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Building Muscle for the High School Male Athlete

The majority of high school athletes play sports for reasons beyond making friends or passing the time until graduation; some are hopeful for college scholarships and the opportunity to play at the next level. These days, even the most talented and skilled player is sent to the gym with a workout plan to transform their bodies into a vehicle to excel at whatever sport they are pursuing.

For males, high school is prime puberty time. Among the multitude of awkward changes puberty brings, males are usually pudgy or overweight (acquiring some cushion around the stomach and some “man boobs”) or they are incredibly skinny. The males who are overweight or pudgy look for workouts to help them burn fat and lose weight while the skinny ones look for workouts to gain weight.

For either scenario, the solution is to adopt the goal to build muscle. For the overweight or pudgy body types, building muscle mass will help lose fat. For the skinny body types, building muscle will add some “meat to their bones.”

Fortunately males going through puberty have a biological advantage and building muscle may be easier than they may think. Testosterone, the steroidal male sex hormone, plays a major role in building muscle as it promotes muscle protein synthesis. During puberty (and, on average, until around the age of 23 in males), testosterone is naturally at its highest levels in the body. Teens can easily take advantage of this natural, physiological muscle-builder to transform their bodies.

To start your quest to build muscle, begin with your diet. Cut out junk food and eat healthy. Talk to your parents about this plan as they generally do the grocery shopping and can be supportive by decreasing the amount of unhealthy food in the house. Protein supplements can also be added to your diet to enhance muscle building. Paired with a workout program, some coaches reported their high school football players gained as much as much as 30 pounds in about five months. As a teenager, you’re probably not trying to enter body building competitions, so you won’t need a top-of-the line, expensive protein supplement program. Something as simple as just adding two protein blend shakes to your daily meal schedule can enhance muscle growth.

A workout for building muscle requires working out at least 3 to 5 times a week. Focus on two muscle groups per day. Allow about 2 days for your muscle groups to rest and recover. Protein supplements will help replenish your muscles with the amino acids they need to recover and grow. Also, while working out, don’t rest for more than a minute between sets in order to push your muscles to reach their fullest potential. You’ll get your cardio workout during sports practice, so focusing on strength-training outside of practice will complete your muscle-building workout program.

Focusing on eating healthy and following a workout plan are the first and most important steps to building muscle and transforming your body. Being in shape will not only make you feel better, but you’re sure to see positive results on the playing field as well!