So, you are a girl, under 18 years of age, believe in yourself and just wish you were in a better shape. You don't want to be big and muscular, but you do want to look athletic and fit. You worry about dieting because of all the crazy information out there, and more than anything, you want to be healthy.

On top of this, everyone tells you to just be patient, wait till your body matures, and don't worry about that, you are still too young. Where do you turn? What do you do? Well, my beautiful young ladies, you have come to the right spot!!

To begin with, let's look at nutrition. There are three types of molecules in food that we have to be concerned with: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. It is important that your body receive certain portions of all of these.

However, what you may not know, is that WHEN you take them in is also important. To keep things simple, I am going to list a few good food types so that you understand the differences.

  • Protein - Egg yolks, Fish, Chicken, Red meat, Pork
  • Carbohydrate - Rice, Potatoes, Green beans, Corn, Broccoli
  • Fat - Olive oil, Butter, Vegetable oil, Canola, Nut Oil

  • Now, there are some very simple rules that you can follow to put you on the path to sensible eating:

  • Eat 5-7 small meals per day
  • Always include some protein with every meal
  • Take in no simple carbohydrates, like breads, candy, etc.
  • Take in only green cars within 4 hours of bed time
  • If trying to lose weight, eat carbs with first 3 meals only
  • If trying to gain weight, eat carbs with all meals except last

    Now, let's take a look at exercise. There are three types of exercise, realistically, that you will want to be concerned with at this point. These are cardiovascular, weight training and cross-training. Again, the following list will provide some insight into the different types.

  • Cardiovascular - Biking, Hiking, Jogging, Step climbing.
  • Weight-Training - Free weights, Weight machines.
  • Cross-training - Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Swimming.

  • Additional rules for exercising

    Engage in Cross-training or cardiovascular exercise at least 3 times per week, for no less than 30 mins. When beginning to weight train, work out the entire body 2-3 times per week. Always allow at least one day between workouts. When in doubt, use free weights, not machines. Free weights will strengthen joints and connective tissue, machine typically do not. In the beginning, training should focus on 3 key areas, Back, Chest and Legs. You should always use a full range of motion when doing any exercise.

    Exercising at home

  • Deep squats, holding a large book in each hand, hands out to a side
  • Shoulder presses with either buckets, paint cans, or anything else
  • Push-ups
  • Leg lifts on a chair
  • Arm curls holding anything heavy
  • While these don't sound like a lot of things, for beginners, it is more than sufficient to start. Keep in mind, as young women: you do not want to be using excessive weight loads, as it can interfere with the natural growth processes of the body. In particular the complex joints of the hips and shoulders can be at risk.

    As beginners, these basic guidelines can help you make smart choices and have good results from your program. Leave the advanced stuff to others and stick with the basics.