I have a client that I am beginning with and she used to exercise regularly using treadmill and eliptical machine. She had a major hysterectomy surgery done 8 weeks ago and wants to begin with a trainer to get back into shape. She has not been able to exercise AT ALL, so she is pretty much starting fresh. Any tips/suggestions from any of you out there who may have worked with a client post hysterectomy surgery?
Hi Meilissa. First and foremost I would get a Physician Approval for her to return to exercise. My PA form includes a notice to the physician of all of the potential types of exercise their client may undertake in training and also asks the physician to enumerate any exercise restrictions (if any). For me, this is the most important first step. Next of course would be a fitness assessment to see exactly where your client is NOW, not where they used to be. Oftentimes, clients returning for an exercise hiatus (due to surgery or injury) want to immediately return to their old exercise intensity and level – don’t fall for that one! I tell them that I understand what they ‘used to do, but now we need to take it step-by-step to get them back there.”
Use the Physician Approval (and any limitations thereon), your fitness assessment results, and any information you can glean about their previous exercise history to guide you as to ‘next steps.’ Remember, every client is an ‘individual,’ so even if trainers on this site have worked with such clients, YOUR client may be different, and should be trained as an individual.
I hope that this helps.
I agree with everything LaRue has said
While training this client be in constant communication with her about how she’s feeling
I personally would start out very slowly and depending on her response, increase in increments that she can handle.
Make sure you have specific instructions/guidelines from her doctor and have permission to speak with them if need be.
in addition to LaRue’s comments, you need to make yourself knowledgeable about the nature of the surgery. There is no such thing as a ‘major’ hysterectomy but this surgery can be complete or partial, and there are different ways how surgeons will perform this surgery.
Don’t forget that people respond after surgeries differently. Having had a version of the surgery myself, I was back in the gym for cardio after 5 days and resumed weight training another 4 weeks later, all on my own and without a trainer or even the need for one, even though I was at that time not a trainer yet.
It seems that your new client had a very different experience from mine, and you should follow the physician’s restrictions, if there are any, and the results of your assessment along with the goals of the client.
I agree with both LaRue and Karin. I would also recommend that you take it slow and have frequent contact via email, call or text with you client to follow up after the session. It goes without saying that you should have constant feedback through out the session. Checking in to see how she feels, her current exertion level using a 10 point scale and at the end, how she perceived the session to be. How each client responds to exercise after a surgery is different, so its best to keep the doors of communication open to get regular feedback so you can tweek the session as needed.
I usually contact new clients, those who I’ve changed up their workouts based on new goals or feedback or those coming back from injury or surgery, 24-36 hours after a session to see how they’re feeling afterward. What hurts, how is their energy level, what worked or didn’t, etc. I often get more from this follow-up and feedback as well as commitment from the client as they know I care about them as individuals, than during or at the end of the session.
Take it slow. Listen to the outline from the doctor and if you feel you may be in over your head, refer to someone else.
Definitely consult with the doctor before your client begins any physical exercise.
Best of luck,