Anthony Dugarte Medical Content Editor | Co-author Lisa Lewis | Emily Brown | Sarah Miller

In our modern world, many people place great importance on their physical appearance. While some may resort to drastic measures, others turn to a simpler solution: fitness supplements.

Bodybuilding is a popular exercise for building muscle and achieving a desirable physique. Here are some commonly asked questions about bodybuilding and the supplements that can support this practice.

What is Bodybuilding?

When some people think of bodybuilding, they might imagine a man with bulging biceps, a six-pack, and a completely muscular physique. However, bodybuilding has evolved beyond this narrow stereotype.

Bodybuilding involves using resistance exercises to control and develop your muscles. This means using the force of gravity to oppose your body’s muscles through concentric or eccentric contraction.

Concentric contraction occurs when your muscles contract while generating force. Eccentric contraction, on the other hand, happens when your muscles expand while under tension due to a force greater than what the muscle can handle.

The benefits of strength training

Muscle Mass

Bodybuilding can transform your body composition over time. When you begin resistance training, your body becomes leaner and stronger. This can be especially beneficial as you age, when you may experience a loss of muscle strength and mass known as sarcopenia.

According to the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, muscular decline typically begins around the age of 50 and accelerates after the age of 70. By maintaining muscle strength and mass through strength training, you can enhance your quality of life as you age.


Natural bodybuilding can have a positive impact on bone density. When you engage in resistance training, it stimulates a response in your body that leads to an increase in bone density. Your body adapts to any stress placed on your bones by making them stronger.

Aging is often associated with a significant decrease in bone strength, which can result in a condition called osteoporosis. When bones become weaker, they are more susceptible to fractures.

By participating in bodybuilding, you can promote an increase in bone density and potentially reverse bone loss as you age. This can help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis, making weight training a valuable tool in maintaining bone health.

Emotional and Mental Health

Bodybuilding can have a positive impact on your mental well-being by reducing anxiety and stress levels while promoting a sense of confidence and self-esteem. It can also help you manage negative emotions in a healthy way.

Research from the American Psychological Association suggests that improving your sleep patterns can combat feelings of fatigue and tension. Bodybuilding can help you achieve this by promoting a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, which can improve the quality of your sleep and enhance your overall sense of well-being.

Risks of Exercise

Omitting cardio workouts

When engaging in bodybuilding, it’s important to have a strong cardiovascular system to support your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. Steroids, on the other hand, can negatively impact the heart and lead to high blood pressure or even a heart attack.

To support a healthy heart, it’s recommended to engage in cardiovascular exercise in addition to weight training. Activities such as swimming, jogging, cycling, or any form of cardio can help strengthen the heart muscle and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Back Pain

Lifting weights beyond your body’s capacity can result in stress, strain, and even back pain. Bodybuilding typically involves lifting heavy weights, which can place a significant amount of stress on your joints and muscles.

To minimize the risk of injury, Dr. Ben Weitz, a specialist in sports chiropractic, recommends varying the duration and intensity of your workouts. Common injuries among bodybuilders include knee, shoulder, and lower back pain. Additionally, it’s important to practice proper lifting techniques to avoid back pain or related issues. By following these guidelines, you can help prevent injuries and maintain your overall health and fitness.Regenerate response

Fitness and Exercise Myths and Facts

Getting Strong

Many individuals believe that building strength simply involves lifting the heaviest weights possible during each training session. However, Stuart Phillips and the research team at McMaster University in Hamilton challenge this notion. In a study conducted by Phillips, men in their 20s were asked to lift weights with their legs, ranging from 30 to 90 percent of their maximum capacity.

Phillips compared muscle biopsies taken before and after each training session and found that participants who lifted lighter weights until exhaustion experienced a greater increase in new muscle proteins compared to those who lifted heavier weights. This suggests that building muscle and increasing strength is not solely dependent on lifting heavy weights, but rather lifting manageable weights until exhaustion.

Therefore, according to Phillips, the most effective way to build muscle and strength is by lifting a manageable weight until you are exhausted. By prioritizing manageable weightlifting over simply lifting heavy weights, individuals can achieve optimal results in their strength training regimen.

Men in their 20s were brought to lift weights with their legs.

Muscle Memory

The topic of muscle memory often arises in discussions about bodybuilding. The idea is that once a person achieves a certain level of muscle mass or strength, it becomes easier to regain it even after a break from weightlifting. According to Kristian Gundersen from the University of Oslo in Norway, muscle undergoes permanent changes during training.

Gundersen and his team conducted a study on mice. They cut the synergist or leg muscles in one leg of the mice to increase the effort of the remaining muscles. After a short while, they observed a significant increase in the number of nuclei in the fibers of the other leg muscles. The team then cut off the nerve supply of the bulked up muscle. A few months later, they found that the number of nuclei in the leg muscles was the same.

The team concluded that the nuclei of the muscle fibers play a crucial role in producing new muscle protein. They further suggested that the potential to increase muscle remains with a person for life after training for a while.

Activity and Fitness Nutrition

In order to build muscle through bodybuilding, it’s important to pair weight training with proper nutrition. Weightlifting results in muscle tissue breakdown, and adequate nutrition is necessary for repairing and growing muscles. A diet rich in nutrient-dense foods that provide the necessary fat, carbohydrates, and proteins is essential for building muscle.

Animal Protein

Harvard Medical School recommends consuming approximately one gram of protein per pound of body weight for athletes and weightlifters, whereas the average person requires only half a gram based on the recommended daily allowance for protein. Lean animal protein is considered one of the best sources of protein since it contains essential amino acids that are necessary for muscle growth and repair.


Some individuals in the wellness community suggest consuming 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Carbohydrates are essential for promoting muscle growth, second only to protein. They are stored in the body as glycogen, which helps to keep your muscles energized. Slow-digesting carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are some of the best sources of carbohydrates.

What Is The Right Balance Of Carbs, Fat, And Protein?


Most dietary guidelines suggest that fats should make up around 30% of your daily calorie intake. Fats are crucial for maintaining testosterone levels, which in turn helps to build muscle mass and strength. Red meat is a source of saturated fats, while fatty fish is a good source of polyunsaturated fats.

Nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fat, which is essential for muscle building. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most nuts contain around 50% fat and between 4-6 grams of protein per ounce. Nuts promote hormone production and heart health, and should be included in your bodybuilding meal plan. Some good options include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, and unroasted nuts. Alternatively, you can also consume peanut butter or almond butter.

What Percentage of My Daily Calories Should Come From Carbohydrates?

vegetables and creatine

Vegetables are a crucial part of a bodybuilder’s diet. Dark green leafy and brightly colored vegetables contain phytochemicals that help protect against illness. These vegetables are ideal for post-workout meals or shakes to aid in muscle repair. It’s important to include a variety of vegetables in your diet to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients.

Creatine is a safe and effective supplement that is recommended for bodybuilders. Adding 3-5 grams of creatine to your workout drinks can support lean muscle growth and improve strength in the gym without causing any side effects. With creatine, you can see significant results during your workouts.

Supports lean muscle growth

Men’s Fitness and Workout Routine

Rewritten: Bodybuilding workout schedules typically consist of five days of training, with each day devoted to a specific body part. This approach allows for sufficient attention to each muscle group, with a full week of rest before the next workout. There are various ways to divide muscle groups for a five-day training schedule. One common approach involves dedicating a day to training legs, chest, back, shoulders, and arms.

Warming Up

A proper warm-up is crucial before starting any bodybuilding session. According to the American Heart Association, adults should aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Incorporating some of this aerobic exercise into your warm-up routine can help prepare your muscles for weightlifting and reduce the risk of injury.


Starting your training session with leg exercises is recommended by experts. This is because leg training is a challenging workout, and it should be done when you have high energy levels. Begin with five sets of heavy squats. Contrary to popular belief, squats are not bad for the back or knee when done in proper form.

Next, perform leg press, calf raises, and hamstring curls for a few sets each with 8 to 20 repetitions. Both leg press and squats are effective in building muscle mass and promoting lean muscle growth. To become stronger, aim to exceed your leg press and squat goals.


Bodybuilder and strength coach John Meadows suggests starting your chest workout with dumbbell presses, followed by machine press and dumbbell flyes, and finishing with bench presses. His reasoning is that doing bench presses last allows the joints to be properly warmed up, reducing the risk of elbow or shoulder injuries.


On day three, after completing the chest workout, take a rest day and train your back on the following day. To start, perform the deadlift, which is an effective exercise for building strength and muscle in the middle and lower back. It is crucial to maintain perfect form during the exercise, as advised by Jim Smith, a strength coach. Ensure your abdomen is tense, your back is arched, and the bar remains close to your body. Perform 3-5 reps. Next, perform barbell or dumbbell rows, and finally, do some chin-ups.


When training shoulders, begin with the standing military press. Follow this with some lateral raises, barbell shrugs, and reverse flys. It’s important to keep your tempo slow, use weights that are light to moderate, and hold each repetition in the top position for 1-2 seconds.


The arm workout is considered the least demanding exercise, so it’s recommended to be performed at the end of the week. For best results, combine biceps and triceps exercises by interchanging a set of biceps exercises with a set of triceps exercises. For biceps and forearms, perform hammer curls or traditional curls, and for triceps, perform close grip bench press and pushdowns.

Exercise and Fitness at Any Age

Fitness and exercise are activities that can be pursued at any age. However, weight training places significant strain on the body, and the body reacts differently based on age. The body undergoes changes that affect its response to bodybuilding between the ages of 20 and 50.

Children and Adolescents Young Adults

Bodybuilding is not recommended for children until they reach the age of 20 when their muscles and skeletons are fully developed. The Activity and Fitness Nutrition suggests that weightlifters under 20 should undergo a medical evaluation before starting a strength-training regimen. Some studies recommend that young weightlifters focus on cardio exercises and avoid intense weightlifting until their bodies mature to prevent lower back muscle strain injuries.

For young adults between the ages of 20 and 30, it is the best time to engage in fitness and exercise since they can lift the most weight with shorter recovery time. A 20-year-old can recover from an intense workout in two days while a 30-year-old may need four days. However, recovery time varies depending on individual factors. Beginners lifting lighter weights may recover in two days, while those lifting heavy weights may need up to seven days regardless of age.

Age 30 to 49 and over 50

Adults Aged 30-49: At the age of 30, muscle recovery and strength start to diminish due to aging. Muscle mass decreases by 10 percent at the age of 20, and then continues to decline at a rate of 1 percent per year. As a result, muscle recovery time after intense weightlifting increases from four days at the age of 30 to seven days by the age of 50. Focusing on strength and health, rather than muscle mass, is ideal for adults aged 30-49. Crossfit is an excellent option for total-body exercise while also emphasizing proper nutrition.

Adults Above 50 Years: As the body continues to age, bone, muscle, and connecting tissue decrease with hormone production. Bodybuilding can slow down this effect. Some professional bodybuilders are over 50 years old and still competing. Bodybuilding benefits for older people include increased youthfulness and strength.

To summarize

Incorporating nutrition, fitness, and exercise into your weight management plan can provide various benefits beyond just improving physical appearance. While bodybuilding may seem focused on achieving perfect bodies, it can also have psychological and emotional advantages. Nonetheless, weightlifting poses risks that require consultation with a doctor or training expert. Considering age and diet is crucial for optimal results when engaging in weight training.

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