How to Lose Weight and Get Fit as a Teenager

Technology can boost your fitness in a number of ways. With online groups and apps to help you, you can be on your journey to a better overall wellbeing in a matter of mouse clicks. However, for 12-year experienced Certified Personal Trainer Yarixa Ferrao, NASM, CPR/AED, technology is actually hampering teenage wellness. She notes, ‘With all this technology, kids and teens are losing connection with their bodies and have become more sedentary because of it. And when they start seeing themselves gain weight they may attempt joining the gym or just continue to gain it because they have no idea what to do. Plus, in the gym, unless they have a personal trainer there’s no one there to instruct them and they end up doing what their friends do. In the end, they spend hours on the treadmill, which will amount to not a whole lot of progress.’


Therefore, Ferrao has created a workout routine especially for teenagers. Ferrao explains, ‘I know the importance of building a solid body foundation, especially as a developing teen. This is also a time to build self confidence, be mentally focused, reduce stress (teenage years can be stressful with all the expectations from parents and teachers while finding your own voice) and enjoy these years to the fullest, instead of worrying about appearance and lacking self esteem. I worked with three teens for a show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat in which the kids were desperate to lose weight, feel great, and lead a happier life. The result: They lost a lot of weight, got stronger, and gained self confidence! They also were able to experience a completely different life and a different perspective, from very down and negative, to up, open, and positive.’


Ferrao recommends focusing on the core, combining bodyweight movements (styles such as yoga, functional training, Pilates, animalistic movements, Karate), and locomotion (or running, hiking, biking, sprinting and walking). She provides the following workout routine (once you’ve got the OK from your doctor and have done five to 10 minutes warming up, of course):


1. Cardio: Ferrao instructs, ‘Instead of just doing hours on end on the treadmill, do short burst of sprints (run as fast as you can). Warm-up first for five minutes or until you feel the body get a bit sweaty. Then increase the speed to go as fast as you are able to for 20 seconds. Take a 20 second break and then repeat your 20 second sprint. Do this for six minutes and up to 12 minutes, allowing your rest periods to be longer if you need extra time to be able to perform the full 20 second sprint. Preferably do it outside. The treadmill is the next best choice.


2. Work on that core: ‘To increase your metabolism, gain muscular endurance and a stronger core, don’t just go out and run miles and miles and then do a ton of crunches,’ Ferrao urges. ‘This won’t help much unless cross country is your sport.’ Instead, once you finish your warm-up and sprinting, do the following routine:


  • 12-15 squats with a pair of dumbbells or just body weight if you are a beginner.
  • 15 push-ups or modified push-ups.
  • 20 reverse lunges, 10 with the right leg and 10 with the left one.
  • Plank – hold for 30 seconds.
  • 12-15 jumping pull-ups.
  • 12-15 squat to presses using dumbbells about six to eight pounds for girls and 12 to 15 pounds for boys.
  • Side plank – hold 30 seconds.
  • Five burpees.


Repeat for  3 or 4 rounds! Take 1.5 minute-rest between each set. Pause at any point if you feel dizzy or faint.

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