Fit Pros who work with over-stressed females
I'm looking for sources who can help me with insights for a small article I'm writing on stress reduction and women. My question is: "Your female client arrives to her session feeling over-stressed and scattered. What do you do to help her reduce those stress levels and improve concentration?" Your insights may be used in an upcoming issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Thanks in advance for your help.
In the meantime, a bit of meditation and visualization, with concentrated breathing works very, very well.
I hope that this helps.
Its funny because the first time I had her do this she asked,"How the heck do you know when I am thinking?"
Often times, just gaining control over their breathing empowers them to tackle the process of believing in themselves enough to revisit the situation with a renewed sense of control.
Depending on the situation, I may change the planned training session and usually reduce intended intensity significantly. Since I am a MELT instructor, I use that technique very often to calm my clients down. At the same time, I listen.
While I cannot offer advice on the situations themselves, I usually emphasize the fact that ALL stress is internal and that sometimes the only path possible is to change our own reaction to a situation if external circumstances are beyond our control.
I also point out the health risks from the stress itself. I may nudge people to seek help if I notice escalating situations.
She has kindly left a testimonial on my page regarding my approach.
I believe the missing link in general in working with people whoever they are is to include coaching.
As a consequence of my training with Wellcoaches, I am able to help people look at areas of their wellness where they might need to concentrate on in order to achieve their overall wellness.
So instead of doing just a fitness assessment I always offer a wellness assessment. The wellness assessment focuses on eight areas of their wellness which include work/life balance and stress management. Once the client learns coping strategies the likelihood of she arriving to her sessions stressed out is minimized.
Hope this is of help. If you have any questions Ryan, feel free to shoot me an email.
Just wondering, did the woman identify herself as over-stressed and scattered" or was that the impression she made? There's a big difference.
In my experience, as a woman:) and having worked with a lot of women, many women accept stress and scattered thinking as a somewhat normal state i.e., they appear worse off to those seeing them than they actually feel.
Now, if in fact, they report feeling over-stressed and scattered, it helps to listen to them. Let them vent. Sometimes we just need to let it pour out of us. And then we're done! No need to solve any issues, problems, or situations. A simple off-loading of emotion does the trick.
If that state still persists, then start them moving and keep their state of mind and energy in mind when guiding them through their workout. You might need to modify what you've planned; some women need a kick-ass, sweaty session to relieve their stress, others may benefit more from a more contemplative, deep breathing, and stretching session.
Generally when you have a group of people with similar interests (i.e., exercising together) and similar goals (i.e., a healthy life style), they tend to feel connected and feel they have the support of their peers. People are usually in a good mood in fitness classes, and a smile is contagious! I find myself working out harder when I am exercising with others; and I find I feel less stressed, more energized and can think much clearer after a good workout and a few positive words and friendly faces from my fellow female exercisers!
Nothing against the guys, they can be great supporters and motivators as well! :)
Given my personal physical re-conditioning I am religious about beginning my sessions with Foam Rolling. During this time I have my clients decompress physically and mentally. As I guide them through the release techniques they share their day and their stressors. Inevitably as they begin to "tense up" again I am cuing them to breathe deeply to "relax their bodies" to achieve release of the muscle, but it also serves an emotional release because they are subconsciously "releasing" the stressor as they breathe deeply to complete the foam rolling.
The foam rolling doesn't take a great deal of time and by incorporating coaching in this fashion the client is able to calm down and focus on the workout, feel as though they've been heard - especially when they are given affirming or encouraging feedback and I am able to keep the session on course. A few of my clients affectionately call this their "Couch" time, because we do often develop or reinforce work/life balance strategies or set other goals as they are "laying down" on the roller. This coach/counseling foam rolling time is the norm for most of my sessions and living in working in the DC Metro area my often over-over-stressed female clients love it.
Now, if they come in swinging, that's a whole different ball game, the session plan changes. Then it becomes a kick-butt, sweaty, visualize your stressor under your feet, HIIT kind of day. After a challenging session, we take a a few minutes to discuss any strategies or goals that may need tweaking and adjust their course from there.
Truth is, it's a matter of understanding people and being an effective coach in addition to an effective trainer that is going to make the difference when training women, at some point every woman is going to be over stressed and it will affect her workout. As trainers we have to be prepared to either guide through or guide around it.
When I get a "frantic female" I have her stand still, pick one foot up or stand on a BOSU and close her eyes
Once she's calm, I ask how are you doing today? then we begin!
Mac Dodds M.A., Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist