Ever been teased for being too thin or too big? Ever been called a “cloth hanger,” “twig” or a “balloon”? Oh how cruel some teenagers can be! Nevertheless, it’s time for a change – one that involves becoming happier, healthier and stronger.
…Welcome to the fitness family. As you venture on to be fitness enthusiasts, it’s crucial that you know what you’re doing when you step into the gym.
Teen bodybuilding can start at a very young age allowing young fitness enthusiasts a whole new world to pursue. It is an excellent way to promote a healthy lifestyle since it requires regular weight training, cardiovascular training, balanced nutrition and even stimulation of the mind since the topic of teen bodybuilding involves constant education.
Here are 5 things that you should have ingrained into your mind before you step into the gym.
1. Perfect Lifting Techniques
How well do you think you can play golf without any lessons? How well do you think you will play piano without lessons? How much muscle do you think you will build without proper lifting technique? (and not injure yourself doing it)
The best piece of advice I can give is to swallow your ego and accept the fact that your first step should be getting either professional coaching from a reputable fitness trainer or find someone who you really knows what they are doing.
For example, you can see from the below image how important it would be to use correct form when performing exercises that reach so many muscles in the body!
Just think about it. You want to turn fitness into a life style – don’t listen to anyone who tells you to just do curls, curls and more curls! Find someone who has been in the fitness industry for a few years or a certified personal trainer to help you out… they’d love to share their knowledge with you!
Very brief free weight techniques include:
– Full range of motion
– Controlled motion
– Keeping your back straight during deadlifts/rows
– Use as little momentum as possible – in everything.
2. Focus On Building Strength
Push-ups are extremely beneficial before picking up those dumbbells for a set of 12 curls…In my opinion, these are some standard upper body “fitness tests” that should be done with ease before heavier weights are introduced (it might take your 3 or 4 months to achieve this if you can’t do them right now).
I once heard a famous fitness coach say, “you have no freaking business using a load if you can’t stabilize, control, and move efficiently using your own bodyweight,” in which I would have to fully agree.
There’s another way around it, though. Instead of getting your friend to lift the weight off your every rep just so you can look bigger, just start light, and with good form.
For example: Perform incline dumbbell press with 20 lbs instead of 35 and follow these quick pointers:
– Keep your shoulders tight
– Stop a little after your elbows hit 90 degrees
– Make sure rising and lowering takes two-three seconds each (controlled motions)
There’s no point in a sloppy 150 pound lat pulldown if you can’t do at least 6 bodyweight pull ups. It might look impressive for some, but it is definitely not beneficial in your long term strength goals.
Believe me, after a few months of conditioning your body to weight training, you will be blown away by how quickly your weights climb when you introduce loading.
3. EAT, EAT, EAT!
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest mistakes teens get when they want to gain muscle mass. When you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Research has shown that eating more smaller meals is not only great for promoting a fast metabolism, but helps maintain, lose, or gain weight. Think of your body like a log fire. If you put too much wood on at once, the fire burns slow and sluggish. But if you gradually add more wood as the fire gets bigger, it burns more efficiently and gets bigger.
In terms of the type of nutrition intake, that will depend solely on your goal…
LOSE BODY FAT:
Focus on eating a controlled amount of food each meal. Don’t eat too much carb-loaded food (white bread, pasta, bagels… etc). Basically – cut out junk foods.
– Jack up the protein and fiber and make sure to cut those junk foods that you craved. (I know it’s tempting but you can do it!)
– Have a calorie deficit, meaning you want to burn MORE calories than you take in.
However, because you’re just starting out on this fitness journey, don’t worry about counting macronutrients, calorie, values and such – Just focus on healthy meals including high protein foods and healthy snacks – a few chips once or twice a week is okay, as long as you control it and do NOT over indulge).
GAIN MUSCLE MASS:
Eat lots of complex carbohydrates (whole wheat/multi-wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice… etc).
– Eat as much lean, high protein foods as you can (best go for lean chicken breast or beef).
– Try to eat 4-5 meals a day if you can to replenish those torn muscle fibers you worked hard on tearing up earlier.
4. Get A Good Training Plan
As many would say, CONSISTENCY IS KEY. If one doesn’t have a proper training regiment, it’s quite difficult to make continuous, progressive gains. But consistency doesn’t mean ‘Oh I should train my arms 3 times a week because they need to get big’.
Your muscles need at least 72 hours to rest before they get torn apart again – you also want to avoid injury due to tired muscles!
You definitely don’t want to want your training week to look this this:
…Yeah, that doesn’t work. Instead, try something like this:
Thursday: Legs (DON’T skip it)
Friday: Chest (or back, depending on what you want to work on)
Make sure you follow a workout schedule at all times. Just because your buddy said ‘dude, I’m doing chest today, do it with me’ on a Tuesday doesn’t mean you should follow him because you just did it yesterday.
Having a proper schedule also means preventing over training, working on arms or chest three times a week won’t get you anywhere, it might actually make you lose your gains as well.
Consistency is key guys, don’t forget it.
5. Concentrate On Your Goals
Distraction is a big no-no in and out the gym if you want to make any gains. Whether it’s texting or talking in the gym, or partying on the weekends. These things will most definitely delay your road to being the biggest guy on campus.
Don’t be that guy…
I’m sure many of you first timers have done this, in between sets you pull out your phone to reply to a few friends. Or, if you came in with a few friends, you end up talking to them for a good five minutes straight in between a set.
Try to FOCUS
You cannot lose focus when you’re working out, you will lose the motivation built up within you from earlier and you’ll lose momentum. Another bad distraction is partying… An occasional gathering with friends here and there is alright. It’s bad when it gets to over-drinking and smashing yourself every weekend.
When you party too hard, you lose valuable sleep, you replace your meals with (most likely) junk food, and you replace drinks such as water or protein shakes with some kind of alcohol. Try to keep the parties down, if you can. (Or at least bring a protein shake/bar there and try not to get too hammered!)
Having a healthy and fit body does not all come from the gym – you’re in the gym for around one to two hours a day. It’s what you do in the other 22 hours that matter the most. You also should enjoy it!
Don’t take training to seriously if you just started, make it fun!
People think training is hard? Of course, but what’s harder is keeping yourself in line with your goals by eating right, sleeping right and training right. I believe that each and one of you has the ability and the potential to hit your goals, you just have to work for it!