The Incredible Hulk didn’t use steroids — and you don’t need to either. Truth is, steroid use by someone who is still growing can cause all kinds of health problems.
Dr. Linn Goldberg of Oregon Health Sciences University is the principal investigator of two programs designed to help athletes get the body they want the natural way.
"We suggest [eating] one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day," says Dr. Goldberg. "That's over double the RDA [recommended daily allowance]." Why so much? "You need to have protein to build muscle. If you don't have enough protein, you end up chopping down your house to build a fire."
Teen guys who work out hard and want to get bigger need to get about 2600 calories a day, says Dr. Goldberg. "This is not 'one size fits all,' but it's a place to start," he cautions. "If your metabolism is slower, ease up on the calories; if it's faster, you might want even more."
"Less than 30 percent of your calories should be coming from fat," says Dr. Goldberg, so read those nutrition labels before you rip open a bag of chips. "We try to have guys eat lean food, lower-fat food." Some good choices are chicken, fish and skim milk cheese.
A mix of weights, endurance and "explosive" exercises are recommended for all athletes. Which type of training is emphasized depends on the sports and the position you play. Keep clicking for an explanation of the different types of training and which kinds of athletes need the most of each.
Think long, lean and able to go the distance -- like Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. Endurance exercises like running and cycling are emphasized. Weight training, while done, is mostly in low weight and high (12-15) rep sets. Consult a certified trainer for how much you should lift.
For the times when strong, but not necessarily fast, is best -- like defensive linemen on the football squad. Weight training is key, with high weight and low (6-8) rep sets. Consult a certified trainer for how much you should lift.
Dodge and weave! This is the quick, explosive power of Kobe Bryant pulling up for the last-second turnaround jump shot. Plyometric exercises -- like jumping and bounding -- are used to train the muscle fibers to fire quickly. Weight training, when done, is clean and fast. Consult a certified trainer for how much you should lift.