Bodybuilding Stunts Growth Myth
I often get questions from teens asking if bodybuilding will stunt their growth, the answer is ‘No!‘. Don’t believe me? Then read the policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Bodybuilding will NOT stunt your growth!
Bodybuilding wont stunt your growth but there ARE three things that will – steroids, some supplements, and poor nutrition. Lets talk about poor nutrition first. The body needs proper nutrition to develop to its full height. Its proven that malnutrition can seriously stunt growth. Now, nobody can tell you for sure if poor nutrition will stunt your growth by just a hair or by two inches, but why take a chance? Eat well! Pass on the chips, fried foods, and donuts and eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats instead.
We have all heard that steroids stunt your growth but how? First we need to look at how bones grow. You have bones and cartilage holding them together. To grow, the body turns this cartilage into bone so the cartilage that was on the end turns into bone and moves into the middle of the bone as additional length is added to the end of the bone. So why don’t you keep growing till you are a hundred feet tall? Well at in puberty the body starts pumping out gobs of hormones and these hormones kill the conversion of cartilage into bone – and the growth stops.
So what happens if a young teen takes steroids to build muscle? Well, when they artificially raise the hormone levels with steroids the bones get confused. They see the hormone flood and say “HEY”, we’re an adult, stop converting cartilage into bone! Stop growing! So how much height can you lose? Well basically when a teen is on steroids, there is no growth. It is unclear if the growth will restart once the teen goes off steroids. There is no question, steroids will stunt your growth. The question is – by how much?.
Now lets talk about the third way you can stunt your growth and that’s with those pro-hormone supplements available at the local health food store. People make the mistaken assumption that just because something is legal and available over the counter that its safe for everyone. These pro-hormone supplements are converted into testosterone in the body which encourages the muscles to grow but these artificially high hormone levels tell the bones to stop growing just like steroids can. Until you have reached your full height, you would be very wise to avoid supplements.