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BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF - The ultimate guide to exercising

Posted 09-13-2022, 06:14 PM
"The application of consistent, logical effort, over a prolonged period is the key to reaching your physical muscular potential.”

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Hello HackForums, hope everyone is staying healthy and fit.
Today I have decided to write on a subject that I think many of you are struggling with. Most of us dream about a shredded body, abs, big chest and arms and so on. But the reality is, not a lot of us are willing to put in the countless workouts, sacrifices and time into achieving what we want. This does not only apply to bodybuilding, but in many aspects of life. I believe hitting the gym will strengthen not only your body, but your mind. I am going to share my experience with bodybuilding and what made me fall in love with it, and I hope it reaches out to someone and genuinely helps them.

Growing up I was always the skinny kid. At school, in my family, at work... A lot of it has to do with genes but most of it can be attributed to the lack of proper nutrition while I grew up. I never had it easy, and growing up poor only contributed to my lack of self-confidence and no muscle mass at all. Fast forward to me as a young adult, I've had several short phases of a few months where I would try lifting but I've lost interest rather quickly. I was simply not fully invested in my body, and I've always looked for shortcuts or do things the easy way. Needless to say things didn't work out. Here is a quote from an Eminem song that is amazing for workouts and is probably what got me going again.

"Cause you can keep throwin' shit at the wall
But you're gonna find that nothing's gonna stick until you apply yourself"

What does this quote tell us? That absolutely nothing will truly work unless you give it all you got - APPLY YOURSELF. Whenever you work out, give it all you got. Apply yourself and do this purely for yourself. For your self-confidence and well-being. Go to war with yourself. Stop focusing on the negatives and what's not important. When you are alone with your thoughts in the gym, it is literally you vs you.

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The main topics I will be covering in this thread are: bulking, cutting, supplements, workouts, motivation and discipline.


Bulking is a phase in bodybuilding where you progressively increase your muscle-mass by having a caloric surplus and more intense workout sessions over time.
Before starting, you need to know how many calories does your body need. I recommend using a calorie calculator, like this one. Go ahead and put in your age, height, weight and activity. After you get your final result, which is known as maintenance calories (the number of calories you should consume in order to maintain your weight), you should aim for about 20% caloric surplus. So if your maintenance calories are 3200, you should aim to get an extra 700 calories in daily. Lots of bodybuilders aim even higher for that, but trust me, even those extra 700 calories can be hard to get in. I will tell you a few tips on how to get those calories down easily later in the thread.

Now that you know how much calories you need to eat to get those gains, it's time to put in the work! Starting is always the hardest part here. Your first days, weeks, in some cases even months CAN and WILL suck. You will hate working out, you will hate being sore, you will hate having to put in an extra hour or two daily to work on yourself. Trust me, soon you will see results and you will struggle to take a rest day!

Now, you can start in the gym, or you can start at home. If you are like me, you won't like going to the gym. Maybe you don't like being around people, maybe you don't want to pay that much for a membership, maybe the gym is far away, maybe you're afraid people will judge your form... well, they won't. The gym is a non-judgement zone and every gym rat you see there was once a skinny kid just starting! Even if you choose starting out at home, it's not that hard. You don't need all the machines to get gains. Some of the basics that you will need are weights (if new ones are too expensive for you, just search for used ones on craigslist or your local marketplace), a bench chair (trust me, a lot of workouts are going to be a lot easier to execute as you can aim to isolate a particular muscle group and do the exercise more effectively) and maybe some resistance bands. I recommend having both dumbbells and barbells. As I said, the first period will most likely suck, so let's do something about that. If you are going to spend a few hours working on yourself, you might as well make sure your environment is enjoyable. If you are starting at home, a good pair of headphones or speakers with loud, motivational music is a god-send! You will be able to tolerate pain better and get some extra reps in. I've also got some cool LED lights around and motivational posters, so I am actually looking forward to working out everyday in my little home gym, as it's the only time I feel alive (yes, I've started to love working out THAT much).

Depending on your current physique and form, choose your starting weight. Don't be embarrassed if it's 5kg/11lbs. We all started from scratch once, you will be stronger soon. I always recommend having a light workout session for the muscle group you will be doing that day, before moving on to heavier weights to avoid injuries. Aim for PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD. Some people increase the weight they're lifting after 1 week, some after 2 weeks, some after a month. Go at your own pace. How to know when it's time to level up? Always aim for 3 sets and 6-12 reps of the exercise you're doing. If you started with 6 reps, then increase to 8 reps the next week, and 10 the next week. After you've perfected your form and you feel like it's too easy to lift, increase your weights by 1kg-5kg/2.2lbs-11lbs. Rinse and repeat.

Regarding nutrition - chicken, brown rice, potatoes, protein powder. Those are your best friends now. They are fairly cheap and contain a big amount of healthy carbs and protein. NOTE: Your diet will likely get boring over time as you will be eating the same thing every or every other day. Just remember - it's all worth it. DO NOT DO A DIRTY BULK, meaning just eat whatever you can get your hands on. You're bulking, you need the calories, so why avoid certain foods, let me just eat whatever I want, right? WRONG. You still have to cut out fast food, sodas, sweets, foods with saturated fat etc. A cheat meal every now and then is alright, heck, it's even encouraged sometimes, because if you don't take one once in a while, chances are you will burn out from eating the same food every day which will lead to prolonged periods of over-eating. Always aim to get your daily fat intake from nuts - peanuts (or peanut butter), cashews, almonds.. Be careful though, 100g of almonds is nearly 600 calories with 50g of fat, so it's very easy to eat more than you should. If you are struggling to get in enough calories - SHAKES. Throw in oats, protein powder, a banana or two, a tablespoon of peanut butter, milk of your choice, some berries.. there you have it, easy 1000 calories.

Aim to count your macros (carbs, proteins, fats) and aim to eat the exact amount according to your goals and don't forget to eat your veggies for vitamins and minerals. I would also like to link this thread if you want to read more about bodybuilding.

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Cutting is the bodybuilding phase where you will aim to lose body fat in order to look more lean/shredded. Most people choose to bulk in autumn and winter and will start cutting around springtime so they can look incredibly sexy on the beach!

Bulking is physically harder. Cutting is mentally harder. Especially after a good 6 months of bulking. You need to be very careful here, as you don't want to lose those hard-gained muscles! As we all know, in order to lose fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit. So what you need to do to transition from bulking to cutting is to slowly go back to your maintenance calories for a few weeks, so your body adjusts. So if you've eaten 3900 calories while bulking, you need to slowly go back to your maintenance calories, which are 3200 in this case. After a few weeks of adjusting, it's time to go into a deficit. Again, aim for a 10%-20% deficit. Here you will also have to watch out when to eat certain foods. Keep the most of your carb intake around your workouts. Eat lots of protein with every meal and also VEGGIES, VEGGIES and MORE VEGGIES. They are low in calories and will keep you full/stop you from eating more.

Take note that it is inevitable that you will lose a little muscle mass and strength in this phase. So don't be disappointed if you have to go back to lifting a little lighter than your usual workouts, we all go through it and it is nothing negative. This is also where you start to implement cardio. Most people overdo this while losing fat. It is absolutely not necessary to do cardio more than 2 times per week while cutting. The decisions you make on what you eat in this period will ultimately determine how successful your cutting journey will be.

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Despite how good and convincing those supplement ads are, the real truth is, you don't really need many supplements to be fit. You may not need any at all, but there are still a few that are tested, safe and effective.

Creatine is loved amongst bodybuilders. It is a substance that is naturally found in our bodies, more precisely our muscle cells. Many studies show that it increases our overall performance and gives us energy in high intensity workout sessions. Aim for around ~5g a day and take it 30 minutes before your workout session, and take it with a lot of water!

Pre-workout is another one that I rarely go workout without. It usually has a large dose of caffeine in it, along with beta-alanine, L-arginine/L-citrulline, L-tyrosine, B vitamins and sometimes plant extracts. These help with widening your blood vessels, so more oxygen reaches your muscles, resulting in more energy and more effective workouts. WARNING: These usually have a VERY large dose of caffeine per dosing, around 200mg, which is the equivalent of 3 espresso cups. So be careful with this one. There are also pre-workout supplements without caffeine on the market, so just search until you find what suits you best.

Whey isolate, whey concentrate, whey hydrolysate, casein protein... these are a game changer. In today's everyday life, sometimes we feel overwhelmed, ultimately resulting in eating fast, unhealthy food. Protein powders are an incredibly easy and effective. Whey protein is almost pure protein so you don't have to worry about it making you fat. Aim to eat 2x-2.5x protein depending on your weight. If you weigh 90kg/200lbs, aim to eat 200g/450-500lbs of protein daily. Whey protein metabolizes pretty fast, which is why it's perfect to drink after a workout session.
If you want another good source of protein, try casein protein. It is a slow-release protein powder, making it ideal to drink before bed, so your muscles are constantly receiving protein while sleeping (and that's when the body produces the growth hormone most).

Do not forget to take magnesium, and don't aim for the cheapest brands, they usually aren't even half as effective as the more expensive ones are. When you are lifting heavy 4-6x a week, trust me, you will need magnesium to prevent muscle cramps and to promote recovery.


I won't go into depth regarding these, I will just say not to waste your money on these. They are not effective and barely do anything, trust me, you don't need these.

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Now it's time to make an effective workout plan. There is no universal rule here. It all depends on your daily schedule, your equipment, your current form etc.

Here are the 4 basic muscle groups/workouts: PUSH (chest, triceps, shoulders), PULL (biceps, back), ABS and LEGS. I would recommend avoiding mixing PUSH and PULL in one day. You will be more prune to injury, your workouts won't be as effective and you will mess up your plan. I also don't like to mix legs as well, but I'll throw in some abdominal exercises whenever I can. And remember, DON'T SKIP LEG DAYS. Do you want to look like an airpod? No, seriously, working out legs burns a lot of calories and gives you balance and self-confidence. You will not like the sore pain after the first few leg days, but over time you will learn to like it, trust me.

Depending if you're at gym or at home, and what equipment are you working with, you need to find the workouts you will do. A quick google search - bicep workouts, shoulder workouts, tricep workouts etc. will show you dozens of exercises for each muscle group.

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M O T I V A T I O N / D I S C I P L I N E

You will NOT always have the motivation the work out, the motivation to start, the motivation to finish your workout, to do that one extra set. This is where DISCIPLINE comes in. You need to TRAIN YOUR MIND and always choose long-term results over temporary comfort. Take your creatine and preworkout and get to work. We all have a sad story, we all have our own demons. Don't expect external help. Like I said before, go at war with yourself and don't get out of that ring until you WIN!

I highly recommend following instragram pages such as improvecrew, sadandjacked, dedication, hqstlerscrew etc. They have amazing gym content, relatable gym memes and amazing quotes to keep you going. These are just a few of pages that I personally follow, just look around and follow what suits you. You NEED to feed your mind with positive energy and remind yourself everyday WHY HAVE YOU STARTED.

If you're looking for gym music, just search Spotify for ''HARDSTYLE GYM MUSIC'' or ''BASS-BOOSTED GYM MUSIC'', and I can also recommend NF's music if you are into rap. There are so many songs which make me go animal mode in the gym, so never forget your earbuds 😎.


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“Exercise not only changes your body. It changes your mind, your attitude, and your mood.
09-13-2022, 06:30 PM
Don't forget the section on half natty lighting!