1- GYM LORE: The History of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding, as a sport goes way back to the 12th century in India where the first training techniques and bodybuilding nutrition were invented. By the 16th century, bodybuilding has become a national pastime and by this time, people from various parts of the world have also taken up its concept and used stone and wood to create the first dumbbell, thus spawning the vital component of bodybuilding which is weightlifting. The late 1800s to the early 1900s led to bodybuilding becoming a widely popular commercial sport, especially among the general public. This was also the period where the first national and international bodybuilding competitions took place mostly around Europe. Eugen Sandow was a key figure in pushing bodybuilding into the kind of sport it is today. Known as ‘The Father of Modern Bodybuilding,’ he incessantly promoted his fitness and bodybuilding ideology and even published one of the first bodybuilding magazines, Physical Culture. His persistence in endorsing bodybuilding finally bore fruit when the first official weightlifting contests were held. The sport was first incorporated into the Olympic Games as a main event in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. And five years after that, Sandow was honored as one of the judges in a bodybuilding event that drew 2,000 spectators in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The 1920s saw bodybuilding as an increasingly popular sport and a very profitable industry. New muscular celebrities like Charles Atlas came to the spotlight, adding more to the whole furor over bodybuilding. Commercially manufactured dumbbells and barbells were selling like hotcakes all over the world while new developments in exercise devices, diet plans, and bodybuilding strategies were increasing in volume every year.
The Golden Age of Bodybuilding happened around the 1940s to the 1970s. This was the era of muscle beaches, movie franchises like Hercules and Tarzan that featured bodybuilders-turned-actors, and bodybuilding legends like Joe Gold, Harold Zinkin, and the two-time Mr. America John Grimek. During this time, bodybuilding separated itself formally from weightlifting. Its basic ideology was finally solidified and its goals set on health, strength, fitness, and aesthetic muscular building.
From 1966 to the present, the latest breed of professional builders led by the charismatic Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted the sport to new heights. Using his talent, charisma, and amazing physique, Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger transformed his body into the materialized version of every bodybuilding fans’ ideal form to achieve.
It was also around this time that anabolic steroids were gradually introduced in professional bodybuilding and other competitive sports. Its existence and the role it plays tainted bodybuilding as a sport but even so, bodybuilding retained its universal appeal for its core values never changed.
2- How to Take Bodybuilding Pictures
To appraise the progress during a diet or a weight training program, taking bodybuilding pictures can be very important and handy. One of the basics in taking bodybuilding pictures is to know the difference between overweight and normal by comparing the Body Mass Index (BMI) with the waist measurement. Below are a few techniques in taking bodybuilding pictures that will surely have your photographs look like those of a pro:
The Right Preparation
- In bodybuilding pictures, muscles are everything. This is why body hair must be removed by shaving or trimming right before taking a bodybuilding picture.
- The subject must not eat right before a bodybuilding picture is taken. Food can make the stomach look protruding or distended.
- Before taking the bodybuilding picture, a short workout should encourage blood circulation and increase muscle volume.
- To highlight and emphasize the curves and sinews of the muscles in the arms, torso, and legs, a thin application of baby oil or cooking oil should be done before taking the bodybuilding picture.
The Right Pose
The purpose of bodybuilding pictures is to show you at your best and in your best pose. So suck in your stomach by inhaling deeply. Keep your spinal column straight or slightly arched backwards for a trimmer look. Tense your arms, chest, stomachs, and legs to show off those muscles you’ve worked so hard to increase. And do all these simultaneously, smiling the whole time so your bodybuilding picture will look natural and even graceful.
Bodybuilding pictures are not very particular on the cameras you use. But if you’re the type who likes to do a lot of editing works, then a digital camera would be the right equipment. The wonder of digital cameras is that you can directly upload your bodybuilding picture into your computer and use photoediting software like Adobe Photoshop to edit out that ugly mole on your left cheek, or to lessen the sheen on your muscles produced by too much application of baby oil.
- Blurry bodybuilding pictures can be avoided by placing the camera on a tripod or a steady surface for better leverage.
- Contrasts in bodybuilding pictures are achieved by the proper positioning of lighting and shadow composition. Lights from the top will produce shadows on the bottom parts of the muscle while lights coming from the bottom will highlight your lower abs and make your chest muscles look slimmer.
- Never ever use flash in taking bodybuilding pictures as this will ruin the whole lighting contrasts.
And there you go: the four basic things to remember in taking the perfect bodybuilding pictures. So what are you waiting for? Start clicking!
3- Bodybuilding Routines
Finding the right bodybuilding routine can be a real headache, especially since there are dozens of bodybuilding routines and programs out there to choose from. So how do you know which one is best for you? How do you know that the bodybuilding routines stated in the program brochure really works? And how do you choose the most effective bodybuilding routine? Below is a simple guide for you to choose the bodybuilding routine that suits you best. The topmost standard in choosing the right bodybuilding routine for you is to see whether or not the program has been tested. Never mind what the brochure says. And never mind what the bodybuilding routine instructor is saying. The most objective way for you to see if a bodybuilding routine is effective or not is by relying on empirical data and experimental results.
A good and well thought out bodybuilding routine discusses all of the following key factors: Goals, training loads, progress monitoring, and recovery periods.
In a bodybuilding routine, the “just do it and see” attitude will not likely drive any major results. What a bodybuilding routine needs is program that allows progressive training. Guidance on changing your workout loads and periodic progress monitoring is essential to know if the bodybuilding routine you have is working. Regular visits to the weighing scale, size measurements, and one-rep maximums are only the easiest and most direct way to measure your progress with your bodybuilding routine.
Now often, in bodybuilding routines, recovery periods are frequently overlooked. Keep in mind that it is just as important as working out and performing your bodybuilding routine exercises. Your bodybuilding routine plan should cover rest on a regular basis and across the training phases.
The third important question to ask is: Am I the right type of individual to take up this kind of bodybuilding routine? A good bodybuilding routine is one that specifies its target population, age, training level, and effective duration.
Different people have specific needs in a bodybuilding routine. The question to consider is the gender and the age. Some bodybuilding routines might be too taxing for teenagers who have smaller and less developed muscles.
The same thing applies in the training level of a bodybuilding routine. You do not want to train under a bodybuilding routine for novices when you’re a bodybuilding veteran of 10 yrs.
And last, but certainly not the last important thing to consider is the duration of the bodybuilding routine. The program should state for exactly how long you can use the bodybuilding routine before moving on to a higher level.
So if you are serious about achieving your ultimate bodybuilding potential, the guide above should give you a better idea in what to look for in bodybuilding routines.
5- Bodybuilding Supplements
Bodybuilding is a fast-growing sport that is building popularity among the average citizens. Everyday more and more people take up the sport as they realize the countless health benefits of weight training and exercise. Thus, what was once considered a pastime in 18th century India became a huge sporting industry with commercial ventures not only in sporting equipment but in bodybuilding supplements as well. The general myth is that bodybuilding supplements can help muscular development and gain. This belief has led many an athlete “stack” themselves up with bodybuilding supplements, protein drinks, and vitamins just to gain that edge that could catapult them to fame, money, and glory. The truth, however, is that many bodybuilding supplements are untested and some are proven ineffective. Creatine, however, is one of the few bodybuilding supplements that has been tested and approved as an effective bodybuilding supplement. Even so, creatine only works when taken with a solid nutritional base and when the user is in a weight training program. Other recommended nutritional bodybuilding supplements are as follows:
Multiple vitamins and minerals. This type of bodybuilding supplement is for overall intake and should be taken both in the mornings and in the evenings.
Essential fatty acids. This is an essential bodybuilding supplement for every bodybuilder. The commonest form of essential fatty acid that every bodybuilder need is the omega-3.
Protein powder. Protein is of course the key to muscle growth and as such, it is the most important bodybuilding supplement to have. Quality of this bodybuilding supplement is defined by yield, amino acid profile (BCAA – EAA ratio), WPI – WPC ratio, filler percentage, taste, ease of use, blending capacity, digestibility, and results.
Vitamin C. This bodybuilding supplement is already included in the multi vitamin but FYI, one to three grams per day is needed.
Vitamin E (400-800 iu which is inclusive of the amount taken in the multi vitamin.)
Glutamine. This is an optional bodybuilding supplement but which can be helpful since it may boost circulation of growth hormones in some people and reinforce immune and brain function. The amino acid that is glutamine also aids in the synthesis of protein and has anti-catabolic properties. Recommended daily dosage would be 5-15 grams.
Acidophilus and/or Fructooligosaccharides (FOS). A bodybuilding supplement that helps improve gastrointestinal health which might be compromised due to excessive intake of protein powders.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a bodybuilding supplement that functions as a blood sugar regulator and as an antioxidant.
Coenzyme Q-10 is another bodybuilding supplement that can be used as an antioxidant. It is also good for cardiac health and prevention of gum disease.
Green Tea Extract. A major disease-preventive agent, this bodybuilding supplement also has antioxidant and metabolic properties.
Psyllium Husks and/or Flax Seeds. This bodybuilding supplement is a great source of fiber, lignans, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
6- Female Bodybuilding and the Postmodern Culture
In these increasingly modern times where men’s sports almost always have its female counterpart, female bodybuilding is experiencing a crisis. Where before female bodybuilding was bodybuilding in its purest form, now it is gradually giving way to the sports’ old adversary which is femininity. Bodybuilding is a sport that combines weigh lifting, good diet, and rest. Primarily designed as a male-only pursuit, bodybuilding in women soon gained momentum in the 1980s when female bodybuilding competitions began occurring in various regions. Female bodybuilding began with Lisa Lyon who was a UCLA graduate and a student of the Japanese martial arts called ‘Kendo.’ She had a typical dancer’s physique, slender and graceful, which by today’s female bodybuilding standards would have been deemed laughable. But this was a different era, a time when female bodybuilding athletes were willing and able to make their bodies look like acrobats’. At the encouragement of Arnold Schwarzenegger who was the world’s most famous bodybuilding icon, Lisa Lyon entered and won the first World Women’s Bodybuilding Championship. Ms. Lyon was followed by Rachel McLish who won the International Federation of Bodybuilders’ (IFBB) first Miss Olympia competition in 1980. Mclish’s had the soap opera good looks and narrow-waisted, rippled body of the IFBB’s ideal female bodybuilder and for a while, she was the quintessential athlete. The next female muscle to take the sport by storm was Bev Francis whose 24-inch thigh, buffed pecs, and planed abdomen changed the world of female bodybuilding forever, thus catapulting it into the crisis the sport is now facing today. Bev Francis was bigger, bulkier, and more muscular than any other female bodybuilding athlete of her time. Her appearance set the a trend in female bodybuilding as other athletes strived hard to achieve the level of physique Ms. Francis acquired. The introduction of Ms. Olympia into the silver screen in the ‘90s sharply brought the meaty women into the viewers’ living rooms and their responses varied from awe, to shock, to disgust. In answer to the fan’s reactions, IFBB set the standards of female bodybuilding back to the time of Ms. McLish. This new branch in female bodybuilding became known as fitness competition. As opposed to female bodybuilding which was more hardcore, fitness competition is female bodybuilding lite where bodybuilders were fit and toned without the muscle bulk. But this controversial new development in female bodybuilding has set many tongues wagging, especially in feminist organizations and women in power lifting, bodybuilding, and strength training circles. Their criticisms are sharply centered on the increased magazine spreads of fitness athletes wearing lingerie and swimsuits.
Even so, this new female bodybuilding type of competition continued to garner positive viewers’ responses. And most believe that the reason for this is that the women in fitness competition epitomize an era of female bodybuilding where the women were good to look at.
7- MALE BODYBUILDING: What Makes A Man?
The predominant cultural belief of modern society has imposed upon man certain specifications in the male body. This is probably the reason why people are so into male bodybuilding nowadays since muscular looks seems to be the defining factor in assessing a man’s masculinity.
But what exactly is male bodybuilding? It’s going to the gym and lifting weights, right? Not. If anything, male bodybuilding is a more refined form of weightlifting for it takes into heart the ideology of aesthetic body shape, tone, and mass.
In male bodybuilding circles, the word can take on different meanings and anyone can have a different view on health and nutrition. For some, male bodybuilding is a sport. For others, it is a science. Still, others believe male bodybuilding is a form of art. But no matter how it is categorized, one thing is certain male bodybuilding is too complex to be relegated under a single category.
The Four Principles
In male bodybuilding, there are only four parameters to keep in mind and that is nutrition, recuperation, supplementation, and exercise. Before going down to the specifics of each of these four principles of male bodybuilding, it is important to know that gaining the ultimate potential can only be achieved if 100% maximum effort is given to each factor. For the best results in male bodybuilding, one must adapt the best training regimen. And the best training regimen is one that never allows you skip a meal and never lets you forget to take your supplements. Good nutrition and supplementation are the key to male bodybuilding. A common thought that any male bodybuilding fan knows is that if you’re not growing, then you’re not eating enough. Male bodybuilding also focuses much not only in nutrition and exercise but in recuperation as well. After lifting huge weights in the gym and going through rigorous male bodybuilding routines, it is only natural that the body is treated to a good amount of sleep. This is also the time when the muscle starts to grow and recover.
The HIT Male Bodybuilding System
HIT stands for Highly Intensive Training and this is the prime system adapted by most male bodybuilding aficionados. It is incidentally the most taxing but the most effective male bodybuilding program out there. The HIT male bodybuilding system centers around highly intense and infrequent workouts with emphasis on compound movements and progression. What happens when muscles are torn and broken down at the gym? Muscle hypertrophy. Or in layman’s term, muscle growth. It is quite a natural bodily reaction, much like how calluses are formed to protect the skin.
The HIT system of male bodybuilding takes advantage of this tendency of the muscles to rebuild itself once broken down. Intensive male bodybuilding training increases the extent of the break down of the muscle and thus increase muscle gains.
8- Going Basic with Natural Bodybuilding
It’s quite obvious that the ultimate goal of serious gym-goers is bodybuilding. We’re not talking about the sport here where men and women in bulk are being showcased. What we’re talking about though is natural bodybuilding, the newest health regimen where the muscles of the body are developed the natural way. Now, by natural bodybuilding, we mean exactly that. No steroids, no drugs, and no so-called “light” muscle enhancers. Natural bodybuilding is just plain exercise and good, old healthy diet.
The Strategy: Natural Bodybuilding Regimen
Well, we all know that no self-respecting bodybuilder goes without a proper training program as guide. After all, bodybuilding is defined partially by how a person trains. For natural bodybuilding, there are three basic strategies: weight training, good nutrition, and rest. Resistance weight training in natural bodybuilding leads to microtrauma of the muscle being trained. Microtrauma in turn causes muscle soreness called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The repair process of microtrauma is what causes anabolism or muscle growth. Below are six rules to follow in any natural bodybuilding program:
- Sessions should be short. The maximum number of minutes should be sixty since after this, hormone levels for muscle building and growth begin to drop.
- Rests between sets should be minimized to around 60-90 seconds for cardiovascular purposes and better muscle voluminizing effect.
- Sets should be 6-15 cycles for each exercise. This helps maximize growth hormone level and increase circulation of blood and nutrients.
- And lastly, natural bodybuilding should be progressive training. Now, of course, for muscle to grow and repair itself, it would need something to fuel the process. This is where nutrition comes in. The average bodybuilder needs 500-1000 calories per day and natural bodybuilding enthusiasts requires around the same figure in calorie-intake.
Natural bodybuilding enthusiasts take in complex carbohydrates as opposed to simple sugars as their major calorie and energy source. It is imperative that natural bodybuilding aficionados keep in mind that too much consumption of simple sugars may lead to fat rather than muscle development and at extreme cases, can cause Type II diabetes.
Protein is another key nutritional value for natural bodybuilding for it helps build and develop the muscles. Every natural bodybuilding follower should take in one to two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to achieve maximum body development and recovery. The best sources of natural protein are chicken, whey, and egg whites, which are preferred by almost all natural bodybuilding buffs for their low fat value.
The third basic component of natural bodybuilding is rest. The quality and quantity of sleep a bodybuilder gets can very much affect the success of his natural bodybuilding regimen. Rest gives the body the opportunity to recover and build.
Now, as what you might have found out, natural bodybuilding is far from rocket science. It is as simple as one-two-three. And we mean that literally.
9- TEEN BODYBUILDING: Who Said Milk is Only Best for Babies?
Okay now everybody knows how important milk is. In fact, we cannot emphasize more on the power of milk in teen bodybuilding. So now what do you do with all those empty milk jugs lying around? You can put them up for recycling but leave two for the newest teen bodybuilding routine: the milk jug workout. We all know that bodybuilding can be a big investment, what with all those equipment, training instructions, and supplements you have to take. This is why most teens balk at the idea. Teen bodybuilding? Whoever heard of such a thing?
Well, a lot of teenagers have already taken up teen bodybuilding as a kind of hobby. This is mainly because the workout programs used for teen bodybuilding capitalize on training without weights, thus cutting on costs.
Right now, the teen bodybuilding program we’re focusing on is the Milk Jug workout. What better way to make use of those empty milk jugs, right? Well, first the milk jugs have to be filled with something. Either sand or water will do.
For the biceps, it’s best to assume a standing position, making sure that the back remains straight. Holding the now filled up milk jugs, one for each hand,
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