The Noob Teenagers Guide To Building Muscle

M&S Writers
Written By: M&S Writers
December 11th, 2009
Updated: June 13th, 2020
75.4K Reads
Drew Stewart arms teens you with information on training, diet and supplements, so you get on the right path as quickly as possible.


This was written by a teenager for teenagers. Like most people, I was lost and didn't know my way around a gym when I first started. Thanks to this site, I now know a lot. I don't consider myself a professional, or some sort of fitness guru by any means at all, but I believe I know what I need to know. So, I'm hoping this guide will be a good start to your learning.

The Basics For Teens

Teenager Bodybuilding NoobMotivation

Without motivation, you won't have the drive to get the body you want, which will actually impact how much effort you put into a workout. Ask yourself....."Why do I workout?" Is it to impress people? Make you feel good about yourself? Whatever the reason, you should think about it. I know this might sound vain, but after you've finished working out, check yourself out in the mirror. After a tough workout and you're all pumped, your body fills out and shapes the way you wish it did and it does make you look good. That inspires you.

Working out while ill

If you come down with an illness you should just wait for it to clear before working out again. Your body needs to fight the virus, and working out will put your body under more pressure and you'll spread the virus around the gym.

Warming up, cooling down, stretching

It is important to warm up before a workout, and cool down and stretch after a workout. Doing so will help prevent injuries, get you into shape and make you more flexible. It'll also help with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which is basically pain or stiffness you feel after a day or two of a tough workout. If you happen to feel this pain then don't worry, it is normal.


Without rest, your muscles will not grow. Going to the gym everyday and doing bicep curls everyday will not make your biceps grow. If you repeatedly go to the gym, working the same muscle group with extreme intensity, you won't make it grow. You will damage the muscle and possibly make them shrink. "Less is more" in the case of weightlifting. Any routine on this site will keep you right.

In The Gym


To build muscle effectively you need to lift with good "form". Meaning, only the muscle group that the exercise targets should be used. If you feel that your form is poor, lessen the weight. There is no shame in that. Lifting a light weight with good form is better than lifting a heavy weight with poor form. It doesn't matter that the guy next to you is lifting a weight much heavier than you, you need to focus on what YOU are doing.

Compound and isolation exercises

What is the difference between a compound exercise and an isolation exercise?

Compound exercises target more than one muscle group, while isolation exercises target one muscle group. Compound exercises are generally better because:

  1. The increased amount of muscles used will send out a "distress call" to release more hormones, like testosterone, which helps make your muscles grow.
  2. You can normally handle a heavier weight with compound exercises.

Some compound exercises:

Don't miss out on these exercises. They're tough and that's the point, you'll get the results you want from them. If a workout is "easy" then you didn't push yourself hard enough.

Beginner routines

As a beginner you will need to start on a beginner's routine. This will allow your muscles and tendons to get ready for tougher routines and will allow you to practice your lifting form. Here are the beginner routines from this site:


You may know someone real skinny, they never workout, but their abs are really visible. It's because their bodyfat percentage is low. If you want visible abs you need a low bodyfat percentage, around 10% or below. It doesn't matter how many sit-ups, crunches or leg raises you do, your abs won't be visible without a low bodyfat percentage. Saying that, you shouldn't NOT do ab exercises just because you can't see them.

Diet & Nutrition For Teens


I shouldn't call it a "diet", but a "lifestyle". It's something you'll always have to do. You can't just get the body you want and then stop "dieting", or you'll eventually lose everything you've worked hard for. Dieting is THE most important part of muscle building.


If you want to bulk you're going to have to eat 500 more calories than your body burns of a day, so by the end of the week you will have gained 1 lb in bodyweight. If you need to work out how many calories you need to eat a day use this site calculator:

Next, you need to figure out what to eat and create a meal plan. This is difficult at first, but it's easy once you learn. For best results, split the calories up so 30% is protein, 50% is carbohydrates & 20% is fat. This is called a PCF Ratio.

So let's say your daily calorie intake is 3000:

  • 50% of 3000 - 1500 Calories /4 = 375g Carbs
  • 30% of 3000 - 900 Calories / 4 = 225g Protein
  • 20% of 3000 - 600 Calories / 9 = 60g Fat

So this person needs to eat a total of 375g of carbs a day, 225g of protein a day and 60g of fat a day. I divided carbs and protein by 4 because they contain 4 calories per gram, and I divided fat by 9 because fat contains 9 calories per gram.

With me so far?

It's recommended to eat about 6 meals a day spread out over roughly 3 hours, so you divide the total number of carbs, protein and fat by 6 to find out how much of it you need per meal:

  • 375g Carbs / 6 - 63g Per meal (6x a day)
  • 225g Protein / 6 - 38g Per meal (6x a day)
  • 60g Fat / 6 - 10g Per meal (6x a day)

Now that you know how much to eat, you need to know what foods to eat, there are several tables in this article showing you what foods you can eat and it also shows their nutrition values:

Look through that list and create a meal plan using the foods you like.


"Cutting" is removing excess fat while maintaining muscle. This will give you your "ripped" look.

Here is a lengthy article on how to cut, it's a good read.

Supplements For Teens


Supplements are NOT needed, but they can help. Before you think about taking any supplements, make sure your diet is in check, otherwise the supplements will do you no good. Seriously they won't, I know from experience.

Some of the supplements available to you:


Is the highest quality of protein available and is a must if you want to supplement. Probably best taken upon awakening and in your post workout (PWO) shake (The shake immediately after your workout).

It's basically a quick and easy way to get your protein.

An example of a whey product: Optimum Nutrition Whey Gold Standard


Put simply, as soon as you begin lifting, your muscles start to use up it's initial source of fuel (ATP) and it runs out very quickly (a matter of seconds), creatine replenishes ATP, so it'll help you blast through those last difficult reps. A very highly recommended product. Adding 5g of creatine into your PWO shake will be enough.

On off days, take it in the morning with water.

An example of a creatine product: Creatine Monohydrate


Basically, if you want the nutrients from your other supplements, to enter your muscle cells quickly, add 60-70g of dextrose to your PWO shake.

An example of a Dextrose product: Glycomaize


I've yet to study glutamine in much detail, for now, follow this link:

If you want a constant supply of protein while you sleep you can look into "casein":

You can also look into "Animal Pak":

So an example of post workout shake could be:

  • 30-40g of Whey
  • 5g of Creatine
  • 60-70g of Dextrose
  • 10-20g of Glutamine

Of course, all your really going to need is whey and a multivitamin, but if you can afford the others then feel free. Try to avoid creatine until your 18+. I read that it can mess up your bodies ability to produce creatine naturally.

Teens & Steroids

As a teen myself, I understand the hype and attraction to steroids, but don't take them. Your testosterone levels are at their highest during your teen years anyway. It's risky, stupid and not worth the risk. Even if you gained a lot of muscle on them, you would lose a lot of it coming off of them. I know people who have taken them and I'm aware of the side effects they have had. You can get the same gains naturally and honestly. Steroids are a drug, and as with any drug, there are side effects:

  • Stunted growth
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver tumors
  • Shrinking of the testicles
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Development of breasts
  • Baldness
  • Infertility

Well that's about it for my guide. I think it covers the basics of what you need to know. If there is anything you don't understand, there are still PLENTY of other articles and experienced members to learn from.

Cole Markley
Posted on: Wed, 06/04/2014 - 20:52

I'm looking to bulk up and become a monster over the summer to get ready for football season. I want to get a lot of lean muscle and become strong. I was doing research and I came across a product I really want to try its Nitro Focus NO3 it looks great. I am under 18 and I want some suggestions and tips about it or if something is better. And I am never going down the path of steroids that stuff is terrible for you thats why I was looking into Supplements.

Posted on: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 03:07

Sir ...
I lost 30 kg weight in 4-5 months due to full dieting as I weighed 124 kg but now I m 94 kg but my actual aim is to build lean muscle and get a smart look ....
In the previousgym they just made me do cardio for 2 hours so I left that gym ....
Sir please recommend me should I take any supplement as I m doing weight exercises since 2-3 months only ...
And my age is 16 yrs and height is 190 cm
Sir my skin has become loose and also have fat content on chest also!!
So sir please recommend me should I tak e any supplement??
And which exercises??

Nitesh Ravi
Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2013 - 10:39

Im 16 , Is there safe to take creatine ?

Jesus leal
Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2013 - 23:34

How do i bulk up more im 15 i weight 140 and im 6feet tall plz help me
i been workinguot since i was 12:-\

Posted on: Fri, 08/30/2013 - 20:38

is mastaburation every day cause muscle loss?

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2012 - 18:06

I have a post workout shake with isolated protein hydrowhey ON(one scoop and a 1/2) then take 2 tablets of amino acids 4800 dymatize and a teaspoon of glutamine, also 2 tablets of amino pre workout. Is is safe, to take these and the quantities? do you reccomend me to take dextrose or any food with the post shake

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2012 - 11:48

Yes, it's safe.
I would add some type of carb source after your workout. At least eat a large meal around 45 minutes later with plenty of protein, carbs and fats.

Posted on: Sun, 01/08/2012 - 12:11

I can't bulk up ! I eat a lot of healthy food. Take creatine and queue protein. I'm 5 11 and 163 pounds and I have been working out since I was 11 and I've always been thin. Muscular and athletic but I want to bulk. Can someone give me some pointers?

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 01:08

You need to eat more....
The old saying goes that "you need to eat big to get big"
Don't worry about getting fat - Bulk up then if you put on a lb or two of fat you can spin class it off later. When you bulk it's very hard to not put on fat as well but you have to be in afraid of that. ALSO don't eat crap food. If you bulk with quality carbs fats and protein (I.e whole foods, complex carbs and unsaturated fats) then you should see results. Add aprox 500 cal to your diet and go for a month and then adjust after that.


Posted on: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 09:02

is it safe to take whey protein at 16? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 11:03

Hi Bable,

Yes. Whey protein is a natural food source derived from whey, which is created during the making of cheese.

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2010 - 11:24

Sorry i made a typing mistake it must be "So" in place of "Qo" :D

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2010 - 11:24

Qo is it safe to take them as a teenager ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2010 - 12:09

If you are under 18 I wouldn't recommend taking any supplement without talking about them with your parents and doctor.

Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2010 - 14:22

Are supplements such as ZMA & HMB also considered as steroids ? Are they safe to take as teenager ? I already did some research and some say it is,some don't.

Thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 13:33