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What Is Bodybuilding, And What Bodybuilding Programs And Diet Recommendations Should You Give To Clients?

A person flexing his muscles

Bodybuilding remains the most popular form of workout, and people of all ages are interested in achieving a defined and healthy body with bulky muscles. However, bodybuilding isn’t as easy as working out regularly. It requires dedication, hard work, and special diets and workout restrictions to achieve the defined look.

Personal trainers usually monitor their client’s progress closely before starting them with bodybuilding workouts. Because the clients need to be physically healthy to handle the bodybuilding program, here’s all you need to know about helping your clients with bodybuilding.

Moreover, if you want to learn more about fitness and bodybuilding, we recommend you check out the helpful guides on W.I.T.S. Education along with their specialization courses.

What Is Body Building?

Bodybuilding is a form of workout that relies heavily on developing the body’s muscle mass and reducing the fat count of the body. It often includes progressive resistance exercises to accelerate muscle growth and achieve defined muscles. The workouts used in bodybuilding are similar to those used in powerlifting. However, bodybuilding focuses more on physical appearance, while powerlifting increases strength.

Many people take up bodybuilding to compete in professional bodybuilding competitions. These competitions evaluate people based on muscle symmetry, size, conditioning, posing, and muscularity. For personal trainers, training bodybuilding clients is harder because they need constant supervision and workout modifications to prevent their bodies from excessive muscle loss.

A person working out using battling ropes


Which Clients Can Take Up Body Building?

Physically Fit Clients

Since bodybuilding focuses on rigorous muscle training, the clients need to be physically fit to endure the intense muscle development process. If not, the clients are more likely to develop health issues leading to slower muscle regeneration. As a result, their body can suffer from extensive muscle loss that can affect the bones in the long term.

Not just that, they can also end up with nerve damage if their bodies don’t have sufficient muscle mass to support the nerves and bones during tough workouts. So even if the client doesn’t have a lot of lean muscle mass, they should still be in good health to begin bodybuilding training. If not, the clients should work to improve their health first, then more on to bodybuilding.

Clients Without Any Chronic Illness

Some chronic illnesses don’t affect the client’s day-to-day activities meaning they can focus on their fitness without any issues. But still, their bodies aren’t strong enough to handle bodybuilding or any strength training exercises. If they do take on bodybuilding, it can leave them with severe muscle damage and elevate their illness symptoms.

Moreover, it’ll be harder for them to recover from the muscle damage compared to other clients. So before taking a client on, make sure they don’t have any chronic illnesses.

Clients In An Appropriate Age Group

When taking on clients, make sure they’re in an appropriate age group. People above a certain age may not be able to handle rapid muscle development if they haven’t done bodybuilding before. Because with age, the bones become fragile, and the body doesn’t produce new muscle fibers that fast.

On the other hand, if the client is under a certain age, their body may not have fully developed, and extensive muscle building can hamper their development. So make sure you take clients that are old enough but not too old. Otherwise, it’ll be harder for you to train them, and they might not even see the same results.

How Does Bodybuilding Differ From Regular Exercising?

More Focus On Muscle Development

Regular fitness is about maintaining a healthy weight and a certain lean muscle mass. This is why there are no specific requirements for training clients. But for bodybuilding, clients need the endurance to focus on muscle development. This is why the workouts are intense and sometimes need longer resting periods to promote faster muscle development.

A bodybuilder doing weight training

High-Calorie Diet

Even though bodybuilding results include a defined body with a lean muscle mass, the workout stage relies on calories. This is because the body converts calories into energy and increases the oxygen absorption in the muscles.

As a result, muscle development is accelerated while excess energy is utilized during workouts. To achieve this, trainers usually recommend a high-calorie diet to the clients. This diet isn’t suitable for other clients because it’ll lead to fat accumulation in the long run.

Goes Beyond Physical Fitness

When it comes to bodybuilding, there are no breaks or shortcuts. Clients must train each day to achieve their desired results in a defined timeline. This requires high willpower and endurance to go through such tough workouts.

Many clients give up on bodybuilding in the beginning because of the hard work it requires. So it’s up to the trainer to judge the client and determine whether they can handle bodybuilding or not.

What Are The Dietary Recommendations For Clients?


Carbohydrates are an important energy source for bodybuilding clients. Once consumed, carbohydrates are broken down and stored in the muscles as glycogen. This glycogen is important for energy development when the muscles are broken down to generate new muscle fibers. Not just that, but this energy is also required to fuel the body and perform tough workouts. If the body doesn’t have sufficient glycogen reserves, it’ll lead to severe muscle loss.


Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and are needed when developing new muscles. Proteins contain amino acids that play an active role in accelerating muscle repair and generating new muscle fibers for bodybuilders. It also reduces the resting period so clients can build muscle faster.

Foods rich in protein and amino acids are essential for bodybuilders. This includes red meat, beans, and dairy products. In some instances, trainers even recommend protein supplements to fulfill the protein deficiency in the body. Other than that, some clients can even take fish oil capsules rich in amino acids and help muscle development.

Healthy Fats

Just like carbohydrates, fats are also essential in bodybuilding. These fats also supply the body with energy. But that’s not all; fats also improve cell growth. However, you need to be careful with recommending fats because no tall fats are healthy.

Food containing saturated fats won’t be of any help. This is why you should recommend foods containing unsaturated fats such as eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and avocados. Moreover, fats also improve hormone levels and allow adequate muscle development in the body. Generally, the fat consumption should remain above 15% of the total calories. The rest of the calories should come from carbohydrates.

A person deadlifting weights

Body Building Workouts For Beginner Clients

The biggest challenge for beginners is getting the body used to such intense workouts. So instead of going straight for bodybuilding, trainers need to increase the client’s endurance first and help them burn excess fats. To achieve this, clients should focus on one part of their body daily. That’s why for beginners, the workouts are divided based on body parts.

Leg Workouts

Leg workouts for bodybuilding are pretty much the same as regular workouts. The only difference is the number of reps. For bodybuilding, clients need to achieve a higher number of reps to make the muscle buildup process faster.

Some effective exercises you can recommend to your clients are leg curls, squats, lunges, cycling, and running. Initially, these workouts should be done once or twice a week. Because the legs are the most heavily used part of our body, therefore clients need gradually increase the intensity of the exercise. Otherwise, they might pull a muscle or damage it.

Stomach Workouts

Having defined abs are also an important part of the client’s bodybuilding journey. Regular crunches won’t cut it, so you need to take it up a notch and recommend other stomach workouts, such as sit-ups, pushups, climbing, jump rope, and planks.

For beginners, having defined abs isn’t the end goal, but they should at least have a flat stomach so it’ll be easier to develop abs during the intermediate phase. However, you also need to be careful so that the clients don’t push themselves too hard because it can harm their backbone and back muscles if they push themselves too much.

Back Workouts

For defined biceps and leg muscles, back muscles play an important part. Not to mention clients need ample back support to perform such daunting workouts and support the body through rapid muscle development. Certain weight training exercises are good for developing back muscles without straining the body.

Similarly, exercises such as planks, pushups, and bench presses are also good for working out the back muscles. You can also ask clients to jump rope in their free time to accelerate back muscle development.

A man doing bicep workouts

Body Building Workouts For Intermediate Clients

Once the clients have finished the beginner’s training, they can move on to the intermediate one. This training is more intense and requires dedication and a healthy diet to push the body for extensive muscle development. This is why the selected workouts should be complete body workouts, not just targeted ones. So that muscle development can happen at an even rate throughout the body.

Interval Training

Interval training is a form of physical training that alternates between high and low-intensity workouts with short resting time. These workouts push the body to the limit and increase muscle development. Interval training isn’t just one exercise. It combines several intense exercises such as strength training, swimming, running, jumping rope, cardio, and stretching.

The key is to get the heart rate up fast so the body can absorb oxygen more and increase new muscle fiber generation and prevent existing muscles from excessive damage. These exercises are followed by a longer resting period to let the body recover. However, muscle development continues even in the resting period, which is why interval training is a good option for bodybuilding.

HIIT Workouts

HIIT stands for high-impact interval training. It is another form of interval training that’s more intense and only relies on high-intensity workouts. During these exercises, the clients are working around 80 to 90% of their maximum heart rate, which is why the exercises require proper care and caution. The workouts usually last around a minute with an equal amount of resting time.

The most common type of HIIT workout is a 30-second sprint followed by slow jogging or walking for the resting period. Additionally, cardio exercises and weight training exercises are also included in HIIT workouts. Besides that, clients also need to rely on protein supplements to reenergize the body mid-workout.

Weight Training

Weight training for bodybuilding usually includes regular cardio workouts with the addition of weights. Initially, clients can do exercises such as squats, lunges, bench presses, and reverse curls with lighter weights and then gradually increase the weights to achieve more defined muscles.

Usually, when additional weights are added, the reps are reduced because they can add a lot of stress to the body and lead to muscle loss in the long run. So you want to maintain a healthy balance so that the client’s body produces more muscle fibers with less muscle loss.

Full-Body Workouts

Full-body workouts refer to nonconventional workouts that aid in muscle development. These workouts include activities that stimulate muscles all over the body without needing to participate in workouts. Swimming is the most common form of a full-body workout. The resistance of the water pushes the body to work harder while the swimming motion increases muscle development.

Running, cycling, and climbing are other popular full-body workouts recommended to bodybuilders. However, swimming is the most effective of them all. Not just that, but swimming also improves joint movements and reduces the pressure on the bones.

 A man doing pushups in the gym

Expand Your Fitness Training Expertise With W.I.T.S. Education

W.I.T.S. Education offers personal health trainer programs for people interested in entering the fitness industry. On their website, you can find courses related to a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, medical fitness instructor, and many more. Not just that, but if you’re interested in opening up your own fitness studio, W.I.T.S. Education has a fitness management course as well.

Their courses include informative online lectures and hands-on practical labs. Moreover, the institute is accredited by the American Council of Education and the N.C.C.A. They also have the largest network of universities and colleges so students can earn course credits. Check out their courses and enroll today!

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