A bespoke personal training program designed especially to help both amateur/beginner bodybuilders who are just starting out, and those entering competitions who are looking to reach their maximum potential.


Written by

Chris Nicklin is a certified Personal Trainer with over 7 years' experience, and the owner of Nxtep Personal Training. Chris qualified from Edge Hill University with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Sports Coaching and Performance Development, and has delivered over ten thousand one-to-one Personal Training sessions.

Updated 12/10/2022

Bodybuilding has been around since the early 1900s. Bodybuilding was originally developed by Eugen Sandow who popularized the sport, and went on to use his physique to promote various products such as soap and toothpaste. As time went on, bodybuilding became more mainstream and eventually evolved into a competitive sport. Today, there are many types of bodybuilding competitions including powerlifting, strongman, figure and bikini bodybuilding. Bodybuilding requires a fine balancing act between diet, weight training and cardio which can be difficult to master without help. Working with a personal trainer for bodybuilders is the answer for most – meaning you will know exactly when to bulk, when to cut, when to lift and when to do cardio.


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Sarah RaoSarah Rao
07:30 30 May 24
20:41 07 May 24
The “personal trainer” at this establishment is very unprofessional and will fat shame people. I do not recommend you will be judged.Edit: No email was left to contact. Leave an email so we can discuss further thank you.
Paul CorriganPaul Corrigan
12:26 10 Mar 24
Sadly I'm leaving the area and would love to take Nxtep with me. I attend the small classes. Chris has created a unique venue that would be hard to match anywhere. The environment is warm and friendly. The sports science work that Chris does behind the scenes to prepare the classes is immense, so that we don't have to worry about it. Just plug and go. Though education is always at hand if required. The classes can be hard work (results driven) but always fun. The equipment is of the highest standard. I've always been around sports but have never experienced anything so positive and rewarding. At 57 there is no way I would ever have thought I'd lift such heavy weights or complete these vigorous exercises. Chris gets you there incrementally and safely but always with great humour. He uses a truly interactive App that plots your progress. A fitness App that actually works, who knew!!Also the clients are lovely and incredibly supportive of each other. Well bloody done Chris!
Aidan McGearyAidan McGeary
07:50 27 Feb 24
Over the past alomost 3 years, Nxtep has been central to my personal growth. Chris and his clients make up a fantastic community of people who have helped me develop in many ways. No one lifts a single kg on my behalf or runs a step for me, but as part of a positive and nurturing environment I have been able to consistently, week in, week out, exceed my expactations of what I am capable of. The Physical and mental benefits I have experienced since being a part of this community have been game changing and I owe them a great deal. Aidan.
Alana McgladeAlana Mcglade
17:44 20 Feb 24
Chris has been absolutely amazing at supporting me on my fitness journey. Everything is tailored to the individual so it suits everyone no matter what stage you're at. There's a really supportive environment that I haven't experienced elsewhere and the flexibility Chris has shown to me when needed has been amazing. Would never go anywhere else now!
Ashleigh PattersonAshleigh Patterson
20:07 18 Feb 24
CHRIS AND LUCA YOU ARE AMAZING AT WHAT YOU DO.At one point i couldnt walk up the stairs... after been hospitalized and locked in a room for nearly a month at pinderfields I was diagnosed with severe asthma to been under observation for COPD at 30 years old and still living everyday with it now, I decided to make a change. I moved to Cheshire I joined @nxtepknutsford and in a matter of months I was competing at @turfgames with the gym familyI cannot thank everyone enough who has been on my journeyNow at 32 I can lift 110kg on a deadliftI can run .... some sort of distance and always improving as much as my lungs will carry me.Never give up and push to be betterWe saw. We came. I conquered! 🏆
Steven ThompsonSteven Thompson
07:40 15 Feb 24
The model works for me , small group of less than 6 with a dedicated trainer . Have used gyms for many years but this model works for me . Complete professional instruction at all times . All about correct technique and protecting back etc . Plus there is no escape - maximising every session and getting maximum benefits . A real community approach .
deborah walkerdeborah walker
10:08 12 Feb 24
Always a great session with Chris .Come away feeling fab
Iain FountainIain Fountain
12:04 06 Feb 24
Have been training regularly each week since October at Nxtep and just wanted to give some feedback on my experience which has been nothing short than excellent. Chris, Luca and the team have provided one and one expertise, techniques, dietary plans to help with weight loss, build lean muscle and improve fitness. Can’t shout their praises enough. Good job Nxtep.
Hannah ThrelfallHannah Threlfall
14:10 10 Nov 23
I signed up for the 6 week body transformation initially to help me get my pre baby body back after gaining a lot of weight through pregnancy. I lost 8.6kgs in the 6 weeks and have since renewed my membership to continue with my progress and I’m almost down 10kgs in total only 2kgs away from my pre pregnancy weight. I have always hated going to the gym and would dread going initially but now I am 8 weeks in, training 3x per week and feeling fitter and much happier in myself it is something I definitely want to continue. I feel it has really changed my lifestyle and I am making healthier choices everyday with a much more positive outlook, my family have commented that the old Hannah is back as before I felt I’d lost myself since becoming a mum for the first time. Chris and Luca are incredibly knowledgeable about anatomy which was very important to me after having a C-section and I have seen huge improvements in my core and lower back stability. I am also enjoying the new friends I am making from the sessions and never thought I’d say it but I’m looking forward to continuing the training long term and being in the best shape of my life!!
Katie MorrisKatie Morris
08:05 15 Sep 23
I've really enjoyed the community at Nxtep. I've never been this thrilled get up before 7am to attend the gym. Chris and Luca are brilliant and I feel I've come so far in the year since I started coming. Looking forward to more progress and the pride that comes with working hard
Lesley SneesbyLesley Sneesby
08:04 15 Sep 23
Thank you Chris and Luca for your amazing help, guidance and support in such a welcoming environment at Nxtep
15:47 03 May 23
I initially joined Nxtep to get a better grip on my fitness levels after yo-yoing for years with sporadic classes and runs. It was an excellent decision as the sessions are three times a week which quickly got me in a good rhythm. Chris and Luca are both fantastic and very patient with a newbie like myself who had never lifted weights before. They have really helped me understand fitness and weight lifting a lot better. They also adjusted any exercises based on my capabilities as I had an injured shoulder for a while, and with the rehab exercises they gave me that’s now back to normal. I can’t recommend Nxtep enough!
15:38 04 Aug 22
I've been working with the guys at Nxtep for about a year now; I originally joined thinking it would be a short-term thing to lose weight for my wedding.A year later and I'm married, 12kg lighter than when I first started, lifting much heavier weights and am in much better shape in general. Chris and Luca have been amazing with my training; they always challenge me to try new things and to push further, which is really helpful for someone who's training has always seemed to plateau in the past.They've also taught me about health and fitness as a lifestyle; there's so much more to it than lifting some weights or constantly being on a diet, and they always keep things new, fun and flexible. They're also really helpful and approachable guys; I've messaged them lots of times to ask for training tips and advice when I'm going to the gym outside of training hours, and they're always more than happy to help.
Jackie KingJackie King
19:38 17 May 22
I first met Chris in January 2020. I was 12 weeks pregnant with my first child. As a trained dancer, and teacher I was hoping to maintain my levels of fitness whilst minimising the risks of my pregnancy. My early dance training concentrated on training my limbs, while often neglecting my ‘centre’ or ‘core’. It wasn’t until a back injury in 2012 due to weak lower back muscles that my approach to training changed. When I first found out about my pregnancy, I worried about my back and how to keep it strong.Chris helped me through my pregnancy teaching me safe ways of keeping my core strong, helping with my postural alignment as well as addressing some muscular imbalances that I wasn’t aware I had. Most importantly, Chris gave me the confidence to continue training through pregnancy. I knew I was in safe hands. Chris is phenomenally knowledgeable in how our bodies work.May 2022, I am currently pregnant with my second child and still continuing to train with Chris at Nxtep. Luca has also joined the team and is a fantastic addition. They are a great team, and I am very lucky to be trained by them both. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about pre or post natal pregnancy training to consider Nxtep.
Sean WSean W
12:09 02 Apr 22
Before starting at Nxtep I would go through a cycle of starting to get fit, injuring my back, then avoiding exercise for fear of making it worse. The same happened when I started here, with my over eagerness to improve leading to the same old injury. Chris and Luca kept me motivated and coached me through the recovery process, allowing me to strengthen the areas susceptible to injury and enabling me to carry on where I’d previously have given up. Now I’m lifting ~100kg more than when I first started and the past few years of persistent back injury seem a distant memory. The guys have helped me with my nutrition, my outlook and overcoming what I previously thought I couldn’t. I can’t thank them both enough!
Paul KennedyPaul Kennedy
22:59 05 Nov 21
I’ve been working with Chris and the team at Nxtep, and the initially just wanted to get stronger and fitter somewhere local when the gym near work was no longer an option due to the pandemic. I know feel really confident handling weights and my diet. I recently saw myself in a film from before I started at Nxtep and other people couldn’t recognise me from me who didn’t know me well so, it definitely works! Highly recommended.
Jordan CraigJordan Craig
20:45 05 Aug 21
Training at Nxtep during Covid was tricky but Chris and Luca made it work! Started with training outdoors in the carpark before we were allowed to move indoors, it was always fun and I feel I made real progress.It never felt just like a business and always felt more caring, I was also doing it as part of my DofE to which Luca/Chris were very helpful with.I've had to stop due to other focuses in life but I've got some real fond memories of the time and am hoping to go back later if I can!
ryan unwinryan unwin
20:29 28 Jul 21
Great personal trainer, his sessions are great and really push you into great mindset to achieve your goals, great knowledge of the body aswell! Would definitely recommend!!
David VDavid V
17:54 22 Oct 20
Wanted to improve all round fitness especially strength and conditioning so contacted & met with Chris.....was very impressed with his approach and was motivated to getting started & looking forward to the challengeChris was fundamental to me in making the nutrition and exercise changes required to achieve goals.... inspiring, motivational, encouraging & supportive he is great to work with......regular tracking & updates help me to stay focused..... Chris is easy to get along with and the sessions are challenging but enjoyable.....

How can a personal trainer help with bodybuilding?

A personal trainer helps with bodybuilding by teaching you how to eat properly, exercise correctly, and sleep well. If you want to build a lot of muscle mass, then you need to consume plenty of protein while cutting out most carbs and fats, so your diet should consist mainly of lean proteins such as chicken breast, fish, eggs, and turkey. To burn fat, you must perform cardio exercises – but not too much, or too little. Our personal training for bodybuilding programme provides you with a bespoke meal plan to follow, specifically to build a lot of muscle mass. This, together with the exercise plan we put you on, will help you to achieve the bodybuilding look and size as safely, and quickly as possible.

Is bodybuilding healthy?

Yes, bodybuilding as a practice is healthy. Although bodybuilding isn’t considered a traditional form of exercise, it is still great for health – if done safely and without the use of drugs or steroids, which are of course very detrimental to your health in so many ways. Contradictory to the common myth, research shows that bodybuilding doesn’t mean a shorter life – it’s just that there have unfortunately been some high profile deaths, which skews public opinion. Additionally, bodybuilders generally experience fewer injuries than non-athletes due to their strength – however – if you push your body too far without knowing your limits, anyone can injure themselves.


How do bodybuilders get so big?

Bodybuilders tend to focus on gaining weight rather than losing fat. To accomplish this, they consume large quantities of food each day. To counter the calorific intake, they will also perform intense cardio sessions at least three times per week, in addition to heavy weight training, depending on the type of look they are wanting to achieve.

The problem with this approach is that it can lead to a lot of excess body fat being stored in the belly area. This usually happens because you have been consuming too many calories, or too fatty a diet, and not enough cardio exercise. The result is that your metabolism slows down and you store more calories as fat. This can result in you looking more like a sumo wrestler than a bodybuilder!

What types of exercise are best for bodybuilding?

There are two main types of training used in bodybuilding: isolation exercises and compound movements. An isolation exercise isolates one muscle group while a compound movement combines multiple muscles groups together. These two methods work very differently.

Isolation exercises

An isolation exercise focuses on developing individual muscles. They are usually performed using free weights or machines. Some examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, triceps extensions, leg presses, shoulder press, chest flyes, lat pull downs, and leg extensions.

Compound movements

A compound movement is a multi joint movement that requires the coordinated effort of multiple muscle groups. Examples of compound movements include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, rows, chin ups, pushups, dips, and military presses. Compound movements allow you to develop strength and size simultaneously.


How much cardio should you do when bodybuilding?

Cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, swimming, rowing, cross country skiing, and elliptical training are important for bodybuilders who want to increase lean muscle mass. However, cardiovascular exercise alone cannot build large muscles, so a combination of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise is required to develop muscle mass. The amount of cardio that a person should perform depends on the goals they have set for themselves – bodybuilders will of course do less than runners, cyclists or swimmers, but more than shot putters or wrestlers for example. Your personal training programme will outline the exact amount of cardio you should be doing, based on your goals.

How fast can you build muscle?

There’s no easy answer to this question as it depends on the condition you are starting from, your genetics, your age, how often you train, your diet and your dedication. However, as a rule of thumb, when working with a personal trainer and by following the plan to the letter, and training 3 times per week, generally it take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to gain noticeable amounts of muscle mass. There are some exceptions though – some people will naturally gain muscle mass faster than others, and will see results much faster, whereas some people may take more than 6 months to increase in size. However, if you want to compete in bodybuilding events, then you need to train hard and eat right.

Is there a limit to natural bodybuilding?

Yes, everyone has a maximum size they can realistically and safely achieve, without drug or steroid use – which it goes without saying is extremely dangerous. For most men who are of average height (5 foot 10 in the UK), the realistic amount of lean body mass they can build is around 80kg. However, their maximum amount of lean body mass can only be around 90kg.

It is possible to build more muscle mass than your maximum potential, but not while maintaining low body fat percentages. A 5 foot 10 weightlifter who has 25 to 30% body fat can have more muscle mass than a 5 foot 10 bodybuilder with just 10% body fat. But if they dropped that body fat through diet, they would also lose some of that extra muscle mass.

At Nxtep, we will do everything we can to help you achieve your natural maximum size, but we will also be realistic with you and we will not allow you to push your body past healthy limits if we think you are in danger of doing so.


What foods should you eat when bodybuilding?

The most important part of your diet for building muscle mass is protein. Protein helps build muscles and repair damaged tissue, which is why athletes need to consume high amounts of protein during training. Eat lean meats like chicken breast, turkey, fish, eggs, and nuts, and avoid red meat, processed meats, and dairy products. You should also try to avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white breads and pasta. Our bodybuilding personal training plan includes a full meal plan, meaning you will know exactly what to eat for every meal – breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Your diet plan will also be adjusted due to the bulking and cutting phases important in achieving the high muscle mass bodybuilder appearance.

When bodybuilding how much protein should you consume per day?

Protein is an integral component of any diet plan. Without adequate amounts of protein, muscle mass cannot grow. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles. There are two types of proteins: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all eight essential amino acids. These are found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, soybeans, peas, lentils, beans, and nuts. Incomplete proteins lack one or more of these essential amino acids. They can be found in grains, legumes, vegetables, and milk products. The body uses both types of proteins to build new cells. It also breaks down old cells for energy.

The amount of protein you need depends on your age, gender, activity level, and size. The traditional belief is that a healthy adult can process a maximum of about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. This means that a 150-pound man would require 150 grams of protein daily.

However, many studies have now proven that this is actually excessive, and you may only need around 0.75g per pound of body weight per day to build the maximum amount of muscle mass.


What Is carb loading in bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders and endurance athletes who are preparing for a high-intensity workout session or a competitive event may choose to “carb load” by consuming a lot of carbs in one sitting or over a period of days.

Both endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, etc.) and bodybuilders may theoretically benefit from carb loading. Planning high- and low-carb eating windows can help keep your energy reserves in balance. The motivation for loading up varies greatly amongst each group, however.

Endurance athletes carbohydrate load to boost the amount of food accessible to their muscles, in order to enhance their endurance throughout a lengthy run, bike ride, or swim.

On the other hand, bodybuilders go through a carb loading cycle as part of their pre-competition regimen because carb loading (done at the proper times and with the proper balance of macronutrient and electrolyte consumption/depletion) can result in a bigger, stronger, and more toned-looking appearance.

Carbs provide energy to the body, allowing it to perform better while exercising. Carbs are stored in the liver and muscles. During a workout, carbs are released into the bloodstream, and your body starts using fat as an energy source.

Fat provides about 30% of the calories needed for basic bodily functions. As soon as you begin exercising, your body begins breaking down fat into fatty acids. These fatty acids are then converted into ketones, which are the primary fuel for the brain and other organs, and are also used as fuel during intense exercise.

The idea behind carb loading is that you can get more out of your workouts if you eat enough carbs before working out. The theory goes that when you exercise, your body will use up all its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrates) so you need to replenish them with carbs.



What does cutting mean In bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts often use a cutting diet after a bulking phase to achieve a leaner physique. Cutting means trimming away fat from your body, following a bulking phase.

A cutting diet reduces a person’s calorie intake to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This means following a diet featuring foods such as lean meats, yogurts, and whole grains.

The first step in cutting is choosing a method that works best for you. There are many different types of cutting plans, but most include:

  • Cutting calories
  • Reducing the amount of food eaten each day
  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day
  • Avoiding certain foods

Some people prefer to cut weight by reducing their daily caloric intake, which can be done through eating fewer calories or consuming less food per meal. Others choose to reduce their food intake by skipping meals or eating smaller portions.

Regardless of how much food you eat, it is important to eat enough protein to maintain muscle mass. Protein helps build and repair muscles, so if you don’t consume enough, you may experience muscle loss.

Choosing an effective cutting plan requires research and experimentation. Some people find success with a low-calorie diet, while others need more variety in their diets.

Working with a bodybuilding personal trainer means you don’t have to think about when to cut and when to bulk – everything is planned out for you, and you simply have to follow your bespoke fitness and diet plan.



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