A question I get all the time from kids is “coach, how do I gain weight?” My response is don’t worry about that so much as developing strength, power, and agility. This question was last asked of me from a 15 year old. Kids ranging in age from about 13 to 18 years are going to see most of their weight gain from their body’s maturation process alone. Until maturity is reached, the body hasn’t developed all the hormones necessary to create significant amounts of muscle mass. Some kids reach full maturity sooner than others. In that respect, you can’t fight mother nature and you are what you are!
Of course, I do see weight gain in kids but it’s typically not the right type of weight. Unfortunately, kids have a diet that consists of lots of fast food or just unhealthy food in general. I’ve also seen kids that consume large quantities of those heavy calorie shakes to gain weight. These are the types of products you see at nutrition stores. Sure, you’ll gain weight by using these products but it will be mostly fatty weight. This can actually be counter productive for an athlete because, at a young age, the body is not putting on actual muscle mass in proportion to the fatty weight and it will slow an athlete down and make him less agile. I highly recommend staying away from these high calorie weight gain shakes!
As long as a young athlete has a healthy, balanced diet he will typically get everything he needs from a nutrition standpoint. See our articles on nutrition from our MFM Athletic Trainer, Liana Groel, in our diet section of the site here. My recommendation is to spend the necessary time working on strength, power, and agility and don’t worry so much about your weight. All coaches love an athlete who is strong, fast, and agile. Trust me, as you get older, the weight will come and one day you will actually work as hard to lose it!
Coach Van Tassel