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  1. #1
    brahnamin's Avatar
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    Bulking a boy . . .

    Primal Fuel
    Okay, so my stepson played county football for 5 years and really rocked it out and was looking forward to playing for his middle school team but has now gone unpicked two years running.

    I know he has the skills and the speed and endurance that I doubt any of those things carried as much weight in the coaches decision to cut him as his size. But skinny as he is, with 80 kids trying out for a 40 kid pick, I'm not surprised he didn't make it.

    He comes from skinny stock. His mother is 6'1" and his father is 6'4" . . . his dad is still pretty skinny (excluding a middle aged paunch) and his mother was stick thin up into her twenties as were all three of her siblings.

    The boy is 13 years old and maybe 5'6" and still going through growth spurts. All his body's energy seems to be bent on giving him height rather than bulk no matter what he does. He really wants to play for his high school team and on into college and that's probably going to require some size if he wants to get picked. At least initially.

    So what can I do over the next year to help him bulk up?

    Over the past 5 years we've concentrated on strength and speed, but we're limited in equipment (a heavy bag, a couple of kettle bells, some dumbells, sandbag, and a pull up bar). He gets a fair amount of protein but pretty much eats a carb heavy diet (and with his metabolism and activity level I don't think I can easily change that for him) and if I let him he'd probably consume nothing but milk and cheese. Because I'm primal (and do all the cooking in the house) and his mother and sister are actual vegetarians (as opposed to breadatarians or tofutarians) he mostly eats a whole food diet (with the exception of things like cheese, I buy only single ingredient items and prepare all our food from those ingredients).

    The exceptions, of course, are maybe one meal every two weeks with his dad and a few meals a year with the grandmas and then whatever snacks he manages to get his hands on when I'm not around. But easily within the 80/20 range of primal (heavy on the veggies and milk products - which I allow because he does want to bulk up).

    Any thoughts?

    I'm a stumpy Polock, so putting on muscle has never been hard for me. I don't really know what direction I should be going with a skinny kid who is probably a genetic hardgainer.

  2. #2
    namelesswonder's Avatar
    namelesswonder is online now Moderator
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    Keep on the primal path with him as much as you can, but honestly you're just going to have to wait. He's only 13. His body may change a lot yet, but there's not a lot that can be done at that age if he's inclined towards thinness. As long as he's strong, he doesn't need bulk, unless my understanding of football is very off.
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  3. #3
    dado's Avatar
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    He should pick a sport that is more in line with his body type. We should not plump boys up, they are not the chickens or cows for winter. Basketball or maybe he will be kicker. Tell him to try kicking. Or soccer, here in this sport he will find his soul.

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    kungfumike's Avatar
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    I am no expert, but it stands to reason that upping his protein to carbs might help, but I heard what you said about that might be difficult. Good luck. I feel for him big-time.

  5. #5
    dado's Avatar
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    No this is good lesson for reality, and how life works. He cannot do anything in the world, only some things that he is biologically inclined towards; football does not seem to be it.

    He will learn from this lesson the folly in chasing things that are not in tune with his soul, if he keeps trying at football and distorting his natural body instead of kicking strong kicks into the goal, or slam dunking it oh yeaa.

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    i think you should get a second job, and go buy more food. he's got eat a lot to get bigger. milk and cheese are probably really good for this. i would never do this to a 13 year old, but he could always try GOMAD as a weight gainer.
    in terms of exercise, i think you've got everything you need to help him get the strength and stamina he needs. lifting is great, but i would try more carrying. farmers walk those kettlebells, grab that sandbag and walk a mile. then take those things and throw them all over the place. i don't think 13 is too young to start a lifting program or anything, but i think there are other things he can do that will add strength, size, stamina, and involve natural movements during those growth spurts.

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    Yaish's Avatar
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    Milk.

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    brahnamin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by namelesswonder View Post
    Keep on the primal path with him as much as you can, but honestly you're just going to have to wait. He's only 13. His body may change a lot yet, but there's not a lot that can be done at that age if he's inclined towards thinness. As long as he's strong, he doesn't need bulk, unless my understanding of football is very off.
    Your understanding of football is probably right on, but near as I've been able to tell, picking kids for middleschool and freshman highschool football has little or nothing to do with strength, speed, or even ability. It's all crammed in on size.

    Quote Originally Posted by dado View Post
    He should pick a sport that is more in line with his body type. We should not plump boys up, they are not the chickens or cows for winter. Basketball or maybe he will be kicker. Tell him to try kicking. Or soccer, here in this sport he will find his soul.
    Yeah, he's not looking for his soul, he just loves football. He kinda hates soccer and he's pointed out (sadly, quite accurately) that the basketball team is made up primarily of gang kids.

    I agree with your follow up post that this might end up being just a good life lesson. Disagree that he's not *biologically inclined* for football. I've seen the boy play. Granted, at his age that means he's mostly playing against other skinny kids, but still. Mark Sisson was a running stick for how many years, but he's managed to slap on a muscle or two (yes, I know there's a huge difference between an adult doing that and a developing kid).

    I'm not trying to turn him into The Refrigerator. Just trying to help him turn his routine into a direction that will give him the results he's ultimately looking for . . . not *distorting his natural body* . . .

  9. #9
    pacificBeef's Avatar
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    does he need size to be a wide receiver or cornerback?
    Currently dabbling in: IF, leangains, Starting Strength, 5/3/1

  10. #10
    brahnamin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by primalrob View Post
    i think you should get a second job, and go buy more food. he's got eat a lot to get bigger. milk and cheese are probably really good for this. i would never do this to a 13 year old, but he could always try GOMAD as a weight gainer.
    in terms of exercise, i think you've got everything you need to help him get the strength and stamina he needs. lifting is great, but i would try more carrying. farmers walk those kettlebells, grab that sandbag and walk a mile. then take those things and throw them all over the place. i don't think 13 is too young to start a lifting program or anything, but i think there are other things he can do that will add strength, size, stamina, and involve natural movements during those growth spurts.
    Yeah, I almost do need a second job to feed the boy (and his sisters - all teenagers). Dunno that he'd do GOMAD. Though if I could find the cheese equivalent he might go for it.

    The rest we're pretty much doing. He's made huge strides in strength stamina and speed each year, but size eludes him. Probably have to wait til he stops growing vertically before he beefs up.

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