August 3, 2022

Getting started in bodybuilding (part 1)

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Bodybuilding stands for discipline and hard training. But how do athletes get started? Some of the most successful bodybuilders – Tim Budesheim, Rico Lopez Gomez, Karsten and Ramona Wolf, Nathalie Sarraf, Vanessa Weißmann and Dennis Wolf – tell us how their personal entry into bodybuilding was and what beginners must pay attention to.

FIBO: What is the best way to get into bodybuilding?


Tim Budesheim: I started going to the gym regularly when I was 15. That's where I met the bodybuilder Antonio Murania and how everything took its course.

Rico Lopez Gomez: The best thing is to go to a decent gym and train with qualified trainers or with friends who already have knowledge about bodybuilding.

Karsten und Ramona Wolf: First and foremost, it is important that sport is fun. In addition, it is especially relevant for beginners to take a trainer who shows you the exercises in detail and is available for advice and support.

Nathalie Sarraf: I followed some bodybuilding review sites on social media as well as the official association sites. This way I was able to follow current favorites and news. Attending nearby competitions can be helpful, as there are like-minded athletes that beginners can ask questions of. Looking back, choosing my coach was also very important to me. With a coach you can trust, everything succeeds. His decisions can influence your whole life.


"With a coach you can trust, everything succeeds."


Vanessa Weißmann: At the beginning, you should look for someone who has an affinity for fitness and who will take you by the hand. This can be an acquaintance who has been doing strength training for a long time or a fitness trainer. It is important to pay attention to the correct execution of the individual exercises right from the start. Learned execution errors are difficult to correct. Correct execution is important to avoid physical injuries and to train the right muscle area.

Dennis Wolf: I would recommend taking a trainer at the gym in the beginning to learn the basics. Outside the gym, reading technical literature on bodybuilding is very helpful.


FIBO: How did you get into bodybuilding?


Tim: Unspectacular. When I was 16, a German coach looked at my form and thought I had talent. He guided me and I became German champion.

Rico: I wanted to get away from alcohol, away from soccer, change my whole life. I also wanted to perfect my body and strengthen my health.

Karsten und Ramona: Especially as a beginner, many exercises are performed incorrectly, which carries a high risk of injury. Nowadays, it's relatively easy to find someone to help you getting started. That was less the case in our early days. We did many things wrong because we didn't know any better. Our luck was that over the years we met people who knew what they were doing and took us by the hand.


"Our luck was that over the years we met people who knew what they were doing."


Nathalie: I met bodybuilders who took me to my first show. I was fascinated by their lifestyle and knew that's what I wanted to do. In 2020, I had a sponsor by my side for the first time. That was the beginning of me getting more involved in social media. In 2021, my coach Alex took me under his experienced wing as a "newcomer chick." In my first season, I was able to gain a lot of great experience with him.

Vanessa: I danced for two years and had to stop for both professional and time reasons. In bodybuilding, you are not bound to certain training times or to other people. I went to a gym and was immediately hooked on strength training. After about four months of training, I wanted to set a goal for myself to have more incentive. That was the bodybuilding phase for me. I then searched the Internet for trainers in my area and had the first conversations. After a year, I was already on the bikini stage.

Dennis: I started bodybuilding seriously when I was 19. Before that, I had been interested in it, but at the time I found other interests in many sports. When I started bodybuilding, I quickly realized that it suits me and saw how quickly the body develops.


FIBO: What three tips do you have for beginners?


Tim: Get informed, try everything, but don't get too confused – just do it.

Rico: The training plan should always be fun. Sign up at a good gym where you won't lose motivation so quickly and where support is provided. And last, but not least: bodybuilding is something you do only for yourself – so you should limit yourself as little as possible and enjoy life.

Karsten und Ramona: Never lose sight of the goal. Even if it is exhausting, never lose the fun. Don't be too dogged and don't be discouraged by setbacks. And be patient. Everything takes time.

Nathalie: For me, it has always been important to be aware of my goals. In a song I like to listen to while training, it says, “Close your eyes, visualize everything.” Regular before and after pictures or a training diary are equally helpful. My tip for beginners: find yourself a coach, promote your strengths, work on your weaknesses and never give up!


"Never give up!"


Vanessa: Patience – because success comes with time. Besides, never lose your fun and set goals.

Dennis: The greatest motivation is to be found in your reflection. If someone is dissatisfied with himself, that is the strongest motivation. If you want it, you can change your body. Willpower is everything!



Willpower, never lose fun and have patience – these are the most important tips for beginners. The second part of the article will be published soon and will give detailed insights for the start, including tips for training and nutrition.


Many thanks to our interview partners:

Tim Budesheim: @budesheim_tim

Rico Lopez Gomez: @ricolachico

Karsten und Ramona Wolf: @karstenuramonawolf

Nathalie Sarraf: @nathalie.ifbb.wellness

Vanessa Weißmann: @vanessa_fitlife

Dennis Wolf: @dennisbigbadwolf