Client: Ralph Wittenberg, MD
Personal Trainer: Lance Breger, MS, MINT Fitness
Location: Washington, DC
Accepting the Challenge.When he first came to see IDEA member Lance Breger, MS, a year ago, 73-year-old psychiatrist Ralph Wittenberg, MD, was in poor condition, suffering from heart disease, cancer and muscle wasting; pain from a botched hip surgery; the effects of an overdose of medication given to treat heart failure; and other ailments.
So how do we keep members coming back and entice others to join? Jade Teta, ND, co-owner of Metabolic Effect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, suggests that it’s time to change the way we exercise. “The average person doesn’t have a lot of time or money to devote to fitness,” he says. “People are looking for high-quality training, but without the cost. They also want programs that are exciting and challenge the mind and body.”
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The more deconditioned people are, the more important it is to get the first few weeks of exercise right. The underlying psychology of obese clients’ beliefs about exercise is as important as the physiology of obesity. Typically, weight loss is the main goal—bordering on an obsession. My exercise programs for this type of client proceed from two main objectives: (1) to use what they already have in order to (2) change their expectations of what they will experience with exercise.
This summer when your loyal clients take their summer vacations, jet away to long beach weekends or merely head outdoors rather than into the gym, your client base may dwindle. With your prime training times temporarily vacant, it is time to seek out a new type of clientele.
Another grim doctor’s appointment: Tim’s excessive body weight, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are a growing concern for his doctor. Tim has become a walking risk factor for heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. In addition, his weight has created pain in his joints and other body structures, making it hard for him to move or exercise. He used to play sports, but as his body weight rose, movement became more difficult and painful, causing him to stop physical activity all together. Tim is in the 6th grade.
It’s early morning, and you arrive at the gym to discover a voice message from your 8:00 am client, Mary. She has called to let you know she will be unable to make her appointment because she has strained her back and is laid up in bed—for the third time this month. A consummate professional, you call to follow up with her. Mary explains that she “did something” to her back as she was rushing to get the kids off to the school bus. You wish her well, hang up the phone and contemplate her injury.
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All the time, I hear fitness professionals tell their clients not to exercise above a certain heart rate, as if it were bad for people to run or bike fast. Target heart rate has become a buzz phrase. Even many cardio machines display a “fat-burning zone” on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. Have you ever wondered if your clients really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if they venture out of that zone?
Whether you enjoy watching The Biggest Loser or you find it offensive, you have to admit that this primetime TV program has been effective in showcasing health and fitness to millions of people around the world. Last month, IDEA published “Weighing in on The Biggest Loser,” an in-depth feature story on the topic.
As personal trainers, you are continually seeking new and better programs to help clients attain their aerobic activity goals and maximize caloric expenditure in their endurance workouts. To help you better understand fat burning, caloric expenditure and exercise, here are answers to four controversial questions on this subject.