This is to save newbies wasting their time and our time asking the same questions over and over again. I haven't been here long enough to see them all, but I've certainly witnessed a few. If people notice any others, let me know and I'll add them, or post them under this one. I am a qualified personal trainer by trade. It's what I do and I get paid well for it. It is important to note, however, that even qualified professionals will have differing opinions regarding optimum training methods, recovery times, supplements etc. This is due to many things; different professional experience, different qualifications, different research resources... the list goes on. It doesn't always mean one person is right and one person is wrong - different methods will often achieve the same result, with simple variables such as speed of adaptation, strength increase, fat loss... whatever it is you're after. And remember, at the end of the day, EVERYBODY'S BODY IS DIFFERENT. Each persons body will respond in different ways to the same training schedule - some people will lose fat faster, others will gain strength and muscle faster. That being the case, my opinions listed below are precisely that - my opinions. They are not laws. They are proven (by me and countless others) to be true and accurate to a point. Always consult your health professional before beginning any new form of diet or exercise. DIESEL has two excellent posts on bulking and cutting that are stuck at the top of this thread. Read them for great info on bulking or cutting. The questions I'm answering here seem to come up repeatedly despite his posts, so this can be a quick answer guide. 1) Do I have to go to the gym to put on muscle? Why can't I just do pushups at home? Yes. If you seriously wish to start increasing your strength and muscle mass, it is almost impossible to succeed without access to the progressively heavier weights that are standard at most gyms. The reason is that to stimulate muscle growth, we must constantly be increasing the amount of stress (weight) we subject the muscle fibre to. Basically, this means that as you get stronger, you must start lifting a heavier weight in order to get stronger still; without increasing the weight as your strength increases, your muscles will stop adapting (growing). This is why bodyweight exercises such as pushups will not increase muscle mass. Your muscles will adapt the first few times you do pushups, but as you cannot easily increase the weight your arms are pushing, you cannot continue to provide stimulus for you're muscles to grow. 2) How long will it take to get big I have no idea. Why not go get a gym membership, start lifting, and find out for yourself? As I said above, everybody is different. Genetics will affect your rate of muscle growth, as well as your dedication to the big three - adequate rest, adequate food, adequate recovery time. Realise it's a slow process. Guy who walk around will their biceps stretching their T-shirt sleeves have been lifting for YEARS. Having said that, you will start to notice improvements in your physique almost immediately. Part of the satisfaction of bulking up is watching your body change as each week passes. Don't look for results yesterday - enjoy the journey. 3) Should I take steroids? No. Steroids are for fools. The long term side effects and after effects can be horrendous. An ex-girlfriend of mine was studying medicine (she's now a doctor) and came home one day having done a series of classes on steroid use. She was horrified by the side effects and made me promise on the spot I would never use them (which I'd never planned to anyway). They're usually of limited benefit to anybody but the massive body builders anyway. Us normal people can achieve the same results through dedicated training. And every girl I've ever asked finds the body builder physique repulsive. Muscles are great up to a certain point, but most chicks aren't attracted to guys who look like professional body builders. 4) Part of my body is very sore after my workout - what should I do? Rest. Post-workout soreness usually effects your body 24-96 hours after you workout. It is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Sorenss (DOMS) and is normal. During your workout you have (hopefully) placed enormous stress on your muscles, and now they need to repair. That is the soreness you are feeling. Massage and/or a hot bath will usually help this (but not fix it completely) because it increases blood flow to the area, accelerating healing. Rest is an integral part of gaining muscle anyway - muscles don't grow in the gym, they grow afterwards as they repair from your visit to the gym. If you have a sharp pain, or anything causing discomfort which you feel may be more serious than DOMS, see a specialist. Don't work out with it - if it hurts then it hurts for a reason, your body is trying to tell you something. Pay attention to it. 5) I'm not getting big, what am I doing wrong? As I mentioned before, the three most important variables in gaining muscle mass are RECOVERY, FOOD, and SLEEP. RECOVERY: You need to give your body adequate time to repair between workouts. Don't workout on consecutive days. I would suggest at least 4-5 days between working out the same muscle group again. FOOD: This is where most people let themselves down. You need to eat massive amounts of food to put on muscle mass. Think about it - before you started working out you were eating enough calories to power your body through an average day. Now that you've started working out you are burning more calories because of the extra energy required at the gym, so eat more. On top of that, you're body needs a surplus of calories at the end of the day with which to build muscle tissue. So eat more again. A lot of people get seriously into what time to eat, and what foods etc - there's plenty of information on this website and others. Eating is important. Do it. Eat healthy, unprocessed food, and lots of lean meat and eggs for protein. SLEEP: Most muscle building happens in our sleep, so you need to make sure you're getting enough. 8 hours should be a bare minimum for someone serious about increasing muscle mass. 6) I do hundreds of situps, why don't I have a six-pack? You do. Everyone does. For most people, however, their 'six-pack' is hidden by a layer of fat. It is this fat you need to get rid of in order for your six pack to be visible. Why situps will not help you develop a six pack. Situps will not help you get a six pack because they don't place enough stress on your Rectus Abdominus (sixpack muscle) to make it grow, and because situps do very very little to help reduce the layer of fat over your abdomen. Reduce your body fat percentage, and your sixpack will gradually become more defined. 7) How do I reduce my body fat percentage? Through diet and exercise. Read Diesel's guide to cutting (cutting being a term used to mean reducing body fat). He provides some excellent information for people who are looking to lose fat. 8) I've been going to the gym to lose weight but my weight stays the same. What am I doing wrong? Probably nothing. Your bodyweight is an unreliable indicator of progress, especially if you are trying to lose fat. Your bodyfat has probably reduced substantially, but if you have been working out regularly then you have probably increased your muscle mass, which will add to your weight. Also, your body's hydration levels will affect your overall weight. Hopefully, when you started working out you starting drinking more water, of which your body absorbed what it needed. Water too has weight. A far more reliable indicator of weight-loss progress is girths - the measurement of the circumference of your arms, legs, waist, chest etc. If this sounds too time consuming, simply take note of how your old clothes are fitting you - are they becoming looser? I have a client who has lost 10 inches off her waistline (along with fantastic losses on other body parts) yet her weight has only dropped 5kg (11lbs). What is a more reliable indicator of her progress - the fact that her old jeans keep falling down, or that she only lost a few kg's? 9) What specific exercises can I do to reduce fat from my waist? None. Spot reduction is impossible except through surgery. When you start on a weight loss program, you body will start to burn its fat stores from wherever it sees fit. Some people's bodies will burn fat from their arms first. Some from their butt. Generally speaking, your body will dispose of fat evenly throughout the body, and there is nothing you can do to affect this. Fat is like water in a bath - if you wish to remove a cup of water from the bath you cannot choose to take it from a specific spot, you can only reduce the overall quantity in the bath. 10) I have this wheezing sound in my chest, and am coughing up a flourescant yellow fluid which caused my penis to fall off and my ears to turn blue. What should I do? See a f**kin doctor!!! This is the internet, home to perverts, wankers, fraudsters, scammers, pedophiles, hackers and MISINFORMATION!!! We are a bunch of guys swapping advice over the internet. You don't know us, or our credentials. We don't know you, nor can we see or feel whatever sick, twisted, bizarre problem you have. Don't ask our advice - see a qualified doctor!