Guide to Natural Bodybuilding

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A guide to natural bodybuilding must essentially differentiate between the word naturals and not naturals. Our guide goes further and tells you the right way to train, eat and plan ahead so you can naturally attain your fitness goals!

What is natural bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding is defined as the act of trying to build muscle or lose fat without the aid of anabolic substances, i.e. steroids. There are two things you need to understand here. Supplements are not steroids, that’s a popular supplement myth. Supplements are always food derivatives or substances that are naturally occurring. Steroids however are synthetic hormones. 

Now that this is clear, let’s focus on the guide to natural bodybuilding. To build your physique, unless you a beginner, must understand that what goal you aspire to be. Let me tell you this from the start. Naturals have it tougher in all regards. It’s hard to build muscle and even harder to diet down to lose weight. Pick a goal first and foremost. Building muscle or losing fat because your training, nutrition and lifestyle will be different based on that goal.

What is natural bodybuilding

How does one build muscle naturally?

With all the commotion surrounding the fitness industry, it’s imperative to dissect the plethora of information that is shoved in your face. Quite simply put, building muscle is going to occur when you eat right, meaning a high protein, moderate carb and fat diet, and most importantly, eat in a caloric surplus; alongside intense resistance training and adequate rest. Those are the three pillars to building muscle. Proper Nutrition, Intense Training, Adequate Rest.

In this natural bodybuilding guide to build muscle you need to comply with the following objectives:

  • Train the way that is best suited to natural bodybuilders
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours
  • Eat the right amount of calories with the right amount of macronutrients, everyday

As you calculate your calories, eat in a surplus, train the way explained below; do remember that if you want to build muscles the natural way, you will have to work extremely hard and in a consistent way.

How does one lose fat naturally?

Losing weight isn’t hard. Just drop your calories and do some cardio. Losing fat is another monster to tackle. Not only do you have to reduce your calories but also only do so with carbs and/or fats and in some cases, up your protein. Let me be extremely honest with you. Getting to single digit body fat is extremely difficult. You will most likely be eating boiled chicken and broccoli along with sweet potato and olive oil. Furthermore it is almost impossible to maintain for long periods of time. Hence those people who are having a six pack and eating pizza, is almost a tell-tale sign of steroid use. 

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, and if you’re still motivated enough to gain the knowledge of these natural bodybuilding tips to lose fat then this is what you should do:

  • Calculate your calories and track your calories everyday
  • Cut your calories by 200
  • Allocate the remaining calories in the ratio of 45% protein, 35% carbs, 20% fat
  • Hit the gym regularly and add in cardio whenever you know you are over your daily caloric limit 
  • If you hit a plateau, either reduce some more calories, or add in more cardio
  • Constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your body composition in the mirror

I know this a lot to ask for, but if you want unrealistic results then you have to put in unrealistic amounts of hard work to achieve it. Getting the fabled six pack is possible naturally, you just have to work harder for it.

build muscle naturally

Rules for Natural Bodybuilding

Fortunately for you there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to natural bodybuilding. These rules will not only teach you a thing or two about training and nutrition but will also motivate you to achieve your goal:

1. Supplements are useful- A fact you need to understand is that steroid users are already ahead of the pack. To close the gap and not hurt yourself in the process, supplements like whey protein, glutamine and creatine help. Don’t overly rely on them. Natural bodybuilding supplements will give you a marginal edge. But it’ll only be marginal.

2. It will take time- Believe me, I’ve been at it for more than three years now, and my physique dwarfs in front of the physiques of ‘enhanced’ bodybuilders. Naturally it will take time and you will make most of your muscle gains in the first five years. After that don’t be surprised if you even manage to gain half a kg of muscle mass during the year

3. You will lose muscle- If your goal is to be shredded at 90kg, I’m sorry to break it to you, it’s not going to happen. Retention of muscle does happen when you are in a caloric deficit because our bodies are wired to lose muscle as a source of energy

4. Plateaus are frustrating- Plateaus are annoying. They stall your progress and happens because your body adopts to your current diet and/or training regimen. You will need to constantly redo your program, evaluate your nutrition and that can be frustrating. Keep at it because the simple laws of thermodynamics apply. Calorie deficit and high protein and low carb means you will lose fat

5. You will never be able to lose fat and build muscle at the same time- Not a rule, just a harsh truth

Related Article: The Ideal Training Mindset

Rules for Natural Bodybuilding

Natural Bodybuilding Workout and Diet Plan

This is what you have been waiting for. I am not going to make any exaggerated claims that you will add an inch to your arms or get a six pack in a week. What I am giving will work, depending on your nutrition, and will take time.

    - Workout Plan

The funny thing about natural bodybuilding workouts is that you need to go back to the time and see what the circus performers did, back when there were no steroids. The one-bodypart-a-day split is useful for steroid users mostly because they can afford to overtrain the muscle. Being on steroids, also dramatically increases your recovery so you know why this split won’t be helpful to you. The best natural bodybuilding workout routine is essentially a 5x5 full body program or an upper, lower split. This is because the best kind of training, that a natural responds to, is hitting each muscle group twice a week. Below is such a program, that can get you started:

Monday- Upper Body 1

Tuesday- Lower Body 1

Wednesday- Upper Body 2

Thursday- Rest

Friday- Lower Body 2

Saturday- Upper Body 1 and so on…

Now for the exercises:

Upper Body 1

  • Bench Press: 5x5
  • Incline Bench: 4x10
  • Dips: 4x10
  • OHP: 5x5
  • Arnold Press: 4x10
  • Rear Delt Fly: 4x10
  • Barbell Curl: 3x8
  • Incline Curl: 3x8

 

Upper Body 2

  • Deadlift: 5x5
  • T-bar row: 4x10
  • Lat Pulldown: 4x10
  • Reverse Pulldown: 4x10
  • OHP: 5x5
  • Rear Delt Fly: 4x10
  • Close Grip Bench: 3x8
  • Skull crushers: 3x8
  • Tricep Pushdown: 3x8

 

Lower Body 1

  • Back Squat: 5x5
  • Leg Press: 4x10
  • Lunges: 3x8
  • Goblet Squat: 3x8
  • Standing Calf Raise: 4x10-12
  • Seated Calf Raise: 4x10-12

 

Lower Body 2

  • Front Squat: 5x5
  • Leg Press: 4x10
  • Lunges: 3x8
  • Goblet Squat: 3x8
  • Standing Calf Raise: 4x10-12
  • Seated Calf Raise: 4x10-12

I know what you’ll be thinking. No arm day, no abs day? What is this nonsense? Relax. Naturals and most others don’t need direct arm work. You’ll be doing enough on your upper body days. I’ve been following this exact split for 6 months now, and my arms are 16.5 inches. So you make  the choice. Also, doing compound movements will hit your abs hard enough. A six pack doesn’t need all that much resistance to develop. It needs a lot of dieting to show, however. 

In regards to the natural bodybuilding diet, I’d be lying to you if I post a diet that will work perfectly for you. There is no perfect diet. You have to calculate calories, adjust macro’s and re-adjust as explained above. Just remember to be patient. It takes time. 

Natural Bodybuilding Workout

I honestly have written down whatever I have experimented on myself. This works. I can say this is a definitive guide to natural bodybuilding because it doesn’t give you false dreams and hopes to become the next Mr.Olympia. It will however get you a step closer to achieving your dream physique. 

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