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Calories and Teen Athletes

I have always noted that teenage athletes burn an incredible amount of calories. I talk to parents all the time and they say their kids are literally eating all day long. I explain to them that just being a teenager will cause some active males to burn over 3,000 calories per day. Now add to that weight training and an intense sport such as football, basketball or swimming and teens can easily burn up to 5,000 calories per day!

Teen Calories
My hunch has been validated by KidsHealth.org, run by the Nemours Foundation. This site states that teenage athletes may require between 2,000 to 5,000 calories each day. And, of course, if an active teenager does not supply his or her body with needed calories, then they will lose weight and possibly lean muscle mass. Also calories equal energy so too few calories will leave your teenager feeling sluggish. We at Max Muscle have always advocated healthy and frequent smaller meals. Call it mid meals or snacks, but make sure it’s not candy or empty calorie foods.

Teen Protein

Teenage athletes need adequate amounts of protein. Protein and the amino acid components that they are made up of are responsible for literally thousands of reactions within the body. Utah State University recommends that teenage athletes consume 12 to 15 percent of their calories from protein. That sounds hard to calculate, but here is a simple rule. If you eat 4,000 calories per day, then eat about 100 grams of protein per day, which is about 10 percent of your total calories since protein is 4 calories per gram. To hit the 12 to 15 percent as suggested, simply add another protein meal to your diet. Try and eat 25-30 grams of protein 3-5 times per day and that will keep you close to 100 to 120 grams per day. Mix your proteins up. Eggs, milk, chicken, fish, tofu, lean steak and high quality protein powders like Max Muscle’s MaxPro are all great sources of protein.

Teen Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, oatmeal and pasta are all great sources of carbohydrates. Many experts recommend that 60 to 65 percent of kids’ caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. Like protein, carbohydrates also consist of 4 calories per gram. So if you are eating 4,000 calories per day, then approximately 2,400 calories or 600 grams of carbohydrates per day, would be the minimum amount to make up 60 percent.

Teen Fat
Many parents will stereotype fats as being bad. Fats are an essential part of any diet. They help regulate hormones, metabolism and are great for adding calories to your diet. Peanut butter is high in calories yet is derived from peanuts, which supply plenty of healthy fats. Max Muscle makes Essential Omega, which is an essential fatty acids supplement that literally tastes like candy. It is sugar and gluten free and is very healthy for young athletes.

The best advice I can give you is to stop by your local Max Muscle Nutrition store. Our Certified Fitness Nutrition Coaches will help design a diet for your young athlete. You will be amazed what a healthy, high calorie diet can do for a young athlete. I have seen incredible muscle and strength gains as these youngsters learn to help their body recover and repair daily. You literally see gains on a daily basis if you’re eating right and training intensely. Good luck!

By Joe Wells, CEO Max Muscle Nutrition