Diet and exercise plans for teens are a lot like diet and exercise plans for adults. The only real difference is that teens might not understand the rationale behind excessively restrictive diets or excessively rigorous exercise plans. Thus, employing moderation is best when adopting a diet or exercise plan for a teenager. What follows are some simple plans that can help your teen attain health without undue deprivation.
The Replacement Approach
Losing or maintaining weight as a teen is often as simple as cutting out "junk" calories while replacing those items with more healthy alternatives. Thus, the easiest diet for a teen will strictly limit empty calories such as those from sodas, desserts and processed snacks. Replace these items with better alternatives such as lean protein sources (meat, eggs, chicken or fish), fruits or vegetables. Although this may seem basic, it could result in a net decrease of several hundred calories per day.
Carb Limiting Approach
Depending on how far your teen is from a lean physique, more drastic measures may be in order. Another easy step to take to further weight management goals is to restrict his intake of carbohydrates throughout the evening. To implement this, only allow your teen carbs from fruits and vegetables past 6pm. Doing this will limit the likelihood of late-night carb-heavy meals being stored as fat overnight. The best way to implement this plan without reproach is to have the entire family adhere to this restriction.
Resistance Training for Teens
When properly instructed in technique, weight training can be a fast track toward helping your teen manage her health. The only real caveat here is that teens should not engage in any maximal lifting, as their skeletal structure is not fully developed. Instead, stick to higher rep sets (5 to 15 reps) on "core" compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, pull-up, row, dip, push up and bench press.
Starting Strength Routine
One good routine for teens is the Starting Strength routine by Mark Rippetoe. This is a three-day-a-week plan that emphasises development in all of the foundational lifts that will serve your teen well to promote a lifetime of fitness. There are two separate workouts, which your teen should alternate between. Workout "A" consists of three sets of five reps on squats, three sets of five reps on bench press, and one set of five reps on deadlift. Workout "B" is three sets of five reps on squats, three sets of five reps on overhead press, and three sets of 10 on back extensions.
Bill Starr's 5x5 plan is another good beginner's routine that can work well for teens. This is a three-day-a-week program, designed to be performed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Monday, perform five sets of five on squat, five sets of five on bench, and five sets of five on barbell row. On Wednesday, perform four sets of five on squat, four sets of five on incline or military press, and four sets of five on deadlift. On Friday, perform four sets of five then one set of eight each on squat, bench and rows.
For either lifting program, aim to improve from week to week by adding additional weight to the bar, even if it is just in 2.27kg. increments.
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