Teenagers that seek physical training or health coaching are often motivated much differently than adult counterparts. Their bodies are significantly different and can sometimes react differently to wellbeing strategies. However, some methods of elevating health and fitness are equally applicable.
So how do you create training programs and diet advice for teens? Here are a few of the best tried-and-true practices that you can apply with confidence to your teenage client plans.
Tip #1: Don’t Diet, Create a Healthy Lifestyle
Diets don’t have to be complicated or severe. In fact, when someone tries to adhere to a highly restrictive diet, results are almost never sustainable. Some of the best diet advice is simple – add more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and dairy while limiting added sugars and empty carbs.
Teaching the importance of solid nutritional choices, as well as the detriment caused by excess sugar and carbohydrates, can help a teenager create sustainable lifestyle habits rather than encouraging them to follow restrictive diets that won’t last.
Tip #2: Healthy Eating Habits Begin with a Healthy Mindset
It is extremely common for teenagers to pursue health, fitness, or nutrition coaching because of a negative perception of themselves or because they over-emphasize the negative aspects of themselves, they want to change. Beginning a training or health program with this mindset nearly always results in failure.
It’s hugely important to help teens think through their motivations for entering diets or health programs before beginning any plan. Anything outside of pursuing fitness from a place that recognizes their value as they are can ultimately be detrimental or ineffective. Only when they understand their own motivations can they effectively progress.
Tip #3: Find a Form of Exercise You Love
Most people’s idea of exercise is running on a treadmill or doing countless sit-ups. This is unfortunately damaging and repelling. Exercise and physical activity shouldn’t be drudgery. There are countless ways to be physically active, and many people give up on exercising without ever exploring what options out there might prove incredibly enjoyable and life-giving. Encourage teens to shop around and discover physical activities they actually enjoy. This will make it immeasurably easier to stick to exercise goals and could create a lifetime of difference.
Tip #4: Drink More Water
Oftentimes it’s the simplest methods and tips that prove the most effective. There are multiple reasons that water intake is critical to any diet or health program. Very few people imbibe their recommended amount of water per day. Teens are no exception.
Water naturally dampens appetite, regulates other critical functions in the body, removes waste and helps the body burn calories. These effects and more should make encouraging heightened water intake a staple part of any teen’s health or diet plan.
Tip #5: Find Alternatives to Your Cravings & Trigger Foods
Teenagers often aren’t aware of the quality of the foods they consume, and most won’t naturally eat a high-quality diet when they come to you for training and consultation. As you start suggesting or making changes to their original diets, they’ll usually experience cravings for items that often contain large amounts of processed sugar and carbs that you work to reduce or cut. It’s important to arm them with good alternative foods or strategies to keep on hand when those cravings strike.
Methods like exchanging candy or chocolate for dark chocolate or fruit, drinking water first when feeling hungry or snacky and then waiting twenty minutes before eating anything, including more fiber and healthy fats in their diets to keep them full longer, and more will help them avoid non-helpful food choices and cut down cravings.
Tip #6: Remember Not to Push Yourself Too Hard
It’s a temptation for many people beginning a diet program to bite off more than they can chew. They may take on a hugely restrictive eating plan, commit to exercising six days a week, or try to commit to an audacious weight loss goal. However, these extreme strategies rarely work. Exercise science professionals have found that starting with a slow to moderate strategy produces sustainable, lasting change over time.
More extreme steps can not only be ineffective but harmful – extreme calorie cuts, diet changes, or exercise regimens that demand too much from one’s body too quickly can cause lasting damage and harm.
Tip #7: Slow and Steady (and Self-Love) Wins the Race
Very rarely does approaching any self-change process from a place of low self-confidence or worth produce good results. It seems counterintuitive, but self love and acceptance is usually the best place from which anyone can start making lasting changes and improvements to their physical health. Along with teaching teens how to understand their motivations, it’s important as well to teach teens that they are entitled to a sense of self-love and self-worth regardless of their current weight or physical level of fitness.
Employing these tips in your training and diet plans with teenagers can help propel them to positive and lasting success.