Teens Building Muscle


(00:01): I had a question come up from a patient. She reached out to me. She doesn't live in the state of Texas anymore. And of course we feel sorry for her for that, but she was a patient of mine back when I first started, so it was nice to connect with her again. She has a son who's in his mid-teens and wants to put on some muscle mass. That's not an uncommon question in my office, so I figured I'd handle it in this format. They could benefit from it. And so could anybody else who's got a son early to mid-teens who feels the need to add some muscle mass. So I'm gonna kind of rapid fire, go through some important points, or a question was specifically about like an eating approach or a dietary pattern that would be beneficial for this.

(00:45): Um, but I'm gonna kind of broaden it out a little bit and that way it works better in this forum. So first of all, why would, why would someone that age want to add muscle? Obviously, aesthetics is, is a common goal, right? You wanna look a particular way, but beyond that, it's better for your health to carry some extra muscle. Like the within reason, the more muscle you have, the more resilient you tend to be. Physical ability, if you're into sports or anything athletic related, your ability will be better. Just handling the daily, activities of life, lifting things, climbing over things, running, jumping, falling down the stairs and catching yourself. It's all better when you're more athletically trained and when you have more muscle on your frame, it's better for confidence. It takes a certain amount of discipline to build muscle.

(01:40): You have to control your diet. You have to control your schedule. You have to not only exercise, but for those of you who have that have done this, exercising to a level of intensity, that's uncomfortable and that requires discipline. So it is, it's a learning endeavor along with everything else. And you can at some point look back and say, I accomplished this, I did this. And I think there's, there's some significant value in that. I don't, I don't want to downplay that. I think that's very important. I need to handle exercise versus activity. Activity is doing the things you do on a daily basis, walking around, going up and down the stairs, picking things up, washing the car, digging ahold of plant a tree. That's all activity when you do something to the point where you can't do it anymore, or you do something with the intention of fatiguing or significantly stressing a certain muscle or a certain process to a point where it has to heal and repair.

(02:40): That's exercise, right? Going up the stairs is activity. Getting on a StairMaster and doing it for 15 or 20 minutes till you can't do it anymore. That's exercise. Okay? So understand the difference. When I talk about exercise, I'm actually talking about exercise, but activity is very important, right? A 15 or 20 minute walk after you eat dinner can do magical things for your blood sugar, and, and help with things like weight control and, and blood sugar control over time. But it's not exercise. Exercise is for a specific purpose. Um, and that's what we're gonna be talking about in this context. Endurance is one of the things you can increase with exercise that takes a particular type of exercise, kind of steady state, long term. Um, they call it cardio in a lot of cases, but that's to build endurance. You're taking a group of muscles and saying, I want you to be able to go farther or for longer with less fuel.

(03:37): You're building efficiency and endurance, um, conditioning, being able to do a lot of work in a short period of time with a heart rate that doesn't get as high as it used to because you've conditioned yourself to do that kind of work. So, you know, I, I do some swim workouts and when I first got back in the pool doing a hundred meters, my heart rate would get up to a certain point, a 168,170, something like that. As I continue to do it, I'm conditioning my body to do that and I can now do a hundred meters  with my heart rate staying in the 150 s. Eventually I'll be able to do a hundred meters with my heart rate staying in the 140 s. That's because I'm becoming conditioned to that. A little bit different than endurance because there's more intensity to what you're doing.

(04:23): Skill building, if you're playing a particular sport. Um, baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, football, my son's a wide receiver. There is skill involved, not just athleticism. So when you are training or exercising with that in mind, part of what you do is build a skill. You will exercise and do the skill you need to perfect some people who don't have a particular sport they're playing or something that they're working toward, they will choose exercises or exercise routines that are developing new skills because it allows them to integrate their nervous system with the exercise they're doing. It's not just the same exercise over and over. There's coordination, there's left to right, there's balance built in. Those are things that, that I would call skill building. And then there's lifting. Pick up something heavy, do it in a safe way and do it until you can't do it anymore.

(05:17): That's more what we're gonna be talking about as far as adding muscle mass to one's frame. And that's the same male and female, right? Women should be lifting heavy for a portion of their exercise, just like men should be lifting heavy for a portion of their exercise variety or sports specific. I'm a fan of variety, like do lots of different exercises, lift a couple of days a week, um, do body weight stuff, pullups, squats, uh, box jumps, something like that. Do those other days of the week do Pilates or yoga or swim or basketball or something like that. Other days of the week? Like variety I think is incredibly important. An athlete, and that's who suffers from this the most, is an athlete tends to get to a point where their skill level is good. They're competing against people that are highly skilled and they tend to just train their sport because they need to get better and better and better at that one specific thing that they do or that one specific sport.

(06:16): But that can lead to an imbalance in musculature because you're not cross-training, you're not training with another sport. To me, I was, I was raised as a swimmer, so I'll use it as an example. Swimming is a great cross cross-training activity for almost any sport. If you play basketball or if you play baseball or football or I don't know, pickleball these days and you swim, you will get very different muscle activation and you'll stress different connective tissues by swimming than you will in your regular sport. And so it's a good balancing cross training activity. So understand that variety is important, but if sports specific is necessary, some people e even end up doing sports specific for a particular time of the year, and then they can broaden out and add variety at another time of year. It just depends on, on your sport and what you're doing.

(07:11): Okay, now we'll talk about eating plans. Now that we've got the basics of exercise. If you're gonna lift heavy and for Alden, this is the young man we're talking about, I suggest you do, but you've gotta build into that and you've gotta build the skillset to lift safely and lift effectively before you start lifting heavy. So I'm not saying you have to have a trainer with you every time you lift, but what you might do is either do a lot of video work, look at several different people's techniques, or get with a trainer or go to a group class that focuses on lifting technique, Olympic lifting, which is doing your squats and cleans and that kind of stuff. Or just something about basic lifting technique so that you make sure that what you're doing is going to not only be safe and not get you injured, but be productive, accomplish the goal you want to accomplish.

(08:10): Very important, you're learning a new skill, right? And that skill will be lift with you the rest of your life and it will serve you well, but it's worth learning properly to begin with. So keep that in mind. Um, eating plan. First and foremost, you, no matter what you're doing, everybody that is listening to this, eating predominantly whole foods, foods you recognize meets vegetables, fruits, things like that, that's very important. The more processed it is, the more difficult it is to recognize, the less it's going to serve you as far as making you healthy, right? For Alden specifically, I want you to understand when you were born, you were little

(08:54): Bitty, I don't know, your mom will tell you 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 pounds, something like that. Now you weigh considerably more. Let's say, I'm guessing, let's say you're 115, 120 pounds, something like that. That's a difference of over 110 pounds from when you were born. That 110 pounds did not come out of thin air. You didn't photosynthesize it. It's not sunlight that a hundred plus pounds is from what you ate. Those were the building blocks to build who you are today. Moving forward, you need to understand and ask yourself regularly when you see your food on the plate, do I want to build my body out of what's on that plate? Do I want to build my body out of steak and vegetables or do I want to build my body out of mac and cheese and some crackers? Do I want to build my body out of McDonald's or, or, or Wendy's or Taco Bell?

(09:53): Or do I want to build my body out of chicken and vegetables, right? Those are questions we all have to answer every meal every day. Now, do I expect you to be perfect? Absolutely not. No. And at your age, you can afford some latitude. Like you can screw up here and there and you're gonna do fine with it because you're young and you're in this building healing mode. You don't have all the baggage that older people like me have. So I have to be more careful than you likely have to be. But it's a good habit to get into to look at the food on your plate and say, is this feeding me? Is this building me? Is this what I want to add to my body? So keep that in mind. Whole food versus processed food, very important. Real building blocks versus chemicals. Think of it that way.

(10:45): Um, alright, protein requirements, anytime you're talking about building muscle protein is gonna come up in the discussion and it should, your diet as you're going through this phase of your life should prioritize protein. Now, a general rule of thumb, I'm gonna give you a range here. For someone trying to get in shape, add muscle, lose fat, or just add muscle, you're looking to have about 0.7 or 0.8 up to maybe one gram of protein for every pound of ideal body weight. If you are at one 15 and you or your ideal body weight's 1 25, use 1 25 for your calculation. If you are at one 60 and your ideal body weight's one 30, use one 30 is your calculation. Okay? But that's how much protein you should aim to get in a day. It's probably gonna seem like a lot of protein. You'll get the grams and it probably, it may not mean much to you if you have to eat, you know, 120 grams of protein a day.

(11:51): You're like, okay, whatever. But then when you start reading labels, you look at a protein powder having 15 to 25 grams of protein, you look at a good size steak as having 25 to 30 grams of protein. You look at a chicken breast at 20 or 25 grams of protein and you start to realize that's a lot of food to get a hundred, a hundred fifteen, a hundred twenty, a hundred thirty grams of protein a day. There are gonna be days you don't, there's just no way around it. It's a lot of food to eat. But then there are gonna be days you do, and that's fine. You're going in the right direction. So prioritize protein, fruits, vegetables. Obviously those are good carbohydrates. Some from fruits, but some from your starchy vegetables,  potatoes, um, butternut squash, uh, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, beets. I know those are all your favorites, right? But those are going to have a decent amount of carbohydrate and plenty of fiber so that carbohydrate doesn't spike your blood sugar.

(12:51): Now what about things like rice or pasta or bread or whatever, if you tolerate those, and almost everybody tolerates rice, so I probably shouldn't lump it into that category, but any of the gluten containing grains, if you know that gluten's not an issue for you and you want to consume some of that, I'm not gonna get in your way. Um, but know that the longer you consume that in, in the quality that we have available here in our country right now, eventually it's gonna become a problem for you. So as much as you can stick to like the rices and the potatoes and the starchy vegetables and squashes and stuff, I would probably try to aim that direction as much as I can. Now, how much carbohydrate do you need? That's debatable, right? You're young, you're active, you are trying to add body mass. It's gonna be difficult.

(13:43): I don't know if even if it's really gonna be appropriate to try to get all of your calories from protein than fat. So I think carbohydrates play a significant role in that for you. On days that you work out, you're probably gonna consume more carbohydrate on days you don't, maybe a little bit less. The key is not to get cheap refined carbs. If, if we had a campfire, we would be putting dense logs on the fire to make it burn for a long period of time. If you were trying to make a campfire out of rolled up balls of, of tissue paper, every time you put it on it's poofing, it's gone, and poofing it's gone. And poofing it's gone. Those are refined carbohydrate rates. Your your overt sweets, candies, sodas, um, chips and crackers like that, the trashy kind of stuff. None of it's gonna give you any, um, lasting energy or substantial energy.

(14:34): It's all gonna be kind of poofy flash in the pan stuff you're going to need. The more natural carbohydrates, the the strongest I'd get is probably honey, maybe a little bit of real maple syrup. That becomes a seasoning. But your potatoes and rice and carrots and beets and squash and stuff, those are gonna be your bulk carbohydrates. They have fiber, they have nutrients in them, they're gonna, they're gonna be logs on the fire, not paper, on the fire. So consider that. Um, but watch your protein intake and try to do it with real animal-based protein because it's the stuff that's most bioavailable. Um, if you don't like beef, it doesn't have to be red meat. You can do chicken, pork, lamb, venison, elk, eggs, fish, you name it. Just calculate the protein and see how close you can get. But protein is what builds muscle.

(15:19): When you go to the gym, when you work out, when you lift, when you do so many pull-ups, you can't do anymore. You, you damage the muscles and then your body goes overnight while you're sleeping. Cuz sleep is important. We're gonna get to that and tries to repair them. It is going to use amino acids, which are the, the building blocks of protein to repair those muscles. If you don't have enough protein coming in, you will rob the muscle group you didn't use to repair the muscle group you did. And then you'll rob from that muscle group to repair the other one. Next time you're just moving protein around, it's inefficient and you're not gonna grow. Um, so protein quality is important. Protein amount is important. Um, sleep, hugely important. Like I just said, you damage the muscle when you exercise, you repair the muscle when you sleep.

(16:08): If you continually damage and damage and damage and you don't really sleep and repair, you're over training. You'll get weaker and weaker and weaker over time. You're not building, you're not repairing  and eventually you get injured and then you can't work out for a month or so. And that doesn't that, that doesn't get you any closer to your goal, right? Take time to sleep, 6, 7, 8 hours every night. Try to go to bed somewhere between nine 30 and 11 right? Than sleep through till whenever you need to get up in the morning. The hours of sleep you get before midnight are almost twice as important as the hours you get after midnight. I would much rather you go to bed at 9:30 and get up at four than have you go to bed at 11:30 and get up at seven or eight, right? It, the hours you get before midnight are very important for releasing growth hormone, for releasing testosterone.

(17:03): That kind of stuff happens when you're in bed, a sleep prior to about 11 or 1130 at night. Okay? So just be aware that's sleep is critically important. It's every bit as important as what you do at the gym. Um, hormones, as a, as a teenage boy, you should be blessed with a fair amount of hormone, right? Predominantly testosterone. And that tells your body to build muscle and, and not necessarily store a lot of fat. So it's kind of a lean promoting hormone. You can use that to your advantage when you work out really heavy, that hormone becomes more active and continues to send the message to build and repair and get big. But there are things that can affect that. There are thing things that can decrease the testosterone level that gives you that, that edge. Um, so watch out for EMF exposure, l e d lights, um, phones, computers, wifi signals, all of those living next to high tension power lines and stuff.

(18:11): That's all EMF exposure. You wanna minimize that. You're never gonna get away from it, not in this world today, but you don't want to, you know, like carry your phone on your person all the time or get a case that blocks the EMF from your phone or if you're wearing AirPods or something, they make little stickers. Uh, wave block as a company that makes those, that blocks a lot of the EMF from the AirPods. So they're not as, as, I guess damaging is the only word I can use, um, to your brain and your nervous system. So look for opportunities to periodically get away from electronic and EMF kind of signals cuz it can mess with your, with your hormone levels. Um, a sedentary lifestyle. That's probably not what you're aiming for if your mom asked you or asked me about this information, but sedentary lifestyle can do it.

(19:02): Um, sugar intake will tank your testosterone, constantly feeding dopamine like video games that can tank your testosterone. Um, some, some kind of realistic video games or thought provoking like poker or chest or something, not so bad. But when you get into the really intense hyperrealistic video games, that is, that's like pinging your dopamine over and over and over again to get you addicted to the game, right? To get you to want to go to the next level or play another minute or look around that next corner or whatever. That's dopamine that does that. And when you're constantly pinging dopamine, it can affect your testosterone levels. Um, chemical exposure, there are certain medications you would want to avoid. I don't think that's an issue for you. Um, but you know, people that vape, people that, um, are doing any kind of, um, I don't know, I'm gonna say recreational drugs.

(19:59): Uh, people that drink out of plastic water bottles all the time are getting estrogen mimicking, uh, chemicals. None of that's good for you, right? And processed food is gonna have a ton of that, which is partly why we have you stay away from processed food. Um, things like that. Uh, impossible burger, right? The, the fake meats that loaded with chemicals, right? It doesn't have animal protein in it, but boy is it loaded with chemicals, um, not nearly as healthy as they're promoting it to be. Um, and then I have to say, and and, and you know, it's not popular to talk about but necessary. I talked about video games constantly pinging that dopamine receptor. There are other forms of video content available for  entertainment on the internet that if you consume them on a regular basis, will start to mess with your testosterone. They are hyper realistic.

(20:56): Um, they are addictive. They are designed exactly for teenage boys. Um, and they should be avoided at all costs for as long as possible because they will not only mess with your dopamine receptors and that messes with your motivation and your concentration and all of that, but then it's gonna start messing with testosterone and it's not, it doesn't do good things, right? And it's epidemic there. It, I mean the industry is, is doing hundreds, uh, of billions of dollars a year. Um, and, and it's all being put toward addicting young men to that content. So if you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's awesome. Uh, if you know exactly what I'm talking about, stay away because it is a, it's a giant, um, sink hole that you'll just get lost in and it's not productive and it's not gonna help you at all.

(21:52): So be aware that will mess with your, with your hormones and you wanna protect your hormones. Um, consider doing some assessment before and after taking measurements of certain parts of your body. Um, biceps and triceps. So upper arm, chest, neck, calves, thighs. Don't forget the glutes. So waist is important I guess, but for building muscle, you're gonna want to go just below the, I guess people call 'em hip bones that poke out right in the front. Go just below that and measure around the meatiest part of your glutes in the back, the butt muscles. And, and that's a good kind of circumferential measurement to take. Um, so once you have those, maybe a couple before and after pictures if you want to, you may not like doing that at first cuz you're not getting the answers you want. You want to get bigger, you're not happy with where you are, right?

(22:46): By definition, you're not gonna like those answers. But a month or two down the road or three months down the road, when you can look back and compare to that, you'll be happy that you have that information. Okay? So, so gather some of that assessment information ahead of time and then see what you can do. Can you do a pullup? Can you do a pushup? Can you do a sit up? Can you do an air squat? How much can you do so that later on you can test yourself and say, look, I, when I started I could do one pull up and it was ugly and now I can do two sets of 10 without a problem. You know, you're making progress. So measurement, um, incrementally checking in and seeing where you are with performance goals or size goals, very important, very motivating. Um, and then consistency. (23:30): Be consistent. If you do it really well and you're perfect and you're really hitting it for three weeks and then you're off for two months and then you come back and do it really well for three or four weeks and then you're off for a couple of months, you're not gonna reach your goals. Not at all. So be consistent. Choose something, a schedule a, a protocol, whatever it is, choose something with which you think you can be consistent, uh, because that's where you're gonna get the best results. Um, so anyway, I hope that wasn't too generic. I hope that gave you some insight. If you're looking for a named eating plan, a high protein version or a protein prioritizing version of paleo ancestral, um, whole 30 autoimmune paleo, although fairly restrictive, those would all fit the bill ancestral versus carnivore in my terminology. And it really varies when you get into this space.

(24:31): Um, carnivore is gonna be basically just eggs and meat and salt and water. That's carnivore, eggs and sausage for breakfast, ground beef for lunch, steak for dinner. Um, you can have fish or chicken, whatever, lamb, pork, venison, but that's it. No veggies, no fruits, no nothing. That's not what I'm talking about here, right? And most of the time when I recommend that to people, we do it for a period of time, like it's an elimination diet for us. And then we kind of moderate into what I would call ancestral, which is where you start to bring in maybe some fermented dairy, you have some fruits, maybe a few vegetables, maybe a little rice, but you're still predominantly eating animal products, but you round it out with those other things, right? That's gonna be what I call ancestral. Whole 30 is gonna be very low sugar, but you can certainly maximize the protein on that and make it into more of a, um, of an anabolic building diet.

(25:26): Um, paleo leaves the grains and dairy out, but it's fruits, vegetables, and meat essentially. So those are gonna be the eating plans if you wanna go to Pinterest and pull up an infographic on one of those. So it has to kind of be something you can search for. That's what I'd be aiming for, right? Something along those lines. So I hope that helps out. Um, Alden, that was for you. Um, say hi to your mom, but for everybody else who has a son or daughter in this situation, that's what you're looking for. Uh, to add some muscle, gain muscle for the adults in the room. I'm not letting you off the hook. Your muscle mass is your physical retirement plan. The more muscle you can add now, whatever age you are, the better that's gonna serve you as you age. So if you are someone who's in their forties and you've never really, I don't exercise, I don't do that, whatever, there will come a time when you can't go up the stairs or you can't get yourself out of a chair or, or you can't pull yourself up out of the car and you realize, I wish I had built more muscle back in the day so I had more of it left on me now so I can take a shower without having to sit down on the stool, or I can get myself on and off the toilet without somebody helping me, or I can get out of bed or, or whatever it is.

(26:54): And I'm not trying to be mean, but the more you, the more muscle you build and condition now, the better that will serve you later. I have patients seeing me that are in the later situation wishing they had done it before. So be aware now at Alden's age, great. Put it on now. All you have to do is maintain it after that, right? This is the easiest time in your life to put it on at my age, way more difficult, 20 years after me. I'm not gonna say impossible, but monumental effort at that point. Like everything has to be dialed in right at that point. So anyway, hope that helped you out. I'm gonna cut it off here. Please let me know if you have more specific questions or if this stimulated a, uh, another round of questioning, you want me to do another video on something, just let me know. I'm happy to do it. So hopefully this served you guys well. Um, I'll see you on the next one. Have a great day


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