Free Weights and Weight Machines

Free weights and machines are the most common form of strength training. This form of exercise is safer and is more effective when young athletes have developed physically. Lifting free weights is not recommended for children under the age of 12. When training with free weights and machines all children should follow safety guidelines.

Never exercise without supervision
Always use proper technique and form
Lift in a slow and controlled fashion
When picking up a weight, lift with your knees and keep your back straight
Rest at least 60 seconds between exercises
Breath out during the explosive part of the lift

Nutrition and Supplements

There are three basic foods. They are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Each of them provides energy to our bodies. A variety of foods should be eaten to maintain a balanced diet. A ratio of 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein is considered a good diet. You can help your child make good nutritional choices by following the Food Guide Pyramid. The following is an example of the number of servings an average teenager should eat per day. Younger children require approximately one or two servings less per day in each category.
Breads, cereal, rice and pasta group – 11 servings
Vegetable group – five servings
Fruit group – four servings
Milk, yogurt and cheese group – two or three servings
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts group – three servings

There are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, which include sugar, glucose and honey, and complex carbohydrates, which include grains, beans, vegetables and rice. When consumed, carbohydrates are converted by your digestive system to blood sugar called glucose. Glucose is stored in your liver and in muscle cells. Your brain operates with the help of glucose in your blood as energy.

Eating complex carbohydrates provides high energy and a more stabilized blood-sugar level. Eating protein enhances muscle growth. The main function of protein is growth and repair. Some examples of good sources of protein are wheat germ, soybeans, kidney beans, black beans and lentils. Both carbohydrates and protein contain four calories per gram. Fat on the other hand contains nine calories per gram. No more than 30 percent of a diet should consist of fatty foods according to the American Heart Association. A diet high in fat can place added stress on the heart and joints and can result in decreased efficiency of the body.