By: Al Short
Copyright (c) 2008 Al Short
Teenage body builders are becoming more and more common. And why not? Getting ripped is a great way to improve your self-esteem, get the respect of your peers, attract the girls (a big motivator for most teenage guys) and give you a healthy interest. It's also a good way to find an older man to mentor you in more than just body building. And besides, if you're considering a career that involves a lot of muscular strength, having a good set of muscles will count in your favour at the interview and help you in your job. I'm not just talking pro bodybuilding or sport as a career, either. Military, police, firefighting, construction, forestry, security and agriculture are all career areas where the muscular strength and mental discipline developed by teen body building will all be a real asset (and even if you want to be a teacher, body building can help. Wouldn't you have had some serious respect for a teacher who had body builder muscles?). The teen years have some advantages when it comes to body building. During this stage of life, your male hormones (androgen and testosterone) are at a naturally high level like they will be at no other stage in your life. What's more, your HGH (human growth hormone) levels are also peaking right now. Older bodybuilders have to take supplements to get the levels you already have. Your body wants to pack on muscle as you transition from being a boy to being a man, so let your instincts rip and get ripped! Top tips:
Don't take steroids
They are illegal and will do your body serious damage. You will get caught. Period. Eat well. You've heard your mom bang on about "eat up your meat/greens/potatoes to grow big and strong" when you were little. She's right. To build big, powerful muscles, you will need to eat right. Avoid takeout foods and eat plenty of good food ' complex carbs like wholemeal and potatoes (and popcorn), lean protein, fresh fruit and veggies. During the teen years, you will naturally crave proteins, so maybe consider protein supplements so you don't eat the cupboards bare every day. A-Z Nutrition has a range of protein supplements like shakes and bars at low prices that will suit a teen's budget ' you'll be better spending your money here than at fast food outlets. Just hide them from your little sister ' they taste great!
At your age, focussing on just one body part per workout is a bad idea. You can put some serious strain on your bones and joints that you will regret in later years. Go for whole body workouts at this stage. You won't be a teen for long ' the "chest on Monday, back on Wednesday, legs on Friday" type of workout is for when you're out of this initial stage.
Yes, you will see the older body builders standing around and resting in between sets and exercises. However, you can overdo the rest times. It is important to boost your cardiovascular fitness as well as your strength, as this increases stamina and bloodflow. As you are doing a whole body workout at your age, you should do some cardio daily. Try running or cycling, or use some of the cardio-type machines at the gym. Supplements. You will not need any of the dietary supplements designed to raise your testosterone level or HGH levels, as these are already at a peak at levels that the older guys envy. The one exception to this one is the zinc products, as zinc helps with skin problems such as acne as well as overall health. Stick to basics such as multivitamins and protein supplements. Coaching
A good coach will show you how to lift right so you don't injure yourself. He/she will also be there with good advice regarding diet and nutrition, exercise plans and other tips. If you absolutely can't afford a pro coach, then find an older guy at the gym who looks like a serious bodybuilder to act as your mentor. He'll be flattered, so don't be shy.
You will need to be flexible and you will need to warm up your muscles before doing weights or any exercise. Do plenty ' this is one exercise you can't overdo.
First things first
Before you start pumping iron, pump yourself. Start off with push ups, chin ups and dips before moving onto the metal. What's more you can do these anywhere and they're a good way to impress your buddies at school.
Your workouts should be less than an hour. At your stage of development, an intense workout should be over in 20-30 minutes. If you are not exhausted by this stage, then you are not working out intensively enough. Go all the way. When using weights, aim to use the full range of motion. You may see more advanced bodybuilders using only a half range occasionally, but this is for advanced strength training only. Teens need to be able to work all their muscles, ligaments, joints and bones throughout the entire movement. So no cheating or excuses.
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