Muscle Building Mania!

Muscle Building Mania

Table of Contents

Introduction to Body Building

History of Body Building

Basics of Building Muscle

Body Building Facilities

Building A Home Gym

Body Building Routine

Diet and Body Building + Recipes

Dietary Supplements

What About Steroids?

Body Builder Beware

Charting Your BMI

Body Building Tips


DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement

has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose,

treat, cure or prevent any disease.”


This book is an exploration.  We will explore the fascinating history of body building, which can be traced as far back as the 11th Century, up to the 19thCentury when it arrived on the North American scene.

We will explore how to build your body and muscles, body building and weight lifting equipment, the “right” and the “dark” side of dietary supplements as well as the importance of proper nutrition for the serious body builder.

No discussion of body and muscle building would be complete without covering consumer health fraud.  Bogus claims and promises of unrealistic results have been around for decades.  The explosion of marketing on the internet has, unfortunately, created an exponential increase in unsavory providers ready and willing to bilk unsuspecting consumers.

Muscle Mania will explore package labeling and what you should know about before you buy.  The content we cover presents a broad outline rather than substantive personal recommendations.   Nothing within should be construed as  anything more than educational and should never replace medical advicefrom a professional physician.

We will take a look at the different types of exercise equipment that is available to bodybuilders and what considerations you need to keep in mind when shopping for your own equipment or using the services of a gym.

What could be more important than your diet and nutrition?  It’s critical to your success when bodybuilding.  We’ll give you several recipes that are not only prepared specifically for bodybuilders, but that provide you with a breakdown of calories, grams of protein, grams of carbohydrates, grams of fat and the carb-protein-fat percentage ratio.  You will be amazed at just how tasty and nutritious a bodybuilding diet can be.

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Athletes in 11th Century India used to lift carved stone dumbbell weights.  These were called “Nals.”  Oddly enough, they were very

much like modern day fitness equipment.  It is purported that gymnasiums were existent in the same time period and by the 16th Century it is said that body building was one of Indias’ favorite pastimes.

Body building was a mainstay of the athletic subculture of the ancient Greek and later Roman empires.

North Americans were first introduced to body building through the “strongman” at traveling circus sideshows and carnivals in the middle of the 19thCentury.  The first modern Olympics was held in 1896 where there were two weightlifting events.

A German named Eugene Sandow is credited with inventing many of the contemporary body building techniques used even today.  He began his performance with feats of strength even adapting various “poses” that demonstrated his musculature much as modern day body builders do.

Sandow traveled to London in 1899 and opened his first  “Physical Culture Studio.”   A good businessman, he sold products by mail and published his own magazine.  He ultimately created a “chain” of 20 studios throughout England.

Sandow is also credited with the first body building competition.  Called the “Great Competition,” it was held on September 14, 1901.  Held at the Royal Albert Hall, it was a complete sellout attracting hundreds of spectators and causing an immense traffic jam.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the 3 judges.

While Sandow was busily creating his studios in England, another legend was gestating in North America.

Born in the Ozarks in 1868, Bernarr Macfadden was frail and sickly as a child.  He learned as a teenager, that he could build health and strength by working outdoors.  By age 25 he was selling exercise equipment and went on to become an icon in the publishing industry building an empire based on health, fitness, nutrition and exercise publications.

Branded as eccentric, flamboyant and a “kook,” he remained fit and active up until his death in 1955.   Unfortunately, his own belief in “self treatment” served to be his undoing waiting too long for treatment of a bladder problem.   Many of his principles are still practiced today and his works appear to be making a “comeback.”


There are as many varied opinions on what “plan” one should follow to build muscle as there are people who have those opinions.   On one thing they do agree, however.  You must have a regimen.

You can begin by defining your objective.  Why are you interested in body building?    What do you hope to accomplish?  What is your ultimate goal?

If this sounds like “Goal Setting 101,” guess what?  It is!  You need to clearly define your “why” before you can move on to “how.”

It’s all about commitment and belief.   There is an abundance of information about how to begin and conduct your journey, but without a burning desire to achieve, you are doomed to inevitable failure.  First things first.

-Before you even think about your exercise routine…

-Before you begin researching a nutritional program…

-Before you shop for supplements…

Ask yourself the following questions:

Do I believe this is possible for me?

Am I willing to focus, commit and do whatever it takes?

If you answered “yes” to these two questions, the seed has been planted and you are ready to begin.

While the details and sequential recommendations for body building vary there are some basic questions that apply to the process no matter what program you choose to follow.

♣ How do I build muscle?

♣ How do I strengthen muscle?

♣ Am I healthy enough to begin a muscle building routine?

♣ What should I eat?

♣ How often should I eat?

♣ Should I eat at different intervals throughout the day?

♣ Is there a specific diet for building muscle?

♣ How many calories should I eat?

♣ Should I take supplements?

In the following chapters we will endeavor to present you with an overview that will assist in preparing you for the launch of your muscle and body building lifestyle.   It is indeed a lifestyle and you must be prepared for the rigors of change, not only to your body, but mentally as well.

You should always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  Lifting too much weight (especially for people with high blood pressure) or doing too many repetitions can be extremely harmful.

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Where do you begin?  Fortunately, there are more choices available today than in any other time in history.   The fitness craze has opened many doors of opportunity and alternatives for the average person seeking a healthier lifestyle.  This is a serendipity for the serious body builder.  The “corner gym” is fast becoming as popular as the “corner pub.”

There was a time when the only “equipment” a serious body builder had were barbells and benches.  Often a trip to the gym meant entering a dark, cave-like atmosphere in a less than desirable area of larger cities.  By contrast, the gyms of today are usually bright, cheerful, open facilities boasting the latest in equipment and amenities.  You can find them in the most upscale neighborhoods and double as popular meeting and greeting places.

Most offer a variety of membership packages and many will offer a brief trial period allowing you to “test” the facility to determine if it meets your needs.

When you do make a decision to join a fitness facility, there are a number of points to consider.

Choosing a quality fitness facility or health club requires caution. The following guidelines can help:

♣ Shop around. Ask friends, coworkers, and your physician for recommendations.

♣ Call several clubs to find ones that match your interests and budget.

♣ Check with the Better Business Bureau for reliability reports on clubs you are considering.

♣ Visit the club at the time of day you will use it.

♣ Talk to members and staff.

♣ Are the hours and location convenient?

♣ Does the club have facilities and services that suit your needs?

♣ Are the equipment, exercise areas, and locker rooms clean and well-maintained?

♣ Is the facility overcrowded?

♣ Does the club limit new membership to prevent future crowding?

♣ Is the atmosphere friendly?

♣ What are the qualifications of the staff?

♣ Do they have appropriate education and training?

♣ Do they take an interest in and assist with individual goals and progress?

♣ Carefully consider the contract. Take a copy home to read thoroughly before signing. Stay away from clubs that pressure you to sign on the spot!

♣ Does the contract list all services and facilities? All oral promises should be written down.

♣ What is the total cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges?

♣ Do some services cost extra?

♣ How long is a membership term? A short-term membership is usually best in case you find yourself unmotivated or the club closes.

♣ Does the contract allow for a try-out period? Will the trial fee be applicable to longer-term membership?

♣ What are your cancellation and refund rights if you move, become disabled, or the club closes?

♣ Does a three-day cancellation policy apply if you change your mind shortly after signing up?

♣ Make sure the club has met state bonding and licensing requirements.

Finally, never sign up with a club that has not yet opened despite any special discounts. And beware if the club asks for your credit card number or deposit check before you have read the contract.

Home Gym Alternative

If you have deep pockets, an alternative to outside facilities is purchasing equipment and building your own home gym.   This can be a very expensive endeavor, but not impossible.

Your best bet is to visit local sports equipment stores to see what is available.  After you get over the “sticker shock” take copious notes on each piece of equipment that will fit your personal program.  If you can afford the individual pieces by all means purchase them.

However, for most new bodybuilders that kind of investment is prohibitive.  A good alternative is to watch for “used” equipment.  The possibilities of obtaining just what you need are very high.

Some of those possibilities are bodybuilders who have moved on to more sophisticated equipment or people who thought they would give bodybuilding a whirl only to find it just wasn’t for them.  Even though we caution people not to spend money on expensive equipment, there are always those who jump into any new venture blindfolded.

Some good places to shop for used equipment, are bulletin boards at local gyms, local newspaper classifieds, Thrifty Nickel and don’t forget yard sales.

Next, we need to take a look at what equipment is available for the bodybuilder home gym and the purpose they serve.

Free Weights

Free weights are the simplest and most cost effective pieces of equipment for the beginning bodybuilder.  Free weights consist of barbells, dumbbells and weight plates.  They are called “free weights” because they have no cables, pins or pulleys.

Available as normal weights or Olympic weights, be advised that Olympic weights are generally much more costly.  The Olympic bar is also “thicker” at the ends to accommodate the larger hole present in Olympic weight plates.

Barbells come in all shapes and sizes.  They consist of a bar that is usually 4’ to 7’ in length and can weigh from 20 to 45 pounds.  Varying weights are attached to the ends of the bar.  The weights are attached using collars or sleeves.  You can find barbells in a “fixed collar” design.  This prevents the weights from sliding off the end of the bar, but they are limiting as the weights cannot be removed.  With adjustable collars you can add and remove weights to suit your own purposes.

The longer 7’ bar that is generally referred to as an Olympic bar can hold 500 to 1500 pounds.  As mentioned, these are usually more costly.  There are also other Olympic “specialty” bars available that are designed for specific purposes such as biceps and triceps.

The weight plates that fit the ends of the bar come in standard increments of:

2 1/2 pounds

5 pounds

10 pounds

25 pounds

50 pounds

If you stick with cast iron weights you are pretty much guaranteed that the weights will remain constant over time as opposed to those that are plastic encased or other metals that could warp over time.

If planning to go with the “home gym” sticking with standard weights is probably best for you.  One of the advantages is that you can find standard weights available as a “package” that will include your bars, weights and collars.  Most standard weight packages also come with dumbbells.

You will also need to have a weight bench.  There are varying types of benches.  You can find adjustable types that you can set for different inclines.  This is a good buy because by adjusting the incline or decline, you can create a number of different exercises to work out different muscle groups.

Multistation Machines

There is no getting around it.  When you begin looking at high end equipment, you can pretty much bet that you are going to have to spend quite a bit of money.  These are often referred to as “home gyms.”

This piece of equipment is multi-purpose and able to serve more than one person at a time.  They are designed with multiple work stations and the exercises are ones that can’t be done with barbells such as leg curls, lat pull downs, leg extensions, and cable movements.

Some things you need to take under consideration with this type of equipment is the size.  Do you have sufficient space to house a multistation machine?  They are pretty much stationery and not designed for portability.  Cost is another factor as well as who will be using the machine.  If it will be used by more than one individual the cost effectiveness of such equipment increases if you are weighing the purchase against joining a club.

Obvious advantages are that you and your partner can both use the equipment simultaneously and there is the added convenience of having the ability to train in your own home.

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Variable Resistance Machines

What are variable resistance machines?  Think Nautilus® or Bowflex®.  Both are variable resistance machines that provide an alternative to free weight training.

The primary advantage is the constant resistance in the range of movement for the muscle group you are training.  Another huge advantage over traditional weight training is that by working with constant resistance, you make the muscle stronger and you do it much faster than the traditional method.

This type of training also lets you deliver exactly the amount of exercise you desire to whatever specific muscle group you are working.  There is the benefit of working that resistance through a greater range of movement as you can reduce your training time.

Variable resistance can be added to your free weight training routines to get much bigger and do it much faster.

Portability can be another advantage.  These pieces of equipment tend to take up less space and many can be easily broken down in just one or two steps for storage convenience when not in use.

As far as which is better, free weights or variable resistance, it all depends on what your personal preferences might be.  If you have established your budget and your goals, throwing variable resistance machines into the mix might be an option.

Regardless of which options you choose, let me remind you to shop around before spending too much money.  There’s a good chance you can find used equipment that is just right for your purposes.


What routine or regime you select is dependent on several factors, age, sex, goals and overall physical fitness.   There is no such thing as “one routine fits all.”

Without getting too technical for purposes of our overview here, let’s take a very simple, straightforward approach.

Generally speaking, it is recommended to do three sets of ten repetitions on each exercise you select.  Beginners need to stick to a routine for at least 3 months of regular training.  During this time it is important to follow a plan of good diet and nutrition.  The recipes found elsewhere in this document are a great place to start.

Whatever exercises you plan to follow, you should always start off by warming up.   Warm up exercises should be aerobic in nature which should include running on the treadmill, jogging , or skipping for a period of about  10-15 minutes. The overall warm up time should last between 15-20 minutes. Always remember that a warmed up body responds faster and there is less chance of injury (like muscle catch, tear, pull, etc). Warm up results in an increase in the pulse and the heart- rate.

Many factors go in to the finalization of the routine for a bodybuilder, such as the current health condition, the goal and the number of days in a week the bodybuilder is going to visit the gym.

For example, if the bodybuilder visits the gym 6 days a week, then the schedule will be of one kind. Whereas, if the bodybuilder works out three times a week, then the schedule is likely to be more intense.

However do keep in mind that no schedule should be for a long term. The long term goal should be broken down in to short and mid term targets – and the routine should be devised accordingly. Thus one short term schedule may be for 3 days a week followed by a 6 day week routine, depending on the condition and the rate of development/growth.

A good beginner routine might be to start off using a bar that is light enough to handle comfortably.  Don’t begin by using equipment that is not appropriate for a beginner.  The only thing that may result is an overall feeling that exercise is “too hard.”  Work up to your routine gradually.

A beginner’s session should initially cover the major muscle groups.  Start off with the two hands barbell press.  This is productive for developing the upper and lower arms, shoulders and back.  Because it isn’t the easiest exercise it should begin first when strength is at the highest.  This exercise is intended for the deltoids and triceps.

A second exercise might be the two hands curl with barbell.  This will work the biceps situated at the front of  the arms , in contrast to the triceps at the back of the arms exercised earlier. The biceps is conventionally the muscle which all desire to develop and is usually already one of the beginner’s strongest.

A third exercise to consider is the bench press.  The lift lies on the back and is handed the bar which is then lowered to the chest.  This exercise primarily works the pectorals but also exercises the triceps and deltoids like the first exercise.

The fourth exercise is upright rowing where the barbell is raised with a narrow hand spacing to the region of the chin, lowered to arms’ length and the movement repeated. This is generally for the trapezius muscles (which lie between the neck and the shoulder socket on top of the shoulders)- so a different muscle is targeted this time.

There are many sources available to help you determine what “routine” is best for you.  Here is one that we found, but be aware that it isn’t the only option available nor the only one you should use. Let us see how a 5 day week routine might look:


♣ Behind Neck Shoulder Press: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Upright Row: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Bench Press: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Crunches: 3 sets 6-10 repetitions


♣ Close Grip Lat Pull down: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Close Grip Seated Pulley Row: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Reverse Wrist Curl: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions


♣ Squats: 5 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Leg Press: 5 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Leg Curl: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions


♣ Close Grip Bench Press: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Tricep Dip: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Dumbbell Shrug: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Standing Calf Raise: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions


♣ Pull Ups: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ E-Z Bar Curl: 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Hammer Curl 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

♣ Crunches: (with weight) 4 sets 6-10 repetitions

As we said, there are a number of training programs available for bodybuilders and this is just one.

There are other factors to look at before selecting one for yourself.  Let’s explore them:

♣ Has the program been experimentally tested?

♣ Are there specific goals, training loads, progressive monitoring and recovery periods in the program routine?

♣ Does the program specify what types of people are eligible for it?

Only after going through them should the bodybuilder enroll for the routines of such a program.


Everything you have learned thus far will not provide desired results without the proper nutrition.  Many novice body builders are under the false impression that the more you eat the better.

This is totally false.  Your body building regimen needs to include the proper balance of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.   Extra protein along with other essentials are important to compensate for the calories you burn during your workout.  Other necessities for good nutrition for the bodybuilder are Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Sodium to name a few.

It is believed that protein works well for a bodybuilder if it is combined with carbohydrates when taken.  While at least 200 grams of carbohydrates taken daily are required to adequately accommodate the protein intake, a 200 pound bodybuilder should take in 300 grams.  More carbohydrates than protein for each meal facilitates the absorption of the protein.

We all know that milk, egg, meat, soy, casein and whey are good sources of protein.  A bodybuilder need not sacrifice quality in his daily meal planning.  Just to prove it, here are several recipes that meet all the requirements of nutrition for an active bodybuilder without sacrificing taste.

Indonesian Chicken (Serves 2)


8 oz Boneless raw chicken breast, broilers or fryers

1 cup chopped raw onion

1/2 cup Jalapeno raw sliced

5 cups raw shredded cabbage

2 cups sliced raw red pepper

2 cups 1% fat cows milk

4 tsp cornstarch

5 tsp extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves raw garlic

2 tsp raw ginger root

1 tsp tumeric ground

1 tsp Coriander leaf (dried cilantro, chinese parsley)

1 tsp curry powder


In non stick saute pan combine onion, jalapeno pepper,

spices, milk and chicken. Poach (lightly simmer) until

chicken is done. Mix cornstarch with a little water to dissolve

the add to pan an cook for 3-5 minutes. In a separate

pan cook cabbage and red peppers in oil until tender. Divide

cabbage between 2 plates and top with chicken. Serve


Nutritional Information

Calories (Per Serving) – 475.5

Protein (g) – 39.5

Carbohydrates (g) – 45

Fat (g) – 16.5

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 37-33-30

Chocolate Banana Protein Bars – 8 Bars


300 g raw banana

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large chicken egg whites raw

4 oz non fat milk

200g 100% whole grain old fashioned oatmeal

1/3 cup splenda

1 tbsp Udo’s choice oil blend

60 g Designer Whey Chocolate flavour ( or equivalent



Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into non stick

cake pan.Bake at 300 for 25 minutes or until firm, leave

until cooled slightly then cut to size. We have made these

into 8 small bars, but you could easily make into 4 larger

ones, with double the protein , so around 23g protein per

bar. If you don’t want the fat replace the Udo’s oil with

unsweetened applesauce. It will taste just as good and still

retain the moist but firm texture.

Nutritional Information

Calories (Per bar) : 188.32

Protein (g) : 11.05

Carbohydrates (g) : 27.94

Fat (g) : 4.56

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 57-22-21

Cheesey Scrambled Eggs


4 tbsp 4% (borden) cottage cheese

150 grams cucumber w/peel raw

4 large egg whites

2 whole eggs

1/8 cup of 2% natural reduced fat mozzarella cheese,


30 grams raw mushroom

15 grams black oilves

10 grams onion, scallions

1/2 tsp pepper red or cayenne

1 cup raw spinach


Blend or beat 4 egg whites with 2 whole eggs. Add cottage cheese, salt, red papper. (I like to blend the two together, Thunderstick is good for this) I use Pam in a non stick pan (butter if you prefer).Preheat the pan, pour in the eggs, when the eggs start to cook, add chopped olives, onions, and mushrooms. Cook the eggs how you like scrambled eggs. Just before you remove the eggs, melt in the mozzarella cheese. I eat the eggs on a bed of baby spinach and sliced cucumbers.

Nutritional Information per serving

Calories : 356

Protein (g) : 38

Carbohydrates (g) : 12

Fat (g) : 16.5

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 14-44-43-21

Fish Sandwich


1 looseleaf of lettuce

2 slices mult-grain oat bread

3 0z orange roughy cooked

1 slice tomato red, ripe , raw approx 1/2” thick




Calories : 323

Protein (g) : 24

Carbohydrates (g) : 51

Fat (g) : 3.5

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 61-29-10

Spicy Turkey Chili

(4 servings)


6 oz boneless raw chicken breast, broilers or fryers

3.5 cups Turkey Breast (HoneySuckle White)

822 grams Stewed Tomatoes, Cajun, (del monte)

16 oz Tomato Sauce (Hunt’s)

4 oz Old El paso green chilies chopped

1 medium raw onion 2.5” diameter approx

10.5 tbsp McCormick/Shillin, chili seasoning.


1. In large sauce pan combine all ingredients.

2. Simmer for 30 minutes

3. Remove from heat and serve hot with shredded cheese.


Calories : 319

Protein (g) : 43

Carbohydrates (g) : 33

Fat (g) : 3

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 40-52-8

Beef Chop Suey

(2 servings)


6 large egg whites

7 oz beef eye , fat trimmed.

3 cups Danish raw cabbage

2.5 stripes raw celery

2 cusp raw mushroom, sliced or pieces

1.5 cups mature soybean

2 cusp water chestnut , chinese canned

1.5 cups chopped raw onion

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup broth bouillin canned, ready to serve , beef.


In non stick pan, place 1 tsp olive oil and beef. Cook until beef is done. In another pan while beef is cooking add 2 tsp olive oil, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, sprouts, water chestnuts, vinegar and onion. Cook until entire mixture is hot, then add soy sauce, beef stock and cooked beef. Cook for 5-10 minutes to blend flavors. Place equal amounts on two plates and serve hot


Calories : 471.5

Protein (g) : 37

Carbohydrates (g) : 50

Fat (g) : 17.6

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 40-29-31

Spicy French ‘Un’ Fries

(4 servings)


1 1/2 cup raw onion

2 large potatoes approx 4” diameter

2 servings mazola, cooking oil spray

1/2 tsp fresh ground chili pepper (laurel leaf)

1 tsp garlic salt (Lawry’s).


Cut potatoes lengthwise (like French Fries). Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Combine garlic salt and red chili pepper (adjusting amounts to suit your taste). Arrange the potato strips in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Coat the potatoes with the vegetable oil spray. Flip them over and spray the other side. Sprinkle with garlic salt and red pepper seasoning. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Note: A serving of the spay oil is a 2.5 second spray.


Calories : 53

Protein (g) : 4

Carbohydrates (g) : 10

Fat (g) : 1.5

Carb – Protein – Fat % Ratio: 67-25-8

Strawberry and Banana Oatmeal


1/2 cup steel-cut oats

1/3 cup oat bran

3/4 cup frozen or fresh strawberries

1 medium banana, sliced

1.5 scoops strawberry or vanilla whey protein powder

Water, as directed

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cinnamon (big dash)


In the evening, prepare the oats in the same manner as the Blueberry Oatmeal recipe. Again in the morning, bring the oats to a simmer and add the banana, salt, cinnamon, and oat bran. Keep stirring and simmer until you have the desired consistency (10 minutes or so), remove from heat, and stir-in the strawberries and protein powder.


Calories : 696

Protein (g) : 50

Carbohydrates (g) : 115

Fat (g) : 11

As you can see, eating healthy for the bodybuilder need not be tortuous!

Dietary Supplements

If you expected to find a list of recommended dietary supplements, you will not find it here.  Requirements for supplementation is unique to every individual and that includes bodybuilders.

We will give you some “food for thought.”

Magazines, web sites and other publications that present certain supplements as the “be all and end all” for good nutrition are usually funded and/or sponsored by companies that manufacture. . .guess what?  Yep, supplements.  Our position is that right or wrong, any information that is presented by an entity funded by such companies presents a genuine conflict of interest.

It is for that reason that we recommend that you take your advice on supplements from your personal physician or a licensed dietician who is familiar with sports wellness and the bodybuilder lifestyle.

As a bodybuilder you are told that supplements can help you to gain weight, build muscles and in strength training.  There is no “magic pill” that will guarantee results, yet there are thousands of advertisements making truly outrageous claims.  The truth is that no amount of supplements is a replacement for a healthy, nutritious diet.

Again, our recommendation is to consult with your physician, do your own research and due diligence before adding supplements to your daily regimen.

If you determine that dietary supplements are appropriate for you, and you don’t feel the importance of consulting with your physician or dietician, there are some guidelines you can use to insure that you are ingesting exactly what you are purchasing.

In the United States, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has stringent laws about packaging guidelines for supplements.  Some things you should follow when shopping for supplements include what the packaging must show:

Name of the product


Directions for use

Supplement facts panel (serving size, amount, and active ingredient.

Other ingredients

Name and address of maker, packer or distributor.  Write to this address for more product information.


Narcotics and dangerous drugs, including anabolic steroids, are prohibited entry and there are severe penalties if imported.


No discussion of bodybuilding would be complete without addressing anabolic steroids and, just as important, their so-called alternatives.

Barely a day goes by that you don’t hear about yet another well-known athletic exposed as a user of steroids.  Use of steroids for the purpose of bodybuilding or other sports related enhancement is illegal in the United States.

Anabolic steroids are considered a “controlled substance” and any unlawful use is punishable by law.  Period.  We won’t discuss this further here.

Unfortunately, there are a disreputable few who have managed to find other chemicals that perform in a similar way but are not “technically” anabolic steroids.

This is very dangerous practice.  Some of those alternatives include prescriptions, veterinary, investigational, unapproved drugs and some dietary supplements.

Those described as dietary supplements can be very dangerous as they are regulated as foods instead of drugs.  Because of this, there is no information to substantiate their use by bodybuilders nor any data on short or long term effects.

It is very easy to be defrauded by some of these so-called supplements.  They can make claims that lead the bodybuilder to believe that they will accomplish miracles lie building muscle, promoting testosterone and so on.  The truth is they do not.

In fact the government conducted a 10 year study and collected more than 3,000 drug samples over the “black market.”

What they found was that many of the samples were not steroids at all, but other potentially more dangerous, prescription drugs.

The sad thing is that many of these are popular among teenagers.

Here is a list of some potential health effects of drugs and other substances-ranging from the mildest to the most severe-used as alternatives to anabolic steroids:

* greasy skin

* headache

* severe acne

* premature balding

* bloating associated with water retention

* dizziness

* chills

* drowsiness

* nausea

* vomiting

* muscle tremors

* fever

* fast heart rate

* slowed heart rate

* bloody diarrhea

* seizure-like movements

* lowered blood pressure

* breathing difficulty

* breathing cessation

* blood clots

* cardiovascular problems

* liver disease

* cancer

* heart attack

* stroke

* death


Nothing since the wheel was discovered has had a greater impact on people than the internet.  It is a vast, never ending source of pleasure, entertainment, information and shopping.  Especially in the area of health, information abounds.

But, as everything in life, there is a downside.  Beware of charlatans.  They are ready and more than willing to bilk you of your hard earned dollars.

Take what you learn and do your homework.  Don’t be misled by so-called guarantees and claims to “give you the body you desire in less than 30 days.”  These claims are, for the most part, bogus.

There are no true miracle pills or creams that will turn you into a “muscle bound super human” overnight.

Nothing takes the place of time and effort.  If you are a beginning bodybuilder, realize that it took you “x” number of years to create the body you currently have.  It is impossible to reverse the process in 30, 60 or even 90 days.

Remember at the beginning of this guide we discussed goal setting?  Your bodybuilding effort begins with the six inches between your ears. . .your attitude.  If you approach this new adventure with unrealistic intentions you will be sadly disappointed.

Currently there is an advertisement running on television that sums this up very well.  It displays an obviously overweight fellow at a gym.  He steps on the scale and the picture changes to read the display.  It reads 249 pounds.  The fellow steps off the scale, waves his arms about, takes a deep breath and proceeds to run around a few pieces of equipment, ending up back at the scale.  He steps back on and the display once again reads 249 pounds.

Ridiculous?  Of course.  No one in their right frame of mind would expect results with that picture in mind.  Yet, it is a very graphical portrayal of how we can have totally unrealistic expectations.

As much as we would like “instantaneous results” it just isn’t going to happen.  Anyone who leads you to believe otherwise does not have your best interests in mind.  More than likely their primary concern is their wallet.  Buyer beware.

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Just like routines, this document is not intended to be a “one size fits all.”  Take from it what you will, but please remember that what is most important is your health and well being.  In that light, consider the following list:

♣ Before beginning any serious weight lifting or body building regimen, consult your physician.

♣ Set your goals.  Define what you expect to achieve with your new bodybuilding campaign within a realistic time frame.  If you create goals that are unattainable you are setting yourself up for failure.  You can become bored, disappointed and disillusioned to the point where you may give up.  This is a very sad outcome to what might have been the best decision of your life.  Don’t sell yourself short.  Set your long term goals, of course, but also set short term goals that are achievable.  And, don’t forget to reward yourself when you do achieve them.

♣ Consider the costs.   If you don’t already have a budget, create one.  Then, determine what amount of discretionary funds you have available for your bodybuilding program.  This will determine whether you can afford to have a home gym or if your needs would better be served by joining a club.  Joining a club is still a good short term introduction before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment that might not be appropriate for your needs.

♣ Don’t forget some of the low cost alternatives to purchasing your bodybuilding equipment.  If used equipment is still functional why spend the extra dollars just for a little glitz!  Good, brand name used equipment is every bit as functional as something right off a showroom floor.

♣ Consider combining a home gym along with a membership in a public facility.  Purchase less expensive free weight equipment for use at home and join a gym to have access to the more expensive equipment.  You can design your entire workout routines around a combination such as this.

♣ Eat healthy!  This can’t be stressed enough.  The only true bodybuilding aids are good nutrition.  Consult a licensed dietician.  Watch your local community calendar for free seminars on diet and nutrition.  Learn all you can about what nature freely provides that can help you to develop a healthy diet.

♣ If you choose to use dietary supplements, make certain that you know what you are putting in your body.  Follow the packaging guidelines we outlined above.  Ask your physician for his/her recommendations based on the regimen you have selected.  No friend, coach or acquaintance can take the place of your physician.  In fact, you may even investigate finding a physician who specializes in sports wellness.

♣ Be kind to yourself.  Yes, it’s important to push to achieve your goals, but it’s very easy to tip the scales in the other direction and create a nightmare for yourself.  Obsessive, compulsive behaviors are not conducive to a healthy bodybuilding lifestyle.

We wish you a healthy and happy journey on your road to weightlifting and bodybuilding.  Put the suggestions and recommendations to work and you are well on the way to building the body you can be proud of!

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