The 5 Keys to Successful Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding is one of the best hobbies a person can pursue.


Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about bulking up and becoming one of those giants posing in speedos–though these contests do have their enthusiasts.


Rather, it’s a focus on crafting the best body you can have. It encompasses everything from aerobic exercise to nutrition to lifting huge weights.

When it comes to fitness, one of the most dangerous qualities you can have is ignorance.

Throwing yourself headlong into a fitness regime is dangerous, and will make the whole process far less enjoyable.

You’ve gotta know the basics before you begin!

Read on to discover five key principles of bodybuilding.

1. Adaptation

Adaptation is the body’s ability to change and improve based on new conditions, and is possibly the most important principle.

Adaptation in the fitness world is referred to as progressive overload. This jargon term is very simple: just do more over time.

Continually challenging yourself can mean adding reps, increasing the resistance, or decreasing rest time between reps. However, adaptation is not just about your workouts.

It’s also about your nutrition and mental state, because without those you will never achieve your fitness goals.

For example, reverse diet has become popular lately as a form of progressive overload.

Adaptation is the key to making sure you never plateau. Incremental change leads to incremental gains.

successful bodybuilding

Building your ideal physique stems from internalizing the lessons in this article.

2. Consistency

You could have the best workout regime in the world, specially designed by a personal trainer, but you wouldn’t get a lick out of it unless you’re work hard regularly. Every year, the culture has a sudden burst of inspiration followed by a consistent drop-off.

Surely, you’ve noticed it– for the whole month of January, the gym is full of people, then a ghost town in February.

Are those people any fitter than they were the year before? No, because they couldn’t dedicate themselves to working hard. Consistency is vital to any fitness program.

However, consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing over and over again, boring yourself to death. Rather, consistency is dedication to keep pushing yourself– to make consistent gains.

This fits right into the first principle of adaptation. Commit to consistent variability in your workout, and you’ll see real results.

3. Nutrition

You’ve heard the argument a million times: your body is a machine, you have to fuel it, you can’t bulk up unless you get protein, blah blah blah.

Is it really that important? YES it is!

Evidence has shown that diet is more important than exercise, than using weight, and it’s an established principle that you must get the proper supplements and protein to build muscle mass.

So, what should a bodybuilder’s diet look like?

Although the specifics with vary from person to person, a general rule of thumb is to cut out processed foods and be picky about your macronutrients.

Active individuals need more protein, approximately one gram of protein per pound of ideal weight per day, from healthy protein sources like fish and eggs.

Be mindful about which carbs you’re consuming (go for carbs with a low glycemic index), and get the right fats. Finally, make sure you’re getting enough fiber and eating enough fruits and veggies.

successful bodybuilding

Be sure you’re covering your nutritional bases, while still moving towards your goal.

A good diet doesn’t have to be restrictive or bland– quite the opposite. Try reverse dieting to enhance your fitness routine.

Finally, don’t forget the water! Not only is it is necessary to be by your side at the gym, you need to be hydrating throughout the day. The best source is distilled water, which will not only cleanse your body, but help keep your appetite in check.

However, all things in moderation: don’t drink too much at once because water intoxication can be fatal. Try and keep a water bottle with you all day for consistent hydration– it’s truly the best sports drink!

4. Planning

When it comes to fitness, a good plan is vital. You’ll achieve nothing without a plan.

Now, you’ve already accomplished the preliminary step in forming a plan just by reading this article: research. Next, you’ll want to create your goals.

When forming goals, make sure that they’re not too ambitious or too easy. Always strive to make balanced goals. Without balance, you can injure yourself and become disinterested by pushing yourself too hard. Or, if you don’t work hard enough, you won’t see results quickly and be discouraged.

The final step is to create a concrete workout plan based on your goals. This is where a good coach or personal trainer comes in. If you don’t have access to either, the Internet can be a great resource. Just make sure you’re using information from valid sites!

Examine a variety of workouts and exercises, and take advantage of the whole gym. Instead of just using the weight room, research the benefits of riding a stationary bike or taking a few laps around the track.

Good planning often results in good fitness.

successful bodybuilding

Except, you know, productive planning.

5. Recovery

The common picture of a bodybuilder is someone who’s at the gym 24/7, always lifting the biggest weights and sweating buckets.

While hard training is an important principle, it’s only one side of the coin.

The other is recovery. It might seem counterintuitive to say that doing nothing is an important part of a fitness regime, but it’s true. Your body needs time to rest after you push it to the max. While you’re at the gym, you’re literally ripping your muscles to shred.

When you rest, the muscles build back up stronger and better. If you don’t give yourself time to recover, you’re simply damaging the muscles more and you’ll never grow.
There’s two different methods for recovering, and which you chose will depend on which works better for you. The first one is probably the most widely used, and isn’t really thought of as rest.

Bodybuilders will work on one area of the body one session, and then switch to target another area on the next day. Some bodybuilders take a different route and take a week off every couple of months, or, less drastically, a few days off every month.

Another important aspect of recovery is sleep, and not just for your body. Sleep is vital to maintaining memory and mental function. Healthy sleep is not only your number one source of energy, it’s the time when your muscles rebuild the most.

Commit to getting a good night’s sleep, around eight hours for adults, and you’ll see better muscle growth.

BONUS: Attitude

Each principle above is important, but they will do nothing for you if you don’t have the right attitude. Your frame of mind can make or break your fitness goals. If you to double in size in a few months, you’ll be sorely disappointed and probably quit.

But you still need to have expectations about how you’ll improve to motivate you. Try visualizing your goals and achieving them.

Your attitude is what sets you apart from the people who flock to the gym January 2nd only to give up three weeks later.

There are hundreds of benefits to bodybuilding, from a better, stronger body to a sharper mind. It’ll improve every aspect of your life and probably extend your lifespan too!

Now that you’ve got the basics in your arsenal, go out and get shredded. You will thank yourself!

About the Author

Mike JonesManager of, Mike Jones highly interested in anything related to fitness, nutrition, and healthy living. Mike believes that not only do we need to learn how to stay healthy, but also how to balance every aspect of our lives. You can get in touch with Mike on twitter.