How do I train and eat properly?

Muscle building for beginners - 20 tips from the pros

You are motivated! You want the muscles! But you don't know where to start Well! Your motivation is the first and most important key that will open all further doors for you. Yes, bodybuilding can hardly be matched by any other sport in terms of the complexity of the combination of all its forms. Which type of training is the right one? Does the order of my exercises matter? How do I have to eat? Which supplements should I use? And are the tips that I have received so far correct? These 20 tips aim to make building muscle easier for beginners. For a better overview, they are categorized in "Basic Tips", "Training Tips" and "Nutrition Tips", but they are all (almost) equally important because: Muscle building is more than the sum of its parts!

Basic tips

  1. An experienced training partner is worth gold
  2. Place great emphasis on regeneration
  3. Increase yourself regularly
  4. Not paying attention to the others
  5. Don't keep changing the training plan
  6. Keep it smart and simple

Training tips

  1. Train as early as possible
  2. Do not stretch before or after training
  3. First train the big muscles, then the small ones
  4. Incorporate basic exercises into the training
  5. Be sure to train your legs
  6. Train briefly but intensively
  7. Take advantage of the eccentric movement phase
  8. Exercise with free weights
  9. Exercise with heavy weights
  10. Use intensity techniques

Nutrition tips

  1. High protein diet
  2. Eat more
  3. Keep your body fat percentage low
  4. Use only the best nutritional supplements

Basic tips

An experienced training partner is worth gold

With a training partner, muscle building is twice as effective for beginners. Why this is so is obvious, because this can not only demonstrate exercises and provide information about one or the other trick in training and nutrition, but also acts as a motivator. A good training partner pushes to the top and motivates even tired athletes to make their way to the studio instead of lying on the couch.

In addition, there is the function of the training partner as a spotter, which enables beginners to safely go to their limits even with complex basic exercises such as squats, bench press or the military press. Until you find such a partner, video tutorials can be helpful.

Put great emphasis on regeneration

The muscles do not grow during training, but rather in the rest phases between the individual workouts. So if you want to advance your muscle building, you should allow your muscles a good 48 to 72 hours of recovery after each training session before the same muscle group is loaded again with a training stimulus. Regular and sufficient sleep is also important for optimal regeneration.

Depending on the individual, between 6 and 9 hours per night are ideal. The duration of sleep is particularly important because the regeneration of body and mind takes place primarily in the deep sleep phase. Conversely, a permanent lack of sleep can lead to a reduction in growth hormone secretion. Other negative consequences of too little sleep: testosterone production decreases, fat burning deteriorates, and cravings for junk food increase. So good night!

Increase yourself regularly

What is the point of strength training if the muscles are not regularly confronted with new challenges? Right, nothing at all. It is therefore particularly important to heed the principle of progressive overload. Basically, this means that an athlete, whether beginner or advanced, should improve at least a little with every training session.

It doesn't always have to be a massive increase in training weight, because that is not necessarily realistic in such a short time. It is sufficient to simply squeeze one more repetition per set or even per exercise out of the muscles, so that the total load moved increases. Incidentally, an increase in weight is always necessary if the current training weight can still be moved cleanly 12 times in the last set.

Not paying attention to the others

In the fitness studio in particular, many beginners tend to orientate themselves too much towards other athletes, who are usually much more experienced. As a result, you want to lift heavy weights as quickly as possible and overestimate yourself. Others, on the other hand, look at improper techniques and consider them to be correct, because the athlete from whom they have copied the technique is ultimately in good shape. When it comes to building muscle for beginners, however, exactly the opposite applies.

Everyone should concentrate on themselves first and work their way forward in continuous steps according to their own plan. Stupid sayings about why you use a low weight in exercise X or Y should be ignored as well as other negative comments. But those who carry out their training with discipline and the support of an experienced training partner will definitely celebrate success.

Don't keep changing the training plan

Yes, the world of bodybuilding is new and building muscle for beginners is an exciting undertaking at first. So it is not uncommon for people to switch frequently between different training systems and plans in order to have tried it out once or to enforce what is supposed to be a lack of success. This is also counterproductive, as every training system needs at least four to six weeks for success to become clearly visible. So it is especially important at the beginning to stick to a single system for a few months. For example, we recommend a classic full-body workout with free weights, which is completed about three times a week. After four to six months, you can finally switch to a split system.

Keep it smart and simple

Bodybuilding is an extremely multifaceted sport that is characterized by a wide variety of approaches, nutritional strategies and workout systems, which to make matters worse can also be combined with one another. We perfect the confusion, even if no less complex nutrition plans and exotic training strategies come into play.

One of the most important tips for beginners is therefore: Be smart and keep your training and diet as simple as possible for the time being. This makes it much easier to persevere and also creates a valuable basis of experience that can be used for later specializations and experiments. It can take 6-12 months until such experiments are carried out.

Training tips

Train as early as possible

Those who train early in the day have the advantage that the metabolic activity of the organism remains increased throughout the day. This means that the nutrients that are absorbed during the day reach the muscle cells both quickly and continuously, where they can be processed much more effectively than in the evening and night hours. The optimized protein supply and absorption also leads to an increased build-up of lean body mass, i.e. muscles.

As a beginner you will initially be able to make good progress with your training at any time of the day, even if an early training time is a little extra. The more advanced your training becomes, the more important the training time becomes in order to avoid stagnation or to fully utilize a maximum strength cycle. If you can train in the morning or in the morning, you should definitely use this advantage, because what better way to start the day than sport?

Do not stretch before or after training

One of the biggest mistakes needs to be avoided right before training, because the bottom line is that it costs performance and thus also a good portion of the maximum possible growth stimulus that can be set during training. Even if light stretching before endurance training is definitely justified, it should be avoided both immediately before strength training and immediately after it. Before training, the stretching leads to a reduction in tension in the muscles, so that the maximum strength that can be mobilized suffers.

Beware of confusion: stretching is not the same as targeted stretching! When stretching, the tension is held for several seconds, stretching corresponds to a flowing movement in and out of the stretch. Stretching will also help you prevent injuries. Hard plastic rollers, with which tense muscle groups can be massaged yourself, such as foam rolling, are also beneficial for regeneration.

First train the big muscles, then the small ones

The recommendation to train large muscles or muscle groups such as the back or chest before smaller muscles such as the biceps or triceps is based on avoiding muscular pre-exhaustion. If the biceps are trained using various curls in front of the back, this very small muscle is already exhausted. This is counterproductive for building muscle, because the biceps are also needed as an auxiliary muscle for back training. However, if the biceps are already pre-tired, it is likely that they will sag clearly in front of the back and that no ideal growth stimuli can be set for the back muscles.

Incorporate basic exercises into the training

This tip follows on from the previous tip, as performing basic exercises builds on the general benefits of free weight training. Basic exercises are characterized by their complexity, which is based on the fact that at least two joints and several muscle groups are involved in such a sequence of movements.

Basic exercises not only increase the coordination skills and functional strength, but also ensure a significantly higher release of growth hormones, which stimulate muscle building, through the involvement of a large proportion of the skeletal muscles. In addition, you can save a lot of time with basic exercises, as these can easily replace several isolation exercises. This makes it easy to keep an optimal training time of 45-60 minutes.

Be sure to train your legs

Leg training also plays a central role in building muscle for beginners, even if it is extremely strenuous and obviously less fun than bench press Monday or arm training. There are three reasons for this recommendation. First, the purely visual aspect, because what does it look like on the beach when the muscular upper body stands on two thin stilts?

The second point concerns the stability that well-toned legs give the body. Especially since every chain is only as strong as its weakest link, it is not uncommon for a strength and stability deficit in the legs to limit performance in other exercises that are performed while standing.

The third reason that speaks in favor of leg training is again based on the release of growth hormones. Since the legs are the largest connected muscle group, the release of testosterone and HGH is of course particularly large - an overall rather small, but welcome effect. The positive effect is not limited to the legs, but extends to the entire body.

Train briefly but intensively

A lot doesn't always help a lot. This also applies to muscle building for beginners, because even if countless athletes spend several hours in the studio, that does not mean that this is the right strategy. Strictly speaking, the opposite is the case, because with increasing training duration, the organism releases larger amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which has a strong catabolic effect and thus reduces the positive effects of the anabolic hormones (testosterone and HGH), which are also released during training. It is better to train briefly but very intensively and with only short breaks in sentences in order to make the most of the demonstrably higher muscle building effect. 45-60 minutes are ideal for a complete workout.

Take advantage of the eccentric movement phase

If you only concentrate on the concentric movement phase during training, i.e. on lifting a weight, and then more or less drop it, you are wasting considerable growth potential. This is because the muscles are made up to a large extent of muscle fibers that respond very well to eccentric loads such as those created when lowering a weight. In order to take advantage of this additional growth stimulus, the eccentric movement phase should be carried out particularly slowly. 2-3 seconds are ideal for lowering the weight.

Exercise with free weights

Of course, it is particularly attractive for many beginners to train on machines, as the machines perform the exercises very precisely and the potential for errors is correspondingly low. Beginners should do exactly the opposite and at least mainly rely on training with free weights, i.e. with dumbbells and barbells. Due to the freedom of movement and the lack of guidance, there is no extensive isolation of certain muscles, so that smaller auxiliary muscles are also effectively trained.

This is particularly important when building muscles for beginners, as a high degree of basic stability and functional strength is achieved right from the start thanks to the improved interaction of the muscles (inter-muscular coordination). In combination with the increased freedom of movement for each individual movement, there is a reduction in the risk of injury and a stronger growth stimulus. A conscious and controlled execution of movements is crucial. Unclean or incorrect movement patterns can lead to long-term injuries. Another reason why tip 1 is so important.

Exercise with heavy weights

Often you see beginners in the gym handling light weights who would actually do significantly more and then wonder why they don't want to go ahead with building muscle. In order to set optimal stimuli for muscle building, you should always train as hard as possible. Weights that can be moved cleanly in the hypertrophic area are ideal - i.e. at least six times, but no more than twelve times. Another advantage of training with heavy weights is that the testosterone release is significantly higher than when training with light weights. This in turn is beneficial for building muscle.

Use intensity techniques

In order to get the last bit of performance out of the muscles, even beginners can and should use simple intensity techniques. These are usually used in the last set, which is performed for a specific muscle group, and generate even stronger growth stimulus through the additional tension. Intensity techniques that beginners can easily and safely implement are drop sets, supersets and forced repetitions. With this tip we are already moving towards advanced knowledge, first try to heed the tactics tips above.

Nutrition tips

High protein diet

The basis for building muscle for beginners is a protein-rich diet, because the best training is of no use without the cell building material, as the organism is not able to build new tissue. As a rule of thumb, 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and day is sufficient to achieve very good results. In addition to the total amount, the quality of the protein, the so-called biological value, is also important. The higher this is, the better the organism can convert the food protein into the body's own protein structures.

In addition to whey protein, casein and various multi-component proteins, fish, lean meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products are particularly high quality. Vegetable sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu and soy are also not to be despised in this regard. Overall, protein consumption should not be one-sided, but should be made up of a wide variety of sources in order to ensure the intake of the widest possible range of amino acids and also to benefit from the various micronutrients it contains. Eating a balanced diet is key and will give you the best results.

Eat more

The main reason building muscle is so difficult for beginners is simply not getting enough nutrients. Ectomorphic body types, which are generally very difficult to gain weight due to their wasteful metabolism, or people who have not been used to eating a lot, are particularly affected. Instead of eating fast food and ice cream haphazardly, it makes much more sense to keep a food diary with the help of a calorie counter app.

This is mainly used to monitor the calorie surplus, because without a calorie surplus there will be nothing to build muscle.If you have problems getting used to the large amounts of food, you can choose foods with a high energy density. These include, for example, nuts or cheese. Alternatively, you can use protein shakes or weight gainers, which serve as rich snacks between meals.

Keep your body fat percentage low

If you want to achieve a top figure and keep it permanently, you should do one thing above all - keep your body fat percentage low. Of course, this applies above all to the build-up phase, because every kilogram of carelessly built-up fat mass only unnecessarily lengthens the subsequent diet and thus carries an increased risk of losing the painfully built-up muscles again.

Therefore, even in the bulking phase, it is advisable to record eating habits with the help of a calorie tracking app and not to let the daily energy surplus exceed 500 kilocalories. Additional cardio units also help to counteract the build-up of fat, so that in spring you no longer need an extremely hard diet to get in top shape.

Use only the best nutritional supplements

Dietary supplements, the so-called supplements, also play an important role in building muscle for beginners. In view of the large selection, beginners should initially limit themselves to the absolute basic products, as these are completely sufficient at the beginning and optimally support muscle building and regeneration.

This category includes, for example, vitamin preparations, maltodextrin, dextrose and the whole range of protein powders. However, the old rule "if you buy cheap, buy twice" also applies here, because cheap products often do not contain the highest quality nutrients or tend to be in low doses. It is therefore important to concentrate exclusively on the best quality products. And you can get it here, at

That was a lot of information now? You haven't discovered yourself 100 percent in these tips yet? Don't let this discourage you! Getting into bodybuilding has never been easy for anyone. Set yourself achievable goals, such as gradually adapting your diet or developing a training routine, talk to the people in the studio and heed these tips, then success will gradually come. Also note: this list includes many aspects, but not all! Which exercises you should know, psychological aspects such as discipline, equipment, ... is important: Always be patient! And: Always keep your big goal in mind. It is worth it!