While competitive body building is not safe for adolescents, growing teens can participate in the "discipline" of body building, which works to build muscle and reduce body fat for a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to diet and nutrition for adolescent body builders, the most important thing is that they eat enough of the proper foods to help them grow normally and build muscle.
Adolescent body builders and caloric needs
Adolescents, especially adolescent boys, require large energy intakes even if they aren't heavily training. Boys grow at a very fast rate, and they need enough calories to fuel their growth spurts. Additionally, growing boys have fast metabolisms, increasing their calorie requirements, says Frugal Fitness.
If an adolescent is engaged in strenuous physical activity, like body building and weight training, he will need even more calories to ensure adequate energy and protein intake. Sufficient protein is crucial to help repair muscles, which are fatigued and torn during strength training.
Boys ages 14 to18 require 3,150 calories per day. Young athletes require 500 to 1,000 extra calories per day.
When adolescent body builders should eat
Adolescents who are body building will have similar nutritional requirements as any body builder, says Frugal Fitness. The best diet plan is to eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day with a breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-snack pattern. This plan works better than the traditional three square meals because the body constantly needs fuel. Frugal Fitness recommends that adolescent body builders eat every three hours to keep metabolism up and to avoid low blood sugar. This will compromise energy levels and workout performance, he explains.
Caloric intake should be "frontloaded," which means the bulk of the daily calories are consumed in the first half of the day when metabolism is higher. A healthy can be eaten after dinner, but simple sugars like candy and white breads, should be avoided later in the day because they spike blood sugar and insulin levels. This can lead to increased body fat, Frugal Fit says.
What adolescent body builders should eat
Each meal and snack should include moderate amounts of lean protein. Lean protein choices include grilled chicken breast, lean turkey, tuna (in moderation due to mercury contamination risk), salmon, soy protein and lean cuts of red meat. Low-fat and fat-free dairy are also sources of lean protein as well as calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial for adolescent bone growth.
The most important time to consume protein is after a workout because the muscles that are broken down during exercise will be able to rebuild bigger and stronger. Protein does not build muscle. It helps repair and strengthen growing muscles. Frugal Fit recommends a multivitamin supplement. This supplement isn't essential, but it ensures that adolescent body builders get at least the minimal amounts of crucial nutrients, like zinc, magnesium and iron. But if body builders are eating a well balanced diet with enough calories, they will get adequate intake of these micronutrients. Frugal Fit also suggests 20-gram scoop of whey protein a day, which can be mixed with milk or water, or sprinkled over cereal or oatmeal.