New to Bodybuilding? Here's Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

New to Bodybuilding? Here's Everything You Need to Know to Get Started - 1st Detachment

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Are you a new bodybuilder?

Maybe you're young and new to lifting or someone looking for motivation to get into the best shape of your life.

Whether you're looking to become a pro bodybuilder or want to stick to amateur bodybuilder competitions, you'll need to know these topics.


What is Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a sport and a form of physical fitness that focuses on developing and sculpting one's muscles through resistance training, diet, and specific workout routines. The primary goal of bodybuilding is to increase muscle size, strength, and definition, creating a well-proportioned and aesthetically pleasing physique.

Bodybuilders typically engage in intense weightlifting exercises using various equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines. They perform specific exercises targeting different muscle groups, such as the chest, arms, back, shoulders, legs, and abdomen. These workouts are designed to stimulate muscle growth and promote hypertrophy (increased muscle size).

In addition to weightlifting, bodybuilders often incorporate cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, or using elliptical machines to improve their overall fitness and cardiovascular health. They also follow strict dietary plans, which typically involve consuming high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of carbohydrates, and low amounts of fat to support muscle growth and recovery.

Competitive bodybuilding involves showcasing the physique that has been developed through training, nutrition, and posing techniques. Bodybuilders participate in contests where they are judged based on criteria such as muscle mass, symmetry, proportion, muscularity, and overall stage presence.

Beyond competition, many individuals engage in bodybuilding as a means of personal fitness, self-improvement, motivation, or as a lifestyle choice to maintain a strong and well-built physique.


Bodybuilding vs. Powerlifting

Bodybuilder at gym training back muscles

Bodybuilding and powerlifting are two distinct disciplines within the realm of strength and resistance training. While they share similarities in terms of training methods and goals, they differ in their primary objectives and competition formats.


Bodybuilding, as mentioned earlier, focuses on developing and sculpting the muscles for aesthetic purposes. The primary goal of bodybuilding is to achieve a well-defined, muscular physique with excellent symmetry, proportion, and muscularity. Bodybuilders aim to maximize muscle size and definition while maintaining a low body fat percentage to enhance muscle visibility.

Training in bodybuilding involves performing a wide range of exercises targeting specific muscle groups. Workouts typically consist of higher repetition ranges, lighter weights, and a greater emphasis on isolation exercises to enhance muscle definition. Bodybuilders often follow a strict diet and utilize techniques such as posing and tanning to enhance their appearance on stage during competitions.

Competitions in bodybuilding involve participants showcasing their physiques through mandatory poses and videos, allowing judges to evaluate their muscle development, aesthetics, and overall presentation.


Powerlifter performing deadlift at competition

Powerlifting, on the other hand, focuses on pure strength and performance in three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The primary objective in powerlifting is to lift as much weight as possible in these specific exercises, emphasizing maximum strength and power.

Powerlifters typically train with heavier weights and lower repetition ranges compared to bodybuilders. Their training revolves around improving past their one-repetition maximum (1RM) in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The focus is on building strength, explosive power, and improving technique in these specific lifts.

Powerlifting competitions are centered around participants demonstrating their strength by performing the squat, bench press, and deadlift with as much weight as possible. Competitors are ranked based on their total weight lifted in these three lifts, and they compete in various weight classes.

Key Differences:

  1. Objectives: Bodybuilding emphasizes muscle size, definition, and aesthetics, while powerlifting focuses on maximal strength and performance in specific lifts.
  2. Training Methods: Bodybuilders often use lighter weights, higher repetitions, and isolation exercises, while powerlifters train with heavier weights, lower repetitions, and focus on compound lifts.
  3. Competition Format: Bodybuilders showcase their physiques through posing routines, and judges evaluate their aesthetics. Powerlifters compete by lifting the heaviest weights possible in the squat, bench press, and deadlift.
  4. Body Composition: Bodybuilders aim for a low body fat percentage to showcase muscular definition, while powerlifters may have varying body compositions since their primary focus is on strength rather than aesthetics.

Although bodybuilding and powerlifting have distinct differences, there can be some overlap, and individuals may incorporate aspects of both disciplines into their training routines based on personal goals and preferences.


What is Gear?

Pro bodybuilders using "gear" for performance enhancement

In the context of steroids, "gear" is a slang term commonly used to refer to anabolic steroids or performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of naturally occurring testosterone, a hormone responsible for muscle growth, strength, and other physiological processes.

Steroids are often used by individuals, including athletes and bodybuilders, to enhance athletic performance, increase muscle mass, and improve recovery from intense workouts. Some people may use steroids for medical reasons under the supervision of a healthcare professional, such as in cases of hormone deficiencies or certain medical conditions.

The term "gear" originated from the underground culture surrounding the use of anabolic steroids. It is important to note that the use of steroids without a prescription or outside of medical guidance is illegal in many countries and can have serious health risks.

Steroids can be taken orally in pill form or administered through injections. Users may follow specific cycles and dosages to optimize their desired outcomes while minimizing potential side effects. It's worth noting that steroid use should always be approached with caution, as misuse or abuse of these substances can lead to adverse effects on both physical and mental health.

Variety of performance-enhancing drugs

Some potential risks and side effects associated with steroid use include:

  1. Hormonal Imbalances: Steroids can disrupt the body's natural hormone production, leading to a suppression of natural testosterone production and potential long-term dependence on exogenous hormones.
  2. Cardiovascular Complications: Steroid use can increase the risk of heart-related issues, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
  3. Liver Damage: Certain oral steroids are known to exert stress on the liver, potentially causing liver damage or abnormalities.
  4. Mood and Psychiatric Effects: Steroids can impact mood and mental well-being, potentially leading to aggression, irritability, mood swings, and even psychological dependence.
  5. Hormonal Side Effects: Steroids can cause various hormonal side effects, including acne, hair loss or growth, gynecomastia (development of breast tissue in males), and testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles).
  6. Legal and Ethical Consequences: The non-medical use of steroids is illegal in many countries, and individuals may face legal repercussions if caught in possession or distribution.

It is essential to prioritize long-term health and consider the potential risks before considering or using anabolic steroids. Consulting with healthcare professionals and exploring legal and natural alternatives for achieving fitness and performance goals is strongly recommended.


What are the Types of Competitions and Classes?

Pro bodybuilder in men's physique competition

There are several different types of bodybuilding competitions that cater to various goals, experience levels, and criteria for judging. Here are some of the most common types of bodybuilding competitions:

Bodybuilding (Open division/Professional): These are the traditional bodybuilding competitions where participants showcase their physiques based on muscle size, definition, symmetry, and overall stage presence. Competitors are judged on their overall muscular development, conditioning, and aesthetics. Bodybuilding competitions are typically divided into weight classes, and winners may earn professional status or qualify for higher-level competitions.

Classic Physique: Classic Physique competitions focus on creating a physique that resembles the aesthetic standards of the Golden Era of bodybuilding. Participants aim for a balanced and streamlined physique with moderate muscle size, emphasizing proportions, symmetry, and presentation. Classic Physique competitions have specific guidelines regarding weight limits based on height and other factors.

Men's Physique: Men's Physique competitions prioritize a more athletic and beach-ready look. Participants showcase a lean and muscular physique with less emphasis on extreme muscle mass or conditioning. The focus is on overall aesthetics, including muscularity, vascularity, and presentation. Competitors wear board shorts instead of the traditional posing trunks.

Women's Physique: Women's Physique competitions feature female athletes with a higher degree of muscularity than in traditional bodybuilding, emphasizing overall muscle development, symmetry, and conditioning. Participants showcase their physiques through mandatory poses, displaying their strength, muscularity, and femininity.

Bikini: Bikini competitions are designed to showcase a fit and toned, yet feminine physique. Competitors display a balanced and athletic look with emphasis on a lean and well-defined body. Bikini competitors wear two-piece swimsuits and perform a series of model-like poses.

Figure: Figure competitions focus on a more muscular and athletic look than bikini, with an emphasis on muscle shape, tone, and symmetry. Participants showcase their physiques through mandatory poses that highlight their muscle development and overall conditioning.

Fitness: Fitness competitions combine physique with athletic routines. Competitors display a fit and toned physique while also performing a choreographed routine that includes elements of strength, flexibility, and dance. Fitness competitions require a balance of muscularity, conditioning, stage presence, and performance skills.

Wellness: Wellness is a relatively new category that focuses on women with a curvier physique. Participants display a fit and toned body with an emphasis on well-developed glutes and lower body muscles. The wellness category celebrates a healthy and athletic look with more emphasis on curves and muscularity.

    It's important to note that specific competition categories and divisions may vary depending on the organization or federation hosting the event. Each competition has its own set of guidelines, judging criteria, and specific rules, so it's essential for participants to research and understand the requirements of the particular competition they plan to enter.


    Who are the Top Bodybuilders of All Time?

    Pro bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane posing on stage

    Determining the "top" bodybuilders of all time is subjective and can vary depending on personal opinions and criteria. However, several bodybuilders have made a significant impact on the sport and achieved remarkable success. Here are a few notable bodybuilders who are often regarded as some of the greatest of all time:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is widely considered one of the most iconic and influential bodybuilders in history. He won the Mr. Olympia title a record-breaking seven times, from 1970 to 1975 and in 1980. Arnold's charisma, physique, and transition into life as a successful actor helped popularize bodybuilding worldwide.

    Ronnie Coleman

    Ronnie Coleman is a legendary bodybuilder known for his incredible mass and strength. He holds the record for the most Mr. Olympia wins, with eight consecutive victories from 1998 to 2005. Coleman's combination of size, density, and conditioning made him a dominant force in the sport.

    Lee Haney

    Lee Haney is another bodybuilding legend who won the Mr. Olympia title eight times, tying with Ronnie Coleman. Haney is admired by fans for his balanced and symmetrical physique, as well as his professionalism and ambassadorship for the sport.

    Dorian Yates

    Dorian Yates revolutionized bodybuilding with his impressive muscle density and conditioning. He won the Mr. Olympia title six times consecutively from 1992 to 1997. Yates brought a new level of mass and conditioning to the stage, showcasing a combination of size, muscularity, and aesthetics.

    Flex Wheeler

    Flex Wheeler is often regarded as one of the best bodybuilders and the most aesthetic bodybuilders in history. Despite never winning the Mr. Olympia title, he left a lasting impact on the sport with his near-perfect proportions, muscle bellies, and overall aesthetics. Wheeler's physique inspired many aspiring bodybuilders.

    One of the best bodybuilders, Flex Wheeler, in competition

    Sergio Oliva is remembered for his exceptional genetics, including incredible muscle shape and thickness. He won the Mr. Olympia title three times in 1967, 1968, and 1969. Oliva's dense muscularity and structural dominance set him apart during his era.

    Frank Zane

    Frank Zane is renowned for his exceptional aesthetics and sculpted physique. He won the Mr. Olympia title three times, in 1977, 1978, and 1979. Zane's symmetry, definition, and attention to detail in his posing made him a standout competitor.

    These are just a few examples of bodybuilders who have made a significant impact on the sport. Other notable names include Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, Sergio Oliva Jr., and many more. It's important to recognize that bodybuilding standards and judging criteria have evolved over time, and different eras have brought forward different bodybuilding world champions, each with their unique strengths and contributions to the sport.


    What are the Types of Bodybuilder Poses?

    Bodybuilder practicing poses

    Bodybuilding poses are specific stances and positions that bodybuilders use to showcase their physique during competitions. These poses are carefully designed to highlight different muscle groups, display symmetry, and demonstrate muscularity and conditioning. Here are some of the major bodybuilding poses commonly seen on stage:

    Front Double Biceps: In this pose, the bodybuilder stands facing the judges, arms flexed and raised to display the front muscles. The elbows are typically bent at a 90-degree angle, emphasizing the biceps, chest, and shoulder development.

    Front Lat Spread: The bodybuilder faces the judges, with one leg positioned slightly forward. The arms are extended to the sides with the palms facing outward, showcasing the width and thickness of the latissimus dorsi (back) muscles.

    Side Chest: With one leg positioned forward, the bodybuilder turns to the side and contracts the chest muscles while bringing one arm across the body, flexing the biceps. This pose highlights the chest, shoulder, and arm development.

    Side Triceps: Similar to the Side Chest pose, the bodybuilder turns to the side but extends one arm backward, showcasing the triceps muscle. This pose emphasizes the triceps, shoulder, and back muscles.

    Rear Double Biceps: Facing away from the judges, the bodybuilder raises both arms, flexing the biceps and displaying the back muscles. This pose demonstrates the size, thickness, and separation of the back and arm muscles.

    Rear Lat Spread: Facing away from the judges, the bodybuilder extends the arms to the sides with the palms facing backward, showcasing the width and development of the back muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi.

    Abs and Thighs: The bodybuilder faces the judges and performs a front pose, flexing the abdominal muscles and displaying leg development. This pose emphasizes the abs, quadriceps, and overall lower body muscularity.

    Most Muscular (Crab or Hulk Pose): In this pose, the bodybuilder contracts multiple muscles simultaneously, displaying overall muscularity and density. There are various variations of this pose, such as the hands-on-hips variation or the hands-clasped-behind-back variation.

    Vacuum Pose: While not as commonly seen in modern bodybuilding, the vacuum pose involves the bodybuilder sucking in their waist and expanding the chest to create a dramatic tapering effect. This pose demonstrates a small waist and enhanced V-taper.

      Chris Bumstead practicing vacuum pose in mirror

      It's worth noting that different bodybuilding federations may have variations or additional tips for poses specific to their competition rules and guidelines. Bodybuilders practice and perfect these poses to effectively present their physique and maximize their chances of success in competitions.


      What Does Natty Mean?

      Athlete practicing lunges in the gym with trainer

      Being "natty" is a term commonly used in the fitness and bodybuilding community to refer to individuals who achieve their physique and strength gains through natural means, without the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) or anabolic steroids. "Natty" is short for "natural," indicating that someone is relying solely on their genetics, training, nutrition, and other natural methods to attain their physical development.

      When someone claims to be "natty," they are asserting that they have not used any substances or treatments that could enhance their muscle growth, strength, or athletic performance beyond what can be achieved naturally. This includes avoiding the use of anabolic steroids, growth hormones, peptides, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), and other performance-enhancing substances.

      Claiming to be "natty" is essentially a declaration of natural achievement and an attempt to separate oneself from those who may be using PEDs to enhance their physique or performance. It is important to note that it is difficult to determine someone's true status as a gym "natty" or if they are using substances without concrete evidence or drug testing.

      However, it is crucial to respect individuals' choices and not make assumptions solely based on their appearance. Some people achieve impressive physiques naturally through years of dedicated training, proper nutrition, and genetic factors, while others may choose to use PEDs or have different goals and priorities.

      What are Some Good High-Protein Snacks?

      Greek yogurt with sliced banana

      When it comes to high-protein snacks, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Here are some ideas for tasty and protein-rich snacks:

      1. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, with approximately 17 grams of protein per 6-ounce (170-gram) serving. You can enjoy it plain or add toppings like fruits, nuts, or a drizzle of honey.
      2. Hard-Boiled Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are convenient and packed with protein. One large egg contains around 6 grams of protein. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, or your preferred seasoning for added flavor.
      3. Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese is another protein-rich snack, providing about 14 grams of protein per half-cup (113-gram) serving. Pair it with fresh fruits or sprinkle some herbs and spices for a savory twist.
      4. Protein Bars: Protein bars are portable and can be a convenient snack option. Look for bars with at least 10 grams of protein and minimal added sugars. However, be mindful of the ingredients and choose bars with quality protein sources.
      5. Jerky: Beef, turkey, or chicken jerky is a high-protein, low-fat snack. It offers around 10-15 grams of protein per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. Opt for brands with minimal additives and low sodium content.
      6. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, cashews, and seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds are nutrient-dense snacks that provide both protein and healthy fats. They make for a satisfying and portable option.
      7. Protein Smoothies: Blend a scoop of protein powder (such as whey, pea, or soy protein) with your choice of liquid (milk, water, or a dairy-free alternative), fruits, and vegetables to create a protein-packed smoothie. You can also add nut butter or Greek yogurt for extra creaminess and protein.
      8. Edamame: Edamame is young soybeans that are rich in protein, fiber, and various nutrients. They can be boiled or steamed and enjoyed as a snack with a sprinkle of salt or added to salads and stir-fries.
      9. Tuna or Chicken Salad: Prepare a protein-rich salad by mixing canned tuna or chicken with Greek yogurt or mayonnaise, along with chopped vegetables and seasonings. Enjoy it on whole-grain crackers or lettuce wraps.
      10. Protein-Packed Energy Balls: Make your own energy balls using protein powder, oats, nut butter, and additional ingredients like honey, seeds, or dried fruits. These no-bake snacks can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

      Remember to consider your specific dietary needs and preferences when selecting high-protein snacks. Additionally, it's important to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support overall health and well-being.


      What are the Best Workouts for a Bodybuilder?

      Bodybuilder practicing leg extensions

      Bodybuilders typically engage in a variety of workouts to target different muscle groups, promote muscle growth, and enhance their overall physique. Here are some of the best workouts commonly utilized by bodybuilders:

      1. Compound Exercises: Compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups and joints, allowing for maximum muscle recruitment and overall strength development. Some key compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, barbell rows, and pull-ups. These exercises are foundational for building overall muscle mass and strength.
      2. Isolation Exercises: Isolation exercises target specific muscle groups, allowing bodybuilders to focus on individual muscles and achieve better muscle definition and shape. Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, leg curls, calf raises, and chest flies.
      3. Progressive Overload: Progressive overload is a fundamental principle in bodybuilding. It involves progressively increasing the weight, volume, or intensity of your workouts over time to continually challenge your muscles and stimulate growth. This can be achieved by adding weight to the bar, increasing the number of sets and reps, or reducing rest times between sets.
      4. Split Training: Bodybuilders often follow a split training routine, where they divide their workouts to focus on specific muscle groups on different days. Common split routines include training the chest and triceps together, back and biceps together, legs, shoulders, and incorporating rest days. This approach allows for targeted training and sufficient recovery for each muscle group.
      5. High-Volume Training: Bodybuilders frequently incorporate high-volume training, which involves performing a large number of sets and reps per workout. This approach helps to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and maximize muscle growth. However, it's important to balance volume with adequate rest and recovery to prevent overtraining.
      6. Progressive Resistance: Bodybuilders aim to progressively increase the resistance or weight they lift over time. This helps to continually challenge the muscles and stimulate growth. It's crucial to focus on proper form and technique to prevent injuries and ensure effective muscle activation.
      7. Periodization: Periodization involves dividing training cycles into specific phases, each with different goals and intensities. This approach helps to optimize muscle growth, strength gains, and prevent plateaus. Common periods include hypertrophy phases (focused on muscle growth), strength phases (focused on heavy lifting and strength gains), and cutting phases (focused on reducing body fat while preserving muscle mass).
      8. Cardiovascular Training: Although bodybuilding primarily focuses on muscle development, cardiovascular training is often incorporated to maintain overall fitness, aid in fat loss, and improve cardiovascular health. Common cardiovascular exercises include running, cycling, swimming, and using elliptical machines. The frequency and duration of cardiovascular training can vary depending on individual goals and preferences.

      It's important to note that individual workout programs may vary depending on factors such as training experience, goals, preferences, and specific needs. Consulting with a qualified fitness professional can help design a personalized workout routine tailored to your objectives and ensure proper technique and progression.

      Additional resources can be found on the 1st Detachment youtube channel.



      For bodybuilders just getting started on their journey, it's crucial to remember a few key points. First, focus on mastering proper form and technique in your exercises to prevent injuries and maximize muscle engagement.

      Second, prioritize compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups to build a solid foundation of strength and muscle mass.

      Third, gradually increase the weight, volume, or intensity of your workouts over time to ensure progressive overload and continued muscle growth.

      Fourth, follow a well-designed split routine that allows for adequate rest and recovery while targeting different muscle groups.

      Finally, maintain a balanced diet, emphasizing high-quality protein sources, and consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional or coach to help create a personalized training and nutrition plan.

      By combining consistency, dedication, and a strategic approach, you can set yourself up for success on your bodybuilding journey. Remember to enjoy the process, stay motivated, and make adjustments along the way to achieve your goals.

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