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Like everyone else, teens want to be fit and in shape. Some teens even choose to become body builders, but there are certain precautions that must be taken before a growing adolescent should consider joining the bodybuilding ranks.
What should be considered before one attempts to break the teen bench press records?
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First and foremost, no child should begin bodybuilding until he or she has reached the age of 13. Before age 13, the bones are still in the intensive growth phase and not strong enough to support the heavy weight required for bodybuilding exercises. Other kinds of body toning exercises, like pushups or pull-ups can be performed before 13. While these less strenuous types of exercise won’t give you that bodybuilder look, they will still help you look more fit and healthy.
More complex bodybuilding exercises like dead lifts and squats shouldn’t be performed by anyone under the age of 16 and care should be taken to avoid overtaxing the muscles.
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Skip the Supplements
Many adult bodybuilders take testosterone supplements to help boost their bodybuilding performance, but all teens should stay away from supplements. Teen boys especially already have raised levels of testosterone, and the unfortunate fact is that too much testosterone can actually stunt a child’s growth, even permanently in some cases.
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Teen Bodybuilding Basics
Teens should start with no more than three days of bodybuilding workouts per week, and sessions should be limited to no more than 60 minutes. Many bodybuilders (including adults) focus on the upper body and core while ignoring the lower body. This causes a disproportionate appearance and may cause injuries. Be sure to train all of the muscles in your body, and once your program is intact, you can train different muscle groups on different days of the week.
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You Gotta Eat
It’s very tempting for teens to skip meals or even to overeat in an attempt to change the appearance of their bodies. The fact is that under or overeating will simply cause health problems in the long run, so be sure to eat healthy, whole foods—and eat often enough.
In general, according to fitness expert Sam Montel, teen boys between the ages of 11 and 14 need about 2220 calories per day, while boys between 15 and 18 need 2755 per day. Girls 11 to 14 need about 1845 calories per day, while those 15 to 18 need about 2110 calories per day.
“But remember these figures are only a guide,” she says. “Young people might need more or less than these estimates, depending on a number of things, such as how physically active they are.”