DRIVEN PART 1 - Become a Successful Beginning Bodybuilder
you? What makes you walk into a gym? Even more importantly, what makes you want
to get so serious about exercise and nutrition that you transform your body?
With most of us, we have seen someone in amazing shape, either heroes in action movies, models for clothing, or athletes on the playing field. We not only are impressed by their appearance, conditioning and strength, but we want to transform ourselves into something similar.
For some of us, we may have noticed some bad flaws or changes in our physique...skinny arms, a thicker waistline, chubby cheeks, scrawny legs, or a fat rear end...and just decided that WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT BE OUR STANDARD! Making the serious choice to enter the bodybuilding lifestyle, whether it involves competing on stage or just taking control over how your body looks, shows our commitment. BECOME A SUCCESSFUL BEGINNING BODYBUILDER!
While the decision to go for a fitness lifestyle is important, maintaining your commitment for the rest of your life is crucial. It can't just be a phase you are in. In order to seriously upgrade your life, it needs to become a central part of your character and existence. The fact that you chose to read this publication, shows that you plan to make this part of your life!
So what benefits can be expected with this now a part of your life? Obviously, your are going to improve your body composition. This means you will increase muscle size and shape. This is a gradual increase with some men adding just a few pounds of muscle each year (and usually less for women), but if you visualize a few pounds of meat from the butcher shop, and some of that added to your shoulders, a few ounces on each calf, a bit on each arm, etc... that really makes an impressive change to the sculpting of your body. I mentioned shape earlier. Adding muscle and burning fat is what creates a shapely body. Body fat sags due to gravity but muscle defies gravity. While proper training and nutrition is based on research science, the benefits will look like steadily evolving works of art.
As you challenge your body by doing more reps with gradually increasing poundages, you build strength, increase muscle size, decrease body fat, and speed up your metabolism. These changes will improve your general health and possibly even increase your lifespan.
Your work in the gym and the changes brought on obviously improve your appearance. You may not realize this yourself since the changes are so gradual that you may not even notice them. Sometimes lifters go through periods in which they question if their work in the gym is paying off. If you can look back over months (and eventually years) of recordkeeping, that should keep you motivated.
Three-time Olympia winner Frank Zane suggests that we all keep a training journal. “Make use of every possible indicator of progress because this is one of the best ways to keep interested in training.” 1
That is why keeping track of your weight, training poundages, measurements, and (if possible) body composition is important. I recommend that you take your weight once a week (first thing in the morning each Monday), and (if possible) have your body composition taken once every 2-4 weeks.
While you may not notice your level of physical progress, family and friends that you do not see every week might bring a smile to your face by comments: “Wow! How much muscle have you put on?” or “Your waist looks so much smaller. Did you have to switch to a different pants size?” So we mention the athletic improvements, the health benefits, and how it boosts your appearance. All of those are great, but perhaps the greatest benefit to your lifestyle is how your mental state has improved. You may find that you possess greater self-confidence, feel capable of handling any challenges, and (most importantly) happier! The bodybuilding lifestyle could very well be the best decision you have ever made in your personal growth!
THE TRAINING PROGRAM
Champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I personally like the pain from training because it indicates I've worked hard enough for things to grow.” 2 As a beginner, muscle soreness will definitely hit you, but you will adapt. In fact, the progress that beginning lifters experience is the highest, and this soreness may just be an indication of the impressive amount of muscle growth.
This beginner training program has two phases! Phase One lasts for eight weeks (but only if you have completed all of the two dozen sessions). This program is three days a week and each workout should last 40-60 minutes. For example only, we list Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as your three training days each week. If Tuesday, Thursday and one of the weekend days fits your schedule better, then make use of that. What is most important is that you train three times a week with a rest and recuperation day between each of the strength training sessions.
Once you have
completed Phase One (24 workouts in an eight-week period), we advance to the
next phase. Phase Two lasts for four months (but only if you have trained
consistently). If an emergency comes up and you miss a day, jump right back
into things, even if a day behind schedule. Just get right back on track. In
the workout we list each exercise, followed by a numerical listing of the “set
and rep” scheme.
Here is an example: Squat 3 x 8-12 This means that after warming up, you choose a weight in which you can do eight to twelve repetitions of the squat. That group of repetitions (reps) are considered a “set.” Once you are able to do a dozen strict reps in all three sets, increase the weight in your next workout.
Here is an example: Squat
Monday, March 13: 115x12, 115x11, 115x9
Monday, March 20: 115x12, 115x11, 115x10
Monday, March 27: 115x12, 115x12, 115x11
Monday, April 3: 115x12, 115x12, 115x12
Monday, April 10: 125x11, 125x9, 125x8
As you can see, the lifter in this example increased the number of reps (even if just by a single rep) each workout. This is key to your progress (and why you should record your training efforts). Once the lifter achieved a dozen reps in all three sets (the top number in the 8-12 rep range), they increase the training poundage for their next workout.
When you are not having a good day (even if not feeling your best), you will be amazed that you might have the best workout ever. I have had days in which I was mildly sick or barely slept because of work deadlines, and went into the gym and shocked myself by unleashing unexpected strength and performance that made me walk out of the gym smiling like an idiot!
One of the earlier mass monsters of bodybuilding, Tim Belknap said, “In the simplest terms, to build big muscles, you have to train with very heavy weights in strict form on basic exercises.” 3 These are great guidelines for your program.
PHASE ONE 3
DAYS A WEEK
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Side Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Close-grip Barbell Curl 2x8-12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension 2x8-12 45°
Calf Press 2x10-15
Romanian (or Straight-Leg) Deadlift 3x8-12 45°
Leg Press 3x8-12
Bench Press 3x8-12
Lat Pulldown 3x8-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 2x8-12
Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Seated Dumbbell French Press 3x8-12
Seated Calf Raise 2x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x10-15
Hex-Bar (or Machine) Squat 3x6-10
Bent over Barbell Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Front and Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Incline Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Close-grip Bench Press 2x8-12
Hyperextensions (Back Raise) 2x8-12
One-Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 2x10-15
Twisting Cable Crunch 2x8-12 (each side)
If you are not familiar with the exercises, you can find out about them online or through a qualified strength training coach.
The three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) are just examples. Any three will work as long as you have one day off after each training session.
Train hard. Focus on controlling the exercise more than how much weight you lift. Focus on the muscle fibers contracting. And enjoy yourself!
PHASE TWO 4
DAYS A WEEK
Congratulations on making it through the first phase of the beginner training program. That intro program involved you training your entire body three days a week (with a day off for recuperation between each session). Looking back, this is the ideal phase since every bodypart being hit three times weekly provides lots of forward progress. What changes is that there are two forms of recuperation: the recuperation of each bodypart and the ability for your central nervous system to recover. Your body has improved to the point that we need to increase the volume directed on each bodypart but, since the length of the workout is limited, we split the session into two parts (lower body and waistline in the first session and upper body in the second one). “Success depends on your recuperating powers, and as a beginner, rest is even more important,” says Mr. Universe winner and bodybuilding legend Chuck Sipes. 4 “As you progress and your body becomes adapted to hard training, you will be able to add additional sets and greater poundages.” So what is your schedule like? We list the training as Monday and Tuesday training sessions, Wednesday off, Thursday and Friday training, with the weekend off. Again, This is just for example, and you can arrange the calendar as needed, as long as you get two training days in a row, with the following day off for recovery. The second phase of your Beginner Training Program lasts for four months.
Workout 1: (Monday)
Squat 4x6-10 Dumbbell Lunge 3x8-12 (ea. leg)
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Hyperextension (Back Raise) 3x8-12 45°
Calf Press 3x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x15-20
Workout 2: (Tuesday)
Incline Bench 4x6-10
Flat Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Parallel-grip Lat Pulldown 3x6-10
Under-grip Bodyweight Row 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Overhead Press 3x8-12
Alternate Dumbbell Curl 3x8-12
Triceps Pushdown 3x8-12
Workout 3: (Thursday)
Romanian Deadlift 4x6-10
Leg Press 3x8-12
Leg Extension 3x8-12
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3x10-15
Leg Raise 3x10
Workout 4: (Friday)
Front Chin-up 4xAMRAP
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x6-10
RackBar Push-up 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Side Laterals 3x8-12
EZ-bar Curl (medium-width grip) 3x8-12
Close-grip Bench 3x8-12
With each of
these training sessions, think of the first exercise as your top goal. You want
to get at least one additional rep for each exercise, but that first
exercise...that first one...is the exercise you work the hardest. Warm up, then
hit it hard! As you can see, three of the exercises have “AMRAP” as their rep
range. This stands for “as many reps as possible.” The first one is the
“Under-grip Bodyweight Row.” The exercise involves you using a bar (either the
one in the Smith machine or one placed in a power rack). Have it set at waist
height. Lay under the bar, face up, gripping the bar with a hands-up (thumbs
pointing out), shoulder-width grip. Keep your arms and legs locked in a
straight line throughout the set. Pull yourself up so that the bar touches near
your sternum and hold the squeeze for three seconds. When you can get more than
fifteen reps, raise your feet up on a bench to make your body about parallel to
the ground at the top.
On the Friday workout, you have “Front Chin-ups” and “RackBar Push-up” as your as many reps as possible (AMRAP) options. Front Chin-ups simply involve you using a shoulder-width grip and pulling up until your collarbone is about 4-6 inches from the bar. If you can't get four reps on your own, get the assist from a resistance training band attached to one of your feet until you get a dozen reps, then either go with a thinner band, or go without one. The RackBar Push-up uses either the bar in the Smith machine (at lowest setting) or a bar in the power rack (8-10 inches from the ground). Go with a shoulder-width grip (thumbs both pointing inward), lightly touch the sternum to the bar and press up 80% of the way (no locking out your arms at the top). When you can do more than fifteen reps in a set, start going to failure, then lift the bar up 4-6 inches higher, and go to failure a second time each set. These are three great upper body building exercises.
WHAT ABOUT CARDIO EXERCISE? You may be wondering if cardio work fits into your program. That depends on three different factors: Are you overweight, with a high level of body fat? Do you have the goals to be leaner or have better cardiovascular endurance? Do you enjoy getting on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, stepper or do you hate all four of those darn machines? If you need to burn some body fat or feel that you need to increase your aerobic conditioning, then I recommend you do some cardio work three to four times a week for 10-15 minutes in the first phase, and a maximum of 20 minutes during the second phase. If possible, do it on your non-strength training days. I recommend that (if you have the options) you rotate through different modalities (treadmill, elliptical, stepper, bike, or outdoor jogging). For one reason, repeated stress might beat up your soft tissues (such as bad ankles, aching knee, hips pain, shin splints...) but varied choices make that less likely. For a second reason, you may find the variety more mentally interesting. Another use of the cardio equipment is a warm-up prior to your strength training. This should take just 5-8 minutes (at a very fast walk if it is a treadmill) and the goal is to increase your internal core temperature (starting to break a sweat), followed by some light sets of the core exercises to loosen you up further. For instance, your can do 15- 20 bodyweight squats and then a light set of squats before beginning your work sets of squats. As you get more advanced, the warm-ups become more extensive since your weights will have increased.
NUTRITION ADJUSTMENTS FOR BEGINNERS You may
think, “Let's do a subtle change to convert my body so that I look less like
that guy who starred in the Soprano's and more like that guy who starred as
Thor in the Avenger's movies.” Unfortunately, subtle changes to your lifestyle
will not convert your body. If you are in really bad shape, this may have been
from months or years of being lazy, enjoying the comforts of a
relaxed sedentary life, and treating yourself to some serious junk food. Dr.
Fred Hatfield says, “Periods of high-stress training require supernormal intake
of many nutrients without a commensurate increase in caloric needs.” 5 This
means that you need to improve the quality of your nutrition, so every food
choice and the inclusion of targeted supplements become more important as you
advance. The things you do, and foods you eat, need to change. As a beginner,
the diet will not be incredibly strict, but we will be bumping it up as you
advance. We want to bring about “homeostatic disruption,” making the body
change in order to handle the new life you are living. Forcing your body to
lifting gradually heavier weights will kick this off. To get the most from the
training, we need to provide proper nutrition to help you recuperate and build
stronger (and larger) muscles and to burn off unneeded and unattractive body
fat. Improving your body requires two different adjustments: 1) provide
different stress to your muscles and metabolism, causing your body to adapt,
and 2) provide different food and nutrient intake to assist with muscle growth
and promote fat loss. We covered the first aspect with your strength training
workouts. Now it is time to strategize a proper nutrition plan.
EIGHT NUTRITION BASICS
1. Eat at least five meals a day
2. Eat protein at each meal
3. Limit your starchy carb intake
4. Try to nearly eliminate simple carbs
5. Choose the correct fats
6. Increase veggies
7. Drink plenty of water
8. Enjoy it. Eat healthy, but enjoy treating yourself to delicious healthy foods
Weight training causes hypertrophy, an adaptation in which your muscle fibers rebuild... stronger, larger, possibly in larger quantity, and ready to better handle what you do in the gym. Famous Soviet strength coach Vladimir Zatsiorsky said “Activate the breakdown of protein in the chosen muscle groups during training workouts and protein super-compensation during rest periods.” 6 This reminds us that the most important requirement for that improved muscular structure is protein, providing the necessary amino acids to rebuild bigger, better muscle. A good general rule for protein would be to consume 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight in order to promote muscle growth. Good popular sources for protein include eggs, beef, lamb, bison/buffalo, chicken, turkey, fish, and quality protein powders. While you may have favorites, quality and variety are important. We want to provide the body with vital amino acids so each meal should be at least one-third protein. A Beverly International protein shake provides two basic benefits: 1) they contain high-quality, easily-absorbed proteins, 2) they are quick, easy, delicious...and fit well into a hectic schedule with multiple protein-based meals. Adding a couple of protein shakes in addition to your whole food meals makes it much easier to create a quality daily intake.
Your carbohydrates (carbs) provide energy (replenishing your glucose and glycogen stores) as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. While carbs are not crucial to survival, they are necessary for recovery from hardcore training. For your diet, we will think of carbs in three categories:
The amount and how often you add carbs to your meals depends on your bodycomp/ goals (how badly do you need to burn fat) and how well your body handles carbs. Many people find they do well by limiting their carb intake. The average person does well with starchy carbs making up a decent percentage in just three of their daily meals. If you are trying to burn fat, reduce the amounts and cut starchy carbs down to just two of those meals. The fibrous (also called cruciferous) veggies provide a lot of important nutrients, are low in calories, and very filling. You should have at least two to three servings every day. Fruit also gives you some great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy cofactors. Look at their carb levels and eliminate those that have too much fructose (natural fruit sugar). Limit fruit juices, since many of these tend to be very high calorie (with added sweeteners often snuck in). Apples and oranges make simple snacks for work or on-the-road. Berries are delicious, low-calorie, and great flavor additions to shakes, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt.
We also want to use starchy carbs to replenish our energy near the end of the training session, so it makes sense to place those meals near your training session and having non-carb meals (protein and healthy fats) placed in other times. So, if you train in the morning, your last meals of the day can be carb-free. If you train in the evenings, the first half of your day can be low in carbs. While we mentioned that there are three categories we placed the carbs into (starchy carbs, fibrous veggies, and fruit) there is a fourth category, which we want to limit. This is simple carbs (such as sugars, syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup). These should not be a part of your daily intake and, when consumed, do so in small amounts. FATS One of the biggest mistakes uneducated eaters make is the belief that eating fat is what makes you fat. What makes people fat is too high of a calorie intake and not enough exercise or activity. Choosing the right fats and keeping their intake fairly balanced, improves your health. Low fat intake also is known to cause a dramatic drop in your natural testosterone production. Healthy fats include fish oils, nuts and seeds, grass-fed butters, and avocados. Some of your daily fat intake will be a part of the healthy proteins, such as the fat included in your eggs and your meat and dairy sources. When preparing food, there are great benefits to using the healthier sources, such as macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, olive oil or red palm oil. Also, to balance your fat intake, one or two daily servings of EFA Gold will provide you with essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), which most diets are badly deficient. The truly bad fats are margarine, canola oil, saturated fat (in excessive amounts), and trans fats. Trans fats are lipids that have been chemically changed to enhance the shelf-life longevity of those crackers, doughnuts and cookies, which is great for the manufacturer (but terrible for your health and longevity). These are found in many processed foods. Cautiously look for them on product labels. This is another example for the excessive processing of foods being bad for our health.
“I prefer to eat frequent small meals even when dieting,” says retired champion bodybuilder Tom Touchstone, “...because this keeps my blood sugar and blood protein levels fairly constant.” 7 Here is an example of a diet of that nature, to help you create one that fits your needs and schedule:
Meal 1: Egg omelet (mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, shredded cheese); whole-grain toast (add peanut butter if you need to gain weight)
Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple or berries
Meal 2: Chicken breast; rice; steamed vegetables
Training Post Workout Shake: Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein shake
Meal 3: Steak; sweet potato; broccoli
Before Bed Snack: Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding (put 2 scoops of your favorite UMP flavor in a bowl, then slowly add water while stirring until it reaches a pudding consistency – for weight gain, add peanut butter or heavy cream to the mix)
Quality food choices are the base of an effective bodybuilding diet. Nutrition supplements can only work when added to quality food intake. Supplements will bolster this by adding compounds not found in large quantities in typical foods and making it quick and easy to add protein (at a very high-quality level) to your diet. As we mentioned earlier in the article, increasing the amount and quality of your protein is the major diet change necessary to enter a bodybuilding lifestyle. Your best choice is Beverly International's Ultimate Muscle Protein as the first supplement. It is derived from slow-release micellar casein (80%) and (20%) whey protein. This provides a sustained-release supply of amino acids to encourage muscle growth. For those with an exceptionally-high metabolism (skinny guys that cannot pack on muscle), you will need Mass Maker Ultra. This is a higher-calorie protein and carbohydrate powder that will help you see some bigger numbers on the scale. This group (called ectomorphs) will often experience impressive muscle gains once they add a higher daily total of nutrient-rich calories. After choosing which protein fits, the second supplement I would recommend to a beginner would be FitTabs. This is a high-quality daily serving of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, bio-flavanoids, antioxidants, lipotropics and digestive enzymes. Since you are placing more physical stress on your body, a pair of FitTabs with breakfast and dinner will help with your recovery while protecting you from nutritional deficiencies. The third product I would recommend (even to someone that does not work out) is EFA Gold. This is a source of essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, borage seed oil, fish oil and vitamin E.
Properly balancing your fat intake is difficult with just proper food choices. Taking three EFA Gold softgels once or twice daily will have a positive influence on your health and conditioning. Now for the super-driven athletes, the optional products I recommend to take it to a higher-level would be doses of Ultra 40 and Mass Amino Acids taken throughout the day. Ultra 40 is a desiccated liver product (500 large tablets per bottle) in which the heme iron basis works as a blood builder, rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D and a variety of minerals. Mass Amino Acids also comes in a big 500-count bottle of tablets. These are easily absorbed peptide-bond aminos that support hypertrophy. This two product stack involves three to five of each of these tablets, four to six times a day. As you can imagine, this ensures that you have a constant flow of muscle-building nutrients in your bloodstream at all times
THE NEXT PHASE
In the next issue, look for “Driven — Part 2: Maximum Progress as an Intermediate Bodybuilder!” The progress you achieve if you strictly follow this program will provide you with a direct and efficient way to reach your goals. Some of the changes added in Part 2 includes: more frequent training, an increase in training volume, some higher level training techniques, exercises you probably have never done, a variety of rep ranges, and a stricter nutrition program (based on body types). This program is a challenge, but you will love it! You need to devote yourself to getting through the Beginner Program in order to succeed and move closer to your goals. Stick to the program. Keep track of your results...and every training session will be like a step forward towards achieving everything in which your body is capable.
REFERENCES 1. Zane, Frank. “Equation for Victory,” Muscle & Fitness, July 1983 2. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. “Arnold on the Squat,” Muscle Builder/Power, July 1976 3. Belknap, Tim. “Gain Ultimate Mass & Power” from Muscle & Fitness, December, 1983 4. Sipes, Chuck. “How to Plan Your Bodybuilding Training” (training course) no date listed 5. Hatfield, Dr. Fred. “Hardcore Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach,” Contemporary Books, 1991 6. Zatsiorsky, Vladimir. “Science and Practice of Strength Training,” Human Kinetics, 1995 7. Reynolds, Bill. “Tom Touchstone: Mr. California” from Muscle & Fitness, November 1985