Last year we were talking with Ronnie Coleman
about creating a list of Top 10 Bodybuilding rules to live by, and this is what we came up with. Enjoy.
Most people in the gym don't take the time to learn the best lifting techniques. Often times they jump right into whatever their friend is doing, or just mimic the training styles of other members in the gym. Improper form can not only lead to immediate injury, but long term injury as well. While you may not feel the pain right now, over time improper form can lead to injuries happening 'out of nowhere'. Long term stress on joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles kindled by bad lifting technique can precipitate an injury many months or years down the road. Learn the proper bodybuilding / training techniques. It will save you a lot of pain, money and time.
Overtraining is a biggie, and is very common in weight lifting. When the amount of exercise exceeds your body's recovery ability, then you are overtraining. In other words, you are lifting too often. Your body doesn't have time to recover from the damage you just finished putting it through. To avoid this problem, start out by training each muscle, once a week, or twice a week max. This can save you from muscle loss, fatigue, and injury. Overtraining is often caused by addiction to working out. We know you love working out, but your body needs rest; there's no way around it. Sometimes you need to take a break from physical activity and just chilax.
Under eating is a huge issue for bodybuilders, and athletes in general. Your body needs energy to perform the stressful activities you put it through (Lifting weights, running, cycling etc). Also, if you're trying to gain muscle mass, not consuming enough calories, or protein can actually lead to loss of muscle. It's doubtful that many people are actually trying to lose their hard earned muscle mass, so make sure you're getting in the proper amount of calories, protein, and carbs. Oh, and make sure you're eating the right stuff. No junk food!
One of the biggest mistakes bodybuilders make is not listening to their body. If your shoulder hurts and you're experiencing discomfort, don't do shoulders this week; simple as that. Working out through an injury is a very bad idea, and can escalate a minor injury even further. Waiting a few days, or a week or two for safety precautions won't kill you. It's better than waiting 6-12 weeks! When your body is pain, it's trying to tell you something – so listen to it.
You want results right? You probably have specific areas you want to improve. If you want bigger arms. Do your research on how to get bigger arms. Learn the best bicep exercises. Learn the best triceps exercises. Understand that when you're doing bench, you're also using your triceps. Little things like this make a world of difference. Doing creative exercises are typically a bad idea. There are tried and true methods that are proven to work – and they work damn well. You don't see Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler doing P90X, do you? These guys are in the gym, doing the right exercises. Avoid the fads and stick to basics of weight training, cardio, and anaerobic exercise. Learn what the muscles are called in the area you're targeting, and learn the appropriate training method to improve that area. Don't just 'wing it'.
Having someone there to spot you, critique you, and make sure you don't get hurt is so vital to the success of a bodybuilder or athlete in training. Even the best of athletes have a workout partner. There may be a point where you're lifting heavier weight than your body can handle for that day, and you might drop it on yourself. If no one is there to spot you, you could be facing a serious injury. We don't want you to get hurt, so don't be stubborn, call a friend, or find someone with similar goals and start training together.
Heavy weight is what activates hypertrophy (the enlargement of size or strength of the muscle). Lifting light weight for tons of reps only builds endurance. You won't gain much size unless your steadily stacking up the weight. Ask any pro, they will tell you the exact same thing.
Getting in a hurry can lead to injury and that will only postpone your goals. We are here to get stronger, build muscle and tone up, but not all in one day. The trick is to progressively move up in weight. Heavier weight is very important for growth and strength, but not all at once. Take your time, and lift according to your current 1 rep max, and focus on moving up in weight week-by-week. Beginners need to start out with light weight, and then steadily increase the weight in small increments on a weekly basis.
This one is basic biology; science. If you go to the gym, or engage in an activity on an empty stomach, your body will go into a panic state, and use fat for energy. While this sounds great and all - The problem is, your body may slow down your metabolism, and start storing calories as fat the next time you eat, thus reversing any quality results you may think you've just achieved. Now that's a double whammy. Don't do it. Get yourself a small snack before working out , or pre-workout meal if on a mass building diet.
This can be more sad than anything. Have you ever seen a guy in the gym, and 6 months later he looks exactly... the same? Don't be that guy. He's probably going through the motions, doing the same low-intensity exercises and not getting anywhere. Some exercise is better than none, but you want optimum results right? Get mentally focused, get your mind right, get the weight up, and hammer that shit out. We don't go to the gym for conversation and fashion shows, and neither should you. Claim your goals, nail'em to the wall, and execute.