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I'M 15...

For many of us, magazines, photographs of famous champions such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu, Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, Mohamed Benaziza known as "momo", bring into mind the highlights of bodybuilding and the hope of one day managing to change one's physical appearance.


Bodybuilding is more a philosophy of life than a straightforward physical activity.
I'll explain.
Obviously, lifting barbells, increasing your muscular strength, respecting the discipline of regular training, watching your diet and your lifestyle involve the same constraints as those imposed on any athlete, whatever the sport.
The difference with bodybuilding is that the prime objective of this activity is not to improve physical performance but to improve the physique.
Bodybuilding is a plastic art.

Like any art, you do not become a virtuoso or a maestro in just a few months.
It takes years. Bodybuilding is a school of patience and hope.

You must start by doing your scales, start by making strokes with a brush, learn how to use sculpting tools.
In a word, not trying to produce a work of art after one month.

THE MAESTROS: When browsing specialised magazines, it is difficult to imagine what it takes to achieve such results.

Reaching such peaks demands full-time investment to your art, whether in terms of finance, family, friends or profession.

It is essential to allow enough time to train regularly and sufficiently. It may be necessary to choose a job which, although less financially rewarding, offers free time suitable for training.
Going out with friends will be reduced to the strict minimum. It is difficult to follow a drastic diet when going to the restaurant. It is equally difficult to respect your regular sleeping habits if you go out at night.
Family life is also difficult to preserve, even though some people do manage. Looking after a family and living your passion 24 hours a day is no easy task. Remember that a career might have started at 15 or 18 years old and continue well after 30 years old.

OBJECTIVES: It is essential to define your precise motivations for wanting to practise bodybuilding. They may be due to several reasons: wanting to have a different image of yourself, a criticism at school, poor achievement in gym, wanting to be noticed by a person of the opposite sex, gain confidence, lose weight, be stronger, further to re-education after an accident, etc. It is up to you to define exactly why you want to set out on this adventure.

For the time being, the objective is not to become a "Maestro". If things must happen, they will do so naturally, of their own accord.

Wanting to push back the limits of your body, whatever the cost, is pointless and even dangerous.

We will simply analyse how to reach these objectives.

MEANS: As the saying goes: "you never get anything for nothing".
You must make do with what you have. But above all, never deviate from the guiding principles you set yourself.
Once the decision is taken, you sign a deal with yourself.
· Time: Time is the keystone of the entire structure.
You must therefore make sure you to allow sufficient time slots, according to the day's activities. You need time to train, but also to eat - you cannot afford to eat any old how - and rest - without rest, the body does not have time to recover.

· Equipment: In spite of what you might think, the best equipment does not necessarily produce the best physique.
You are a bodybuilder 24 hours a day. Bodybuilding is a culture, a way of life.
You are a beginner, you do not need super-sophisticated equipment.
By remaining reasonable, you will not be tempted to disperse your energy on complicated machines, which are not necessarily more efficient than the good old pair of barbells.

If you do not have any equipment, you can always go to a park or by a river, in other words, you can use whatever "comes to hand".

When working alone, however, there is a risk of performing the exercises incorrectly.
If there is an association or a club near you, enrol. You should not have to travel right across the town in order to train, since in this case there is a high risk of giving up quickly. You will find a wider choice of equipment, but make sure not to disperse your energy.
You will find partners and get advice from an instructor or more experienced members.
But take care, however, remember that you are a beginner, keep your place and do not train with seasoned hands: just because it easy for them and adapted to their level does not mean that this is the case for you.
You and you alone must discover what is suitable for you as you improve.
For the time being, you are not yet a virtuoso with the barbells.

DIETETICS: Once again, remain modest and keep things at your own level.
There is no point in adopting the diet of a particular champion
who manages to eat 7 or 8000 cal/day.
Get up earlier in the morning to eat a good balanced breakfast. Cut out the cakes, but do not skip carbohydrates and proteins. Avoid coffee and tea.

At lunch, keep to your regular eating habits, avoiding fried food and eating plenty of vegetables.

Take a snack at 5 o'clock. Plan carbohydrates and a small amount of protein, not necessarily powdered substitutes. Eat cheese, milk or soya, for instance.
Dinner will be on the same lines as lunch, avoid changing your former habits too much.
In 1 hour's training, you will burn about 600 cal, so there is no point in eating an extra 1200 calories.


You are still growing and your body is not yet fully developed. It is essential not to interfere with this development, a mistake you would regret for the rest of your life.

To avoid problems, diversify your physical and sporting activities. Do not restrict yourself to a single activity. Switch activities during the week, make sure to keep some days off. Your body needs exercise, but also time to recover through rest.

If your are genetically programmed to be "slender", train but do not try to go against nature by wanting to become "stocky" at any cost. You cannot deliberately modify the nature of muscular fibre.
Having broad shoulders may look good, but so far, no-one has found a way to make your bones longer.

Respect yourself, do not be tempted by charlatans, unscrupulous traders who will try to sell you miracle pills capable of transforming you in 2 weeks. You will simply lose your money, your health and your illusions.

Much waste for zero results.
Do not forget that life does not stop at 20.
It is a precious gift that you have received. Your objective is to keep it as long as possible, in the best possible condition.

Make sure that each training session is a moment of pleasure and intense happiness.
To remain motivated, do not end your session worn out, but instead saying to yourself, "I could have continued".
If some days you find that you have not been on top form, think of the people who are lying in bed in hospital. You will soon see that your morale will pick up and you will realise what a fool you were.
Some days, you will start training and find you are just not up to it, you feel as though you are not getting anything out of it. Get dressed, listen to your body, be considerate to it. You will not make any progress by training when your body is tired.
Draw up a programme matching your capabilities.
Set yourself realistic objectives and only change once they have been reached.
If you do not manage, this means that you are hiding from reality or that you have cheated with yourself.
In this activity, if you cheat on yourself you are the only one who will suffer.

CONCLUSION : Bodybuilding has one supreme advantage: it can be practised at all ages by women, men, children, the elderly and the disabled.
It requires no special equipment. Any object can be used as a dumbbell. Nature "offers" all the equipment you need.
Bodybuilding teaches you how to look after yourself and learn more about the most important person on earth:
This will help you to appreciate other people more, understand them better and respect them more.
Bodybuilding means feeling good in your body and consequently feeling good in your head.

Work hard everyone, in moderation and sensibly.

Articles to be read on the site:
Growth and bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding for teenagers.