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Supplement manufacturers and fitness magazines promise quick muscle gains that can give you a bodybuilder's physique almost instantaneously if you use their products. In reality, becoming a bodybuilder takes months, and sometimes years, of dedicated training and dieting. You are becoming competitive in a sport, not just going to the gym to get вЂњbigger.вЂќ Your goals, fitness level, genetics, age and habits all determine how long your quest will last.
Goals and Fitness Level
If you are already training at an intense level, you might take the next steps and begin competing in the next six months. If you just want to experience a local, amateur competition, you may need less time. If you are hoping to rank with the winners in your age group, prepare for longer. Your best strategy is to find a mentor who can teach you about bulking, precompetition leaning out, proper diet, hydration and posing techniques. Beginners going from a skinny frame to building muscle may need a year to gain 10 to 25 pounds of muscle. The less fit you are, the faster you will gain muscle - but gaining muscle alone doesn't mean you are ready to compete in the sport.
Certain body types are more likely to succeed in the sport of bodybuilding than others. If you are tall and lanky, you can add muscle and lean out - but it may take you longer to develop the definition and size needed to compete with more compact, muscle-bound frames. People with a naturally muscular build may be ready sooner, depending on the seriousness of their training regimen.
As you age, building muscle becomes harder, and it may take a year or more to get into shape for a competition. You are fighting the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs as you get older. Regular resistance training can counter this loss so you can become competitive with the peers in your age group. If you have done strength training for years, you may accelerate your progress toward the goal of becoming a bodybuilder because your muscles have memory that makes them more responsive to the training.
Your commitment to the sport is the most important determinant in your ability to become a bodybuilder. You can't expect serious results from hitting the gym occasionally and eating a chicken breast now and then. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle choice. You need to adhere to a training regimen that has you strength training most days of the week with compound exercises. Your diet must be squeaky clean - eating whole foods such as lean proteins, whole grains and lots of leafy greens. Proper timing of your meals and adjusting your macronutrient ratios are other details a successful bodybuilder masters. It can take months or years of studying and research to figure out what specific techniques work best for your body.