Bodybuilding – Body Building – Muscle and Fitness

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What Is body building?

Bodybuilding is defined as the process of building, refining and strengthening your body’s muscles through specifically designed exercise regimes that usually include a combination of cardio workouts and weight training in conjunction with increased caloric and protein intake and rest. Although bodybuilding brings to mind buffed up men and women with popping veins and bulging muscles in competitions, the truth is that bodybuilding is as diverse as exercise itself, and anyone interested in adding some more muscle to their body, or refining the ones they have, will need to go though some form of bodybuilding.

Thus, in short – bodybuilding is in fact just building your body. Straight-forward right? Well, not so much. The definition of body building may seem simple, the actual process is not, and involves knowledge, dedication and planning.

Before we get into all of that, lets first have a look at how muscles are built.

Muscle Growth

Muscles grow, or get bigger and stronger though a process of hypertrophy. This is achieved by continuously challenging the muscles to perform under greater resistance and more weight. Basically, by lifting weights or adding resistance to a training session, we are challenging our muscles to contract and extend carrying more weight than normal. 

This results in damage to the muscle fibers, which the body then repairs by fusing the damaged fibers, to created stronger and bigger fibers, which result in stronger and bigger muscles. Repeat this process over and over again, and you end up with muscles that are much bigger and stronger than those you started with.

Your muscles have some help in the form of hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin growth factor. These hormones aid the body in protein digestion, which we all know is vital for muscle building. I mean, who could forget Rocky swallowing a dozen raw eggs before a run….phew! They also help prevent the breakdown of proteins and muscles, which is great when you are actually trying to build muscles.

Strength and resistance training stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone and testosterone. It also works directly on the muscles to make them more sensitive to the presence of the hormones, thereby further stimulating muscle growth.

When these hormones increase beyond normal levels in the bloodstream in response to training, satellite cells known as stem cells are also activated that promote muscle building. These all work together to improve your digestion and assimilation of proteins, to improve muscle repair and naturally muscle growth.

As you may have gathered from the section above, nutrition plays an important role in muscle building, and if you are not getting enough of the right vitamins, minerals, building blocks (a.k.a. amino acids) and energy, you will end up doing damage to your body. Body builders all go through stages known as bulking (i.e. building muscle) and shredding (losing fat), and the proper nutrition at each stage is vital to achieve both. If you consume too many calories while shredding – you will not lose fat. Similarly, if you consume too little protein while bulking, you will not grow muscle. The balance is an exceptionally fine one, that needs an expert’s knowledge on body building nutrition.

Nutrition & Supplements

As with any diet, body building nutrition is divided in macro (carbs, fats, proteins) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that are needed by the body to perform optimally. Body builders in general, have less than 10% body fat, with male body builders typically having only between 3-8%. This allows optimal appearance of the muscles, specifically for competitions. To this end, a body building diet is usually geared towards fat metabolism, or ketosis. In many cases, this means intermittent fasting, a nutrition program structured over several hours of the day, followed by a period of fasting. This usually falls within a 8 hours eating, 16 hours fasting regiment, but variations according to body type are available.

While intermittent fasting, the body automatically goes in to what is known as ketosis – a process whereby fat is burned for energy due to the limited availability of sugar in the blood. Both fasting and a high fat (these are the good fats – not saturated fats) diet will push the body into ketosis, allowing it to burn fat while building muscle.

As an added benefit, many report increased energy and mental clarity when in ketosis, which is also great for the challenging workouts needed during body building. It is important however that your intermittent fasting regime is well designed in conjunction with a healthy and nutritious diet for it to be effective. It should thus include a very high proportion of vegetables and selected fruits, healthy whole grains and lean, preferably free-range meat.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest bodybuilders consume between 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight daily (Source). For the best results, trainers recommend that bodybuilders consume five to six nutrient dense meals a day, rather than two or three larger meals. This allows for more effective training since the stomach is never overly full, while providing the body with a steady stream of energy, protein and vitamins throughout the day.

When it comes to supplements, everyone is a critic, and the best advice to follow is that of a professional. Depending on what you are aiming for, you will need different supplements, so asking some advice is a great idea. There are lots of different products on the market, and if you are new to supplements, a trip down the sports aisle in any pharmacy will have you thoroughly confused. According to Healthline, the following supplements will help you gain muscle and is what you should be looking out for when bodybuilding.

  • Creatine.
    This is a relatively safe supplement and probably the first one you should start with if you are new to supplements. Although creatine is naturally manufactured in the body, when supplemented it can increase creatine concentrations in the body by up to 40%. Tthe advantage of this is increased energy to the muscles resulting in better and faster muscle growth. It also prevents the breakdown of proteins in muscles and positively influences the hormone levels that effect muscle growth.

  • Whey, Casein and Soy proteins.
    Many bodybuilders supplement their diet with additional proteins derived from soy, whey or casein. Although you can try to keep up with your body’s protein demands though a normal diet, it tends to be a lot easier by simply taking a supplement. This is especially true for bodybuilders going though a bulking phase. It is worth noting that if you are already on a high protein diet, consuming excessive amounts of protein supplements will not further help muscle gain. Calculate how much you will need and stick to that – if you diet can provide it great, if not, try and supplement. Most of the supplements will actually give you recommendations of what is needed for your body weight – this is a good guideline to follow. Lots of athletes and even body builders are moving to a greener and plant based lifestyle, which often cuts out animal proteins altogether. In these cases, is it a great idea to supplement with proteins of plant origin?

  • Weight gainers.
    These are carb based supplements designed for people who are struggling to gain weight and build muscle. They can contain more than 1000 calories in one serving and is definitely not for those who wish to shred fat.

  • Beta-Alanine.
    This is a amino acid that helps fight fatigue and boost performance. When combined with an exercise program, this amino acid can also boost muscle mass which is what bodybuilders want right! More research is needed on exactly how much muscle gain can be expected from Beta-Alanine, but initial results seem promising.

  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s).
    These are essentially a protein supplement, but it is specific to three of the most common amino acids in human muscles – leucine, isoleucine and valine. Together, these three AA’s make up roughly 14% of human muscles, and by increasing their concentration in your diet, you can boost muscle growth and muscle mass.

The important thing to remember when it comes to supplements is to first look at your diet – try to adjust it to give you maximum muscle gain benefit. Only if your diet cannot sustain your needed muscle growth should you consider supplements. It is also important to note that supplements will not fix a bad diet…so munching on MacDonald’s all day, but taking a protein supplement is definitely not going to transform your body in a positive way, no matter how hard you train!


Training programs for bodybuilders are definitely not a scarce commodity in today’s world. If you search Google or YouTube you will find an abundance of training programs to suit just about any bodybuilding need for men and women at any fitness level and for any goal. These are great to start with if you are just checking things out, or simply aiming to gain a bit more muscle, but if you are serious about body building, or thinking of doing it professionally, then a training program should be designed for you specifically by a qualified trainer. A trainer will be able to advise you on diet as well, and how to avoid injuries.

But until then, for beginners, body building tips can be found just about anywhere. The first thing that you should think about is training splits – or how you are going to divide up your training. You will need to target each body part individually, so for example – Tuesdays may be your ‘legs’ day, while Thursdays may be arms and chest. You can also split them by the type of exercise – so pulling or pushing, or even by time – so three days on, one day off. It is important to pick a regime that fits in with your schedule – else you are unlikely to stick with it. Advanced body builders can train twice a day six days a week – but as a beginner this may also be too tough on your body, as you will need proper rest to repair muscles.

If you are following a free routine online, there are couple of things that you can watch out for, to make sure the routine is worth it. According to Men’s Health, some essentials include squats, deadlifts, shoulder press and bench presses. Other favorites include leg curls, calf raises, pull-downs, cable or machine rows as well as overhead presses. Muscle and Strength have a 6 week beginner program that can get you started from scratch. They also offer advice on diets and more advanced training, and is worthwhile checking out if you are a newbie.


Rest is vital to proper muscle gain, especially when you are just starting out. Many athletes and bodybuilders start out to strong and either loose interest because they are always tired and not seeing the results they expect, or because of injury. Muscle or joint injury can set you back six weeks…this is a very long time to lose out on training, and not worth the risk. It is important to remember to respect your body, know its limits while still challenging yourself.

When you start out, do it slowly and give your body ample rest. This includes a good night sleep, but also off days – days when you do not exercise at all. This is vital for muscle building as we mentioned earlier. When we weight train or challenge our muscles in any way – the muscle fibers get damaged from the strain. Our body responds by fusing muscle fibers during the repair process – as this makes them stronger and more resistant to damage – but it also takes time. If you keep on pushing your muscles without adequate repair time, you are hampering this growth process and you could be losing out on some great muscle building time. So make sure to schedule in those off days on a regular basis. Start off with three off days per week in the beginning, and as you gain strength and fitness, you can drop one or two of them for additional training days. You should have at least one day off per week, and schedule in some quality Z’s every night.

Rest is also important to prevent injury. As any athlete or bodybuilder will tell you – you need to learn to listen to your body. It is not a mechanical machine that can simple be replaced if it breaks, so you will need to respect its boundaries. If you do so, it will reward and astound you with what it is actually capable of.

Warning signs

We all know what it is like to start out with a dream, and if that dream is a sculpted body, well, your head may be filled with thoughts of hitting the gym for hours on end twice a day seven days a week. Enthusiasm is great, but only if it is reined in by reality. Here are a couple of warning signs you need to look out for when you start bodybuilding.

Over training

This is probably the biggest mistake beginners make. They train too much, too hard and they end up injured or exhausted and unmotivated. The best way to prevent this is to start strategically. Set yourself realistic goals based on where to want to end up, and where you are in terms of fitness. Consult a professional to help you get started with the right exercises at the right intensity for your body. They serve an additional purpose in that they can help motivate and encourage you along the way. If you are serious about bodybuilding and want to compete in championships, this is the best way to proceed.

Incorrect training

It also happens every so often that a person will set out to lose weight and build muscle, but end up struggling to do both. This could be as a result of bad diet, the wrong or too little exercise. If you add too much cardio to your training, you will end up cutting fat, but not necessarily building heaps of muscle. Similarly, if you arrange your splits incorrectly you may end up with beautifully sculpted triceps, but small, weak calves. This is where training programs are invaluable – as they will guide you on what to do, when and how often. They will help you target each and every muscle group, so your whole body is trained, not just your arms or legs.

Care for your psyche

If bodybuilding competitions are on your horizon, you have to remember that taking care of your psyche is just as important as developing your body. Although competitions may be a great way to inspire you and help you achieve your body building goals, taking part in a competition where you are judged solely on your physical appearance, can take its toll on your self-esteem and self-worth, and you need to be mentally prepared for this. Although most professional bodybuilders do have psychological support on the payroll, this may not be obvious for beginners. It is therefore imperative that you make sure your support system is intact, before taking on something like this.

Use your off days to pay attention to the rest of your life – take some time to meditate or talk to a friend or a professional about what is going on in your training.


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Call us 24/7. We are there for your support

About us

Res enim fortasse verae, certe graves.

Where to find us

42 Boulevard, California, number 23