According to the website Overweightteen.com, more than 15 percent of the nation’s teenagers are overweight or could be medically classified as obese. This nationwide epidemic, coinciding with adult and child weight statistics, is to blame for increases in weight-related health problems such as Type II diabetes and asthma. There certainly is a negative psychological factor associated with being an overweight teen, as peer ridicule and negative self-image can create a vicious self-defeating cycle that encourages additional unhealthy habits.
A Guy Thing
For teen guys, the need to feel attractive to the opposite sex is every bit as important as it is to teen girls. The desire to be viewed as “manly” can be a positive factor in helping those teens with extra weight be able to lose it and lead healthy lives well into adulthood. Unfortunately, just as teen girls are bombarded with magazine covers featuring the waif-thin ideal of a the female body, guys see pumped up models on bodybuilding books or washboard ab advertisements and imagine themselves looking the same. The truth is, everybody’s body is different, meaning that everyone's body will respond to exercise differently. Yes, with proper nutrition and exercise, excess body fat is metabolized. However, genetics play an understated part in fitness: bone structure, muscle shape, and muscle fiber abundance all affect exercise results. That being said, the trick to quick, effective, and safe weight loss for everyone is as much about time management as it is about exercise selection.
Food for Thought
Fortunately for teen guys, metabolism is on their side, regardless of current weight. Two things must be addressed for them to get their metabolism working in their favor: food intake and an exercise plan. For food intake, the best way is to avoid refined sugars, like sodas, and refined flours, like white bread. They should choose fresh fruit and whole grains instead. By no means stop enjoying some junk food; take one day a week and enjoy a little bit of junk with friends.
Another good method is to write down everything that is eaten each day for three days, then adding up the total calories. The numbers will be about the same each day. Then subtract 500 calories from each day, creating a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories in one week, which equals one pound of fat. The body’s metabolism will need to make up those missing calories, so the first place it goes hunting is in the fat stores. Coupled with exercise, three to six pounds of fat loss can generally be expected each week.
Pick Up a Weight, Lose Weight
The body responds to a properly applied resistance, not necessarily just dumbbells and barbells, so exercises like pushups and situps are just as effective as any piece of gym equipment. The idea is to perform exercises consecutively (called circuit training), without rest, which places a greater demand on the heart, lungs, and muscles, which means more calories must be consumed, thus greater weight loss can be expected. Compound exercises like deadlifts, overhead presses, squats, and flat bench presses require more muscle fiber recruitment, which needs more caloric expenditure. Pick four to five exercises and perform them for three sets, 12 to 20 reps each set, with no rest, three to four times a week. Get outside and walk briskly, and enjoy some outdoor sports with friends. All these contribute to safe weight loss that promotes keeping the weight off for a lifetime.