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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Teen Athletes and Nutritional Supplements
we never get "new" muscle cells- the same ones are either strong and healthy or atrophied, depending on their use (ie, each individual cell, which is the length of the entire muscle, grows or shrinks as it is needed based on use or disuse)
the "amount" of muscle one has (ie how bulky it looks) is primarily dependent on two factors: 1) the level of testosterone in the blood (hence the increase as boys mature and the difficulty women have in bulking up) and 2) the size of the muscle "belly", which is determined by genetics- some people simply have long, slender muscles instead of bulges in the center
there is no "easy way" to increase muscle, like taking pills- the best way is to use the muscles regularly, but no more often that every 48 hrs (time to increase mass is necessary after one increases the workload- doing weights every day will not be as effective as every other day). I would suggest getting him involved in strength training using Nautilus equipment, free weights or whatever, probably at one of the local gyms (such as the YMCA- free orientation to the equipment is available) or at his school if available. I suspect that his tendency will be to try to overdo it to get immediate results, but it's a bit like dieting- rushing it is unhealthy and doesn't give lasting results.
Dr. Marian Diamond's Lab
Michelle Vivas, UCB Athlete Nutritionist (Tang Center), did a presentation on bad supplements at our Sports Medicine meeting. If creatine isn't good for Cal athletes it isn't good for a teenager. Consult with your doctor.
-Aleta Martinez, Administrative Support for Sports Medicine.
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