Fitness assessments for teenagers
I am starting to work with a 16 yr. old girl who is obese. Other than the BMI for age growth chart, could you use the bio electrical impedance method for figuring out her fat %. I have worked with children and teens in the group fitness setting (fitness classes) but never really worked with one as a personal trainer. Any experienced advice is appreciated as far as fitness assessments.
There are various formula for a "Body Composition Assessment." Finding the one you are most comfortable using is another thing.
What I have found in my work with obese people in general is not age specific. They have mirrors, eyes, ears and emotions. My Opinion: any method used will present inaccuracyd epending on how obese the young lady is. Best best is if you're in a college town, see if the university has a "dunk tank," sorry 4got the scientific terminology...
Obese, mentally challanged, disabled, whatever...people know when they are being patronized, shunned or being made the joke, in general. She walked into the facility knowing it ain't a candy store. Find out if it was of her own free will or the parent/s injecting. "If her heart aint in it, you may get training hours but not too much in way of results.
Either way befriend her and don't try to dodge around her present condition, be suggestive with positive mental imagery & verbage. Don't allow her to be negative, even to herself in your prescence. Offer her imagination every session. If it is positive and to her liking she may jump on board with the programe and exceed expectation (hers & yours). Offer what you think she doesn't get from her immediate support team (friends & fam).
This is what has been beneficial to me in these instances. If it cant be fun, make it beneficial. If it can't be beneficial, when are we here...
When I did leagal work they told me to detatch my feelings from my cases. In fitness, it has been on of my gresatest assests since I shoot straight & from the beginning of any relationship I have I make sure people get an idea about my character.
Be her angel if she allows you...
I would be very careful with what I am assessing in a case like that. A musculoskeletal assessment by all means, a 1-mile walk test (or less), grip strength and so on. But I would be careful about all assessment techniques that are 'personal' in nature and are only to demonstrate how 'bad' things are. I may be wrong, and she will be okay with the process but I can imagine a 16 year old as already self conscious enough not to pile on the bad news. I would probably go with the waist-to-height ratio as this one only requires a single measurement.
I wish you good luck with your young client. This is an awesome opportunity to really make a change in her life.
I would encourage you to ensure the girl understands how all of the preliminary data gathered is not meant to make her feel even worse about her current situation. Rather, it will be great to show how much of a positive impact her lifestyle changes have had on her health and well-being after several months of training.
Here's a link to an article that's a bit dated but still could be useful to you:
Best of luck with your new client!
There is a good reason there are not more formal assessments for children: they are constantly growing and changing, inside and out, physically as well as psychologically. How can we possibly compare results in a situation like this? If you pay close attention, children grow up, then out, then up, then out...
I would go by the growth chart and work on being healthy. You and your client will see improvements in composition and physical ability as you keep track of weight, height and exercises.
That's as far as I would go with assessments for now. Since this is a minor, do you have the parents'/guardians' consent? Maybe the parents and doctor can help you more with what is or is not acceptable at this time.
I'd say simply starting off your program slowly and build from there. I don't use assessments because I feel clients focus on those too much, and not enough on what they should look at, like simply getting into the gym and getting in a solid workout.