The Four Pillars of Building Muscle
When you picture a bodybuilder, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many people, a bodybuilder is the classical sculpture of a Greek or Roman warrior brought to 21st century life; with a physique sharply defining more muscles than most of us even know we have. And bodybuilding is the combined program of weight training and nutritional planning through which a classical physique can, with a serious commitment, be yours. But arriving at a competitive bodybuilder’s physique will take time, so don’t give up if you aren’t rewarded with immediate results.
The weight training involved in bodybuilding will not only result in the muscular strength required of competitive weight lifters who are briefly able to lift more than their own weight with ease; it will also build muscular endurance associated with aerobic activity. Most well-rounded exercise programs, whether for professional or amateur athletes, in fact, will include some work with free weights or weight machines, in addition to aerobics. Not only will a properly designed weight lifting program improve you overall physical conditioning; it can be targeted to help you recover from an injury. And even senior citizens can use weight lifting to help them maintain their muscle tone and flexibility.
But the best bodybuilding program in the world will be sadly ineffective if it is not accompanied by a nutrition plan specifically designed to support the tremendous demands it will place on your body. Athletes involved in bodybuilding competitions require protein and carbohydrate-rich diets, and also take a variety of nutritional supplements. The recommended bodybuilding diet has a 40:40:20 protein: carbohydrate: fat ratio, and the bulk of the carbohydrates are complex carbs from sources like whole grain cereals, breads, pastas, beans and yams. Whole grains are also excellent sources of the dietary fiber essential to a good bodybuilding nutrition plan, as are vegetables like broccoli and fruits like blueberries.
The third pillar of bodybuilding success is to stay hydrated throughout your workout, because muscles under the stress of a lengthy weight lifting session will quickly exhaust their water supply. You should drink water before you begin your exercise, again when you are done, and in between sets if you need to. But you should also drink plenty of water even on the days when you aren’t working out, because it is a great way to help your system flush out the toxins which can accumulate in your muscles following your workout.
The final thing to remember before beginning a bodybuilding career is that you need to start slowly, with a routine appropriate for your existing fitness level. Your muscles will get the time they need to become conditioned, and you’ll get the time you need to perfect your lifting form and techniques, so that all your muscle groups will work in sync and you will lessen your risk of injury!