Unless you're born into a particularly sporting family, joining a gym for the first time can seem a pretty daunting task. It has its pros and cons for your training. One of the big advantages is that for the first few weeks/months, pretty much any training plan will result in noticeable size and strength gains. This is due to the unprecedented stress the Central Nervous System (CNS) undergoes - your muscle cells hypertrophy (increase in size) to cope with the increasing demands of weight-training.
I only began with a couple of basic lifts - bench press, pull-ups, squats and seated rows - but the effects were noticed by people around me fairly quickly. 'Newbie Gains', you might want to call them. This is only a short-lived process however, and when the initial results plateau, you'll need to be thinking of switching up your routine. Don't fall into the trap of just buying a bodybuilding magazine and copying the workouts inside. Here's why:
- I'm not knocking professional bodybuilders. They are very good at what they do, and make their living from it, so need to be extra-dedicated. 99% of you reading this will not be pro-bodybuilders with that kind of training time, though. Routines such as Rich Piana's infamous '8 Hour Arm Workout' are out of the window for the vast majority of us who may have full-time jobs, an education or children to look after.
- Consider what's being taken by those following these magazine workouts. More "multi-vitamins" than you can shake a stick at. Coupled with their crazy genetics, bodybuilders would likely build muscle brushing their teeth in the morning.
- What appears in the magazine may not actually be what is used. What is the editor's priority? Selling copies/directing internet traffic to the website. If that means sexing up a training plan to make it look short and snappy, they will do that. As someone who has spent time working for a leading UK fitness magazine, trust me on this!