3 Essentials for Becoming a Body Builder

Whether you want to compete professionally or simply sculpt a well-muscled physique, becoming a bodybuilder can be a highly rewarding endeavor — regardless of your gender.

Training for bodybuilding focuses on increasing muscle size. (Image: Jordan Beal / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages)

According to professional bodybuilder Rebecca Starling, bodybuilding helps you develop a fit mind along with a fit body. However, bodybuilding involves more than lifting weights at the gym: It also requires patience, discipline and a well-designed dietary regimen. With proper planning and dedication, you can set foot into the challenging but rewarding world of bodybuilding.


Whether or not you decide to participate in body building competitions, becoming a bodybuilder requires a lifestyle change to focus on healthy nutrition and targeted workouts. Become a body builder by following a workout plan targeted at building muscle mass and following a diet that allows you to maintain low body fat.

Prepare to Train

Develop a bodybuilder body by following a training plan focused on cutting body fat and increasing your muscle mass. Unlike other fitness programs, such as CrossFit, you are not focusing on total body, functional fitness, but rather focusing on specific muscle groups and working them to exhaustion.

Acquire a gym membership or invest in a set of free weights and machines to use at home. Bodybuilding requires rigorous strength training sessions, and you will need access to a variety of dumbbells, barbells or weight machines to build your physique.

Schedule strength training sessions three times per week and allow one to two days of rest between sessions. This allows your muscles adequate recovery time and minimizes the risk of overtraining, which can impede your progress as a bodybuilder.

Create a Workout Plan

The best way to build muscle size is to focus on high weight, low repetition exercises, advises the University of Delaware. Body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger aimed for six to 12 repetitions per set when he was training.

Focus on one or two parts of your body during each workout. Here is an example:

  • Workout 1: Chest and Back
  • Workout 2: Legs and Abs
  • Workout 3: Shoulders and Arms

Select a few exercises for each body part. For example, on leg day, you may do barbell squats, leg extensions, seated calf raises and dead lifts. As you continue to work out, your muscles will adapt to each exercise. If you find your muscle growth and strength are plateauing, switch exercises to stress the muscle in a different way.


Lifting with heavy weights can cause injury, especially if you do not use correct form. Consider working with a trainer to learn proper technique and build your training plan safely.

Nutrition Plan for Body Builders

Consuming sufficient protein is critical for developing a bodybuilder body and increasing muscle mass. BodyBuilder.com recommends just under one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Carbohydrates should make up approximately half of your diet. Choose healthy sources, such as fruits, vegetables and grains, and avoid sugars and processed carbohydrates. Consume five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fats should make up approximately one-quarter of your diet from healthy sources such as seeds, nuts and vegetable oils.

Eat a minimum of three meals per day, but consider eating smaller meals and adding healthy snacks in between. Finally, stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day, not just before and after your workout.


Although building lean mass is possible through diet and exercise alone, many bodybuilders choose to supplement their diets with glutamine, multivitamins, creatine or protein powder as a way to enhance muscle growth.

See Your Doctor First

Before embarking on your bodybuilding path, schedule a physical with your doctor to check for any health conditions that could make intense weightlifting dangerous. Avoid a high protein intake if you have kidney or liver disease.

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