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7 Simple Steps To Beginning Bodybuilding

By Marc David, author of The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding

Part 1 of 2  |  Part 2 of 2

Recently I received an email from a frustrated 16 year old bodybuilder that went something like this...
"A Little Help Please! I am 16 and VERY skinny! I don't have much fat on me. You can almost see my bones if I'm not wearing anything baggy. I only weigh 125 lbs and I know I am toothpick, mainly because I can't eat very much. I've been working out hard, but I haven't gained anything yet. What should I do to gain weight?"

Frustrated and Skinny

You have no idea how much that plea for help sounded just like I did when I was a teenager. When I was 17, I somehow convinced my sister to take a picture of me standing in front of the Christmas tree, flexing with all my might... all 130 lbs of me!

If you're curious to see what I looked like before and after I built myself up to 199 lbs of muscle, my pictures are posted in all their glory on this web page: beginning-bodybuilding.com. Scroll down - you can't miss it. The before picture is a little embarrassing, (I didn't even take off the glow-in-the dark plastic eagle necklace I found somewhere), but it's 100% un-altered and shows the truth about where I started.

Anyway, the question I received from that 125 pound teenager reminded me of myself because it was the same thing I asked when I was in his shoes. I was 17 and tired of being a human coat-hanger. I was working out hard and I thought I was doing everything I could to gain weight... but I was wrong... and it took me many years of making mistakes before I finally got it right.

If I could hop into a time machine, I would write a letter, then go back in time and hand-deliver it to my skinny teenage self. The letter would be written by the age 30-something Marc (much older and wiser), specifically to and for the 17 year old Marc. The top of the letter would read:

7 Simple Steps To Beginning Bodybuilding

Although my hypothetical letter would be written for me, I'm certain that the 7 steps in that letter would apply just as well to you or to any other teenager or beginner who is frustrated and at a point (early in their training education), where they would waste a lot of time if they started heading down the wrong path.

I wasted so many years making so many training and diet mistakes, that I hope by sharing these 7 steps with you, that you will get started on the right track and make great gains right from the beginning.

Before I take you through each of the 7 steps one by one, first, it's a pre-requisite that we define the word, "bodybuilding."

"Bodybuilding" isn't just about getting massive muscles. "Bodybuilding" isn't just for men, either. The word "bodybuilding" should actually be two words to eliminate confusion, sterotypes and preconceived notions. Using resistance training, in any way, shape or form, even if you're female and only lifting 5 pound dumbbells, is "body building!" Body building can mean anything to anybody, so regardless of your goals, don't be intimidated by the phrase.

Now that we have that out of the way, onward to the 7 steps! The first step to beginning "body building" is...

1. Pick A Goal

No matter what, if you don't have a short term and long term goal in mind, you'll just wander around aimlessly like a zombie with your arms out, towards anything in sight. Five, ten, or fifteen years later, you'll wonder what the heck happened when you still look the same!

You'd be floored if you knew how many people are frustrated with their lack of results, but when asked what - specifically - they are trying to accomplish, they cannot clearly define or articulate it.

Having a clear goal is the ONLY logical way to start. If you want to gain, maintain or lose weight, that is a goal. Know precisely which of these goals you want before you start as well as how much you want to lose or gain and when you want it.

2. Figure Out How Many Calories A Day You Need

Once you have a specific goal, your next step is to determine the proper nutritional intake required to achieve that goal.

In many cases, beginning body builders complain that they're too skinny and tooth-pick-like, but in the very next sentence, they say they can't eat much.

When I was 16, I didn't eat much either. I thought the weight lifting alone was enough. I skipped many meals (especially on weekends), and I tried all kinds of protein powders and supplements, but I was clearly failing at nutrition.

My mom would cook big meals, but I'd barely put a dent in the pile of food on my plate before running off to do something... all the while, wishing I was bigger, stronger and not so skinny.

There are many simple ways to calculate your calories, and I will review them in a separate article. For now, just remember, calories are not hard to calculate, but if you don't know your goal, you cannot calculate the right caloric intake, and if you don't know the proper caloric intake, you're not likely to achieve your goal.

3. Figure Out How Much Protein You Need Each Day

Protein is muscle. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, and eating the optimal quantity and quality of protein combined with the optimal caloric intake, is the only way you are going to build more muscle

If your goal is burning fat, protein is equally important to maintain the muscle you already have. It's also proven that getting enough protein can actually help to make you leaner.

There are very simple formulas for caluclating protein requirements that do not require a degree from MIT to perform. For example, although more precise methods exist, a general guideline for protein consumption is to start with one gram per pound of body weight.

These steps will be continued in part 2

About The Author

Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the The Beginner’s Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding method. He can show you how to reduce your body fat thru diet, how to gain weight or create more muscle thru an abundance of workout tips by training LESS! Not more. He dispels many “bodybuilding myths”, tells you what most people never realize about nutrition, and what the drug companies DON’T WANT YOU to know. Go to: Beginning-Bodybuilding.com to find out more about The Beginner’s Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding.