I’m 15 years old, been riding for around 3 years and joined a racing team this summer. I’ve started training seriously this winter and am already seeing big gains after a few months. I was recently looking around on the internet for information on avoiding muscle loss and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t also talking about weight loss. I have no interest in losing weight as I currently weigh around 50kg/110lbs with very little body fat; I’m aiming to build muscle in my legs to get ready for the racing season (if racing happens this summer). How should I be fueling/eating and what kinds of workouts should I be doing to target muscle mass in my legs?
Generally my advice would be to lift weights. Thats the way to avoid muscle loss. However, given you age i would advice against that.
Make sure you eat enough calories. The easiest way to lose muscle is to not eat enough, which means muscle gets used as fuel. Get those carbs in.
I’m in a similar boat- bit older than you, but definitely on the lighter side for my height. I’ve found that nutrition during and post-workout is critical- there are some TR podcasts and other resources that will give you some info on what that should generally look like for you. I also found big gear/low cadence intervals to be really helpful in building leg strength, which tends to be a limiter for me.
That being said, if you’re training intelligently and fueling to match your goals and the demands of your workouts, muscle loss shouldn’t be an issue and your body will gradually adapt to match the demands of your events. I wouldn’t get too caught up in the details- just make sure you’re eating enough, and that it’s quality food and your body composition will take care of itself (probably worth noting that it’s going to be a gradual process though, and you’re likely to see a lot of changes if you’re 15)
Low cadence drills, my favorite
As long as he learns to lift by someone who knows what they’re talking about I don’t see a problem with starting at 15.
Eat enough. Ensure you are getting enough protein. Keep training. The muscle mass will come.
Read Chris Froome’s book The Climb. He was stressed out when he was younger about not having “big legs”. Things worked out pretty well for him.
If you want to weight train, do it for strength gains, not (lean) weight gain.
Eat wholesome, healthy foods. Get your macros right(ish).
That’s about it. Body composition isn’t something you can reasonably control at your age. Enjoy being in your teens.
Absolutely. My son has been doing weights at the gym since he turned 15. It is an absolute pre-requisite to have knowledgeable coaches that know what they are doing.
Also, as someone has already mentioned, worrying about gaining weight should be right at the bottom of your priorities for at least another 5 years or so.
Your number one importance should be to stay strong, injury free and not to burn yourself out.
You won’t lose muscle you’re using if you aren’t in a caloric deficit.
I don’t know what you have access to, but some goblet squats with the heaviest kettlebell you can safely handle and Romanian deadlifts with the same would be a good start. Even just 3x10 of each twice a week would probably be plenty for now. To add muscle you need protein, but not crazy amounts. At your size 85ish grams a day would probably do it.
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what about hitting body weight work: squats, lunges, lunge variations, push ups, etc etc?
I agree with Brendan. Wait until puberty is mostly finished before hitting the weights. In the meantime, get in the habit of eating well and doing lots of compound movements that use your body weight for resistance. The average male will double their skeletal muscle just by going through puberty! If I could go back in time that is what I would tell myself.