zeller / © fitness publications inc./ with the kind permission of weider / M + F Magazine
"No matter how old you are, there has never been a better time to start weight training."
Ah, to be a bodybuilding beginner in 2020. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your decision to take the iron in hand and change your body. It will also change your life. Second, I want you to know that no matter how old you are, there has never been a better time to start strength training.
There's more information than ever about exercising and eating, and more ways to get inspiration. When I started in the 1960s, I had nothing but this magazine and his pictures of Reg Park as a guide – and I think you could say I was fine. Imagine what you can do with all the resources available today.
When you start your journey, I will give you the following "advice" – and if you have seen Pumping Iron, you know that the last word was not a typo.
First, get an idea of what your body should look like. Visualization is hugely important for sculpting a body because once you know where you want to go, all you have to do is move in that direction to get there.
If you want big arms, focus on curls. A big chest? Bench press and fly. At this stage in your development, stick to the basic exercises. You can do more with squats and chinups than with machines. Also, don't forget to warm up and stretch properly. Don't let your eagerness to lift heavy weights hurt you. Keep your repetitions in the eight to 12 range.
When it comes to nutrition, don't fall in love with diets – eat healthy food. You need about a gram of protein per pound of your body weight and carbohydrates from rice, potatoes and vegetables every day. Let your fats come from big, juicy steaks (at least that's what I ate!).
I also recommend that you look for a training partner. When I started, I was motivated to move so much faster by having small competitions every time I was training with friends. Partners are responsible for you and make training fun, and don't be surprised if you meet some of the best friends of your life in the gym.
Remember to stay hungry and welcome to the Brotherhood!