She had gastric bypass surgery in January 2013 and lost about 70 lbs. She currently eats only 600-800 calories a day, primarily protein. She is active on her own and always has been, generally working out 3-4 times a week (lately closer to 2) in a variety of ways: swimming and circuit training are her favorites. She still has another 50-70 lbs to lose and wants to make sure she’s doing what she can to make her body strong and build muscle. She wants to train with me only 1 day a week initially. Any tips or recommendations for me? My main concern is the caloric intake since I have never trained anyone who had this surgery before and I know her stomach is smaller and can only hold so much. The calorie amount is just really, really low for someone who is going to be working out a few days/week in my opinion, although it sounds as if it has been working for her thus far. Thanks!
Hello Heather Binns,
I would keep a close eye on her, once a week is good to start with.
This is a good opportunity to work closely with her doctor, as well.
The body still has weight to lose; therefore, stored energy for the workouts. Just do not overdo it, use your training, experience and knowledge to take care of the client with RPE communication at all times.
No pain, no gain, does not apply here.
Good wishes to both of you.
On top of what has already been said, you noted she is eating mostly protein. This should automatically send up an intensity red flag. No carbs mean difficulty with intensity that uses the glycolytic pathway. Once you get medical approval starting slow and paying attention to RPE will be key. Basic strength training to maintain or possibly increase muscle mass to keep the client’s metabolism from halting further progress is VERY important.
I have been working with a client before and after gastric bypass surgery.
Even 5 months after the surgery, she is still under the care of the physician, and you will need a physician’s approval.
Yes, a diet of 600 to 800 calories per day is extremely low but it is not untypical for people with gastric bypass surgery. She had extensive instruction from her medical team, though, on how to manage her food and water intake, and I would hazard a guess that you will get the physician’s okay without any restrictions as it pertains to the gastric bypass.
Just do the assessment as you would with any other client and use this together with the information from her physician to design the program. If she has medical problems stemming from her being overweight, you will need to consider this as well. Start slowly and have an open communication with her. Make sure she always has water and drinks in small amounts as she exercises with you.
I wish you and your client good luck.
My first question is why is she eating only 800 calories a day? is she on a liquid fast? It will be hard to build muscle and become strong with this line of reasoning.
Is she under doctors care?
I would be anxious training a client such as this. There are many risk factors here including a heart attack with her history.
I would speak with her doctor and get clearance before doing anything with her.
I’m sure you have told her that being on a very low caloric diet will only hinder her success!