T Nation

Rites of Passage

What are the rites of passage in body building? If worm body walks into the gym one crisp morning declaring “i shall now train” is he then a novice of the sport? The terms beginner, intermediate, and advanced bodybuilder are slung around at will, but what is the bar on each?

well… since bodybuilding or what not is mainly a lone wolf typa sport (thought the term lone wolf is silly since wolfs are pack hunters) its up to the individual to deceide those things. Personally I think beginner is just someone starting out, intermediate is someone who starts to do squats and deads, and worries about good form, advanced is when you finally nail down eating and master is… maybe never… or maybe after you pack on 40 pounds from the starting point.

I think benching 200/225 is a very popular & desired rite of passage, although I don’t think that by benching X amount, one suddenly becomes an intermediate/advanced lifter. I like the description given in the first response (by freebie, I think). Also, I think a change in language signals some sort of development. That is, during the first few weeks, a newbie often says, “I have to go lift.” At some point, this evolves into, “I want to go lift.” Subtle, but significant.

i still tell people when theyre doin things that i have t o go lift…

I think it’s a bit of all of the things mentioned. Nutrition is a big part of it. When eating healthy is habitual lifestyle and not something you have to consciously think about, it’s definitely a sign that you’ve progressed. At the same time, if you schedule classes around times when you feel you have your best workouts, chances are you’re not a beginner. I think it comes down to having done something long enough and well enough to realize the best way to get the best results for YOU. At that point, you’re certainly not a beginner.

I think this issue has more to do with mental outlook than how much you lift, or how you schedule your workouts (though these can be signs of maturity as a lifter). At first, you’re just asking “what should I do?” You gain some knowledge and go with that. At some point, you’ll actually figure out what works for you. But the real advance comes in knowing what works for you, but being able to guide some one else into what works for them. The masters are those that can do all that, but are also the ones that quietly come into the gym, do their workout silently, while every one looks on in awe, then leaves just as quietly.

well for early high school kids, one thing, although it sounds lame to us, is moving up to the “Big Boy” plates (the 45’s), so youre at least repping 135. Then using two plates is somewhat of a landmark. I think benching 300 is a universal benchmark that many want to achieve, and most serious people should be able to, barring having an extremely thin body type. Then double bodyweight bench press is quite a distinction with very few people in most gyms being capable of it. Of course many bodybuilders dont really care about what they bench, but some do. As far as novice/intermediate/ advenced goes, I think if you are squatting with good form then you are not a newbie. Maybe not an intermediate, but not a newbie. Starting to train legs is a level up for some. Putting legs first is another difficult step, but necessary to become balanced for many. Logging things is a symbol of becoming more advanced. Not talking during your workout symbolizes becoming more mature as a lifter.

The first time you puke from squats is the rite of passage.