…as Arnold Schwarzenegger was once quoted; “if you don’t have to stand, sit; if you don’t have to sit, lie; if you don’t have to be awake, sleep”. Bodybuilders today would do well to adapt that thinking to their training plan and allow for adequate resting time, both between workouts, throughout their weekly schedule and in their daily routine.

As a part of your training plan, it’s a good idea to create a log book; in this log you should be recording your meals, both planned and unplanned and your workouts. Take your log book into the gym with you and record the number of sets and reps (repetitions) for each exercise as well as the weight you lifted for each set. Over time this will become an invaluable tool for tracking your progress and identifying areas where your development isn’t progressing the way you want.

Compile a list in your log book, of various movements and exercises that you want to use in your training. Consult your local library, book store or news stand for books and magazines that list and provide illustrations of the many hundreds of various movements that can be utilized. When selecting exercises, be sure to stick with core movements, i.e. exercises that involve one of the four major muscle groups of the body. Those groups should be as follows: arms, legs, chest/shoulders and back; within these four groups are sub groups, i.e. biceps and triceps, pectorals and deltoids, quads, hamstrings and calves, and latissimus major, minor and erectors. Also within these groups are further separations and smaller groups of muscles. Many bodybuilders treat pectorals and deltoids as separate major muscle groups and for the intermediate bodybuilder this might be a more effective approach, though for the beginner it is fine to think of them as the same group.

Be sure to select at least three exercises per muscle group, making sure they are basic and simple movements, i.e. flat bench press for chest, bicep curls and pushdowns for arms, and leg press or squats for quads. Once you become more familiar with the basic movements you can add in more elaborate or isometric exercises to target muscle groups in different ways.

training plan
Once you have determined the extent of you training plan, consult your diet plan to make certain you have accounted for the correct caloric intake and have allowed for enough protein to meet your goals. Be sure you’ve allowed for your meals to be timed according to your training schedule, leaving at least 30 minutes between your pre-workout meal and the beginning of your daily workout.

Finally, now that you’ve written out your goals, determined the exercises you want to use and matched your training plan to your diet, review your plan to be sure it isn’t too inflexible. As with your diet plan, being too strict with your training regime and failing to allow for life’s little inconveniences and surprises, will set you up to struggle and in the end walk away having done nothing but frustrate yourself and gain only a distaste for exercise. Always try to recognize your will power weaknesses and accommodate them in your plan, and whenever possible, incorporate as much fun as possible; making it fun will make you want to participate more and ultimately increase your potential to gain muscle.

Have fun, stay safe and lift heavy…happy training!

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Weightlifting Training

If you are headed for the gym, you need to prepare yourself mentally. The exercises you will engage in are not at all easy. The most important thing, which may be considered as the bedrock of everything else is the bodybuilding program. This is the routine for exercise. You may choose to adopt some routine that may have worked for someone else or craft your own routine. It is however advisable to use a routine that has been proven to work. This will help you exercise within certain limits such that you don't over exercise. Different parts of the body should be exercised on different days to avoid over exercising.

One type of exercises that should be incorporated in your routine is weightlifting training. This is an indispensable part of the gym exercises. Weightlifting is meant to build the shoulder, biceps, triceps and chest muscles. A pronounced chest and arm muscle is the desire of many who hit the gym. It will however take consistency and patience for muscles to develop. One important concept that a weightlifter should embrace is the concept of progressive overload. One should not stagnate at one stage of weightlifting. There has to be gradual increment of the weights on the bar each time you go to the gym. Muscles require tension to grow.

Some things are a must when doing a weightlifting workout. These include pushups, lunges, dead lifts, squats, dumbbell curls, legs curls and pull downs. When picking out a routine for weightlifting all these must be factored in. Typically, when you lift weights your chest, shoulders and arm muscles will develop. Weightlifting is however not limited to these. It has a special way of developing other body parts. For example weights help in the development of abs. It is also a sure way of cutting up.

There is a lot to benefit from weightlifting training. Apart from the general development of muscles, it is a way of boosting one's self esteem. A good number of people who take up weightlifting are driven by the desire and urge to shape up. Most of these are women. Weightlifting will help in burning calories and the bad cholesterol. This is an incredible way of shaping up. The end result of this is confidence to the enthusiast when interacting with people. For models, it is a must in order to keep that shapely body figure. It also increases the flow of blood and consequently nutrients and oxygen.

In case you are starting to exercise, get yourself a good weightlifting program. The easiest way to do this is by searching on the internet. You will be amazed at the number of routines available for you to adopt. Most body building sites on the web offer these absolutely free. Others may require you to sign up for a fee so that you can benefit from their information. Evaluate whether the free sites are helpful on this before making a decision to sign up at a fee. Alternatively, visit the library near you; take advantage of fitness books and encyclopedias to get yourself a workout routine.
 
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