When you are tempted and encouraged to start weightlifting and train like a pro, there are a few very basic principles you need to keep in mind before going anywhere close to the weight room at the gym.
Now more than ever, social media is flooded with secret programs, secret supplements, and a bunch of armchair internet trainers telling you about totally unrealistic goals for a beginner. While these may be tips for beginners, they also serve as reminders for pros so it may be a much needed ‘refresh’.
Someone, at one point, must've taught you that you need to spend an hour on each body part you're working on. This way you'll end up working in the gym 3-4 hours every day.
When you are trying to build and grow muscle, it doesn't work that way. The longer you work out, the lower you drop your blood sugar. You might end up rebounding in sugar cravings and intake more calories than you've burnt in the first place.
Also, your body will start releasing cortisol after 45-60 minutes of workout and that can contribute to muscle breakdown. It should only take you 60-90 minutes to complete your routines. But start humble, and set your routine for 45 minutes when you begin.
Don't expect to go to the gym 4 hours every day, for each body part, for 4 weeks and expect to look like that one other guy at the gym who has arms of the size of your entire body.
He didn't achieve that look overnight. And neither will you. And one thing to keep in mind is the difference between the physique competitors look and the Olympian bodybuilder massive look - and not just look wise, but also strength wise.
Of course, there are always shortcuts. But are they worth it? Teach yourself not to give a damn. Don't compete with the way others look because you don't work on the same juices. You need to compete with yourself and focus on strength and endurance progress rather than 'looking bigger'. Looking bigger doesn't mean actually being stronger.
Now, a very well known fact about being progressive in the gym is that you constantly need to increase your weights, sets and so on but you need to understand that, before any increase or decrease, you need to stick to a program for 6-8 weeks. Your body needs time to adapt and grow.
Focus on compound movements in order to establish a solid workout foundation. As a beginner, it can be quite overwhelming when you go to the gym and get bombarded with machines, weights, cables, and the list goes on. Forget about it! You need to build your foundation first!
Work on growing your major muscle groups, strengthen your tendons, connective tissue, and strengthen your work capacity over time. Multi-Joint Exercises (Compound Movements) train more than one muscle group at the same time. So try exercises like Barbell Bench Press which targets chest, triceps, & shoulders at the same time, in a single set. They also prevent the dreaded asymmetry and muscle imbalances as well. Focus on Compound Movements at least twice a week, to make sure you are working on your major muscle groups.
When you're a beginner, you don't need advanced weightlifting techniques yet. Trying to do super sets or other advanced tools for the advanced bodybuilder, will either lead to injury or to another bound to fail program. Stick to the basics. Apply proper form and the full range of motion to each exercise. As soon as you master the posture and the motion, you can advance to more complex training.
Your muscles are growing after training! You are not actually growing when you are lifting weights and pumping up in the gym. You are growing when you are resting - when you give your muscles time to repair and prepare for another workout. You shouldn't work out every single day. There needs to be a 24h gap in between heavy workouts, otherwise, you are being abusive to your muscles. So give yourself some time to grow before going back to the gym.
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