I have a couple of clients who are under their daily caloric needs for weight loss. The calories were calculated using their body fat %, age, height, weight, and activity level. One client should be around 1900 and after having him keep track of his calories for a week, he fluctuated from 1100 to 1700 per day. I tried to explain how we need to slowly introduce calories into his diet, but he’s so afraid of gaining weight. He’s lost about 20 pounds already and is down 1 pound from last week. Is it better to allow his to continue his eating habits or get his calories up? He really needs the calories to continue building muscle and keep his energy level up to perform better. We train about 3 days a week with various workouts that range from strength training, to endurance training, to power and interval training.
*I should add that we started training in January, so he’s lost 20 pounds in about 7 months. He still need to drop about 12 more pounds of body fat.
i always use analogys when it comes to eating with my clients.i had a client once not eating enough in fear of gaining weight. i simply told him this;
take your metabolism as a flame and you want to keep that flame burning, the good food that we take in will be like wood to the flame, so you have to keep feeding it to keep that flame burning high, if you dont have enough wood(food) the flame(metabolism) will not be burning well enough. and also i made it clear that bad calories or empty calories taken in the body will act as an extinguisher to that flame rather than an igniter. this analogy always helped my clients because it helped them imagine and paint a picture in their mind and compare it to theri body, fun and gets them to the point ‘:)
hope it helps
Although you don’t say so I assume you are monitoring your clients muscle to fat ratio not just their weight. The ultimate goal should be improved body composition rather than just a lower number in lbs on the scale. If your client is not gaining lean muscle mass, or worse, LOSING muscle, explain that muscles need adequate amounts of nutrients to grow, and without enough calories to feed the muscles their progress will stall. I use the analogy of gas in the car, when the tank runs dry you aren’t going ANYWHERE!
A healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. It may be more initially depending on how sedentary and how much the person weighs when first starting the program. Based on the 20 lbs lost in 7 months that is a good weekly weight loss average. Clients calorie consumption will vary on a day to day basis no matter the goal. The important thing here is to educate the client on micronutrients and when in a caloric deficit there is going to be greater demand for micronutrients. This is where you suggest a multivitamin to give them (and you)assurance they are getting the micronutrients they need to support daily body functions to ensure they reach their goal safely.
rather than focusing on the calories he is consuming, focus on his energy levels when doing his exercises, quality of sleep he is getting nightly and how many lbs he lost during the week. If the client is losing more than 1-2 lbs per week, suggest adding an extra 200 calories to his daily intake until he gets back to that 1-2 lb weight loss.
I agree with those who support the idea that all we can do as trainers to help our clients is to educate them and give them the facts and show them the best way to live a healthy life. In the end, our clients are the ones who decide to listen to our suggestions and make the commitment, or not. I think whatever you can present to those clients in the way of studies or articles is helpful, whether you email those specifically to targeted clients who are struggling, or whether you sneak them into e-newsletters or even a blog. There are some excellent articles on this website, so you could start there.