I’m 16 years old and currently weigh 165 pounds. I really want to bulk up and gain some serious muscle mass. I’ve been reading about the importance of nutrition and I really don’t think I’m getting enough protein. I went to my local vitamin store to look at what they had and there are so many protein products on the shelves that I didn’t know which one to pick. I was also looking for a muscle building product to take post-workout, like creatine or something along those lines. I have never done any research so I’m a little lost. Can you recommend a good quality protein powder for me? Also, what types of muscle building supplements do you think I should take to help me get big?
Since you’re only 16 years old, I recommend focusing 100% of your attention on eating nutrient dense whole foods versus taking nutritional supplements. Your body is in a growth phase right now and the levels of testosterone surging through your body are the highest they will be during your life, so take advantage of this time. Train hard and eat the right foods to help stimulate muscle growth now because it will get much harder to add lean muscle as you get older.
Even though whole foods should be the core of your nutritional intake, you can use a supplement like whey protein powder but this will only be used in moderation and at the right times during the day (pre and post workout). About 30 minutes before your workout, add a scoop of whey protein (20-30 grams) with some fat-free milk and a banana into a blender. This will give you a great pre-workout shake to drink before you train. After your workout is over, you want to drink another shake with more whey protein and carbs. Whey is a great source of protein because it’s very fast acting and gets to your muscles quickly to replenish them. A very good quality whey protein product I recommend is called 100% Whey from Optimum Nutrition. They are a very reputable company that produce high quality nutritional supplements.
Most kids your age are eating out at fast food restaurants every day and grubbing down on tons of salty potato chips and snacks when they get home after school. They are chugging down massive amounts of sugary sodas while playing the Xbox or Play Station and their diets are completely out of whack. I congratulate you on making the decision to get fit and it sounds like you have already started on a weight training program. The big indicator of whether you will make the gains you really desire comes down to the foods you put into your mouth. If you decide to follow the same unhealthy path that so many of your peers choose to go down, then your results will be severely diminished and you will not reach your ultimate goal of packing on slabs of thickly chiseled muscle to your physique.
Eating the right nutrient dense foods is the absolute key to help give your body the macronutrients it needs to perform at the highest level, so it’s up to you to choose the path you want to follow. Are you up for the challenge? I hope so because it’s not going to be easy when all of your buddies want to head out for lunch and enjoy a couple of greasy cheeseburgers and a massive order of salty french fries or they might want to hit up a late night fast food joint for a half-dozen bean and cheese burritos. Those sinful foods will be calling your name and it’s up to you to make the right choice if you are really serious about making significant gains in the gym and packing on serious muscle mass.
Luckily, there are healthy options when you go out to eat with your buddies. Instead of the triple cheeseburger, have a chicken sandwich or a regular hamburger without the mayonnaise and cheese. ShapeFit has a great article called Healthy Eating On The Run that includes many helpful tips for choosing the healthiest options when you are out and need a quick nutritious meal.
Once you have been training for a few years, you can start looking into specific muscle building supplements to help you continue to progress with your physique goals. You should only use products which have solid research behind them and have proven to produce results. One of these products is creatine. Since there are so many different kinds of creatine on the market now, I highly recommend doing your own research to find the best product to meet your needs. You can also go into your local vitamin store and get feedback from the employees. Several of the big chains like Vitamin Shoppe have very knowledgeable staff that is willing to provide helpful insight and recommendations on many different nutritional supplements, so take advantage of their expertise but also try to do some research on your own so you can be prepared before you walk into the store.