In today’s world, everyone is concerned about their looks.
While cosmetic dentistry and surgical procedures can go a long way in improving one’s appearance, in some cases, physical effort is required to achieve the desired physique.
Bodybuilding is one of the exercises adopted to pump up muscle and attain an admirable figure. Here is a look at the frequently asked questions regarding body building.
What is Bodybuilding?
When many people hear the word “bodybuilding”, they picture a man with biceps, a six pack, and an entirely muscular figure.
Bodybuilding is the use of resistance exercises to control and develop one’s musculature. It implies the use of the force of gravity to oppose the force of your body’s muscles through concentric or eccentric contraction.
Concentric contraction is where your muscles contract while generating force whereas eccentric contraction is where your muscles expand when under tension because of an opposite force greater than what the muscle can handle. 
Benefits of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding changes the composition of your body in the long-term. When you embark on resistance training, your body grows leaner and stronger.
Bodybuilding has proven to be very helpful as you age. As you age, you experience sarcopenia, a loss of muscle strength and mass.
According to Waneen Spiriduso, author of “Physical Dimensions of Aging,” muscular decline starts at the age of 50 years and intensifies after the age of 70 years.
Maintaining muscle strength and mass through strength training can help increase the quality of your life as you age.
Natural bodybuilding also contributes to increased bone density. During resistance training, a stimulus is triggered and your body, in turn, increases your bone density.
Your body adapts to any strain on your bones by making them stronger. Aging is associated with a significant decrease in bone strength leading to a condition known as osteoporosis.
When bones lose strength, they can easily break or sustain fractures.
If you engage in bodybuilding, you can expect an increase in bone density and a subsequent decrease or reversal of bone loss as you grow older. Weight training is thus helpful in avoiding conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
Bodybuilding helps boost your sense of mental well being while reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
It also increases your self-esteem, confidence, and helps you handle negative emotions appropriately.
Furthermore, bodybuilding is also instrumental in improving your sleep patterns and reducing psychological fatigue and tension.
Weight training has proven instrumental in helping reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
However, engaging in strenuous weight training can be detrimental to your health. According to a study conducted in 2006, lifting more than half the weight of your body is likely to endanger your heart.
This study associates heavy lifting with an increased risk of tearing the aorta.
To err on the side of caution, it is better to get a screening test before embarking on weight lifting. It is also advisable to combine aerobic or cardiovascular exercises with weight training.  
Risks of Bodybuilding
Omitting Cardio Exercises From Your Training Regimen
When pumping up, you need to have a strong cardio system to help your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body.
Steroids also affect your heart and can easily result in high blood pressure or a heart attack. Aside from weight training, swim, jog, ride a bike or engage in some form of cardio exercise to strengthen the heart muscle.
High Risk of Injuries
Lifting excess weights can cause stress and strain and result in injuries.
Bodybuilding requires hard-core lifting which in turn stresses your joints and muscles.
Dr. Ben Weitz, a specialist in sports chiropractic, advises bodybuilders to vary the duration and amount of their workouts.
The most prevalent bodybuilder injuries affect the knees, shoulders, and lower back. It is also important that you practice proper lifting techniques to avoid injuries.
Drugs and Poor Diets
Many bodybuilders have been known to indulge in excess protein to attain lean muscle.
Some even dehydrate themselves or adopt severe diets to gain a specific amount of muscle mass. These practices are risky and could easily lead to serious health complications.
Steroids are common drugs for weight lifters. These drugs have been associated with liver damage, heart disease, and atrophy of the testicles. Supplements can also contribute to high blood pressure, agitation, and anxiety. 
Myths vs Facts about Body Building
Gaining Muscle Mass
Many people have the notion that the way to build muscles is to lift as much weight as possible in any given training session.
However, Stuart Phillips and the research team from McMaster University in Hamilton, disagree with this line of thought.
According to a study conducted by Phillips, men in their 20s were brought to lift weights with their legs.
The weights ranged from 30 to 90 percent of the maximum weights the subject was capable of lifting.
Phillips compared biopsies from their legs muscles after and before each training session.
Phillips found that the men who lifted the lightweights until they got tired and could not lift again, experienced a great increase in new muscle proteins as opposed to those who lifted the heavier weights.
According to Phillips, the best way of building muscle is to lift the manageable weight until you are exhausted.
Muscle memory is another topic that arises in the subject of bodybuilding.
The notion is that when a person attains a certain level of muscle mass or strength for the first time, it is easier to do it again even after they take a break from weightlifting.
According to Kristian Gundersen, from the University of Oslo (Norway), muscle goes through permanent change when one is training.
A study conducted by Gundersen and his colleague focused on mice.
The synergist or leg muscles in one leg of mice were cut to increase the effort of the remaining muscles.
After a short while, it was noted that the nuclei in the fibers of the other leg muscles had increased significantly.
Gundersen’s team later cut off the nerve supply of the bulked up muscle. A few months later, they found that the number of nuclei in the leg muscles was the same.
Gundersen’s team concluded that the nuclei of the muscle fibers are crucial in producing new muscle protein.
They further claimed that after training for a while, the potential to increase muscle remains with you for life.
Therefore, regardless of how long you stay without exercising, it should be easier to attain your former muscular fitness when you return to weight training. 
To attain muscle through bodybuilding, you have to combine weight training with good eating habits.
Lifting weights involve breaking down muscle tissue.
For you to repair and grow your muscles, you require nutrition. A diet packed with nutrient-dense foods and fat, carbohydrates, and proteins, is the key to attaining muscles.
Experts recommend that you take at least a gram of protein per body weight.
Although the recommended daily allowance for protein is half a gram for the average person, athletes and weight lifters need double that amount.
The best source of protein is lean animal protein since they provide the body with essential amino acids.
While chicken is low in fat and high in protein, steak is the better choice for a weight lifter.
Go for grass-fed meat and leaner pieces of steak. Steak is packed with protein and fat and also has niacin, a nutrient that helps boost the body’s good cholesterol and promotes vasodilation of blood vessels.
This helps pump more blood to the muscles during a training session.
If you are a vegetarian weight lifter, you should consider taking nonmeat protein such as dairy products.
Some good examples include low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk, and low-fat cheese.
Experts recommend 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per body weight.
Carbohydrates are second to proteins in promoting muscle growth.
Carbohydrates are reserved in your body in the form of glycogen and help keep your muscles packed.
The best sources of carbohydrates are slow digesting foods such as beans, whole grain, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.
About 30% of your daily calorie intake should be derived from fats. Fats are important in maintaining testosterone levels which consequently helps build muscle mass and strength.
Red meat is a good source of saturated fats whereas fatty fish are a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
Nuts contain monounsaturated fat which is essential for muscle building. Most nuts have 50 percent fat and between 4-6 grams of protein per ounce.
Nuts promote hormone production and heart health. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, and unroasted nuts should be included in your bodybuilding meal plan.
Alternatively, you can take peanut butter, macadamia nut oil, or almond butter.
Brightly colored vegetables and dark green leafies are essential for bodybuilders since they contain phytochemicals which protect them against illness.
Greens are also necessary for post-workout muscle repair. You should aim at including a wide variety of vegetables in your meals.
Many experts agree that creatine is a safe and effective supplement.
Use between 3-5 grams of creatine with your workout drinks.
5-Day Bodybuilding Schedule For Men
Most bodybuilding workout timetables are split into five days, in which a person trains one part of the body each day for five days a week.
This strategy ensures you give each muscle group enough attention, allowing it a whole week to recover before you exercise it again.
There are different ways of grouping your muscles for a five-day training timetable. One common method is setting aside a day for legs, chest, back, shoulders, and arms.
The average adult should put in 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercises every week.
You can exhaust some of this time during your bodybuilding session.
Warm up your muscles with some aerobic exercises to make your training easier.
Experts recommend that you start your training session with leg exercises.
The main reason is that leg training is the hardest workout; therefore, it should be done when you have high energy levels.
Begin with five sets of heavy squats. Many are wrong to believe that squats are bad for the back or knee.
When done in proper form, squats are very effective in strengthening and growing leg muscles.
Next, perform leg presses, calf raises, and hamstring curls, for a few sets each of between 8 and 20 repetitions.
According to bodybuilder and strength coach John Meadows, it’s best to start your chest workout with dumbbell presses.
After the dumbbell presses, move to the machine press, then do the dumbbell flyes, and finish with the bench presses.
Meadows advice is doing bench presses last because the joints are warmed up and you are less likely to suffer from elbow or shoulder injuries.
After the chest workout, rest on day three then train your back the following day.
Begin with a deadlift. This exercise is effective in building strength and muscle around your middle and lower back.
According to Jim Smith, a strength coach, you need to maintain perfect form when you are deadlifting.
You need to ensure your abdomen is tense, your back is arched, and bar remains close to your body. Perform, 3-5 reps.
After that, perform barbell or dumbbell rows, and finally, do some chin-ups.
Start with the standing military press. Do a few lateral raises, barbell shrugs, and reverse flyes.
In each of these exercises, ensure your tempo is slow, your weights are between light and moderate, and each repetition remains in the top position for between 1-2 seconds.
The arm workout is the least demanding exercise; therefore, it should be performed at the end of the week. Combine biceps and triceps exercises for best results.
This means interchanging a set of biceps exercises with a set of triceps exercises.
Do some dumbbells and barbell exercises for the biceps and close grip bench press and push down for the triceps. 
The Perfect Age For Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding is not restricted by age; however, weight training puts enormous strain on the body which reacts differently depending on one’s age.
Body changes that affect how you react to body building occur between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
Children, Teenagers and Bodybuilding
It is recommended that children do not begin bodybuilding until they reach the age of 20 years, at which time their skeletons and muscles are fully grown.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, medical evaluation is necessary for weightlifters under the age of 20 years before they embark on a strength-training regimen.
Experts also recommend that young weightlifters perform cardio-vascular exercises and avoid intense weightlifting until they are fully grown.
Most young bodybuilders suffer from lower back muscle strains injuries.
The ages between 20 and 30, when most people are full grown, is the perfect time to engage in bodybuilding.
During this time, you can lift the most weight within the shortest recovery time. Young adults should exploit this opportunity to bulk up.
A lad aged 20 years recovers from an intensive workout after two days while a man aged 30 years recovers from the same workout after four days.
Although these recovery periods vary depending on an individual, the World Fitness Network states that beginners who lift lighter weights take only two days to recover whereas those heavy lifting weights may take up to seven days regardless of the age of the individual.
Adults Aged Between 30 and 49
At the age of 30, muscle recovery and strength starts to diminish because of aging.
According to Exercise Prescription on the Internet, muscle mass starts to decrease by 10 percent at the age of 20 and afterward continues declining at the rate of 1 percent every year.
As a result, muscle recovery time after intense weightlifting increases from four days at the age of 30 years to seven days by the age of 50 years.
Forcing your body to work out as it did during your younger years may result in injury. This is the perfect age for focusing on strength and health and not muscle mass.
Adults Above 50 Years
As you continue to age, bone, muscle, and connecting tissue decrease with hormone production.
According to research, bodybuilding slows down this effect. There are professional bodybuilders who are beyond 50 years and still competing.
Bodybuilding benefits for older people include youthfulness and strength. 
Bottom Line on Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding is an exercise that is widely known for its many benefits.
Many people think about huge personalities with perfect bodies when the word bodybuilding comes up.
There is more that goes into bodybuilding than meets the eye. Apart from improving your physical appearance, weightlifting has psychological and emotional advantages.
However, weight training is not without its risks and anyone willing to engage in this practice should consult a doctor or training expert.
Furthermore, for best results, weight training should be performed with the considerations of diet and age in mind.