Two of my biggest inspirations as an artist are Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, two amazing fantasy artists; and Julie is a bodybuilder. It’s hard to find a Check out this site http://www.borisjulie.com/ for their artwork. I use the second-person a lot, because it’s just easier for me to write that way. A friend of mine said to master the basics before getting into anything too advanced, and he’s right. You’ve got to walk before you can run. I’m always afraid of missing out on some important detail that will eventually lead to me looking back on months of work and shouting “D’oh!” I couldn’t help looking up more info anyway, so I focused my search on basic exercises and routines that I could follow for 6 months to a year. After all, consistency is vital to a good workout plan. While multiple sources show some slight variances, my ultimate determination is that these five exercises will hit the most important muscles: Squats, Deadlifts, Bent Over Rows (or Pull-ups if you’re so inclined), Bench Press and Military Press. Bodybuilding.com has images and videos for all of these exercises. I sometimes need help with my form on Deadlifts and Squats.
Here’s Julie. She doesn’t compete anymore but she still works out. If you look at her art, you can see that she’s probably been a model for a lot of the figures. Do a quick google search for her name and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Remember to keep the form correct, mainly to avoid injury, but also to get the most out of your exercise. Also, don’t train your ego. Don’t lift too heavy, lift enough to get your workout and get tired. A lot of pros say train to failure, when you can’t move your muscles anymore, but I think that without someone to spot you that’s a little dangerous. I get as close as possible without trying to murder myself.
At the gym, to best begin gaining overall muscle development, a moderate range of 3 sets of 10 is the way to go; however, the body will adapt over time. It becomes necessary to change up the routine to either a more muscle-endurance building regimen, or a more strength focused training regimen. Suggestion: 1st month, go Muscle-endurance, using 3 sets of 15 or more. This regimen will activate any muscle memory if you are not where you once were in terms of strength and size, as well as help to prevent injury. for the 2nd month, go for the moderate regimen, and for the 3rd regimen, go for the more strength focused training regimen (5 sets of 5 reps). This order will allow you to “warm up” to the heavier requirements of the strength training regimen.
There are 5 basic exercises that hit the major muscle groups: Squats, Deadlifts, Bent Over Rows, Bench Press (I prefer the incline), and Shoulder Raises. Keep your core nice and tight during all of these exercises.
Speaking of warming up. I always do ten minutes of cardio before I hit the weights. I believe that this amount of cardio is necessary to prevent injury and get you a better workout overall. It can even increase performance during the weight lifting phase. I try not to work too intensely during my cardio warm-up, just enough to get me breathing a little hard. After the weight lifting phase, I hit the cardio for another 10 minutes. This time I push myself, and I’m told that the benefit of doing cardio after weights is that the body will use up fat stores more directly for energy.
Static Stretching at the end of my workout is also necessary. I try to hit every major muscle group in my body and then some.
Rinse, Lather, and Repeat the whole process three times a week, switching the regimen every month. DO NOT work out on your days off. You should be working out one day, then resting the next. Your body needs the rest to build the muscle; you actually just tear muscle at the gym, but not severely. I recommend going for a thirty minute walk everyday as well as following this routine, and stretching everyday isn’t a bad idea either. Sleep is probably the most important part of the whole routine by the way. Without it your body doesn’t grow and you don’t see the fruits of your effort at the gym. If you snore, get yourself checked out for sleep apnea and follow what your doc says. I had sleep apnea and had to use a CPAP machine to get a proper night’s sleep. Without the machine, I wasn’t really seeing much gain, and I didn’t have much energy to workout to begin with.
Motivation, the unattainable dream. A lot of people complain that they don’t have motivation, and we all have our bad days, but where does this magical power called motivation come from? Accomplishment. Well, at least that’s one answer. Self love is another, but if you have trouble loving yourself to begin with, you’re not suddenly going to muster a wealth of the feel-goods for yourself and turn into a gym rat. Honestly, I don’t know too much about motivation, but I do know something that works for me, and I will share that here.
When I get up in the morning, I make my bed, drink some water (2 cups), and do some stretching. I don’t think beyond that; I don’t even look at the rest of my day until I’ve accomplished these tasks. Why? Because having done just a few things in a few minutes, gives me a sense of accomplishment that I can use to gain some motivational momentum for the rest of the day. I’ve heard that drinking water when you wake up is big in Japan, and it’s even good for the heart, but even without doing the research to back it up, I wake up thirsty. Think about it; after a long night’s sleep a person hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink for at least 8 hours. The body is hungry and thirsty, so downing a cup of water or two can’t hurt.
How to eat: Lots of protein, fiber and vegetables. Kill the intake of sugar and fats. It’s a necessary diet for me, but honestly it’s good for a lot of people. It’s really hard for me to give the fat up, but I work on it. Avoid the “whites” like potatoes, white bread, anything bleached, etc. None of that shit is good for you. Also, I’m not saying to NEVER have these things, just tone it down a lot. Maybe have a “cheat” meal or two during the week. I don’t believe that a lifestyle change works without a little indulgence, or in other words, it’s hard to maintain a dietary change for the better without a little “cheating.” My other suggestion is to avoid aspartame as much as possible; I think that stuff confuses your pancreas. There’s a reason a lot of doctors tell diabetics not to have too much of it. Don’t go over a cup a day of anything with aspartame if you can avoid it. My last note on how to eat is really just me being more specific on what you should eat. Have things like oatmeal, lean meatballs and cucumbers as a meal. Carbs are fine to have with your food but don’t overdo it and have some protein with them. You don’t need a chicken breast with every meal, in fact one or two in a day is all the protein you need and then some, even while working out. Beans are a great source of fiber, just rinse them off if their canned to get rid of the excess sodium, which is often what gives beans their gassy reputation. Protein. Fiber. Vegetable. Those are the priorities. You might shit bricks for a while because you’re not used to eating enough fiber, but you’ll get over it in a couple of weeks.