It is an unfortunate truth that drug use among bodybuilders is rampant. Many bodybuilders rely on substances such as steroids, synthol, and hormone supplements.
Although it’s an undeniable fact that steroids and all kinds of anabolic compounds can be of great benefit when building large muscle mass, they aren’t necessary. What makes using them worse is the fact that they can endanger your health in a number of ways. All of that is causing the recent spike in the popularity of natural bodybuilding.
Natural bodybuilding, in short, is bodybuilding without relying on the use of chemicals. It is based on efficient workouts, natural food, beneficial drinks and organic supplements, which help you burn pounds, increase muscle tone and mass, and become overall larger and stronger.
This is our guide to natural bodybuilding. We compiled it to make it easier for you to build the right routine and get some advantage over your competition.
Natural Bodybuilding Training
The first item on the agenda is the training itself.
If your goal is to increase in mass, reduce fat and become more toned, the first step is to make a real effort in the gym. You will need to give it all you have to get the results you want.
The right kind of training for you depends on your preferences. You want something that’s right for your body type and your goals. Still, here are a few tips to help you get started.
If you are set in your goals when it comes to gaining mass, your workouts need to be consistent and regular. In fact, you need to hit the gym at least four or five days every week.
Still, it’s important to remember that training every day doesn’t mean getting better results. The most important part of every workout is the recovery time that comes afterward. Without enough time, your body won’t manage to recover and rebuild your muscle mass.
When it comes to natural bodybuilding, moderation is still the key to success. Even if you are ambitious and want to see an increase in size as soon as possible, be patient. Keep up a steady, and stable pace and you will see results soon enough.
Routines and Programs
The next step is finding the right program, one which works best towards your goals.
For instance, with a full body routine, you get to work out all of your major muscle groups every time you exercise.
An alternative to that regime is doing five day splits. That way, you exercise a different part of your body every day. Besides those, there are other routines, such as doing pairs of muscle groups with opposing motions.
It won’t take you much time or effort to come across many different workout plans. Experiment if you have to until you find one which gets you all the right results.
Training in General
Two things affect your progress most: your choice of routine and your overall training. Make sure you always use appropriate weights if you want to see results. If the weight you are lifting doesn’t present a challenge to you, you won’t grow.
However, you should be just as careful not to use weights which are too heavy for you. If you do so, you won’t be able to maintain proper form, which won’t bring results and can lead to injury.
You should work out to the point where your muscles give out on you. Likewise, try to do more complex exercises and not to neglect any parts of your body. Most of all, remember to always warm up first because that way you can work your hardest while avoiding injury.
Natural Bodybuilding Workout Guide
When someone mentions bodybuilding, natural bodybuilding is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, most people think of steroids and all kinds of chemical aids used for increased physical gains and boosted performance.
In this article, we are not going to discuss whether it’s right to use PEDS (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Instead, we will explore the techniques used by those bodybuilders who don’t rely on steroids. In fact, there are many bodybuilding competitions where all the competitors use completely natural methods.
Exercising naturally is just as hard as it is with steroids. Some would even say that it’s harder to make progress without steroids because it takes more time to gain strength and build mass.
In spite of that, many people practice natural bodybuilding, and today there is an unprecedented number of natural bodybuilders out there.
If natural bodybuilding sounds appealing to you, here are some of the most useful pieces of advice you will need for this journey.
Whether you engage in natural or other kinds of bodybuilding, you definitely need to be consistent to make it. If you can’t make yourself work out regularly, you can give up on the idea of ever achieving any serious gain.
What you need to keep in mind is that what you eat is just as important as your workout regime. Besides, as you already know, you need to work out multiple times every week, with a proper program best suited to your needs.
Apart from that, however, you also need to mind your choice of food and drink, as well as your supplements.
You only gain muscle if your body manages to fully recover from a workout. If you want complete recovery, you need to be careful with your diet. Most of all, you need to eat regularly.
To achieve results by working out naturally, you need to approach your body the right way. Namely, you need to keep surprising your muscles to keep them growing. The best way to do that is through increasing the numbers of sets and repetitions.
You want to work your muscles to the point of failure, where you can’t do any more repetitions. That is the fastest way to see results. Instead of the traditional four sets of eight reps, try to increase that to 4-6 sets with more exercises. Also, try to increase your repetitions to 8-12 if the exercise doesn’t already demand specific numbers.
Casein Protein Before Bed
You don’t grow muscle when you’re lifting in the gym. Actually, the reality is opposite – by working your muscles, you damage them by tearing up their fibers.
Real growth happens during sleep. However, your body needs the right amount of nutritious substances to make a full recovery. The most important nutrients for bodybuilding are protein and amino acids. Protein is what your muscles are made of and what your body needs to rebuild them.
Still, not all kinds of protein work the same way. Your body consumes some types very quickly. However, you want to absorb them as slowly as possible to put your body in an anabolic state, where real growth occurs.
During your nightly rest, you don’t really have a chance to eat and replenish your nutrient supply. That is where casein protein comes in as a useful solution. Casein is a protein which your body takes a long time to digest. During that time, you receive a constant supply of all kinds of important nutrients.
With that in mind, our tip here is to have a casein protein shake every night before sleep.
As you already know, sleep is essential because that is when muscle growth really happens. If you want to see results, it’s incredibly important to make sure you get enough rest. You can accomplish that by assigning appropriate rest days and by getting enough sleep every night.
Besides that, you really need to avoid overtraining. Working out all week long will just leave you without enough time to rebuild and grow.
By working out all the time, you are constantly damaging your muscles, which actually may make you lose strength over time. That’s why you should try to sleep well every night and have at least two rest days every week.
In natural bodybuilding, you are what you eat, and the kind of food you eat will directly affect your workouts. If you eat fast food, or if you aren’t eating regularly, you cannot seriously expect any gains.
With a serious workout plan, you should eat every 3 hours. Try to have a protein intake of 2 grams for each pound of your body weight every day. Add some healthy fats in there as well and opt for complex carbohydrates from natural sources.
Besides that, avoid soda and sweetened drinks and remember to stay hydrated.
Follow a Structured Plan
When it comes to natural bodybuilding, the vast number of choices in front of you can seem too much.
What you need to find is a program which puts emphasis on each of your major muscle groups at least once every week.
Many tend to concentrate only on the chest and biceps, which is wrong. You should exercise your entire body, including those parts which people avoid because they aren’t too visible. Those mainly include calves and hamstrings.
Natural Bodybuilding Nutrition
Having discussed the workouts, let’s move on to the importance of eating right.
To be brutally honest, if you do natural bodybuilding, you won’t see any results at all as long as your nutrition isn’t perfect. That is because you will be relying mainly on food to make progress.
Here are a few pieces of advice on nutrition.
As we already established, protein is crucial for bodybuilding because it is important for muscle recovery. The process of repairing damaged muscle fibers is, in fact, called protein synthesis.
A rule of thumb is to try to manage an intake of at least two grams of protein for each pound of your body weight. Besides, try to get your protein from natural, wholesome, organic foods such as lean meats, chicken, fish, seafood, etc.
Healthy Fats and Carbs
Forget all you’ve heard about low fat and low carb diets. The truth here is that your body needs fats and carbs for a variety of reasons. The trick is to choose the right sources of fats and carbs.
You cannot make a mistake with fatty fish, olive oils, avocados, eggs, and omega-3-rich foods.
When it comes to carbs, try to avoid simple carbs, which are quickly digested. Instead, aim for complex carbs which are a much healthier alternative, while still providing you with energy.
We recommend whole grain foods, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
In natural bodybuilding, you have access to many different supplements. In reality, you won’t need that many. You only want the essentials.
We recommend whey protein, casein protein (for the evenings), omega 3 supplements and multivitamins. That should cover all your basic needs.
If you really want to take it to the next level you can checkout our steroid alternatives.
Natural Bodybuilding Diet Foods
In recent years, more people than ever have become attracted to natural bodybuilding. Thanks to their interest, the popularity of healthy bodybuilding food has increased as well. Many are seeking out carefully chosen food which can help them increase muscle mass growth and strength gains through natural methods.
Naturally, every bodybuilder needs to regularly visit the gym to continually train their entire body, without omitting cardio. Still, besides all that, they need to stay focused on all the particular details of their diet.
No matter how much effort you’ve put in the gym, if the first thing you do after your workout is going after some greasy fast food, you won’t be realizing your goals anytime soon.
Not only will low-quality food increase your body fat, but your muscles will remain starved for nutrients. If you are working out, you absolutely need to make sure you’re getting a healthy, balanced diet.
Here are five among the healthiest foods used by natural bodybuilders to achieve their goal physique and strength levels. These foods will satisfy your cravings and help you get closer to achieving that perfect look.
Oatmeal is vastly popular among bodybuilders for the obvious reasons. Namely, it’s the perfect source of energy since it is rich in complex carbohydrates. That makes it a great pre-training snack which will keep you energized as you lift.
Oatmeal can be very tasty, and you can combine it with a variety of other nutrient-rich foods, such as peanut or almond butter. It has incredibly low caloric value, which means that it can safely be eaten regularly and in large amounts. Most of all, it is a fiber-rich food, meaning that it is a great help to your digestive system. On top of that, oatmeal lowers your bad cholesterol levels, too.
Another benefit of oatmeal is that it leaves you feeling full for a very long time thanks to the way your stomach digests it. This is a great way to prevent yourself from overeating if that is a problem for you.
Last, but not least, oatmeal is a great source of various vitamins and minerals which can speed up your muscle recovery.
Whenever you have the option, opt for organic grass-fed beef over other kinds of beef, since this is the healthiest choice. If you are not in the position to choose, you can still choose any organic beef, which is free of hormones and antibiotics found in other meat.
Red meat can be a phenomenal source of various nutrients, especially iron, which gives it the reddish color. What iron does is help oxygen and nutritious substances become bound to your blood cells and travel across your body to reach your muscles.
It’s not hard to guess that a high iron content is especially important in natural bodybuilding. Apart from iron, like any meat, beef is a great source of protein.
Some people avoid egg yolks because they have a reputation of being fattening and calorie-rich. This is wrong, since, as long as you aren’t being unreasonable, a few whole eggs a day can be extremely healthy and nutritious.
While eggs do contain cholesterol, the cholesterol in them doesn’t permanently stay in your blood. Besides, they contain both good and bad cholesterol, and the amounts are small enough not to affect you either way.
Eggs are very rich in protein and are among the rare foods which contain all the amino acids your body needs.
Whenever possible, you should go for organic or free range eggs, as these are healthier and more nutritious.
Tuna is a very accessible, healthy and easily prepared source of protein. That makes it a very popular choice for the daily diets of natural bodybuilders.
Tuna is rich in protein and amino acids, as well as various minerals. Most of all, it is flavorful and goes well with a number of other foods.
You can buy tuna in a variety of forms, which means that you can fry it, grill it, or simply toss it into a nutrient-rich salad.
Cottage cheese is an excellent source of nutrients for anyone involved in natural bodybuilding. Apart from that, it has a very practical benefit for all bodybuilders.
Namely, if you try to stick to healthy and nutritious food, sooner or later you will end up eating pretty bland meals. Most pre-made dressings and toppings should be avoided because they are loaded with unhealthy substances. That is where cottage cheese comes to the rescue. With this protein-rich food, you can make meals less dry, tastier and more savory. What certainly cannot hurt is that it’s also a great source of calcium like all dairy products.
A Word on Natural Testosterone Production
As you might already know, testosterone levels are directly related to muscle growth and performance. That is why many bodybuilders take testosterone injections.
However, when it comes to natural bodybuilding, many prefer less invasive methods. Thankfully, you can boost your testosterone levels in completely natural ways. First of all, weight lifting on its own is a great natural way of gradually increasing testosterone. If you still need more, you can rely on a number of easily available herbal supplements. A popular choice here is Tribulus Terrestris, which is known to be efficient when it comes to boosting testosterone production.