Bodybuilding magazines may inspire you to hit the gym and push as much weight as possible. But, trying to imitate your favorite bodybuilder is possibly one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It will not work for you unless you are a pro bodybuilder yourself or simply have the genes that will allow you to pump up easier than those who are not genetically predestined for that.

Bodybuilders’ workout routines are ferocious. They perform one, sometimes two, workout routines daily, 6 days a week, 15-20 reps per set, 6 sets per exercise, and 10 exercises for each muscle group. If you attempt to follow this, you will soon learn how not train.

What Makes Bodybuilders And Powerlifters Different?

You are not a body builder (so don't train like one) // the PumpUp Blog

First of all, they differentiate in their training cycles and goals. Bodybuilders pay attention to their muscles and how they look. They use the off-season for bulking (gaining as much mass as possible), and then turn to cutting 8-10 weeks before the show. Powerlifters are not concerned about their appearance. They only pay attention to strength and performance. Bodybuilder and powerlifter diets are comprised of a low carbohydrate, low fat and high protein intake. They use nutritional supplements because they restrict various kinds of foods they would normally eat, and adjust their sleep cycles. Recuperation is very important, so some of them even sleep 2-3 times a day. Both powerlifters and bodybuilders are completely committed to their goals, they are disciplined, physically and mentally prepared.

Bodybuilders make their muscles larger, but not necessarily stronger. Powerlifters aim to maximize their strength, and focus on lifting an extremely heavy amount of weight in only a few repetitions.

Training Volume

You are not a bodybuilder (so don't train like one) // the PumpUp Blog

Bodybuilders dedicate 100% of their time to pumping iron. They train with too much volume, sleep 10 hours straight per night (with short naps during the daytime), and are known to take various substances and performance enhancing drugs (PED).

Are you ready to switch to this kind of lifestyle? Unless you are, your body will not be able to handle the level of intensity that this type of training requires. A routine with 5-7 repetition sets, and a high repetition set here and there (for muscle confusion and recovery) is a routine that your body will respond to far better, than 15-20 rep sets for each exercise.

By designing a routine according to your circumstances and level of dedication, and by training smart with exercise hacks to increase efficiency, you can get muscular abs, biceps and legs without injuring yourself. 


You are not a bodybuilder (so don't train like one) // the PumpUp Blog

Bodybuilders bulk in the off season, with the purpose of getting shredded in just 9 weeks. Thus, they eat with that particular goal in mind. They know all about bulking and cutting, carb cycling and dehydration. Bodybuilders eat a lot more protein (3 grams) than it is recommended (no more than .8 grams per kg bodyweight). Excessive amounts of protein means excess calories, which in turn means more fat. The byproducts of processing large amounts of protein can damage your kidneys and liver. If egg whites, bowls of oatmeal, protein shakes, and cans of tuna are all you know, your muscles are not going to get pumped, ever.

Fitness & Functionality

You are not a bodybuilder so don't train like one // the PumpUp Blog

If you want to be muscular like a bodybuilder, know that you cannot retain your body’s fitness and functionality. Bodybuilders focus on movements in isolation. On the other hand, if you adhere to a routine full of  throwing, jumping, carrying and dragging, you will be far more flexible and fit for functional purposes. This cannot be achieved by following a classic bodybuilding routine, which can be quite boring with endless tricep press downs and cable curls.

When you come to the understanding that you cannot commit to a bodybuilding lifestyle, redefine your focus. Isolation exercises have their time and place, but they should not be at the top of your list. They are good for rehab work (helping you to maintain strength as you recovery) and remediation (if you find your body unevenly developed). Consider focusing on full-body movements and strength development instead. 

About the Author

Cristina Nika is a blogger from Sydney who likes to get lost in the world of fashion, beauty and healthy lifestyle. She is a frequent guest blogger as well as the regular author on High Style Life, has an insight in variety of subjects and strong interest in blogging about it. Constantly in search of love and beauty and finding it in different places every time.

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