Girls weightlifting to excel at sports

9:32 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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By Dana Dean

KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KSDK) - We have a follow-up this morning to a study we highlighted Tuesday. More teen boys are trying to achieve a muscular body. Increasing muscle size or tone is popular, but it isn't just for boys.

One recent study found 81 percent of girls admitted to exercising more to gain muscle or tone, and 62 percent of girls changed their diets.

The study also showed 21 percent used protein shakes or powders. This study was done in Minnesota and used middle and high school aged girls.

To get a better sense of the local picture, NewsChannel 5 went to Nipher Middle in Kirkwood, where several girls are part of a weight lifting program. None of them said they use protein supplements. That's a good thing, according to a registered dietician. Their coach also tells them don't waste money on protein powders and shakes.

The girls say they don't necessarily lift to be muscular or toned. Instead, it helps them stay in shape for other sports. Not to mention, it's helped with their appearance and self-confidence. In a sport dominated by boys, these girls say there seems to be a stigma attached to females weight lifting.

Margaret Hoffmann, a sixth grader, said, "It's stereotypical that girls can't do what boys can do but we can. I tried to get some of my friends to do it but they said no. "

"They think it's geared more toward boys but for me, it's for anyone that really just wants to be stronger," said seventh grader Anna Lisebauserman.

"Boys attack the weights, it's all about aggressiveness. Girls look at it as a technical thing," said Ed Bielik, a weightlifting coach.

Even if your teen girl doesn't lift weights, here's what you need to know about their diet.

According to Registered Dietician Tara Todd, a girl between 11 and 14-years-old should have 50 grams of protein every day. Teen girls ages 14 to 18 need less, about 46 grams. Todd says teens should eat real food and shun expensive protein supplements.

Experts say lifting too much weight can lead to injury. Also, if teen girls are exercising intensely and not eating enough, it can decrease estrogen, which can affect a girl's menstrual cycle. And eating too much protein can lead to problems such as stress on the kidneys and weight gain.


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