Phil Holmes BA (Hons), PGCE, Adv Dip.Nut MRSPH

Spoken to good number of teenage athletes in recent weeks and there are some clear patterns emerging :

1. They want to ‘look’ better
2. They don’t know what this means in relation to food
3. It’s very rare they are happy with ‘how they are right now’
4. Most want to look more athletic / muscular (even the girls)
5. Some want to lose weight (including boys)

Those who apply to #4 above, are borderline obsessed with protein – yet they don’t understand the sources, quantities, function.

Those linked to #5 above are trying to eat very little – this has huge detrimental consequences for young people who are still growing / physically maturing.

And (not always but certainly most frequently) teenagers seem to have strong preferences for quickly made, shop bought / fast food made meals. This then leads to ‘pester power’ of a teen variety where extremely busy parent subsides and provides teen with a choice the parent knows will be eaten.

The general effect this can all have on the adolescent is they:

A. Show frequent signs of fatigue (this includes lots of yawning throughout the day)

B. Have little room for discussion at home and appear to have quite a short fuse

C. Describe school as ‘boring’. This often follows a pattern of mid morning and afternoon lessons being the worst – which I see linked to poor quality food choices and the tank running empty

D. can often mask sports performance as they will be playing an hour or so after eating or they are on an even playing field (pun intended) as their opposition will be equally poorly fuelled

So if you want to see a change please do get in touch. Teens tend not to listen to parents but will listen to an outside voice. My results so far show positive changes in mood, growth, learning & performance. This is often reflected in the classroom, homework application and mood in the family home and not simply their sporting development.