The Younger Bodybuilder

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It is a debatable area as to what age can someone begin heavy weight training. To be safe, it is generally recommended that a teenager doesn't begin heavy weight training until he / she is fully-grown, in order to avoid stunting of growth or abnormal joint development. Unfortunately this is often the time when he / she may be bullied at school and want to build him- or herself up. There is no specific age you can put on when an individual is fully grown, as there is considerable variance. I would therefore say that a teenager could train quite hard from about 16 years old, but not with full intensity until 18 years or more. It is okay to introduce children to very light weight training from about 11 or 12 years, and this can help give them confidence and build up a good circulation for when they are older. Exercise as a whole is encouraged in children, and strength gains from even light weight training, become apparent quickly.

The good thing about getting the younger athlete involved in an exercise programme, is that food choice is positively affected. Teenagers opt for more healthy foods and start to learn the benefits of health eating, at a time when they usually go for kebabs and burgers! As far as a bodybuilding diet goes, don't go for too high protein intakes, as the kidneys may not be fully developed, but the adolescent may choose higher protein and carbohydrate foods. I would suggest a healthy balanced diet with five or six meals a day to feed their growth. A quality weight gain powder or MRP may be introduced in small amounts if the teenager is unable to eat enough. They may also enjoy pre workout drinks and supplement bars. Other more technical supplements are probably best withheld until he or she is older.

Nevertheless, some light weight training and a good healthy diet at a younger age may build a good foundation for harder training later.

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