T Nation

Need Advice for 14 Yr. Old Son


I'm looking for some guidance regarding a nutritional plan that would be appropriate for my step-son, Bryce (I'm Step Mom). He's 14 yrs old, 5'7, 140 lbs, and 5% BF (using calipers). He's really involved with sports, especially football. We actually went a little nuts (well, his Daddy did) this summer and hired a personal trainer to work with him. This trainer has a really solid reputation, is a former NFL player, and curently works with our beloved Saints; we feel pretty good about his training program.

This summer, Bryce has worked really hard in the gym and it shows. He has a great, lean athletic build, but he wants to improve, of course. He`wants to add some size and support his athletic goals. His Dad and I often listen to audio books/seminars about weight training, fat loss, etc (Tom Venuto, Gary Taubes, Chris Shugart, etc) while in the car with him, and unfortunately, what he's taken away from all that info is that carbs are bad. We've tried talking to him about this, his trainer's tried....but he's 14. Listening to his parents is not really his thing right now.

His Dad's out of town, so he actually ASKED ME to help him with his nutritional plan this weekend. He lives at 2 different houses (we eat very healthy muscle food, his Mom's house, not so much) and he wants to make it clear to both sets of parents what he's doing so that the foods he needs are available. Little Debbie cakes tend to be a major food group at his Mom's.
So, I hoped some of you guys could offer some suggestions.

Thanks for reading!


great article on carbohydrates:



It's great that youre so involved in raising him to be healthy and strong but (and I mean no offense at all) a 14 year old does not need to be listening to recordings of nutritional priciples. 14 year olds just dont know the science behind sound nutrition to be able to make an informed decision. He needs to eat enough to grow and carbs should be a substantial part of an athletes diet. It doesnt sound like he has a problem with discipline where he only wants to eat junk food so Im not really sure what the issue is. Youve said that you provide good muscle building foods, so Im assuming youre concerned with the amount of food? Or no?

I have no opinion on how to deal with the other household. Sorry. But do whatever it takes to convince him that all athletes eat plenty of carbs. Not listening to Shugart may be the best first step to accomplish this as most of his stuff is geared towards overweight non-athlete adults just trying to get in shape. I just dont see how listening to audio books on fat loss is appropriate for a 14 year old boy who sounds to be not fat at all.

The easy option is to tell him to eat his potatoes and rice or he can't play football.


If I could go back to 14 years old and give myself advice it would be:

1. Eat lots of eggs
2. Eat lots of potatoes
3. The only supplements you need to spend money are: protein, fish oil, multivitamin, and perhaps creatine.
4. Don't skimp on any fruit, veggies, or meat ever.
5. Limit fast food and junk food (don't eliminate just don't make it a staple).
6. Drink whole milk.
7. Keep a log.
8. Eat boy eat.

1. Read or take a physiology and nutrition class.
2. Go to pubmed.org
3. Cross reference everything you hear and read in the media, there is a ton of bullcrap out there.

1. Squat a lot.
2. Don't compare yourself to others.
3. Keep a log and beat it.

This is just a small list of things, to help a youngster build good habits. My athletic and health goals were reached must faster when I started applying these things, hope they helps.


And you still wouldn't have listened.

Seriously, he is 14. Has the attention of a gnat.

Feed the poor boy. Ask him wh he wants to look like and get picture/diet/exercise of said person. Go to a show and talk to the competitors. etc.

You are his step mom, show him how cool you are by listening to him.



^ truth on the listening. Would have listened and then went to the gym the next day for my 3rd bench workout of the week and then ate some chicken nuggets after.


Tell him if he wants to look like a soccer player to stay away from the carbs. But if he wants to look like a football player he should make carbs a staple part of his diet. He is 14 and should get pretty much everything he needs from food not from a bottle. His training should be primarily focused on learning proper form and technique without screwing his body up. Have him memorize the book "Starting Strength." If his trainer has him doing tricep kickbacks, save your money and fire him.


Bonez217, thanks for the reply. Trust me, I didn't think he was actually listening to the audio books. He usually has his ipod on, so who knew? The books are mine or my hubby's. Just a great way to stay awake while making the long commute between his houses. He just recently started saying, "well that book you were listening to said...."

His Dad and I are a little frustrated with how much he's limited what he'll actually eat, and the amount he eats. I think he's possibly limiting his potential as an athlete bc he's not eating enough. But he's gonna have to hear it from someone else....possibly someone who hasn't done the V diet a few times. Hard to convince him he's not being sensible when he watched me live on shakes for a month.


Thanks, guys! I appreciate all the feedback. I'll have him read it. Maybe if he sees other people encouraging him to keep EATING real food, it'll sink in. Trust me, I try to feed him. It seems like he's become almost scared of eating the wrong thing. He started getting a lot of female attention recently, and that's when the diet questions started. I'm sure there's no connection.....


Tell him to stop worrying about having abs. Having visible abs doesn't help him perform any better in sports. He can worry about getting abs when he's older, right now he needs to focus on getting bigger, stronger, and faster. I admire the dedication to eating healthy foods, but right now it sounds like he just needs to eat MORE food. From what it sounds like, he could run the risk of developing an eating disorder at a very early age.


At that age with his level of activity and his bodyfat %, he can literally eat whatever he wants. When I was his age I had a similar build and could gorge myself 24/7 and barely gain a few ounces. If he wants to get bigger, the best approach is to cut out some of his non-lifting training.


Is it your step son that wants to be good at football or is he being told he wants to be good at football?
Did he ask for a trainer or was it recommended to him?

You don't need to answer me but if the boy isn't committed to training hard in the gym and at the dinner table then nothing you can say will change that. The kid is a buck-40 5'7" so it's not like he is throwing away a full ride division one scholarship by chasing girls. If he was truly committed to dominating a football field he wouldn't need these questions answered. You would post questions like, "my son is constantly in the weight room and eating everything in sight. How do I help him run a 40 in 4.4?"

When you read this you may say, "no this is his dream. He wants this."
But if it was his dream you wouldn't need this thread.


I see some advice I like and some not so much. I'm 20 years old and I can deff relate to his mindset considering it wasn't all that long ago for myself. I think it'd be truly sad to see someone overly obsessive about their dietary habits at such a young age if it meant not enjoying certain foods, effecting him negatively as in making him self conscious or any sort of depression. But if all he wants to do is lift weights and eat healthy then I'd totally support that. Considering he's 14 and 5% bf carbs should really be the least of his worries. He should just be concentrated on nothing more than eating REAL food. Yeah, you could give him a run down on macros, glycemic index and all the science, but that'd probably be meaningless to him at the age 14. Meat, Fruits, Veggies...anything real. There's a big difference between steak and potatoes vs pizza and pop. He has to understand IT'S NOT A FEAR OF CARBS BUT A FEAR OF SUGAR that he should be concerned with. By the way most athletes I know don't have all that stellar diets and didn't even know what it meant at 14. I know some pretty decent athletes to say the least as well. OHL, AHL, NHL, Olympic, CFL, D1 Schools. I'd encourage him to do his best with eating as healthy as possible, but at the same time don't get too bent out of shape about it. He;s a young growing male, who's active and at 5% BF!!! I'm jealous. Honestly, I think it's just a phase. By the sounds of things he has a decent trainer and looks like you're fairly concerned as a parent, so I'm sure things will work out. Cheers.


I've been around forums and gyms enough to know that I'm gonna get a good amount of crap from daring to post anything. Anything at all. It seems that some people just can't help giving their 2 cents worth of B.S.

Well, as far as it being his dream, I don't know. Just a few years ago he wanted to be a cryptologist (people that study Big Foot, etc). He changes his mind often about his life's path. He really likes football so we got him a trainer. He and his Dad seem to be able to do some male bonding and we both like keeping him involved in sports, rather than smoking weed and listening to emo rock.

This is a very strong-willed kid, very inquisitve, and it's just not in his nature to let er rip and eat whatever without some kind of plan. I though some of you could suggest a good, solid plan for him to follow, but appartently I'm supposed to just tell him to eat. Ok, great advice. I totally hadn't thought of that! Maybe I should have specified to answer ONLY IF YOU HAVE A TEENAGER. Everyone is assuming he's reasonable, which means you don't have a lot of experience with teenagers.

My hubby is away bc he's in the military. I told him I was gonna post and he warned me...a lot of jackasses on the forum. I guess he'll love to hear me say, "you were right."


Thanks for the reply. I'm a little worried about his preoccupation with his diet as well. He's not the type of person that's gonna be told to just eat and it have any affect. I'm gonna do some digging and find a sound program that might get him to eat more. Really, all these guys saying he just needs to eat.....really? If that worked, I wouldn't have posted the question. Shish. But I do appreciate your kind reply. Thanks!


I just can't leave this one alone. I asked for advice reagrding a solid nutritional plan for my son. Have you noticed that kids are FAT these days and most eat a great deal of their food from McD's and Wendy's? It's a legitimate concern that he has. He's just gone a little too far with it and I wanted to help guide him a little SINCE HE ASKED ME.

He likes football. He went to LSU's camp and loved it. He wanted to learn more so we got him a trainer. Never did I say it was his life's dream, or he was thinking about a scholarship, or that we were pressuring him to play. What the heck is wrong with you??? I wish my parents had cared so much when I was his age. He's a good kid, we're good parents, his Mom and step-dad are good parents, it's basically one happy love fest. I just asked for a nutritional plan! He's interested so why not help the kid out???? I don't have that kind of metabolism, nor the same goals. Most of the time I'm doing something crazy, like the V diet, or doing 2 hrs of cazdio and weights in the evening. I am not a person to say "just eat." His Dad's the same way. I'm sure you'll psychoanalyze that as well, but I'm gonna stick my fingers in my ears and sing really loudly. Sticking my tongue out at you too.


You missed the whole point of my post. Instead you resort to sarcasm and name calling.

You just wrote in this post that your husband is encouraging him and buying him a trainer so they can BOND. And that you are encouraging him to play so he stays out of trouble. How do you not see that I could be right here? If he wants to play football, great. If he wants to smoke pot and listen to emo rock who cares. He is 14, let kids be kids. And I don't mean that as a cliche, I mean literally let your child make his own choices and experience what those choices do for him.

If he is just sort of interested in football and not dedicated then let him play the game and have a good time. Worry about the real issue here which other people have tried to point out to you and that is your sons personal body image. It is not healthy for a 14 year old with 5% body fat to worry about the amount of carbs he is eating. Encourage healthy eating habits like meats, fruits, and veggies.

I realize that the one cardinal rule in life is to not tell people how to raise their children so I apologize for that now. In fact I expect you to read this and reply by calling me a jackass again and dismiss this completely. Honestly, I wouldn't blame you one bit.


for specificity:

  1. Every meal should contain protein
  2. Protein intake should be at least 1 gram/lb of body weight. Have more if possible.
  3. Eat plenty of natural carbs, the less processed the better.
  4. Invest in some natural nut butters (peanut and almond).
  5. At his height, weight, and activity level try 3400 calories a day as a starting point and adjust accordingly by small amounts.
  6. As long as he hits his protein and at least 20% of his calories come from fat, the only way this can fail is if 3400 calories is too low and his trainer has no clue what he is doing.


Im with JLone.
What the hell is this kids mother doing on T-Nation asking advice for her 14 year old son??

Let the kid be a kid. Its the only time in his life where he can eat 3 large meals of McDonalds at once and get away with it. When I was 14 I would eat 2 big macs, 2 cheeseburgers, apple pie and a large chocolate shake after football training. Ofcourse its good to set him a good example etc etc, but dont forget to let him enjoy his youth and the stupid things you do in it. He will learn via trial and error,

Go join a mothers group or something.



God youre a complete and utter moron.