More Than Muscle Building: Why Body Building Is a Healthy Option

When people talk of body building, they automatically think of well-oiled, pumped up muscles on beach bums and gym bodies. It conjures images of tanned bodies straining under several pounds of weight and using the most state-of-the-art instruments of torture to achieve the perfect form.

This is not uncommon. Most people would not list body building as a step towards gaining and maintaining a healthy body. Exercise, maybe but not body building. However, body building does more than just create symmetry and size. It also helps strengthen the body and develop flexibility and athletic performance.

Body building can also help develop resistance and it does not hurt that it actually contributes to a better looking and well-defined body.

Alibis and excuses to stay away from bodybuilding

You must have heard of them before. People who refuse to bodybuild believe that developing muscles will make them heavier and thus, slower and that muscles will only revert to fat once you stop. These are untrue.

Muscles are the main engine that drives each movement that we make. Stronger, bigger muscles only mean that we can move better and have better flexibility. If indeed muscles can slow a person down, then sprint runners should remain thin. Bigger muscles might make you look and feel bigger, but they will not slow you down.

Muscles will never turn into fat because they are two different tissues. If training is stopped, they will shrink over time because they are not used. People who turned from muscle-bound to fat may have stopped training and increased their food consumption during that period, allowing their bodies to store more fat and burn less calories.

Seven steps to succeed in body building for health

1. Develop a goal. Nothing ever succeeded without a plan or if something did, then it must have been a complete fluke. Know what you to achieve and how you plan to do it, whether you just want to gain more muscles or lose fat, you need to have a clear goal on what you expect to get and how you'll get there.

2. Get a physical. You'll need your doctor's OK if you plan to include body building in your regimen and especially if you are a beginner. Get a thorough check up to make sure that your body is capable of the physical workout it will be undergoing. Check that your cardiovascular functions are well and steady and that you have a healthy liver and kidneys.

3. Select a gym. A no-brainer, perhaps but joining the right gym may help your routine more than you realize. Choose a gym that's conveniently located near your home or office. That way, you will have no excuse not to go. Choose a gym where you will be comfortable not only with the equipment but with the instructors as well.

If you are a reliable self-starter and prefer a little more privacy, you can also opt to have your own home gym. It's really not necessary to buy fancy equipment immediately; just start with the basics and then gradually add from there. If you start small, you can determine which equipment you need to buy as you go along. This is better than being stuck with extra equipment that you will not be using.

4. Get a program that fits your level. If you're a beginner, it's senseless to pick a bodybuilding routine that's too advanced or of going into a gym not knowing where to begin. Your body thrives on gradual change so you run the risk of injuring yourself if you try to lift more than you should. Consider your training level and your goals and then get a program that's right for you.

Try to check some information about bodybuilding routines for beginners to familiarize yourself with your options. You can check out books, magazines and websites or go to a professional and have your own routine designed specifically for you. Normally, gym memberships include this service, so you might want to ask for specifics when you join one.

5. Develop a sensible diet. Yes, you do need one. Don't think that once you start bodybuilding you can load up on sweets and salts all you like. The purpose of a bodybuilding routine is for you to lose fat and replace it with lean muscle. Proper diet will give you the right type of nutrition for energy, bone and muscle growth and recovery.

6. Don't rely too much on bodybuilding supplements. With all the promises printed on labels and the enthusiastic ads on TV, you could be tempted to just depend on supplements to do the job for you. Supplements only add to your routine and should not take the place of a proper diet and training. Only when your training level is increased should you consider taking bodybuilding supplements with your diet.

7. Don't forget your R 'n' R. Sleep and rest are very important in general health and especially when you're bodybuilding. Your body and especially your muscles, need time to recover after a good work out. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep to allow your body to grow and recuperate.

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