T Nation

Of Nutrition, School and Money


Hey Guys,

My story in a nutshell, is that I'm 16, and used to be one of those teenbodybuilding.com type guys, with a pathetic body to show for it.
Of course, I still do have a pathetic body, but I'm working on it!

Having stumbled upon Nate Greens blog a couple of months back, I suddenly had to go through a great many realisations. Many of his articles were mind breaking to me, and changed the whole way I thought of everything.

I'd always been told I had to eat big, I'd always been told I had to have a proper workout program, I'd always been told I should work the legs. I'd always been told a great many things. And I nodded, smiled, and continued in my ignorant ways. For some strange reason, I believed I had a great deal of knowledge and that I didn't need any one to tell me what to do.
So, in the last few months, I've had to transition to phase where I'm accepting I know basically nothing.

Through Nate Green's blog, I also of course, found this website, and was instantly impressed. It was something I've never seen before, something I found to be awesome. There wasn't articles like 'How to build mind blowing abs in 3 days!', that did nothing, but there was genuinely interesting articles. I suddenly began to have a massive thirst for information, and began for once in my life to apply it.

So, before I ramble to much, I managed to get a copy of Nate Green's book, which is totally awesome. It feels good for once to walk down to my basement knowing what I'm going to do, exactly, and to be able to record it all and come back up in pain. A far cry from my old 'yeah I workout', and I'd walk down there once a month and do tricep-extensions and bench-press.

So I've hung around here for a bit, and have finally built up the courage to post a thread. I've been a bit disappointed at the amount of other young 16 year olds here who seem to think they know everything, and have massive abz and bicepz. I hope that you will all not write me off, due to your previous experiences.
I am the first to admit, that I know very very very little, and the reason I'm coming here is to learn; not to tell you how much I know.

My question is as follows, and if all pans out, I was hoping that as it goes on, I could expand my knowledge through talking with all you more experienced people out there.

It seems to be the general idea, that a protein shake right after a workout is a really good idea. However, (Yes, here's the 'but') I am currently at school, and have no job at the moment to support myself. My mum makes all my meals, and I'll stick up for her in that she makes an awesome home cooked meal every single night. Lunch meals are not a strong point for her. She's also a bit anal when it comes to body building etc, and there is no way in hell I would get her to get me protein powder.

So, do you guys have any idea of any good post-workout food ideas, that aren't your typical bodybuilding suppliment, that I could get my mum to buy? Also, does any one have any ideas about what I can have during school? All this stuff tells me I should be eating all this chicken and stuff a day, but it's not so much possible with my mum. When I get a job, I'll be able to do it, but for now, i don't want to put that strain on her.

Also, just writing this, I realised I have a problem with water. Is drinking water very important during the day? Should I be carrying around a water bottle and drinking it all the time 'til I have to keep running off to the bathroom?
So yeah, it's basically just a 'any one got ideas/articles for a teen about what I should be eating?' thread.

Sorry for my big long ramble, I feel like I have absolutely so much to say, and even more to ask and learn. Thanks for every one out there for creating a great forum to be able to learn so much from.
Keep it real,


wow, a young kid who can type out coherent sentences, i am impressed.

milk is a fine post workout drink. 32oz of fat free milk. that is about 32g protein and ~52 grams of carbs. cheap too. Probably not the best if trying to lose weight but it is probably one of your best options if you can’t use protein powder. A few people do hate on milk around here, whatever.

as far as what you can have during school. I will hard boil up 5 eggs and make like a turkey sandwich or something. That should last me for a solid 5 hours. Cottage cheese works great too. But you are young, just eat food and lift heavy and try and eat as much protein as you can at every meal.

welcome to the forums.


Yea, boiled eggs are great, just have a few in a tupperware and gulp them :slight_smile:
Don’t be ashamed to carry food to school, you have to do what you havet to do…


x2 on bringing whatever food to school you can, especially eggs.

What you might want to try and do is keep a cooler in your locker to keep your eggs and everything else cold so they don’t get nasty during the day. Left overs from dinner the night before would be great as well, especially if they’re as good as you make them out to be.

Beyond that, try talking to your mom about how important all of this is to you and how having even a couple chicken breasts a day would do wonders for your goals, if that’s okay with her. Usually with parents if you approach them in a reasonable, rational, mature way about something they’ll respect it and at least hear you out.

Water is a huge, huge part of fitness. As a general rule of thumb, if your urine isn’t nearly crystal clear or at least a very light shade of yellow, you’re not hydrated enough, which will hurt your energy level among other things. Definitely carry around a water bottle at all times.

Good luck!


All of these are very good suggestions. I also mirror the boiled eggs. I bring about a half dozen boiled eggs to work with me everyday. I would suggest chocolate milk as a post workout drink.

And one other thing, can we clone you? Seriously, I’m very impressed by your post. Keep up the good work and welcome to T-Nation.


what? this is an obvious troll - USING REVERSE PSYCOLOGY!!!


seriously though, (ahem), are you in england? buy (or get your mum to) stuff from sainsburys: 1% fat milk 4pints =£1
18 eggs = £2.50, 250g quark 62p etc.
PWO shake milk and eggs shaken together + berries/raspberries etc.
you can take this to school in your bag with you, what i do at work/uni.
congrats for being cogent.


I used to be on the same exact boat, about a year so ago actually. We had a milk/juice machine at my high school and I always used fat free chocolate milk as my PWO shake.

“Also, just writing this, I realized I have a problem with water. Is drinking water very important during the day? Should I be carrying around a water bottle and drinking it all the time 'til I have to keep running off to the bathroom?”

Water is one of the more important things (Top 5 and I’d argue Top 3) I personally carry around a shaker cup full of filtered water EVERYWHERE I go. I’ve actually refused to go into a store if they won’t let me take my bottle. I just drink as much as I can. I know if I have water on me I’ll take a sip now and then without realizing it and every little bit helps.

As far as foods I would say eggs in the morning, natural Green Tea before you workout, nuts at lunch, fat free chocolate milk PWO, whole Milk whenever you can but just not PWO, and a good glass of whole milk before bed. Water at your sides at all times.

I have a friend who eats tuna out of the can with salt so you could try that. I’d also recommend canned black beans. Always eat your fruits and vegatables when available, I bet you knew this one already.

A word on recovery, go to bed at or before 12:30AM. Trust me on this one, I still wake up needlessly sore on some days just because I stayed up too long( like right now for instance.)

Find a lifting buddy that takes things somewhat as seriously as you do and learn from each other. This can be the most important thing you do. You will get smarter, stronger, and faster if you can find a good lifting friend. He would push you, compete with you, argue with you, save your ass from a failed lift, teach you a new lift. With two you have twice the possible exposure to new ideas.

Try and get a job A.S.A.P. Even working the weekends at a grocery store on the weekends would help you. Work two(2) eight hour shifts on a bi weekly pay and make 209.60(before taxes and assuming minimum USA wage.) I’d guess you would get to keep about 160-170.

Spend a bit on just two things. A good pre workout, and a good postworkout. If you want to buy supplements a good solid creatine mono, beta alanine, and green tea extract is enough. As a beginner you don’t really need that much to make gains.

Shit bricks in the gym in the form of free weights and big compound exercises.

I’m 17 if that means anything to you.


Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the help! Really appreciate it. And it was so much, so fast. I didn’t expect that kind of a response so fast, with awesome info. Thanks once again, I look forward to growing (mentally and physically) through this forum, and look what you guys have already taught me…!

For the record, my home is Australia, so I had to convert your measures, and gees, 32oz, that’s a lot of milk! I never realised milk was so packed full of protein. I always assumed fat and calcium when I thought of milk. Thanks for the tips guys.
Is it okay to drink normal milk, or is the fat an issue/has less protein? I have the gift of being able to remain skinny no matter what I eat (a fact I used to take advantage of and eat like crap) so is it not so much of an issue?

I was thinking of getting chickens for our backyard. That way, I get free eggs every morning and I can eat them during the day. I’ve had a problem with eggs and the disgusting smell, but I’ll figure a way around that. Also, I could always chop their heads of later and eat them. Certainly a bonus =P

Chocolate milk as well, that was something new! Will certainly try that. Any excuse to drink chocolate milk =D Should I be looking for a particular type of chocolate milk, or will any really do? Also, is there a reason why chocolate milk nutrition wise, or is it just for taste?

One of my biggest problems is fruit as I hardly eat any fruit at all. I really need to start eating way more fruit.

Thanks once again for all your help, it’s really awesome, and I appreciate it heaps.
Keep safe, keep fit, keep it real and have fun.


I’d suggest skim milk if you’re using it as a PWO drink of sorts. As a rule of thumb you want mainly carbs and protein with minimal fat right after working out and even for the next meal if possible.

As far as fruit goes, it’s better than a lot of the processed junk out there, but ideally you should really try to limit its consumption to the AM. Fruits tend to have a lot of sugar in them (once again, not as much as say, twinkies or even most cereals) so I’d suggest moving onto veggies later in the day. If you’re already eating a lot of vegetables I wouldn’t sweat the fruit too much.

I’m guessing you live on a farm or hopefully have at least some sort of set up/experience for dealing with chickens?


Get a part-time job (you seem smart enough to tutor, which can pay quite well), and buy the protein yourself.



at 16 i can imagine there must be SOME way to scrape together 40 or so bucks to buy a thing of protein.

mow some lawns. walk some dogs. hunt some kangaroo. w/e man.

lots of luck though! wish i had started out at 16


That’s true. So it seems like this PWO protein shake is pretty important then right? It just seems to go so quick, that’s all.
I’m looking into getting a job at the moment, so hopefully I will have some cash soon!
Or I could hunt some kangaroos of course =P

As for the chickens, it’s easy to get a set up; and I know an adult chef-type person who has chickens and said he would be willing to help me set them up. With three chickens I can get 3 eggs every single morning, which should be good for the day. On top of the ones we can buy. Plus they’re supposed to be alot fresher/tastier/bigger etc.

I’ll start with the chocolate milks at the moment, though I don’t know how well it will go down if I try get light milk into my house! As soon as I get a job, I’ll start cranking out the protein buckets.

Someone mentioned pre-workout nutrition. What does that involve?
At the moment, I pretty much come home at 4ish from school, relax/do homework for a bit, start working out at 5til6, then dinner at 7ish. Is this optimum, or should I look at increasing/decreasing my time between dinner?

Thanks once again for all your help!


As far as pre-workout nutrition goes, I would suggest:
-Oatmeal/some type of complex carb half an hour to an hour beforehand (such as as you do some homework)
-A beverage with some carbohydrates in it (6% mixture is ideal) for during workout
-1/2 a protein shake to start sipping the half hour before the workout. Then sip the other 1/2 during the workout.
-If you have no protein shakes, as is the case now, I would suggest adding some extra protein to the initial complex carb meal

Concerning dinner and working out, you want to get in your protein and carbs asap after your workout, as this helps stop cortisol (which promotes fat storage) levels from rising as testosterone (which promotes muscle growth) levels decrease. Basically, the sooner you eat, the sooner you switch your body from a catabolic (breaking down) state to an anabolic (building) state.


hit me up with your address. i’d love to send you a bottle of Grow! to help start you out



I’m learning so much from this thread already! You’re opening up all these terms like complex carbs, catabolic, anabolic and cortisol. Brain overload!

I’m going to have to look into all these terms and learn about them, so I can get a better understanding of what I’m doing with my training. Any idea’s of where to look for this information, or should I just trawl through T-Nation articles or Google it? If it’s all general knowledge that’s fine, I just realise how much fad crap there is out there, and I don’t want to be reading rubbish which will lead me astray!

I’m off to bed now, cos it’s late for us Aussie’s, so I may possibly get back to this thread later on when I’ve gone and researched these things and have a million other questions.

Thanks once again for all your help, you’re all way too kind. Thanks for helping me in the start of my journey, and providing me with valuable information I would not have found elsewhere. I appreciate the time you’ve spent teaching a 16-year old twerp the ropes, and putting up with my newbie questions.



Im 18 so similar…i got a part time job at a local gym, basically just wiping sweat off the machines and putting weights back where they belong etc. I get paid minimum wage and get free access to the gym, and obviously you get to know trainees who can give invaluable information and you can also see how the really big guys train.

I cant reccomend getting a job like this highly enough, if you can get hold of it- DO IT!


Remember that the protein shake is just ONE of the 6-8 meals you will be eating each day. There are more things to bodybuilding than the PWO shake. Also, vets, when you were 16 did you give a shit about cortisol levels?

Some things that you should be eating very large amounts of are steak, chicken, ground beef, tuna, (and most any types of fish) rice, potatoes, milk, eggs, cottage cheese, nuts, peanut butter and since you are still young and skinny you can also go for things like bagels and pasta for extra calories. Get yourself a few big tupperware dishes to make beef and rice meals (with hotsauce) and bring them to school.
Train to become massively strong in the squat, bench and deadlift, but dont forget about pullups, dips, and rows.


Wow, Iron man, good idea! I have a local gym near me, which isn’t the best one out there, but still has equipment. I haven’t been able to go due to money issues, but getting a job there is a great idea. Money, plus the access to the gym is an awesome idea!
Thanks heaps for that, I’m now going to contact every gym around me, and hope I can scrounge up something.

The diet is going to be the hardest to do for me. Protein shakes and the likes would be easy, but getting my mum to get me all that meat and nuts and eggs and all that will be hard. If I get a job I can get it all myself though.

I’ve got a good program with Nate’s Built For Show I think. It’s got great compound movements, and is very easy to follow and understand. I’m already making great gains in terms of strength, and it’s only been a few weeks.

I have to admit, I’ve been having trouble sticking to workouts, and if I’ve felt a bit drained after a big day I’ve skipped a few. Also, we have the whole sickness thing going around, and I’ve gotten sick twice which is really interfered with my program.
So in terms of working out (hell, another question =D), is there a point where it’s best to workout, or best to skip?

I’ve had times where I’ve just had a bad day, been tired, and am run down. And I’ve been a pussy and haven’t done the workout that day. I haven’t come to another one of them just yet, but for when I do… is it best just to push through it mentally, and do the workout. Or to give my body a rest and listen to it?



Sounds like you need to eat more food.

Don’t tell your mom you need lots of protein so you can be a bodybuilder. Just ask for the foods you want as if that were your preference. Ask for your favorite foods (which just so happen to be high in protein) and say you’re hungry and need more of them.

Parents of teenage boys I know seem amused and somewhat proud of their kids’ massive appetite pounding down how ever many whole pizzas, double cheeseburgers, gallons of milk, and boxes of cereal. Why would parents balk if you asked for meat, milk, eggs, potatoes, etc.?

And if you can’t get your mum to buy as much high-protein food as you want, just eat lots of food instead, whatever she will buy. At your age and with your metabolism, sheer amount of food matters more than anything else.

I don’t know about the food prices in Australia, but here in the US it is cheaper to buy chicken and eggs than to raise them yourself. I have friends who raised chickens in an attempt to save money and found that per pound of edible meat and per egg, their home-raised chickens and eggs were way more expensive.