Coach Maxwell Alexander knows a thing or two about bodybuilding, and he’s created this comprehensive guide to help you get Jacked Like Him. In this 6-part series, Coach Maxwell will explain the 5 main factors involved in natural bodybuilding, including proper nutrition, weight training, supplementation, cardio, and rest and recovery. Along the way, he’ll share personal anecdotes and advice that will ensure your success as you build muscle and lose fat to become a jacked physique competitor like him!
What is Natural Bodybuilding?
The word natural has become common in the fitness world. It’s used to identify someone who does not use performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, stimulants, or human growth hormone (HGH). Natural bodybuilders follow a very specific diet and weightlifting regimen. They abstain from many processed foods and foods high in sugar and instead replace them with healthy alternatives like quinoa, fish, sweet potatoes, and fresh vegetables. They also drink plenty of water and tend to not consume alcohol or caffeine.
A Day in the Life of a Natural Bodybuilder
Maxwell wakes up and drinks his coffee for breakfast. He gets dressed in his sweatpants or his favorite mesh gym shorts and a shirt that will allow him to move freely during the workout. With a pair of sneakers in hand, he goes outside for an early morning run or inside on the treadmill followed by 20 minutes of abs work on the lower back extension machine and another 15 minutes doing flies with bands. At 8 am he starts lifting weights. He does five sets of barbell squats and then moves onto incline bench presses, dips, pull-ups, deadlifts, upright rows, bicep curls, and triceps extensions. By 9 am he is done lifting weights so he finishes up with a stretching routine using his favorite Chrip Wheel before starting his day at work.
Eat Enough Protein – Every. Single. Day.
When starting a new diet, protein intake is one of the first things that many people are concerned about. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle growth and repair. Since there is more protein in animal sources than in plant-based sources, it is necessary to take in enough calories from these animal sources every day in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are also many protein supplements available on the market if you’re not getting enough dietary or supplemental protein. Maxwell’s diet is mostly vegetarian and he supplements his protein intake with Gold Standard Whey.
Supplements That Help You Reach Your Goals Faster
Weight training is the most important aspect of natural bodybuilding. Make sure you are eating enough calories and protein while lifting. Natural supplements can help your efforts along and achieve your goals quicker, but they should not be relied on as your sole source of nutrition. Addressing factors such as sleep and stress management in addition to a healthy diet and exercise routine is the best way to get the most out of your workout regimen.
Cut Out These Foods From Your Diet (Because You Don’t Need Them!)
- Processed foods – junk food, canned goods, microwave dinners, prepackaged and fast food
- Grains – pasta, bread, cereal, oatmeal, and more
- Dairy products – milk and cheese are ok in moderation but high intake can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure or osteoporosis
- Vegetables with a high sugar content – sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, and others
- Fruit juice – water is better for you as it keeps your body hydrated
- Alcohol – dehydrates the body and can have negative effects on muscle growth. Although, Maxwell can’t live without his wine and he makes sure to drink at least 2 glasses every day as FDA recommended 🙂
6 Tips for Getting Leaner Without Losing Muscle Mass
- Eating and training with weights every day is essential. A growing body needs the right nutrients, which you can only get from food and supplements. Plus, weightlifting increases testosterone levels and helps build muscle.
- Get your workouts in early in the morning if possible because studies show that people have more energy later in the day due to the natural fluctuation of hormones during sleep cycles. Working out at night might also lead to emotional eating – don’t have unhealthy cravings when you’re exhausted!
- Pay attention to what’s on your plate – avoid processed foods, instead focus on lean protein like chicken or fish, complex carbs like brown rice or quinoa, and healthy fats like avocado or nuts for healthy meals full of vitamins and minerals.
- For best results drink plenty of water throughout the day (roughly six-eight glasses) but avoid drinking calories in liquid forms such as juices or sodas.
- Protein shakes are an easy way to add protein to your diet without adding a lot of calories. But remember not to make them too thick with things like ice cream, coconut milk, heavy cream, or almond milk. They should be about 80% water and 20% powder/milk/syrup mixture.
- Consider using egg whites instead of whole eggs – they are a great source of protein without all the fat found in yolks.
Get Ready for Instagram Photoshoot with This Specific Warm-Up Routine
Complete five reps of each exercise with the stated weight before moving on to the next exercise.
- 5 Sets of 10 Unweighted Pull-Ups; or 8 Pull-Ups (if you’ve completed 5 sets of 10)
- 1 minute between sets and exercises, unless otherwise noted. Start each set with a pushup.
- Lightly band together wrists for bicep curls for best results. Keep an arch in your back while curling. Squeeze your butt while curling at the top of every rep.
- Use 3lb ankle weights for seated triceps extension, but only do three reps per set because you don’t want them too sore after this specific workout routine! Bring your elbows up to shoulder height and then extend them straight out in front of you as far as possible. Keep them close to your body when lowering them back down again.
Workout in the Morning (and here’s why…)
The first step is setting your alarm and getting ready the night before so you are not rushed when it goes off. Plus, it forces you out of bed, which will wake up the rest of your body. Give yourself at least 30 minutes for breakfast, morning rituals, etc. The next thing is to set a schedule for yourself. I’m more productive when I know what’s going on ahead of time and plan accordingly. I also recommend starting with a high-intensity workout (HIIT) in the morning followed by a full day’s worth of work or school because this gives you plenty of time to relax afterward and unwind from any stress that might have built up during the day.
Why Cardio Should NOT Be Part of Your Workout Routine
So what is Cardio, and why should you avoid it like the plague? Cardio refers to anything that makes your heart rate spike; this includes running, jumping rope, sprinting, or any other activity that takes more than 20 seconds. This can’t be good for natural bodybuilders. Consider all the times people say It’s a marathon, not a sprint! What does this mean? Well, as a natural bodybuilder you need to be conserving your energy as much as possible so you can use it during workouts where we are trying to make our muscles work at 100%.
There are two types of exercises – strength training (resistance) and cardio (cardiovascular). Strength training exercises help develop muscular strength and endurance by using resistance such as weights, elastic bands, pushups, etc. Cardio exercises increase oxygen consumption by elevating one’s heart rate for extended periods of time. They burn calories but do little to nothing in terms of building muscle. An example would be if someone goes on a run, they would start burning fat because their heart rate is up higher and their cells are getting glucose faster – but when they stop running and put down the bottle of water they were drinking – they stop burning fat. Why? Their heart rate drops too low which means their cells don’t get glucose fast enough – causing them to go into starvation mode.
Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Presses & Military Presses, and Kettlebell Thrusts are the BEST Exercise For Building Muscle Mass and Strength
Squats and Deadlifts are the best exercises for building muscle mass and strength. Squats mainly work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs, and lower back. Deadlifts mainly work your lats, erector spine (lower back), biceps, forearms, and posterior deltoids. Bench Presses mainly work your chest muscles while Military Presses mainly work your shoulders. If you want to get that bodybuilder to look without using drugs then make sure you incorporate these three essential exercises into your routine. Start by performing 3 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. Rest in between sets for about a minute or two depending on how heavy the weight is that you’re lifting. Perform 3-4 total sets per exercise before moving on to the next one.