The football players, pro wrestlers, and MMA fighters you see on television may be packing serious muscle. But if you’re a guy in your teens, you have some body-building advantages they would love to have.
During your teen years, you’re in a phase of your life when your body wants to grow. You’re churning out hormones that are specially designed to help you get bigger. And right now you may be able to take in a huge amount of food and use it to build a strong body.
But it's easy to make mistakes...
Most of the time, there is NOTHING wrong with boys who start puberty late, says Erica Eugster, MD, an Indianapolis doctor who treats hormone issues in kids and teens. Here's what she wants you to know:
It might run in your family. Most of the time, if a guy is a late bloomer, his mom or dad was, too (or maybe they both were). Ask your parents if they remember when it happened. Chances are, they can relate.
Your body might not be that late. Most guys hit puberty sometime from ages 9-14 -- the average age is 12. Puberty is only late if you’re 14 years old and aren’t showing any signs.
You might be overlooking something. You know your voice will get deeper, you'll get hair in your armpits and groin, and you'll grow taller. But the first thing that changes is that your testicles start growing. Tucked away under your penis, your testicles grow so they can make testosterone, a hormone that triggers the other body changes. But it can be hard to notice that they’ve grown. So you might be in puberty but you just aren't seeing the outward signs yet.
You'll probably catch up. Your height will probably end up normal for your family whether you go through puberty early, on average, or late. In fact, when your friends and classmates have stopped growing, you’ll probably keep going. “A lot of guys are going to pass their friends by because they’ll continue to grow,” Eugster says.
Until your body finally gets going, here’s how to not feel left behind in the meantime.
How to Keep Up With Other Guys
Don't stress if you're not in puberty yet. And don't compare yourself to other guys. Instead, do this:
Take it in stride. No one always gets what they want exactly when they want it, whether it’s an A on a test or a spot on the sports team, says teen counselor Tina Paone, PhD. Puberty is the same. “You can’t make this change happen any quicker than it’s going to happen,” Paone says, and feeling frustrated isn’t going to help.