I know – being a beginner sucks at anything, least of all something like weight training, with all its conflicting advice and information.
The first thing you should be mightily aware of when entering the sport of bodybuilding is to be very careful who you take your advice from, and who their advice is aimed at.
I’m sure you know already that bodybuilding is rife with steroids, and, as a result, the advice given, as well as the results you can supposedly expect are often given with steroid usage taken for granted. As such, being all natural, most advice simply won’t work as well as most people state.
Doing it the natural way is far more satisfying, and as a beginner you don’t need to take steroids to achieve a good level of muscle mass rather quickly. Within a year of solid training and steady gains, you’ll look very different to how you do now.
For beginners, my advice is to train heavy, so you can only manage 5 – 8 reps for around 3 – 5 sets. Your program should be based upon the classic strength and mass exercises which will provide the foundation for your lifetime of bodybuilding (yes – since bodybuilding isn’t something that you do once, you’ll be doing it for life if you wish to maintain or enhance your physique.)
Such exercises are known as compound lifts, and they include: squats, dead lifts, bench press, rows (upright and bent over) and various presses (military press, etc.)
Compound movements utilize more than one muscle group at a time, so not only is maximum strength generated, but this eliminates the need for you to spend hours working every muscle in your body singularly, because each muscle is targeted directly, or is worked sufficiently by proxy. (For instance, Mark Rippetoe doesn’t recommend any direct arm work as the bench press, rows and presses etc. all work the arms enough.)
I would also recommend training no more than 5 days a week, with the normal routine being 3 days, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.