Many people have a lot of misconceptions about bodybuilding, particularly beginners. Contrary to popular belief, bodybuilding is much different than strength training. While the latter is often used to accomplish the former, people who train for strongman competitions care only about the weight they can lift, while bodybuilders are concerned with physical appearance. On top of that, bodybuilding is a wide term that refers to anyone using resistance training to shape their body in a certain way, regardless of the way that is. While many people think of the 300 pound man doing the bench press as a bodybuilder, the woman in the corner using resistance bands is also considered a bodybuilder.
For beginners, there are a few basics to keep in mind regarding exercises, workouts, and nutrition. Let's start with exercises. Bodybuilding is unique in that beginners should not necessarily perform the same exercises they see advanced bodybuilders completing. When novice bodybuilders begin to work out, their muscles respond to just about any stimuli. Thus, beginners should focus on exercises which primarily increase strength, knowing that muscle will follow. This is in contrast to advanced bodybuilders who perform exercises simply to gain muscle.
The distinction between training for strength and training for muscle mass is a small but important one. Most people think they are the same, but certain exercises (and the way they are performed) build muscle or increase strength better than other ones. A bicep curl, for example, is great for building muscle in the bicep, but it will do little to increase overall strength. Thus, it is a great exercise for advanced bodybuilders who already have a base of strength and are simply working on adding muscle to their frame. A better exercise for a beginner would be a pullup, as this works more muscles than a curl. A pullup will cause a beginner's bicep muscles to grow just as much as a curl, but it will also hit the back, shoulders, and other important muscles. Thus, beginners should stick to full body exercises like pullups, squats, deadlifts and so on, regardless of their training goals.
That brings us to actual workouts. Remember, beginners should focus on building strength and a solid frame on which they can add more muscle later. Thus, they should stick to using low reps in their sets, with rather larger rest periods between sets. When performing sets with three to eight reps, total strength is maximized. In contrast, advanced bodybuilders usually use reps of eight to 12. By taking a lot of time off between sets, beginners can regain their breath and strength, allowing them to complete the next set with optimal power.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one's nutrition should be a reflection of their goals. For those who want to lose weight, the total calories consumed must be lower than those expelled. The opposite is true for those who want to gain weight. Most people who consider themselves bodybuilders want to gain weight, so taking in more calories than they burn is a necessity. Many beginner bodybuilders do not recognize that they must eat plenty of food to grow. Without proper fuel for the body, all of the training in the world will not help build muscle.