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Teens must beware of too much protein

THERE was a time when all that parents found under their darling son's bed was a copy of Playboy, but now it's boxes of super vitamins, amino acids and buckets of protein powder or creatine.

This is now the norm to the extent that some parents are removing the items for fear that they are some sort of drug or banned substance.

I do understand their concern but, with confiscation, other ways will be found to continue.

Education is the answer to our problem, both for children and for parents. For example this week, as part of our school education programme on the dangers of drugs and overloading and protein pills etc, I ask the boys or girls to tell their parents exactly what is in these tubs of whey or milk protein or liquid protein, as many parents are really concerned.

What are the side effects of overloading on supplements and also over-training? Taking supplements or protein powders at the age of 15, 16 or 17 is simply not necessary if the diet is completely balanced. By which I mean a diet with good meat like chicken, turkey and vegetables, fruits and grains.

At that age the hormones are in full flight, food is being utilised and with proper training growth will naturally happen.

Boys, in particular, want to get bigger arms, chest, shoulders and the illusive six pack, a desire which is being fuelled by all the muscle mags in the shops.

These come with information on training tips and what the champs eat to get bigger. What they don't tell you is that they did not get that size by taking Maltesers or Smarties.


There may not be even one body builder in those magazines that achieved those results naturally. Remember before supplements the great physiques of the strong men were developed by eating good food and training three or four days a week with good rest.

Most schoolboys are training too much and lifting much too heavy weights. Only yesterday for example one guy of 17 told me he is training nine times a week every week – this is way too much.

Boys of 16 or 17 want to get bigger but when they get to 21 or 22 and possibly meet the love of their life suddenly they want to decrease their bull-like neck or big hips and it's not easy. Whatever training you are doing, try to see the end result, know what you're training for.

After a recent lecture I gave to over 200 16-year-olds, the majority of questions were related to how to get bigger.

My answer would be protein powder as a supplement and a really good diet will do no harm. If they stick to the recommended intake.

If overloading takes place, too much pressure is put on the kidneys and liver to assimilate large portions of protein powder.

The body can only digest 25 grams of protein at each meal. That's two scoops of protein powder in water or milk. Any more will be excreted from the body undigested (expensive urine).

The Rules

Don't overload on protein powder, supplements or creatine. Stick to the recommended dosage.

Never buy food supplements online or from friends. You don't know what they contain. That includes supplements.

Buy from a reputable health store.

At 16 or 17 years of age stop using too heavy weights, it's only your ego that will grow.

Never be tempted to take steroids from anybody.

Tell your parents what food supplements you are taking, it will ease their minds.

Stop over-training; four times a week for one hour is enough.

Cut out all junk food and alcohol and beer if you want a six pack and a toned body.

For great shape for boys and girls take up gymnastics.

Eat good fresh food and don't use a microwave for anything.

> Pat Henry