The No-Nonsense Guide To Teenage Bodybuilding!

Should a teen bodybuilder over think their training? Stop wasting time trying to find the perfect ratio while overlooking the big picture: consistency! Use these straight-to-the-point guidelines you can implement today!

I remember when I first got serious about bodybuilding nine years ago; I wanted to read everything I could about nutrition and training theories. I was always trying to setup the perfect diet and training program.

Looking back I realize that I wasted a ton of time overanalyzing and overthinking, trying to find the perfect ratio of protein, carbs, and fat and training program while overlooking the big picture: consistency!

In this article I will go over the fundamentals of diet, training, and supplementation for the teenage bodybuilder. No filler information here, just straight to the point guidelines you can implement today!

Diet

Your diet does not have to be complicated! The number one thing that often frustrates young bodybuilders is sticking to a complex diet. I will outline an easy way to set up your diet. Throughout this article we will use the example of someone weighing 150 lbs.

Calories

I simplistic way to calculate your maintenance calories (the amount of calories needed to maintain your current weight) is to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 15. Using our example of someone weighing 150 lbs we get:

  • 150 X 15 = 2250

CALORIE CALCULATOR
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Calories

We will use your maintenance calories as your starting caloric intake. A 150 lb bodybuilder should start out at 2250 calories.

Protein

We will keep it simple, eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 lbs then your goal is to eat 150 grams of protein per day. The easiest way to setup your protein is to divide evenly amongst your meals. If you eat 6 meals per day (we will be using 6 meals per day throughout our examples) then you should eat 25 grams of protein per meal:

  • 150/6 = 25 grams of protein per meal

PROTEIN CALCULATOR
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Protein

Each grams of protein contains 4 calories. To calculate your calories from protein multiply 150 * 4:

  • 150 * 4 = 600 calories

CALORIES FROM PROTEIN CALCULATOR
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Protein

This protein should come from lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs/egg whites, and protein powder.

Fats

Fats are essential for the proper functioning of the body. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO EAT FATS! We will be setting your fat intake at 30% of your caloric intake. Each gram of fat has 9 calories. Continuing our example:

  • 2250 * .3 = 675 calories

FAT INTAKE CALCULATOR
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Fat

To calculate the grams of fat divide 675 by 9:

  • 675/9 = 75 grams of fat

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Fat

Like proteins, I simply recommend distributing your fats evenly among your 6 meals:

  • 75/6 = 12.5, so 12-13 grams of fat per meal

FATS PER MEAL CALCULATOR
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Fats

Good fat sources include nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.) and nut butters (i.e. peanut butter), olive and flax seed oil, whole eggs (also a great source of protein), and avocados.

Carbohydrates

The rest of your calories will come from carbs. Let's calculate your carb intake:

  • 2250 (total calories) - 600 (calories from protein) - 675 (calories from fat) = 975 calories

Each gram of carbs has 4 calories. To calculate your grams of carbs we divide 975 by 4:

  • 975/4 = 244 grams of carbs per day

CARBS CALCULATOR
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Carbs

For your carb distribution I recommend eating the majority of your carbs around your workout. When you work you deplete muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates).

Post-workout your muscles ability to uptake carbs is increased, making it the perfect time to eat carbs. Good carb sources include oatmeal, sweet potatoes/yams, brown rice, whole wheat products, fruits, and vegetables.

Summary Thus Far

The starting point for a 150 lb teenage bodybuilder would be:

  • 2250 calories (This is your maintenance caloric intake)
  • 150 grams of Protein (25 grams per meal)
  • 75 grams of Fat (12-13 grams per meal)
  • 244 grams of Carbs (Primarily pre and post workout)

Now that we have this info it is time to lay out a diet plan.

Setting Up A Diet Plan

I will now lay out a diet using our 150 lb bodybuilder example:

Meals Carbs Protein Fat Calories
Meal 1 60 25 12 448
Meal 2 60 25 12 448
Meal 3 30 25 12 328
Meal 4 30 25 12 328
Meal 5 30 25 12 328
Meal 6 30 25 15 355
Total 240 150 75 2235

Meal 1: Pre-Workout

  • 1 scoop Whey Protein (Protein)
  • 1 cup Oatmeal (Carbs)
  • 4 tsp Peanut Butter (Fat)

Meal 2: Post-Workout

  • 4 oz. Chicken (Protein)
  • 1 1/3 cup Rice (Carbs)
  • 20 Almonds (Fat)

Meal 3:

  • 2 Whole Eggs (Protein + Fat)
  • 1/2 cup Eggs Whites
  • 2 slices Whole-Wheat Bread

Meal 4:

  • 1 scoop Whey Protein (Protein)
  • 3/4 cup Blueberries
  • 1.5 cups Broccoli
  • 4 tsp Peanut Butter

Meal 5:

  • 4 oz. Lean Beef
  • 2/3 cups Rice
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil

Meal 6:

  • 1 cup Cottage Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Strawberries
  • 1.5 cups Green Beans
  • 20 Almonds

The above is a healthy, easy to follow diet for a teenage bodybuilder.

Tracking Your Progress and Making Adjustments

In order to ensure you are making progress it is vital to track your weight and body fat % along with your strength.

If you find you are not gaining weight and strength then you need to increase your calories. I recommend increasing your calories by 250 when "stick points" (times when you don't progress) are reached. So let's say the 150 lb bodybuilder gained 5 pounds of muscle up to 155 lbs, but he can't seem to gain any more weight at 2250 calories. He would need to increase his calories to 2500 as follows:

  • 2500 calories
  • 155 grams of Protein (620 calories, 1 gram per lb of bodyweight)
  • 83 grams of Fat (750 calories, 30% of calories)
  • 282 grams of Carbs (1130 calories, Remaining calories)

Now that you have the nutrition bases covered its time to set up your training program.

Training

Consistency! That is the key to making progress. You can gain muscle on pretty much any training program as long as you are consistent with your workouts.

The goal for each and every workout is to do better than the previous workout. You should always strive to lift heavier weights and to complete more reps. As a young bodybuilder I HIGHLY recommend focusing on increasing your strength on the primary compound exercises.

Monday: Upper Body

  • Bench Press: 3 X 6-10
  • Bent-Over Row: 3 X 6-10
  • Military Press: 3 X 6-10
  • Barbell Shrug: 3 X 6-10
  • Close-Grip Bench: 3 X 6-10
  • Barbell Curl: 3 X 6-10
  • Barbell Wrist Curl: 3 X 6-10

Tuesday: Lower Body

  • Squats: 3 X 6-10
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 X 6-10
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 3 X 6-10
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 X 6-10
  • Dumbbell Lunges: 3 X 6-10
  • Lying Leg Raises: 3 X 10-15
  • Incline Crunch: 3 X 10-15

Thursday: Upper Body

  • Incline Bench Press: 3 X 6-10
  • Pull-Up/Lat Pull-down:3 X 6-10
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral: 3 X 6-10
  • Dumbbell Shrug: 3 X 6-10
  • Skull Crusher: 3 X 6-10
  • Dumbbell Curl: 3 X 6-10
  • Dumbbell Wrist Curl: 3 X 6-10

Friday: Lower Body

  • Deadlift: 3 X 6-10
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 X 6-10
  • Leg Press: 3 X 6-10
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 X 6-10
  • Leg Extension: 3 X 6-10
  • Leg Curl: 3 X 6-10
  • Lying Leg Raises: 3 X 10-15
  • Incline Crunch: 3 X 10-15

Alternate sets of the exercises with the same number. For example, do a set of bench press, rest 60-90 seconds, do a set of bent-over row, repeat.

This program focuses on the basic compound movements. As your strength increases on these movements so will your overall muscle mass. At this stage in your development there is no need to do 20 sets of isolation exercises for each muscle group. Stick to the basic compound movements.

For cardio I recommend either 20 minutes pre- or post-weight training OR 30 minutes on your off days. Now that you have a training program let's go over some supplements for teenage bodybuilders.

Supplements

There is no need to get fancy with supplements. As a teenager you should focus on your diet and training program. Once you have BOTH your diet and training down then you can begin to add in supplements.

There are three supplements that I consider "the basics" which will benefit teenage bodybuilders: a multivitamin, whey protein, and fish oil. Besides those three supplements, creatine and glutamine may also be beneficial. Let's go over those supplements.

Multivitamin

Taking a multivitamin each day is kind of like an insurance policy for your body when it comes to vitamins and minerals. While it is possible to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from diet alone, this does not always happen. By taking a multivitamin you ensure your body gets all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is a fast-absorbed protein. While it takes 2+ hours to digest and absorb protein from whole foods, whey protein is digested and absorbed in under an hour. This property makes whey protein ideal for your pre- and post-workout nutrition needs. Whey protein can also be used at any other time of the day to meet your protein requirement.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil contains important essential fatty acids known as omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA have been shown to improve body composition and overall health along with many other benefits. These fatty acids must be obtained from your diet. Most people's diet lack omega-3 fatty acids, so supplementing with fish oil ensures you get adequate omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The recommended dosage for EPA is 500-2000mg per day.

Creatine

Creatine is the most popular and commonly used sports supplement available today. There are numerous studies backed by anecdotal evidence that support the efficacy of creatine supplementation.

Creatine monohydrate, a metabolite of the amino acids methionine, arginine, and glycine, is produced in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. The largest reserves of creatine in the body are found in skeletal muscle.

Muscle fatigue during short-term maximal exercise has been associated with a temporary depletion of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine functions as a unique high-energy phosphate that recycles ATP, which is essential for generating energy for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that supplementing with creatine monohydrate will boost muscle stores of creatine and phosphocreatine. This in turn, affects muscle cell volume (larger muscle size), provides greater energy reserves and increases strength.

To put it simple, creatine gives the body explosive energy to perform short-term, high intensity, high power output exercise. Recommended dosing is 3-5g per day. A loading phase can be done to saturate cells faster by doing 5g serving 4-5 times per day (NOT ALL AT ONCE) for 5 days then 3-5g per day for the remaining of the cycle. It is common to cycle creatine, using it for 8-12 weeks followed by 4 weeks off of creatine.

Glutamine

Glutamine is a glucogenic (glucose creating) , nonessential amino acid that has multiple roles in the body. Glutamine is synthesized mainly in skeletal muscle and the liver and acts as a "nitrogen shuttle" between organs, a fuel for cells of the immune system and intestines, and a precursor for nucleotide synthesis.

During times of stress, such as exercise, skeletal muscle glutamine levels are depleted. This glutamine released from skeletal muscle is derived from muscle proteins, the intramuscular free amino acid pool, and newly synthesized glutamine. Restoring Glutamine levels after exercise is vital to recovery and recuperation.

Teenager Supplement Schedule

Upon waking:

Post-Workout:

Before Bed:

  • 5 grams Glutamine (with last meal of the day)
  • Fish Oil 1 Capsule with meals 1, 3, and 5
  • Whey Protein can also be used as needed for your protein requirement

Conclusion

In this article we have gone over diet, training, and supplementation for the teenage bodybuilder. We took a No-Nonsense approach and laid out everything you need to know to get started and make progress. Now that you have the knowledge it is time to put it to use! If you have any questions feel free to me at [email protected].

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