Youth Football Weight Limits: Caution!
I have wanted to post about this topic for quite sometime. It might cause some people to become offended but that’s okay.
I have been involved with coaching football since I was 19 years old. I have been through the youth football league as a player and a coach. I also coached high school football for 8 years.
I have seen and heard it all when it comes to kids gaining and losing weight. Let’s examine the youth football weight limits and the drastic measures parents and coaches take to get their athletes to “make” weight.
There was nothing more I wanted as a kid other than to play football. If that was taken away from me I would have went crazy!
So I understand the thought process of the athlete, parent and coach. BUT. What about the other factors and means of how they are getting these kids to lose the weight?
The players who are close to NOT making the weight limit DO NOT eat at all during the week. That means no breakfast. They run for distance everyday. They wear garbage bags to help them lose weight. Then “When” and “If” they make weight they devour everything in sight for the next 2-3 days and have to start all over again.
There is nothing healthy about this and only teaches the young athletes poor eating habits, poor selection of exericse and what exercise really is about.
So when the players get to high school they already hate working out and would rather sit around because they associate exercise with starving and running hills every day.
I have had the opportunity to train a few youth football players who decided to train to become better athletes. Not deprive themselves. These young men are growing and need the proper amount of nutrients to continue to grow and remain healthy.
Preston Johnson-Rochester Football
Preston missed his 8th grade football season because his dad DID NOT want him to lose unnecessary weight. Instead they trained for 17 months preparing for his high school career. Preston started both ways his 9th grade season for Rochester High School football.
Preston is one of the strongest athletes at DST. Not to mention his dedication is unmatched.
Brandon Whoric-Central Valley Football
Brandon came to DST at 150 lbs. He wanted to make weight again to play his senior season of midgets. Brandon got to 180 lbs after 8 months and was solid as a rock. Losing this would have been extremely detremential for his health.
In 1 month he would have had to lose 30 lbs that he trained 8 months to pack on. He decided to play Jr.High and had a great year only losing 1 game.
Mark Wildes-Beaver Falls Football
Mark’s parents contacted me and wanted to prepare Mark for his senior year of midgets. Mark was 154 lbs and was worried about gaining to much weight and NOT being able to play his last year.
Mark was used to NOT eating because he always had to make weight. NOT GOOD. Now after sitting in our Nutrition Group Mark is at 148 lbs losing fat and gaining some quality muscle.
Not only will Mark be under the weight limit he won’t have to worry abour starving himself. He is getting stronger each week and will have an awesome year!
Austin Leasha- Freedom Football
Austin and his dad stopped by DST. Austin’s dad made the same decision as The Johnson family. Why delay the process and starve Austin when they can work to prepare him for high school football? Austin has to take a year off but he will be so far ahead of the other players in terms of training and strength.
Chase Hoffman: New Brighton Football
Chase Hoffman came to DST in late November. After 4 months of training Chase went from 111 lbs to 124 lbs. Chase is building the foundation of strength through body weight movements, kettle bells, sand bags and various forms of sleds.
Our goal is to have Chase close to 130 lbs by the start of footbal season. Chase is looking to have a great year this season.
Why rush to a barbell when they can use their own body weight and other tools to make them strong as a bull and pack on muscle?
Mark Wildes situation sticks out the most because his parents took a chance to better their son. They wanted a more positive route to improve him instead of have him suffer through another season.
Because of this Mark will be in full strength during the whole season. His Saturday mornings will start with a nice large breakfast and he will be at 100% when the game starts.
Mark will NOT have to wake and up put on a garbage bag and run some hills or the local track to “make” weight. He will have a ton of energy and will be properly hydrated and ready to play some football.
I see so many youth players suffer because they are taking the wrong approach to maintain playing weight. There are many factors to why they are over weight and what they do daily that makes it difficult for them to play.
Remember these from the top of the page?
They don’t eat at all during the week:
Your body needs fuel to survive. When you don’t fuel the body it will find a way to survive. Your body will basically use the muscle for fuel instead of the fat. So you lose muscle and keep the fat. Never losing weight but instead gaining more because all you have is fat. Muscle burns fat and burns it fast.
They run for distance everyday
Running for distance is the last thing you want to do for a football player. A football player runs short explosive sprints during the game. They lift weights and train to pack on size and muscle. A long touchdown run does NOT qualify for a long distance run.
Distance runners look like this..
Football players resemble this…
They wear garbage bags to help them lose weight.
Wearing garbage bags help you lose. Lose important electrolytes that help keep the athletes fueled during workouts and games. Wearing a trash bag DOES NOT help you lose weight. It helps you cut weight.
There is a difference. Losing is permanent cutting is NOT. I would rather go with proper nutrition, no fast food, very little sugar, protein and vegetables and a proper strength training program.
Then “When” and “If” they make weight they devour everything in sight for the next 2-3 days and have to start all over again.
I see this as the worst possible option for youth football players. This teaches them that over eating is okay. This sets them up for poor nutrition choices in the future and possibly being over weight.
I see it happen year after year with players who struggle during the midget years.
When you eat a large meal consisting of mainly carbohydrates your body switches over to a parasympathetic mode and that’s when you get tired. (The Renegade Diet, pg.42;Ferruggia)
It’s the same feeling you get after dinner when you go sit on the couch. You get tired and fall asleep. Why would we want an athlete to feel this way before a big football game?
Shoving a large amount of food into a young athletes body after they have been starving themselves for 6 days to make weight can not be good.
Think about it…
This teaches them over eating and poor meal selection. Have you ever been so hungry that the first thing you eat is whatever is in front of you. Most of the time it’s something full of sugar. Like junk food or a large amount of carbs.
Think about it. This is what we are virtually doing with these young players.
Our approach is to train these players to become better athletes. We coach them in nurtition and coach them on movements that will increase their strength levels.
This will dramatically increase their chance of playing time and reduce the risk of injury.
A better approach is to get your athlete into a proper coaching facility with qualified coaches that will build their strength levels and knowledge in proper nutrition.
That’s why Preston, Brandon, Mark and Austin choose to take advantage of a proper coaching facility and prepare to become a stronger well rounded athlete.
Contact Daman’s Strength Training with questions if this situation pertains to you or someone you know!