Many parents react shocked when their teenage son declares he wants to get into bodybuilding. But there is a big difference between what he wants and the goals of some humongous mutants classified as "bodybuilders."
"Don't Tell My Parents!"I'm running this site now for more than three years and due to its nature - working out at home without having to buy expensive equipment - a lot of teenagers are among its visitors.Beside the technical questions they have about the activity, there is one statement that emerges again and again: "my parents aren't supposed to know I'm doing this!"When I ask why, I usually learn that the reason for secrecy is a misunderstanding. The teenager wants to do one thing and his parents think he is about to embark on something very different.I'm writing this in the hope to clear things up a bit, get to common ground and then decide if working out is a worthwhile activity to pursue.
He Says Bodybuilding, But Means A Bit More AthleticI can't blame any parent for reacting shocked when their 14-year-old declares he wants to start bodybuilding. In the public eye, bodybuilding is a sport done by people using illegal steroids to get muscles so big they look like freaks.Unfortunately the public eye is right and what many professional bodybuilders do has little to do with health. However, among the thousands of teenagers visiting this site it's only a tiny fraction whose aim is becoming the next Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath. The teen says, "I want to start bodybuilding," but means "I want to get a bit more muscle." They only use the word "bodybuilding" because they learned online or from friends that that's what you call the process of building muscle. They are happy with looking more athletic and will never obsess in the way the some "true" bodybuilders do.
It Really Is Strength TrainingThis doesn't require any expensive equipment and the proper name for it is "strength training." It makes the muscles bigger, but in a healthy context. Although the cosmetic effect is what teens are really looking for, it is a by-product.Strength training has several more important benefits:
- It increases bone density
- It heightens muscular endurance
- It fortifies muscles and joints against injuries
- It helps performance in other sports activities
- It improves self-confidence