So you’ve realized that you are a skinny, weak, pathetic lump of carbon and water (with a nice fedora though) and you’ve decided you don’t like that and want to do something about it. You feel like that if you go about building some muscle through hard work you’ll feel better, look better, be healthier and attract more (or at least 1 if we’re not that ambitious) of the opposite sex.
Where to Start on you Bodybuilding Journey
Well, congratulations, you’ve made the first mental step on an amazing journey, one that epitomizes the saying “it’s not about the destination but the path you take“.
This is a constant you must remember to be successful with bodybuilding, that you must embrace the physical pain, the discipline, the hard work of the PROCESS of building muscle if you are to achieve a great physique.
If you can’t embrace the process you will fail. So decide now. If you’re a pussy bitch stop reading and close this tab. If not, read this whole post.
But enough being a big fat negative Nancy (sorry, we do that sometimes). You already know it’s hard work and you’re ready to take it all on, that’s why you’ve Googled “bodybuilding for beginners” or something to this effect.
There’s an over abundance of information on the topic and you’re looking to cut through the clutter to learn everything you need to start from square one. That’s smart. To reward you, we’re providing you all the answers you need in this guide.
How to Start Bodybuilding
1. Commit to Yourself, Both Mentally & Physically
First make a commitment to yourself that you will put 100% into this endeavor. Unlike playing HALO in your mum’s basement, you’ve got to stick with this, you can’t set it down and return 2 weeks later and expect to go anywhere. You will fight through adversity, whether it be rain, snow, lazy friends, temptations of party’s and booze, driving etc.
The simple concept of building muscle is channeling mental power into physical power which results in physical growth, or growth of the body. As Kai Greene is always saying, it’s the process of thoughts becoming things, that is what bodybuilding and muscle growth is all about.
Becoming a serious lifter isn’t just about you though. Sure, lifting is an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport when you have a spotter and a group activity when everyone in the gym knows you and supports you in your goals.
Learn the fundamentals of spotting to be a member of the tribe, be courteous, put your weights away etc. and you’ll earn respect while building gains, which is a double win.
Don’t forsake perfecting your core lift form in pursuit of other flashy exercises. Learning proper squat/deadlift/bench form and technique is like learning to ride a bike, swim, or handle a gun; it’ll be valuable to you for life.
6. Channel Your Inner Hulk
You muscle don’t come easily. You can’t be a “passive Peter” and just go through the motions and expect results. No. You have to go in and lift with your whole heart as often as possible. Get yourself psyched up, drink a cup of strong coffee, have a Red Bull or even a pre-workout before you go in the gym so you hit is 110% and no less.
Music is a great way to get pumped up which in turn makes for a more productive workout and in turn makes for greater gains. Before you invest in any sort of stimulant supplements, make sure you got a good pair of gym headphones (link) because that will be a major key to being able to “lift furiously” which is something all the big dogs do and you should do too.
Have your friends with you, at least one solid training partner, that will push you. When you want to do 10 reps he/she will push you to do 12 or if they’re a real pal, 15 reps. They will learn your limit and push you beyond it all the time.
“What about over training?” you may be asking yourself. Don’t worry about over-training. If you are new to lifting and under the age of 25 you already have insane amounts of testosterone and other hormones running through your blood that will help you grow at rates much faster than those of us who are your “elders”.
7. Emulate Heroes Regardless of Semantics
Having an idol isn’t a bad thing, especially in a sport like bodybuilding where idols have to achieve their status through the shedding of endless hours of blood, sweat, and tears.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular idols for beginning lifters and for good reason, he’s considered by many to be the best bodybuilder of all time, combining a classic physique with a magnetic personality and personal style.
Arnold is a great idol because there is just so much material published on him. He’s been in movies like Pumping Iron, he’s done countless interviews and published all sorts of training advice.
Furthermore, he wasn’t blessed with a muscle-bound frame. In fact, young Arnold looked like many young teenage lifters around the world, he was taller (6’2) thin and angsty (jk). In essence, he had a typical ectomorph body type and he went on to become the greatest bodybuilder of all time (debatable of course). What better idol could you have?
Well there are many! If you like Arnold you should check out a pro lifter named Calum Von Moger. He is often compared to Arnold although he has a very different style and is building a physique unique to himself. If you’re into giants, check out Kai Greene, he’s published dozens of inspirational and instructional bodybuilding videos.
If you’re more into “aesthetics” which is, you never intend to look “scary big” you just want to looked jacked and feel good doing it then check out the likes of Jeff Seid, Angelov Lazar and the infamous Zyzz himself. Skinny Yoked has researched and published the workout and diet habits of all three of these lifters.
- Click for Jeff Seid’s Workout and Diet Guide
- Click for Angelov Lazar’s Workout and Diet Guide
- Click for Zyzz’s Workout and Diet Guide
Sure, many if not everyone mentioned above is using some type of performance enhancing drug but who cares, they still put in the work and are masters of their trade and thus are perfect idols to emulate in the gym.
8. Invest Only What You Can & In Essentials Only
In every sport there’s that kid who’s mommy buys him all the super expensive and unnecessary shit but actually the kid sucks at whatever sport he/she’s trying at. You know the kid with the $200 basketball shoes or the $2,000 bicycle or the $200 powerlifting shoes.. The big joke here is on those kids because you don’t need any of that stuff to be great.
When you are starting bodybuilding focus on 3 simple things and you will achieve great things. These are:
- Lift regularly, lift strong and strive for perfection in form.
- Eat regularly, eat healthy and strive to achieve sufficient macro-nutrient levels.
- Rest regularly, sleep well and long enough so your body can do it’s thang and fucking grow.
All the super expensive supplements are not necessary, that is a fact. Some simple and affordable supplements can make your life a lot easier, like creatine, caffeine and protein powder, but if you’re eating big meals throughout the day packed with greens and protein even those aren’t necessary.
The fact is, when you start working out your body has a huge reserve of untapped potential to draw from (and probably some excess fat) to transform itself. It’s smarter to make your first gains (also known as the amazing virgin gains because they’re so big/quick and come so fast) before you look into additional supplementation.
The same goes for equipment. You don’t NEED those expensive bodybuilding shoes, any solid flat bottomed footwear will do. Hell, we’ve spoke highly about the $60 Adidas Superstars as being a perfect gym shoe.
Get some cheap flat shoes, get some protein powder if you’re not big into cooking chicken every day, a solid shaker bottle and you’re ready to go. That’s it. You can try pre-workouts if you want, get special workout clothes but they’re not “must haves”, they’re simply luxuries.
9. Focus on the Present to Construct a Great Future
Bodybuilding is a sport that is all about the journey, not the destination. The sport is more about the practice than the actual show, unlike many other team sports. It’s also an individual sport so it requires mental focus like no other. Don’t get upset when you don’t see immediate results; bodybuilding is about the journey than the destination.
Forget about the small things. Have a bad day? Go to the gym. Breaking out with mad pimples? Go to the gym. Just KEEP GOING TO THE GYM. enjoy the process and you will reap the rewards. You are the artist, the hammer, the chisel AND the marble.. what you carve out is completely up to you, as long as you have a vision and stick to it.
10. Just Fucking Do It.
It’s tough, you’re going to be sore, your friends will want to get you to play video games or smoke weed or waste time doing nothing. You’ll want to eat crappy food all the time and play on your phone in the gym. Sometimes you just won’t want to go.
This is what separates the successful from the failures. Resolutely forsake these things for the gym and the gym will repay you in kind. The gym doesn’t lie.
For every ounce of effort put into the iron the iron pays you back. The only thing you need to do is to just go and get it done you dirty gym rat!
*Speaking of dirty gym rats, gyms are dirty. Remember to always wash your hands when you leave and not to touch your face because every day spent with the flu and not in the gym is a day of lost gains. Also, we’ve written a bit on hygiene and fighting acne too.
If you’re really young, want to lift and also happen to have acne, check out this complete guide to body acne we whipped up. It covers both chest acne and bacne.
We also have a guide on taking care of your face while working out and after, as peaking levels of test will leave you pimply but that’s not good. Yeah, these thing are a necessary evil of hardcore workout and high levels of hormones. Thankfully though they can be mitigated.