A client who has gained weight, especially if they’re new to exercise, needs encouragement. We are so trained in this society to feel like the scale is the most important measure of success, when there are so many other positive effects to exercise. A weight gain doesn’t mean they haven’t made progress. First of all, they’ve stuck to a workout regimen for six weeks! For some of my clients, that in and of itself is a big step!
In no particular order –
1) Did you use the same scale, is it a good scale, and did you measure at the same time of the day and with the same hydration and restroom habits?
2) If client is a female, her monthly cycle can affect her weight.
3) I take other objective assessments in addition to weight. Girth, strength, balance. Weight’s only one measure.
4) I ask about more subjective measurements (some can be measured, but most clients don’t measure them) – more energy? better sleep? reduced stress? increased stamina i.e. going up stairs with less trouble? less pain? clothes fitting better?
5) I ask them to start tracking everything they eat, if they’re not already.
First I wouldn’t react, I would respond only after the client made a concern about this weight gain. We only get so much time with are clients, and feeling responsible for this shouldn’t rely solely on you. Like Nancy stated the scale is just one representation of becoming a better version of yourself, but if your not tracking these elements you wont have figures to show your client. Also setting expectations prior to starting a training relationship with clients can help, that way there not expecting to lose 50lbs in the first month.
Remember as a coach, its more than just telling them to do X amount of sets and reps. The whole psychological and behavior modification aspect needs to be taken in and factored.
This is a grew questions. There are a few clients who actually blame their failures or lack of results on their trainers. Regressions and progressions happen to everyone, even us personal trainers. Like Frank said, trying to to overreact at a regression is very important step. Your client’s weigh gain after 6 weeks could have been caused by a multitude of reasons.
Here are few things to consider:
1) Remember, the progress of a client hinges on the both the trainer and the client. I make that cleat to all my clients at the onset. The client has a part to play in showing up for sessions punctually, adhering to nutritional guidelines and giving maximal effort. The trainer’s part is being early for sessions, of course, writing sound programs and disseminating helpful articles and publications to continually enhance client’s knowledge.
2) Keep in mind that 4 things are measure on a weight scale : muscle, fat, bone and water. A weight gain doesn’t necessarily mean fat gain because as we all know, muscle weighs more than fat. As long as strength training is involved (which I’m guessing it is), muscles will always have the ability to grow via hypertrophy.
3) Finally , have a sit down with this client. Find out if his/her eating patterns changed a little over that period. Maybe stress from work or family caused some over eating. Stress has been linked with the release of cortisol which causes weight gain. Thyroid problems and other hormonal issues have also been know to impact weight gain so find out if this client has any of those conditions.
I can almost assure you that one of these three tips, if not all, will address the issue.
The others have provided some good points for you. Gaining weight doesn’t mean this client is not achieving his/her goals. You should take in consideration the BF% because that is a better reference to go by (I hope you did a BF% on the initial assessment). Also, if the client has experienced improvements in his/her overall fitness level then you are doing your job. If BF% has gone up as well then you will need to reassess the training program and also find out if something else is going on when the client is not training with you. Diet can also play a big part here. I hope this helps.
Hello Deidre Walker,
This seems to be common for all the reasons already stated. What I do is find out what the client has been up to: eating, family, work, sleeping, etc. Then we decide that food and exercise are the key to a healthy lifestyle, that we work on as a team, or whatever else it is they are dealing with. This is where personal training can become personal, and, not everyone is ready for all the tools we have at their disposal, like body fat testing. Health, health, health is the way to go. Keep reminding them of the health benefits of exercise and a proper diet; we do not rely on the scale.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.