The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

It's just something strange has been going on with my body lately. In May of 2006, I weighed 154 pounds approximately, than by about October or November I was weighing about 147 pounds -- even lighter. Now, at the end of February I weigh 165 pounds when I get out of bed in the morning and even sometimes, I'm a little over the 170 pound limit.  I don't know what's up.

Answer

Regarding weight, what is better to track during your teenage years is your BMI, which compares your height to your weight. Take a look at
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/growthcharts/set1clinical/cj41l023.pdf
for the actual chart. To get an accurate picture, you need your height without shoes on. For weight you need to weight the same time each day -- mornings are great and wearing same amount of clothing, such as just your pajamas or underwear. It is surprising how much clothing weighs. You can also vary in weight during the day and during the week -- sometimes up to 4 or 5 pounds.

Do you know what stage of development you are in? During growth and just after your weight will increase, first by the added height and then by the added muscle.

I usually weigh myself right when I get out of bed when I am still in pajamas. Usually then I am about 165 pounds. But when I weigh myself with a lot of clothing on, I am 170. I believe I am in late stage 4. I really started to get bigger, stronger muscles when I was around 13 and a half. That's when they were really noticeable. I started growing facial hair about a year later.

Your weight is generally going up at the moment because you are increasing the amount of muscle on your body. There will be dips in weight at times as your body prepares for growth, pulling in energy from your stored fat. Many boys put on some weight just before their growth spurt. Then the actual growth consumes the excess fat leaving them both taller and lighter. Afterwards muscle starts to build up, which again causes your weight to go up.

Even when you reach your adult size, your weight can vary four or five pounds a day. The amount of food you eat, how much salt you consume, how much you have been sweating, will all cause temporary gains and losses in your weight.

Then it most likely is increased muscle because my diet has not changed. If I am late in stage 4, around 4.7 or 4.8, when should I have my "full man strength" if I'll be 17 in three months?

When God designed the male's muscles, He set in place mechanisms such that when the muscles are taxed near the limits of their ability, the body responds by producing more muscles. If the muscles aren't being used, then there is no need to expend extra energy maintaining them, so they fade and are reabsorbed into the body. Thus, your body regulates the amount of muscle mass that you have and where to have those muscles based on what you regularly do from day to day. There isn't a precise upper limit or a point we can say you are at your full strength. At stage 5 you will be at your full ability to adapt to the workload required of you. You will probably reach stage five in about six months.

Let's say I am growing in muscle at the moment, which is the reason for the weight I've gained. When should I measure things such as my shoulders, arms, neck, etc. to be able to see if there are any changes? Obviously I won't see them in a day, so I am curious when would be good.

Muscle growth is generally easier to notice by your strength and endurance, but you can also do it by measurement. Take measurements once every two or three months to see progress. There will be fluctuations over time, but a series of measurements will show your progress. Make sure you measure in roughly the same spots each time. For example, measure your biceps by flexing your muscle and then measuring at the widest point by wrapping a tape measurer around the muscle. Do it without a sleeve covering so you are not measuring the thickness of what you are wearing. Measurements to the nearest quarter inch is good enough. Remember that most people are stronger on one side than the other, so muscles on one side will be larger than the other.