If you want to start bodybuilding from home it’s probably for a good reason, and wanting to do it from home instead of not at all shows you’re serious.
When I was 17 I started working out from home with the goal of bodybuilding. Over the next 2 years I lost 40lbs and then gained back 40 in muscle.
Most people say that those kind of results aren’t possible, but the reality is that it is. If you have even average genetics and you put in the work you can surprise yourself.
You don’t need to work out at a traditional gym to get results… For some one is better than the other.
So if you want to get started right now what do you need to know?
Bodybuilding From Home 101:
- Exercise Area
- Misc Tips
First of all, you need to figure out where you’re going to be doing your actual workouts.
Even though you can get a good workout in a very small area, you need a certain amount of space for it to be optimal.
Most guys end up either converting a room, basement or garage into their gym… Which you pick is mostly preference, but obviously, if you’re picking a room in your home you want to make sure the foundations can take the weight of your equipment.
For this reason, a lot of people will often opt for a garage or a basement as the foundations are usually solid concrete. This means they can hold basically any weight you need and not really require a lot of thought.
Some of the downsides of garages and especially basements is they are cold and often damp. This means that equipment can rust so you want to invest in rubber encased plates instead of simple cast-iron. You may also want to invest in heating.
The bottom-line is that there are pros and cons of any space and while I prefer to set up my gym in a garage setting – it doesn’t mean that’s perfect for you.
In order to start bodybuilding at home you’re going to need some basic equipment, and over time as you progress you’re going to want to expand on the equipment you have.
If you plan on doing most of your bodybuilding out of a garage gym then I really recommend reading our garage gym setup guide.
This includes things like;
- Power Rack
- Weight Bench
- Weight Set (Plates)
Other items you can add to your equipment shopping list right away are things like dumbbells, chin up/pull up equipment etc.
Later on, you might want to invest in some specific machines, but to begin bodybuilding all you will really need is free weights (non-machine based). If you need accessories they’re fairly inexpensive, such as wrist wraps for those with wrist problems, weight belts for those with back problems etc.
When it comes to training you want to be working out with weights that you can lift comfortably for 8 reps – 12 reps.
This is because volume matters a lot when it comes to bodybuilding. So this means more time under the bar doing the lifts is a good thing.
As I wrote about in my strength training at home guide, one of the most important things when weightlifting is effective frequency.
In layman’s terms, a beginner should be training the same bodyparts more often than someone who is more advanced and lifting more weight.
So if you’re a beginner you should consider looking for a total body workout program for your bodybuilding. Whereas someone who has been lifting consistently for 6 months might want to consider switching to an Upper/Lower split.
All of this is dependent on getting good recovery. You can only get the volume of training in that is necessary for bodybuilding if you are able to recover. So this means good nutrition, good sleep and avoiding the temptation to over-train.
The last part is that you should consider the importance of progressive overload and the idea that with bodybuilding in particular, you should always be pushing to do more weight or more reps with the same weight.
Instead of doing 8 reps x 3 sets, do 8 reps x 4 sets of 10 reps x 3 sets etc.
Nutrition is massively important for bodybuilding.
There are usually 3 types of goal in bodybuilding and each will affect how you treat your nutrition.
Bulking: If you want to bulk it’s because you’re fairly small or want to get bigger quicker. The basic goal of the bulk is to build muscle as quickly as possible (while acknowledging fat gain is going to happen). You don’t need to track calories and macro-nutrients to bulk, but it can certainly help.
Cutting: This means losing fat so that you can look more “ripped”. If you want to compete then this is something you will need to dial down to a science. If you’re simply looking to look good naked then you won’t need to track every bit of sodium, but calorie tracking will still be required.
Recomposition: A recomp revolves around adding muscle and losing fat at the same time. Some guys say it doesn’t work, but it does. The main difference is that you can’t expect the rapid gains of muscle or rapid fat loss that you would see with bulking or cutting.
Here are a few good foods you can add to your bodybuilding shopping list.
- Beef Burgers
- Protein Powder
- Wild Rice
- Green Beans
When it comes to nutrition and bodybuilding, the main thing to know is that you need to work out your activity levels so you know how many calories you are burning and adjust them accordingly. This requires tracking with apps such as MyFitnessPal and others to make sure you’re reaching your targets.
You don’t need a specific diet if you have a good approach to nutrition, but some diets have risen to popularity.
- Intermittent Fasting
- Anabolic Diet
- Paleo Diet
- Carb Cycling
I’ll be doing more in-depth nutrition articles on the site and I’ll link them in here in future as nutrition is rather complicated and beyond the scope of this article in it’s entirety.
I don’t think any bodybuilding article would be complete without some proper tips.
Tip 1 – Learn what works for you. Not all exercises work well for everyone and over time you will learn what works for you. So listen to your body, but also try and hit every muscle like we advise in our best chest exercises for mass post.
Tip 2 – Don’t compare yourself to others. Your body and genetics are unique to you so don’t compare your progress to that of others.
Tip 3 – Avoid steroids. You can achieve an amazing body without the use of anabolic steroids which are harmful to your health.
Tip 4 – Always push yourself. If you’re not trying to do more weight or more reps during every workout you won’t get the best results.
Tip 5 – Don’t give up. Consistency is key with bodybuilding and even though results sometimes don’t seem to be coming, never give up.