How to Build Muscle Mass for Teenage Athletes: EAT.TRAIN.REST.REPEAT.

Gaining muscle mass is hard work.  Contrary to popular belief it takes more than “eating extra protein” to gain muscle. Follow our WINforum system and you will find yourself on the fast track to being LEANER, FASTER, and STRONGER.

EAT: In Order to Build More Muscle Mass, You Need More Calories

Meet the energy requirements of your training program. Follow a sports based nutrition plan.

Feed your muscles in order to help them grow. To build ½-1 pound of muscle per week, most athletes need 400-500 extra calories or more per day. This additional energy (calories) needs to contain a balance of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats. Balance your total intake throughout your day to help maintain a lean physique (eat more when you are more active).

Add Carbohydrates to Pre and Post Workout Meals

In order to workout hard and recover quickly, you must have energy. This energy comes from carbohydrates like breads, pastas, fruits and dairy. Before intense strength training, consume a high carbohydrate, moderate protein, low fat meal or snack (for more information on timing see “Timing Your Meals”). Afterwards, eating carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen may help you recover faster and train harder.  Aim for a daily carbohydrate intake of 3-5 grams per pound/per day.

Eat Protein to Rebuild and repair muscle tissue

Research supports a protein intake for athletes in heavy training of 0.7-0.9 grams per pound of body weight per day. Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy, nuts and beans will provide the protein you need in a day, without the use of fancy and expensive powders and shakes.

Eat to gain muscle mass
Muscle Building Tip: Make sure you are eating enough

Ryan, a teenage athlete weighing 150 pounds would require about 120 grams of protein and about 600 grams of carbohydrate per day in order to gain muscle. The menu below shows an example of a sports-based, muscle gaining, high calorie diet that provides the proper amount of carbohydrate and protein.

TRAIN: A Strength Training Plan is Key to Building Muscle Mass

Follow a sport specific training program, designed to maximize muscle growth. Use your plan to help you stay focused on training goals and achieve success without overtraining.

REST:  Maximize your Muscle Growth by Relaxing

Allowing your muscles to repair and rebuild themselves takes time. Research supports 48-72 hours for full recovery. Sleep and “down time” are keys to creating maximal muscle gain.

REPEAT: Building Muscle Mass Takes Dedication

As a teenage athlete, life can be hectic. Staying consistent with your eating plan and strength training will ultimately help you reach your goals. Gaining muscle mass is a full time job. Stay focused and work hard, being patient is the hardest part.

strength training weights
Muscle Building Tip: 6 Tried and true techniques that work to put on lean mass:

1. Eat at least five times a day, such as three meals and two snacks.

2. Eat larger than normal portions at mealtimes.

3. Stock you backpack, locker, and glove compartment with convenient, non-perishable snacks:  cereal bars, raisins, trail mix, dried fruit, peanut butter crackers, peanuts, muffins, bagels, canned or fresh fruits, sports bars or liquid meals.

4. Eat an extra snack before bed, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk.

5. Drink high calorie, nutrient-rich beverages like shakes and smoothies.

6. Choose high calorie options: bananas instead of apples, granola instead of flakes or nuts instead of pretzels.


A Sports Nutrition Based Menu for Build Muscle Mass


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
1 cup Granola 450 10 80 12
1.5 cups 2% milk 182 12 18 7
1 cup Orange juice 114 0 27 0
1 Banana 109 10 28 1
1 slice Toast with margarine 120 2 18 5


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
1 cup Grapes 114 1 28 1
1 Cheese stick 90 7 1 5


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
.5 10" pie Thick crust pizza 489 24 76 11
1 cup Mini carrots dipped in 2 tbsp. ranch 181 0 4 18
16oz. Fruit smoothie (plain yogurt) 308 12 55 5


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
7oz. Round steak 357 63 0 10
.5 cup Broccoli with parmesan cheese 84 5 6 5
1 large Baked potato with 2 tsp. margarine 213 3 34 8
2 slices Whole grain bread 250 6 40 5
1 cup 2% milk 243 16 23 9
1 cup Peaches in own juice 194 1 52 0


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
1 Tuna salad sandwich 289 18 32 10
1 cup 2% milk 122 8 12 5


Amount Food Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat
3909 198 534 117