Bodybuilding is the activity that builds muscles to larger sizes. It has been proven that muscle weighs more than fat, but it also burns more calories. Your muscles burn fat, even at rest. Fat doesn’t do that.
Building more lean muscle mass is one way to turn your body into a lean fat-burning machine. Teen bodybuilding has become quite popular. Teens compete in competitions that can help raise their self-esteem and get them on the track to a healthier lifestyle overall.
However, there are positive and negative aspects to bodybuilding in teens.
Teenagers are still growing. Some parents worry about stunting the growth of their children. Bodybuilding can do that if the teen is lifting too much weight. This can stem from unrealistic expectations.
Teens can be short-sighted in their bodybuilding goals. After one month of lifting weights they won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They also can’t eat whatever they want and still lift enough weight to have a six-pack.
Teens lifting more weight than their bodies can handle safely can damage the long bones. They can stop the process of growth at the growth plate. A rule of thumb for anyone weightlifting is to only lift what you can comfortably lift for 10-15 repetitions. If your technique gets sloppy or you experience pain, then you are doing something wrong.
We all know that there are bodybuilders that use performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge over the competition. Teens are not immune to that. While they may not have the money that adults have, they could be getting inferior products that can do even more harm than the best anabolic steroids. Steroids have been linked to changes in behavior and fluctuations in testosterone levels in men. You may gain huge muscles, but at a price.
Another important con to teen bodybuilding is misinformation. Teens that go into it without the proper information can be disappointed with the lack of results or hurt themselves. This includes working out too much, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep and ignoring signs from their bodies that they are fatigued.
The teen years are critical and often the most difficult. Teens are searching for a place to fit in. Bodybuilding can give them that and so much more. Not only can they improve their body image, but they also learn about proper nutrition and find mentors in the older bodybuilding community.
Self-esteem is vital to a teenager. With a body that turns heads and with renewed health, they can feel like accomplishing anything. It won’t make their teen years easier to understand, but it will give them hope.