Weight Training in the teenage years is a fruitful time to grow serious amounts of muscle and strength. The teenage body is flooded with growth opportunities. Teens are at a superior advantage due to the anabolic hormones levels in their bodies. Teenagers are also typically much more flexible than their adult counterparts. The settings are perfect for growing new muscle and teaching the body about weight training and bearing new stresses.
Typically a teenager has a hard time eating enough food. Not having the proper nutrition can hinder gains drastically and put the teens into a state of over training. Teenagers need copious amount of high quality, nutrient dense foods. Most teenagers will hit the fast food joints for their meals when they are not at home. This is mistake number one, while the food is very calorie dense, the foods typically are not nutrient dense and are lacking in the vitamins, minerals and quality carbohydrates and proteins that are needed to feed the muscles of a hard training athlete.
Protein is an essential Nutrient that provides your teens with amino acids that are used to build ever cell in the body. There are 18 amino acids that make complete proteins. Each amino acid has a different role inside the body. Proteins are the only nutrients that can build and repair tissue and cells. Proteins are used to repair muscle tissue that has been broken down from practices and weight training. Proteins are essential to the development of every cell inside the body including hair, skin, nails, muscle tissue, and joints. Protein should not be ignored or feared at all. The protein powders are generally milk based and are developed from the byproduct of making cheese. The whey or casein is then filtered to extract most or all of the lactose and is formed into powder and flavored. Teens should aim for .75g of protein per pound of body weight from all of their food sources. For a 175lb male teenager that would be roughly 130g of protein. Most protein powders offer 25g of protein per scoop, and typical weight gainers will offer around 50g of protein per serving.
Teenagers do fairly well with weight gainers; these weight gainers are full of high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy essential fats. Having your teen take a weight gainer 1-2 times a day between their breakfast and lunch and also between lunch and dinner or after their afternoon training session will improve their recovery between weight sessions or practices and also is pretty cost effective.
Home-Made Weight Gainer Shake
- 2 Scoops of protein powder (providing 50-60 grams of protein)
- 1 Cup of Oats (providing 54g of carbohydrates)
- 2 Tablespoons of Natural Peanut or Almond Butter (providing essential fats)
- 20 ounces of water
Protein is the only nutrient that can rebuild and repair muscles and tissues in the body.
Get at least 1-2 grams of quality protein per pound of bodyweight from meats, eggs and fish.
Try a weight gainer to get in enough calories for your teenage athlete to grow.
Limit fast food and start packing lunches and dinners that are packed with quality protein.
Carbohydrates are to athletes as gasoline is to a car; the fuel that the engine runs on and craves in order to function properly. Carbohydrates come in multiple forms but the main forms are simple (fast) carbohydrates(white bread, sugars, and drinks.) Slow digesting or low glycemic carbohydrates such as (whole wheat toast and bagels, oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes) and then there is fiber as well. For the purposes of the athlete we will just state that soluble fiber is necessary for proper bowl movements and will also keep blood sugar levels lower by slowing down the digestion of foods.
Fast carbs like Gatorade, white rice, white bread and honey can be utilized after practice or training as well as during training if it is essential. Using fast carbohydrates during these times will give the athlete a quick source of energy that can be applied for the remainder of the practice or training session, or if taken after a workout will help refuel their glycogen stores for the next training session.
Slow Carboyhdrates should be eaten the remainder of the day. Choosing slow digesting carbohydrate sources will allow the athlete to train longer and harder because their fuel that they have ingested will last a longer duration than a simple carbohydrate such as Gatorade or white rice. The main difference between the types of carbohydrates is the fiber content. The slower digesting carbohydrates naturally have more fiber which allows the digestion time to stretch and the athlete to be full longer than if he or she were to have eaten a simple carbohydrate. Whole wheat carbohydrate sources also offer more vitamins and minerals than processed or fast carbs do. If you look at the nutrition facts on Gatorade, the only mineral in the original series Gatorade is potassium at 30mg.
Whereas two pieces of whole wheat bread offers:
Calcium30.0mg3% Iron0.7mg4% Magnesium23.0mg6% Phosphorus56.6mg6% Potassium69.4mg2% Sodium132mg6% Zinc0.5mg3% Copper0.1mg5% Manganese0.6mg30% Selenium11.3mcg Vitamin A0.8IU0%Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)0.1mg1% Vitamin K2.2mcg3% Thiamin0.1mg7% Riboflavin0.1mg4% Niacin1.3mg7% Folate14.0mcg3% Pantothenic Acid0.2mg2% Choline7.4mg
A lot of these are in very small amounts, this is just for one slice of whole wheat bread. In this list are B-vitamins for energy and metabolism, essential vitamins like A E and K which are needed for a ‘ healthy development, and zinc which is essential for proper hormonal growth of children. The comparisons are easy to make and it is clear that athletes should choose whole food and slow digesting carbohydrate sources for all of their meals and leave the sugars and fast carbohydrates for after training to restore glycogen for their next training bout.
Make your carbohydrate choices complex and slow digesting:
Limit sugars and simple carbs to before and after workouts. The darker the carbohydrate the slower the release and better for performance and weight loss(sweet potato VS white potato, Brown rice VS white rice)
Essential fatty acids are just as important as the proper proteins and carbohydrates. Fats are slow burning and highly energy dense molecules therefore the body would much rather burn carbohydrates (glycogen) in a time of fast energy need (think fight or flight situations.) Dietary fats are also utilized in creating the myelin sheath that covers every nerve in the body. The sheath acts as a conductor for the body’s electricity improving speed of transfer and also connectivity throughout the nervous system. Fats are essential to a healthy cell and especially nervous system. Dietary fats are also used as lubricants in the body. Each of our joints is a combination of tendons, ligaments and a synovial sack which is full of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant for our joints. The synovial fluid is made of numerous things, one of which is fats. The fats are used greatly in the body for numerous purposes and are essential to the body’s processes and day to day functions. Dietary fats are needed in the body but also are not needed in enormous amounts and sub-par sources which are exemplified in the western diet.
Fats are used to accelerate the transmissions of electricity in the nervous system
Fats are utilized as lubricants for the body, helping to provide mobility to the joints. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous benefits including lowering inflammation, improving brain function, supporting heart health and more. Get 2-3 grams of omega-3 fats form fish or krill oil. Measure your fats as the calories can get out of hand quickly.