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3 ways to help a teenage athlete grow and develop

3 ways To help the developing teenage athlete

Supplements are often a topic of concern for parents. Should the teenage athlete take supplements? It’s a tough question. Supplement companies are not regulated, which causes concern about what is in popular products, the quality, how much, etc. However, there is a short window of physical growth and development during puberty. From ages 8 to 17, nutrition is a huge factor in the child/teen’s development. It sets the tone for the rest of their lives. Often, this is the time when kids/teens are most picky. Another concern is the quality of the food we eat in the US. Unfortunately, food quality doesn’t always hold up. Even organic food can be misleading.

What to do… This article may not answer your food vs. supplements argument; however, hopefully, it will give you somewhere to start to help your teen grow and develop as effectively as possible. Here are 3 areas to consider with your teen’s nutritional and supplement needs:

Water Intake for the teenage athlete:

nutrition for the developing teenage athleteWater is the base of all processes in the body. Though currently, there still isn’t an exact number known per person, the developing athlete should get between 80-120 fl.oz. After a workout, game, or practice, they should drink at least 20oz of water per lbs lost. Keep the fluid in the body up kept and allow the body’s processes to be as effective as possible.

Protein intake for the teenage athlete :

No, not a high protein diet. The majority of the US doesn’t get enough protein daily. Most fast food places, convenient stores, rest stops have carbs and fats much more readily available than protein. While this makes carbs seem like the bad guy, they are not, but that’s a separate article. Protein intake for a developing athlete can range depending on activity and output. Ages 10-14, a safe number is the teen’s weight in Kilograms multiplied by 1.4. Example: 100 lbs – divide 100/2.2= 45.45 then multiply 45.45 x 1.4= 64g of protein. A fun tip to follow: the fewer legs, the better.. 4 legs: cow, -Ok-, 2 legs: chicken -Good-, no legs: Fish -Best.

Sugar needs for the teenage athlete:

Sugar is always a conflicted topic. Sugar can be a huge help for athletes after workouts, games, practice. It helps replenish glycogen levels, aids the protein absorption into the muscle by spiking insulin and allows the body a quicker recovery between athletic feats. This doesn’t mean it should be used for non-active days. Gatorade or body armor can be a helpful recovery drink when an individual is active. The low-calorie Gatorades are meant for individuals that just need more electrolytes, while the higher sugar ones are meant for during/post-game recovery for the body. They should not be drunk while playing video games or just hanging out. That’s when it’s misused. Sugar in small doses for the average person but for the athlete can be used effectively.

This age can be tough, most kids and developing teenagers don’t realize how important it is to give the body the nutrients it needs. so much happens in puberty and becomes permanent. Before using any of the information in the article check with a Dr. to make sure it fits the needs of the teenage athlete, especially if they have any health specific issues.

Written by:

Kirill Vaks BA, CSCS
Performance coach


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