How to Train to Be a Bodybuilder

Body Building Tips

If you are training to be a bodybuilder, you are going to need to show a level of dedication greater than your average weight trainer.

Most weight trainers are looking to sculpt their bodies. They want to get under 10% body fat, getting healthy, feeling strong and energized and, of course, looking great in the mirror.

A bodybuilder has to pay greater attention to detail. Putting on extra muscle weight and getting around 6-7% body fat is not what we are built to do. To body build and stay healthy, you have to do it the smart way.

There are four aspects of bodybuilding: weight training, cardiovascular, nutrition and rest. The first one of these receives plenty of attention, but a healthy bodybuilder needs to focus on all four aspects of a workout regimen.

Weight Training

I know; this is the big one. Only through extensive weight training will you get the muscle build you want. I don’t have to sell you on the need for dedication to this part.

What I will suggest are several weight training variables you should keep in mind along the way. I’m one of the worst about wanting to get into a routine and sticking with it. But this leads to long sessions of unproductive work.

Aside from dedication, variation is the key in weight training. Remember that always.

Vary Your Repetitions

The standard number of reps are 8-15 with no more than 90 seconds of rest in between. This is optimal for leg exercises, though you might find your chest, arms, back and shoulders need fewer reps. A lot of people find that 6-8 reps of upper body exercises work better for them.

Remember that every muscle on your body isn’t the same. So figure out how many reps each separate muscle requires, and don’t have a standard number for every muscle on your body.

Whatever number of reps you decide is right for your muscle packages, remember to vary those up frequently. If you decide to use 8-15 reps on your upper body for a month, then you need to lay off such intensive training for the next two to three weeks.

“Halving” is a good rule of thumb. If you work out intensively for six weeks, then change it up for the next three weeks. And if you are doing 12-15 reps for those first six weeks, halve the reps too for those next three weeks. Go with 6-8 reps.

Set a Time Limit

Also, I would set a time limit on the amount of time I work out. I would going much beyond an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes, because studies show that after this point, the chemicals released for body building stop to flow. You literally are no longer helping yourself.

In fact, you could be doing harm. Weight lifting is taxing on the body. So if you continue to lift weights when your body is fatigues, you are likely to strain your muscles or your back. Remember, bodybuilding is a long term project, not something you’ll complete in any one session.

Vary Your Sessions Per Week

A standard number of workouts per week is three. This is a good base number from which you can vary your weight training regimen. But like everything else in bodybuilding, it does your body good to throw it the occasional curve on this pattern, too.

If you feel like you aren’t getting as much bang for your buck workout wise, then work out two days a week instead of three. Some would suggest four, but you are setting yourself up for injuries and muscle fatigue if you push too hard.

Scaling back a little bit gives your body time to heal and rest. I will go into greater detail about this later.


Cardiovascular exercises are another essential part of bodybuilding. While this sounds like it is heart and blood flow exercise, the most important part of cardio is to burn excess fat. Cross training is always a good idea, but doing cardiovascular work is.


Nutrition is a huge part of weight training, if one wants to build one’s body. Not only must the bodybuilder take in the right number of calories, but the foods taken in must be of the right type.

Generally, a bodybuilder needs around five hundred to a thousand extra calories per day, beyond those needed for the everyday maintenance of the body.

Creatine is a big part of weight training. Just like your exercises, you should probably vary how much creatine you’re taking. You might take it for 4-6 weeks, then lay off of it for about half that period of time.

Adequate Rest

Weightlifting causes micro-tears in the muscles which is called microtrauma. The body needs time to heal and repair itself, so adequate rest time is essential when bodybuilding.

A lot of weight lifters complain that eventually their body plateaus, and sometimes they even lose strength. When you are unable to do as much weight or as many reps as before, it is time to rest.

It is a common fallacy to increase one’s training load at this time, on the assumption that the body needs new challenges to reach another peak. Actually, increasing the tempo of the training cycle is counterproductive. Decreasing productivity is your body’s way of telling you that your weight training is fatigued and broken down from repeated trauma.


Weight training is a high maintenance activity. What I mean by that is you are constantly adjusting your workout time, your caloric intake and your rest cycles. Don’t get into one set pattern, or else your body will adjust and you’ll experience the law of diminishing returns.

Remember that you are basically trying to challenge your body, not exactly straining to its physical limits. Like any challenge you’ve faced, the more factors thrown in, the more challenging. So keep your metabolism on its toes by variation.

Of course, you need to develop the requisite self-analysis skills to make these changes productive. You need to learn about your body and make the necessary adjustments, because ultimately, everyone is different, however how slightly.

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