Here’s another scary article on the “dangers” of bodybuilding from the BBC.
Every time I see an article like this, I have a Pink Floyd flashback
Now you’d think, in an age where obesity rates for young people are skyrocketing, that the “experts” would be applauding these young men…they want to be fit and look good – what’s wrong with that?!  Pumping iron sure beats the hell out of sitting slackjawed in front of the tube.  Rather than clutching their pearls and getting the vapors over teenaged boys “…losing some of their innocence”, these “experts” should be working with them to make sure that they have their diets straight, and don’t overtrain or injure themselves.
And – needless to state – they should be encouraging teenaged girls to hit the gym too!

  1. Simon 15 years ago

    Agreed, just goes to show the lack of understanding of the benefits of fitness training, not only from the perspective of the fitness itself but from the other benefit associated with it such as having an outlet for their energy and frustrations.

  2. Alex 15 years ago

    That is a strange, strange article. And why in the world do they have to mention “starchy carbs” when talking about nutrients from fruits and vegetable (and starchy carbs?)? Interesting post.

  3. Philip 15 years ago

    It is a strange article. I think the “experts” are afraid that the kids will focus too much on fitness causing too much pressure to be thin for girls, and too much bulk for boys, leading to possible steroid use, or at least body dysmorphic disorder. Still, I don’t agree that the kids shouldn’t be trying to get fit, for reasons Elissa stated above, because of the over abundance of obesity. Just sounds to me that these “experts” think that when kids trends pop up they always focus on the negative instead of trying to encourage the positive.

  4. Bill 15 years ago

    As a father of twin 16 yr old boys, daily exercise has been a part of our lives for years. As they have continued a positive balance of lifting weights and playing different sports, including protein supplements especially in the last year has had very good results. Teenagers do not eat as well as they should and I would rather them drink a good tasting protein shake as opposed to junk food anytime. Life is full of pressure, so I encourage everyone I know to include exercise in their daily lives, instead of all the pills doctors prescribe. But at the same time finding the balance of life is key.

  5. Elissa 15 years ago

    Hand wringing and lectures about what they “should” be doing instead aren’t helpful…especially when it’s coming from “role models” who are likely out-of-shape (or even obese) themselves. This is precisely the fate those kids are trying to avoid: so more power to ’em.
    I have two teenagers myself (18 and 15), so understand the value of talking to them, vs. talking at them. Helping kids find a balance is precisely what parents and other adult authority figures should be doing – because that’s how you ultimately help them avoid taking things to extremes.
    Most teens are quite capable of making good decisions, if they’re given good guidance from people they can respect. They’re virtually adults now, and already have a lot of autonomy – so at this stage in their lives they need more mentoring than parenting.

  6. Rob 15 years ago

    I wholly endorse the benefits of exercise, and weight training as part of that. If teenagers have (and listen to!) proper advice about training, nutrition, and a balanced lifestyle – great. But young men tend to take things to extremes: that’s why so many kids are falling about drunk these days (here in the UK, anyway), and why young men are prime candidates for car accidents from confidently demonstrating skills they don’t actually have.
    My point is that young men can easily get hooked on extreme behaviour, of which – to me – the steroid-based mass monster is a example. Most gyms have people like this (well, mine does). It’s bad enough doing this stuff, but start it young enough and you can really mess up still-developing joints and soft tissues – maybe enough so they’ll never recover.
    That said, the lad in the report seemed pretty sane – he just wants to look buff for the girls. And who can blame him for that? Certainly, as others have said, he’s better off in the gym than slobbed out in front of the TV or hanging around the street. No easy answers…. like everything else.

  7. Philip (fairlane) 15 years ago

    I wonder what you guys think of the movement from college professors to try to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18. I’ll let the debate begin…………:)

  8. Elissa 15 years ago

    To be honest, I haven’t taken a good look at the arguments pro and con. I do recall one suggestion, made on one of the blogs I read, however, that I rather liked…the suggestion was that 18 year olds could be issued either a drinking OR a driver’s license, but not both.
    My own 18 year old is a serious, level-headed guy – more sensible than I was at his age – so I have no personal fears that he’d abuse the privilege if the drinking age was lowered.

  9. admin 15 years ago

    “college professors to try to lower the drinking age ”
    Sounds like a potential topic for a new blog post.

  10. Chris 15 years ago

    Well I do have to agree with one aspect of the article. Why in the world are teenagers downing a bunch of protein shakes and supplements? It would be nice if more of the popular bodybuilder/fitness role models promoted a balanced whole food diet. Shakes and supplements aren’t necessary.. I see many teenagers posting in a popular bodybuilding website that take 3 shakes a day instead of eating food, many of them think that the shakes actually work better than eating lean meat/eggs/dairy.

  11. Elissa 15 years ago

    Well, it all comes back to mentoring, doesn’t it? 😉
    It’s a given that – left to their own devices to figure things out – teenagers will make mistakes. But I don’t agree with the idea (which is implied throughout the article) that the risk of making mistakes or taking it to extremes means that they shouldn’t be doing this stuff AT ALL. Treating teens like they’re total fuck ups just waiting to happen is a big, big mistake.
    I’d agree that consuming too many shakes and supps isn’t the way to go here. But it ranks pretty low on the hazard scale. At the worst, they’re out some money, and – if they’re really motivated to succeed – eventually they’ll get their hands on info they can use (like the “Bodybuilding Revealed” e-book and forum, for example 😉 )
    FWIW, this is a mistake that a great many adults make too, so it’s not something I’d specifically fault the kids for doing. And – unfortunately – a lot of teens still living at home don’t have complete control over their food supply, so shakes are a path of least resistance. It may not be ideal, but it is understandable. And – overall – they’re probably better fed than their soda-and-junk-food consuming peers.

  12. jamfran9 15 years ago

    So now I’m wondering, what is a safe age for a kid to begin weight training. I’m talking about simple stuff, not hardcore heavy strength or bodybuilding work. I’ve got a 10-year old, 150 lb. son who hates running, resists almost all active recreation, but wants to work with an old set of dumb bells that I have in the garage. (From 3 to 25 lbs.) I say “why not?” as like as I’m supervising every session to assure that he uses proper form and doesn’t get excessive with the amount of weight he uses. I figure I can use it to make deal with him to balance each session with a reasonable level of aerobic work.
    Mom says “no way” and his gym teacher says wait until 8th grade, but could provide no underlying explanation.
    What do the experts say? Anybody point me to some readily accessible literature that has credibility?

  13. Elissa 15 years ago

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is certainly cool with it. A summary of their guidelines are here: Guidelines on Strength Training for Children Revised
    For the record, my old gym – which was run by the City of Kettering – gave gym privileges to kids 8 and up, provided they had an orientation and were supervised by their parents. Both of my kids participated, and had their own programs, which combined machines and free weights. Their policy is described here: Kettering Fitness & Wellness Centers (see page 2).
    So tell Mom and gym teacher that they’re behind the times here. With proper care and supervision, there’s no reason for him not to do some training, and plenty of good reasons to go for it.

  14. Philip (fairlane) 15 years ago

    I suspect, maybe the gym teacher’s explanation was to wait because their hormones won’t kick in until that time? I’m speculating of course, but I’ve heard that before.

  15. Aaron 15 years ago

    I just watched the BBC new video, WOW that ticks me off!
    I respect any teen who has enough dedication to workout six day a week. Although that’s most likely over-training, it’s way better then underage drinking or wasting their time watching TV! I completely agree with you Elissa!
    I wish more people knew how amazing bodybuilding is. It totally changed how i look and feel about myself.

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  17. how to donate a car 15 years ago

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  18. lorie 15 years ago

    Nothing wrong with this, at all, people should get it more.

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