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New Answers to Commonly Asked Questions and Help for Beginners


I wrote the other sticky http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth…hp?t=117423471 two years ago. I decided to write a better post now that I know a lot more. I would appreciate it if others gave their input and shared what theyve learned over the years in order to help out people whove just begun working out (will rep good posts). The point of this thread is to help provide beginners with useful information on lifting and on living a healthier lifestyle. If you have any specific workout related questions, feel free to PM me or post them in this thread.





Click this link to find a list of workouts


http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exercises.htm





Click this link to find new workout music and songs (great for motivation and to pump you up) http://topworkoutsongs.org





Some useful workout tips for beginners:


- Focus on using proper form when working out. Using proper form will decrease your chances of injury and make you progress faster/better.





- Compounds lifts, such as Barbell Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Squats, should be incorporated into your routine. They are great exercises that will give you the best results.





- Don't be intimidated to go to the gym. No one will laugh at you. Everyone is there for the same reason that you are. All of the people at the gym will be too preoccupied with their own workouts to even have the time to look at you anyway. Everyone started somewhere.





- Lifting does NOT stunt your growth. In fact, exercising only has beneficial sides to it. Exercising will help you to live a longer, healthier, and happier life.





- Do not give up and become discouraged from exercising. If you give it some time, you will learn to love working out. I myself look forward to going to the gym every day.





- I know this is ironic, but dont believe everything you read about working out and proper nutrition. Some of the information out there is complete bull****. Companies are trying to make money off of your lack of knowledge, so make sure you look up something whenever you are unsure.





- Dont overcomplicate things. Eat a high protein diet with enough calories, sleep for about 8 hours every night, and push yourself in the gym with a great routine, and youll see results no matter what.





- Dont train muscles that youll need the next day (For instance, do not train shoulders and triceps before your chest day).





- Make sure you give the same amount of attention to all of the muscles in your body. You should work everything if you want an aesthetic, well-balanced physique. A well-balanced physique also has the added benefit that it helps prevent injuries. Injuries usually occur when there is an imbalance in someones body. (or when someone lifts weight that is obviously too heavy for them with terrible form).





-Don't only train your biceps, or your abs, or your chest. Work every muscle. Follow the workout routine provided above, and don't just blindly do curls and crunches all day long in the gym.





- Try to limit how much junk food and candy is in diet. There's nothing wrong with having fast food/etc every now and then, but don't overdo it.





Here is a good article on this topic: http://www.theragear.com/article/simple_sugars.php





- There is no magic shortcut to building a great physique. Remember this and youll save a lot of time and money. You will need to work hard if you want good results. Just try to learn to love working out, and then getting a good physique will become second nature. Dont be fooled/discouraged by advertisements/etc. It takes time. If the advertisements sound too good to be true, then they probably arent true.





- If you arent making progress, change something. Whether it be your routine, your diet, or your sleeping schedule. Little changes can make a huge difference in your progress.





- In the end, youre the only person who can decide how you want to lift/what exercises to do/etc, so make sure you take some time to read some informational articles/etc to learn . If youre the person making the decisions, then you should be knowledgeable so that you will make good decisions. I myself wasted 4 months with a terrible routine because I had no idea what I was doing. If you get knowledgeable beforehand, then you wont waste your time.





Here is a picture of all of the various muscle groups. Make sure you work all of them.




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Questions:


Whats a good starting routine?


http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth…hp?t=131379243 that is.





How do I gain weight?


Also known as bulking, you simply gain weight by eating more calories than your body uses throughout the day. You may have to experiment a little to find the right number of calories that you need to eat, but try about 3000 - 3500 for the first week and see if you gain any weight. Everyone is different with how much food they need to eat, so experiment to find and see what works for you. While bulking, you need to make sure that you arent just adding fat. Track your progress in the mirror or in progress pictures to ensure that you are bulking properly. Some fat gain is inevitable while bulking, but dont get carried away with it. I see way to many people posting year apart progress pictures of them just gaining fat and little to no muscle do not be one of those people. This is easily avoided by having a good diet and routine.





How do I lose weight?


Also known as cutting, you lose weight by eating less calories than your body uses throughout the day. You may have to experiment a little to find the right number for you, but try around 2500-3000 calories. While cutting you should have your diet in check so that you can maintain muscle while losing mostly fat. You will most likely lose some strength while cutting, but you cannot avoid that. Its worth it though, still to it and youll be shredded in no time.





When cutting/bulking:


Keep your goals in mind. If youre bulking, make sure that youre not gaining to much fat. If youre cutting, make sure that youre not losing too much muscle on your cut. The mirror and progress pictures are useful tools to ensure that youre doing everything correctly. Sure, you may gain some fat when bulking, but if thats the only thing youre gaining, then youre doing it wrong.





Cardio


- Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to lose some calories while also strengthening your cardiovascular system. Make sure that you dont neglect cardio. You dont want to be jacked yet unable to run a mile in a respectable time. Although some people can get away with doing cardio altogether, I believe that is really helpful in cutting off whatever fat you have left. When I added cardio to my routine, I began to get more vascular and cut.





What is HIIT Cardio?


High Intensity Interval Cardio. To do HIIT, just walk for a minute, then run for a minute, and keep alternating between the two for about 15-20 minutes. Try to run hard enough so that you are winded when you walk.





Stretching


Stretching is extremely important before and after you work out. If you take 3-5 minutes to stretch before you work out, it will be safer, and you wont get hurt. Those 3 minutes of stretching can save you from an injury that could keep you out of the gym for months.


Here is a list of different stretches - http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretches.htm





Warming up


Warming up for compound exercises, such as benching, deadlifts, and squats, is also important. To warm up, use weight that you can easily do for 15-20 reps for your first set. After you finish this set, work your way up in weight until you comfortably reach your working set. Try not to tire yourself out by warming up too much though. There is a balance to be found. Warming up will help prevent injuries.


For a more detailed explanation - http://www.ironaddicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3404





Breathing


Breathing properly is very important while working out. Breathe out during the effort phase of the exercise. For example, you would breathe in when bringing the bar down in a bench, and you would breathe out when you push the bar up.





Progress


Every week, try to add 5 pounds to your compound lifts without sacrificing form. Also, add weight on for your other exercises too; however, these other exercises, such as lateral raises, take time to make progress in. You may not progress every week enough to add weight, but try to. If you stop making progress, then either change your routine or your diet (or both). Either your routine hasnt been changed in a while and your muscles have become accustomed to it or you arent eating enough calories in your diet (its much easier to progress in strength while bulking than cutting — in fact, while cutting, your strength will most likely decline).





Form


Don't sacrifice your form to lift heavier weights. You'll make more progress BB curling 70 pounds correctly (without swinging your back or moving your elbows) than by curling 90 pounds. You just look like stupid when you are lifting weights that you cannot handle. Whats the point of going to the gym? (Vainly increasing numbers, or actually making progress and being able to handle those numbers). You can sacrifice some form every now and then (My form for BB rows is pretty bad sometimes), but dont do anything major or you will end up hurting yourself.





My metabolism is the reason I cannot gain weight…what should I do?


Your metabolism may be a little faster than someone elses, but you can still easily gain weight by eating a little bit more. Stop using your “fast metabolism” as an excuse. You're the only one who can change your physique. I myself have gone from weighing 100 pounds to weighing 160 pound, so there is no reason that you cannot accomplish this too.





What are sets?


A set is a group of multiple reps. Here is an article on the different types of sets.


http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jon32.htm





What are reps?


A rep is one full completed repetition in whatever exercise you are doing.





My metabolism is the reason I cannot lose weight…what should I do?


Yet again, stop making excuses for your lack of dedication. Eat less calories than your body needs (probably 2500-3000), and you will lose weight. If you have trouble eating less calories, then add running into your routine too to burn more calories. Remember, calories in vs. calories out.





Body Fat Percentage


As your body fat lowers, your muscles will become more defined. Here is a basic chart for various body fat percentages:











What should my diet consist of?


Try to eat at least 1 gram of protein for each pound that you weigh (For example, a 160 lber would eat 160 grams of protein) every day. I mainly try to eat foods that are high in protein and low in simple sugars. Some examples of foods that are great for muscle building are tuna, chicken, peanut butter, oats, milk, and eggs. Theres nothing wrong with having a snack or a cheat meal every now and then (genetics pending). A great way of tracking your diet/caloric intake is www.fitday.com





What should I have to eat after I workout?


Make a protein shake with whey protein. I like to throw in some fruit, milk, and a yogurt too to make it taste better.

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Sleep


Try to get at least 8 hrs of sleep every single night. Getting enough sleep is essential to building muscle. While you sleep, your body repairs itself. Without enough sleep, your progress will most likely come to a halt. Sleeping will provide you with the energy to workout at your best.





Rest


Do NOT work out every single day of the week. Your muscles need some time to rest. Working out for 4 or 5 days is more than enough.


Do NOT work out the same muscle more than twice a week (Excluding Calves, Abs, and Forearms if you want).





Noob gains


When you first start working out, you will see great results and your strength will increase dramatically. However, yow will stop receiving noob gains after some time. Don't be discouraged when your results begin to slow down.





When is the best time for a whey protein shake?


When you first wake up and/or after your work out





How can I make my protein shakes taste better?


Make a shake with milk, whey protein, fruit, and juice.





Does smoking affect my gains?


Smoking doesn't affect your muscle gains, but it obviously will affect your health over time. Also, it will affect your ability to do cardio. It's your decision to do whatever you want. I dont understand why you would work so hard to build your body up only to destroy it with cigarettes.





Although you do not need to do these things, I find that they help me a lot.


1 - Bring a notebook to record your lifts every day so that you can add weight and remember what you did the following week.


2 - Until you are able to get an estimate of what you eat in your head, writing down what you eat everyday in a notebook, on your computer in Excel, or even on www.fitday.com is helpful.


3 - Take progress pictures every month to see how you are doing.


4 - Set realistic short term goals.


5 Find a workout partner. Workout partners will provide you with motivation; they can spot you; and you can compete with them and see who makes better progress. Whenever I have my workout partner there, I workout much harder and generally exercise more.











Answers to some commonly asked questions in the Forums:





How do I increase my bench press?


There are many ways to increase your bench press. Most importantly, if you gain weight, your bench will most likely go up if you are doing everything correctly. Another way is to switch up your routine. For example, you can switch to dumbbells or barbells for a month. There are many articles on this website alone that specifically focus on how to increase your bench. Just use google. Books can be written on this subject. The simplified answer is eat well, sleep, and train consistently, and your bench will go up.





Why have I stopped progressing?


There are many reasons why you have stopped progressing. Try to make changes to any of the following things and you will probably begin progressing again.


1 - You do not get enough sleep


2 - Your diet sucks


3 - You haven't changed up your workout in a while.


- Remember, just because your lifts arent becoming stronger does not mean that you arent progressing in the mirror.





What foods are inexpensive and high in protein?


1 - tuna


2 - peanut butter ( also has healthy fats)


3 - cottage cheese


4 - milk


5 - microwaveable meat


6 - Salmon


7 - turkey/chicken breast


8 - Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews


9 Eggs





What body fat % to see abs?


It varies from person to person. Under 12 percent usually.





Why do my forearms hurt when I am doing Bicep Curls?


- Most likely because you have weak forearms. Try to strengthen them with forearm exercises.





I take 57381578 supps but I don't see results? Why is this?


Because your diet sucks. A good diet is more important than supplements. Supplements only benefit you if your diet is in check.





I'm going on vacation for 1-2 weeks. Will I lose all my muscle !?!?!??!?!?!?


No, you will not lose much, if any, gains during your vacation. In fact, it's good to take a week off from working out at least 4-6 times a year. Just make sure that you focus on eating a high protein diet while you are away and you will be fine.





I hate how my gym is always packed. What should I do?


Ask someone to work in with them. People are friendly and will usually let you work in with them. Just be respectful and offer to spot them/take the weight off when you are done.





I hate people who curl in the squat rack. What should I do?


Stop whining about it on an internet forum. Tell the person who is doing it. We dont care.





Considering not training legs?


People who dont train their legs look stupid. Although leg day may be the most difficult day, it is the most rewarding in my opinion.


Reasons to train legs


1 Really beneficial and useful for sports


2 - You won't look stupid (Youll have a balanced physique)


3 - You'll look alpha and will stand out from the crowd (not many people have nice legs)


4 You do not want chicken legs








I hurt myself lifting. What should I do?


If the pain doesn't go away, you should go see your doctor and take a break from lifting.





When should I drink my protein shakes?


Shortly after your workout or whenever you do not have enough time to eat actual solid food. It should be used as a meal replacement when you do not have enough time to eat real food. Being that whey protein is somewhat expensive, I suggest minimizing your use of it in your diet in order to save money. Food is just as good, if not better than, your protein shakes. In addition, you can also have casein, a slow dissolving protein before bed.





I have stretch marks from gaining weight. How do I get rid of them?


There are many ways to get rid of stretch marks.


1 - Let them fade away over time


2 - Buy certain creams, such as cocoa butter.


3 - Go tanning

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Creatine?


There - http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth…hp?t=112484941





How do I get better at doing pullups?


By doing pullups. Once you progress enough to be able to do 10 proper pull-ups, then try adding weights and doing weighted pull-ups. Pull-ups are a great exercise for your back (they are one of my favorites in addition to deadlifts).





I cannot even do one pullup. What should I do?


Do other exercises for your back and build it up until you can. Either that, or you can have someone assist your pull-ups by pushing your feet up somewhat to lessen the load.





How many cheat meals should I have a week?


There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a cheat meal every now and then. Dont go overboard and learn to control your urges. Personally, I have a bag of chips every other day and fast food once a week. You can have junk food every now and then if it fits into your diet, just don't go overboard.





Does masturbation affect my gains?


No. Why are you worrying about this when your diet probably isn't even in check. Focus on more important issues. Masturbation is a perfectly healthy activity, and it will not affect your workouts.





How long should my workout last?


About an hour, give or take 20 minutes. It depends on whether or not you do cardio/etc. My workouts on average take about an hour.





How can I stay motivated?


1 - Take progress pictures and look at the progress you make each month.


2 - Bring a workout partner to workout with you.


3 - Listening to music makes it more enjoyable.


4 - Changing up your routine with new exercises makes it more interesting.





My parents won't let me buy supplements or even eat too much. What should I do?


Tell them that you are <insert age> and you are able to make your own decisions. Also, tell them that you are trying to live a healthier and happier life and they are preventing you from doing so. Its your life.





What body type am I?


1 - Ectomorph - delicate, lean, small shouldered, takes longer to gain muscle


2 - Mesomorph - Athletic, rectangle shaped, great posture, gains muscle easily.


3 - Endomorph - Soft body, round physique, fat loss is difficult, gains muscle easily too.


- Most people are a mix between two of the body types.





What are some of the exercises that you like?


Shoulders


- Military press, Arnold press, Lateral Raise, DB shoulder press, bent over low-pulley side lateral


Back


- Deadlifts, Bent over BB row, pullups, chinups, WG pullups, pulldowns, One arm DB row, T bar row


Chest


- BB Flat, Incline, and Decline Press, DB Flat, Incline, and Decline, Flyes, cable crossover


Triceps


- Close Grip Bench Press, Skullcrushers, Dips, Pushdowns


Legs


- BB Squat, Leg Press, Front squat, Leg Extensions, Seated and Standing Calf Raises, Leg Curls


Traps


- BB and DB Shrugs and Upright Rows


Forearms


- Wrist Curl over bench, Reverse BB curl, Wrist roller


Abs


- All weighted - Cable Crunch, Decline, Hanging Leg Raises, Knee Raise on parallel bars


Biceps


- BB and DB Curls, BB and DB Preacher Curls, Hammer Curls, Chinups





What is soreness an indicator of?


Soreness is an indicator of torn muscle fibers. It doesn't necessarily mean growth, but it's a good indicator that you did something right. When you first begin working out, your body will get really sore because it is not used to working out. After a few months, however, your body will not get as sore anymore after your workouts.





Does lifting stunt my growth?


No. The only way it could affect your growth is if your form is horrible and you injure yourself. Lifting is a perfectly safe and healthy activity that will only benefit you in the long run.


Why dont I look like <insert fitness model/bodybuilder/person in magazine>?


Im going to be completely honest here. Some of these people, (not all) achieved their great results with the help of steroids, photo edits, make-up, and perfect lighting. Companies are trying to sell you something, and they usually do not care about whether or not it will even help you. They only care about tricking you into thinking that if you take product X, then youll look like fitness model Y. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isnt. There is a lot of money to be made in the weightlifting/bodybuilding industry, so be careful who you listen to or what supplements you take. However, there is nothing wrong with having a role model / ideal physique to look up to because it will provide you with motivation.





Water


http://build-muscle-gain-weight.com/…-nutrient.html


Drink water while you are working out. Staying hydrated is really important.





My hands hurt when I workout. What should I do?


Either man up and wait for your calluses to get harder or invest in some weight lifting gloves. I use weight lifting gloves for heavy Deadlifts because they help me hold onto the weight. Another way to help with grip issues is chalk (much better, but some gyms do not allow it).





What kind of supplements should I take?


Creatine, whey protein, fish oil, multivitamin, and, if you want, a pre-workout caffeine supplement for energy. These are what I take, and I believe that theyve helped my workouts/progress. A good


diet >supplements though, so make sure your diet is in check.





I workout by myself in a gym. How do I get a spotter?


Ask someone in your gym to spot you. Theyll help you. Either that or bring a friend


Why am I not veiny/vascular?


Vascularity is mostly genetic. However, when you lower your body fat, you will be able to see more veins as your body fat gets lower and lower. My veins started to show up when I was around 9-11% bodyfat.





I quit working out. How long will it take me to catch up to where I was?


It depends on how long it has been since the last time you worked out. Some people suggest that you will be able to reach your former size in a shorter amount of time than before because of muscle memory.





How can I strengthen my grip for holding heavy weight?


1 - Workout your forearms


2 - Mixed Grip (One hand overhand, one hand underhand) - make sure you switch it up


3 - Chalk


4 Gloves (Doesnt strengthen your grip, but will help you to hold heavier weight)


5 - Straps





Should I do Cardio when bulking?


Yes, you should do cardio when bulking. Why would you neglect one of the most important muscles in your body? - your heart





How do I get bigger arms?


I'm assuming that you also want the other parts of your parts, such as your shoulders and chest to also get bigger. To get bigger all around, you need to have a decent routine, diet, and sleeping habits. If you keep on working at it, your arms will grow along with the rest of your body. Just remember that results take time and you will not gain 5 inches of muscle on your arms in a year. To gain muscle all around, you need to be taking in an excess amount of calories with a good diet, while also following an effective routine and training hard. Building up a great physique takes a lot of time and effort.





Here are some exercises that I like to do for biceps:


- Barbell Curls, Dumbbell Curls, Concentration Curls, Preachers, Hammer Curls, and Chinups





But remember, big triceps also contribute to the size of your arms.





Here are some exercises that I like for Triceps


- Close Grip Bench Press, Skullcrushers, Dips, Pushdowns

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Because this question is asked at least 5 times every single day…





How do I get Abs?


Here are a few articles on this subject


http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/ryanswan3.htm


http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/brent1.htm


In order to get visible abs, you will need a body fat percentage of around 12% or less (this number varies depending on genetics). Some people build up an impressive six pack just from doing compound movements such as deadlifts and squats; however, not everyone is that way. I know that I need to hit my abs at least once or twice a week to make them grow. You need to experiment and find out what works for you, but Id suggest hitting them once or twice a week to make sure they grow. Before I actually focused on working my abs, my stomach looked terrible and I was not as aesthetic. Doing direct ab work has really helped me to build up a good core and make my body look a lot better.





How should I exercise my abs


Work your abs just like every other muscle in your body. Would you do 100 or more reps for benching or squatting? No. You should work in a rep range of about 8-15 reps. Do around 4-8 sets for them. Work your abs at the end of your workout.





What exercises should I do for my abs


Here is a list of ab exercises


http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer…cle=Abdominals


Some of my favorites are cable crunches, weighted sit-ups, weighted hanging leg raise, plate twists, and planks (for a minute). I usually do planks after every set.


Dont be afraid to experiment and see what works for you though. Try every exercise at least once.


Other notes on your core:


Make sure you work your obliques and serratus anterior in order to have a really nice, complete midsection. The adonis belt is completely genetic, but working out your obliques will bring it out. Although some people warn about working your obliques too much (and thus getting too big of a waist), I dont really see a problem with working them once or twice a week every week. Most people neglect their obliques, dont be one of them.

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You may now post.

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20% reminds me of me. hella hairy

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very interesting + helpful

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I'm 14% body fat right now :|

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ty based chain!!!