Nutrition for teenage athletes

Disclaimer: I am not a physician, metabolic researcher, or ‘nutritionist’ and make no claim to hold any certification in the field of human nutrition.

I am a concerned parent raising two teenage athletes – one a swimmer, the other a baseball player – and I find that nearly all the expert nutritional advice circulated for teenage athletes appears to be written for sedentary adults.

…I find that nearly all the expert nutritional advice circulated for teenage athletes appears to be written for sedentary adults.

My goal is to discuss some observations and present the findings of my own research into published medical findings. I take seriously what elite athletes say when they speak candidly about food and I want to convey what some elite coaches say about the nutritional needs of their athletes when the topic is performance, not nutrition.

This last part is important. When speaking about performance and athletic goals, experienced athletes and coaches say some astonishing things about what and how much they eat. This information does not regularly make its way into the advice offered by nutritional experts.

When speaking about performance and athletic goals, experienced athletes and coaches say some astonishing things about what and how much they eat. 

I beg your indulgence in my use of pronouns. My son plays baseball. My daughter swims. I use ‘he’ and ‘she’ respectively when I write these posts because I am thinking about my own kids. I am not implying anything about the relationship between specific gender identifications and specific sports, nor do I think I have anything significant to say about other people’s gender identifications or their choice of athletic or recreational pursuits. Whoever you are and whatever sport you choose to do (or not do), good for you and good luck.

One post will look at the number of extra calories a hypothetical male teenage baseball player will consume to grow from 130 pounds in 8th grade to 175 pounds when he walks onto the field as a varsity player in his senior year. Another post will look at the energy needs of a hypothetical female teenage competitive swimmer looking to gain strength and drop time. There may be other posts as well.

As always, thanks for reading.

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