She has a blood iron level of 40 ╬╝g/dL and is 32 years old. Her last physical stated her maximal MET level was 12, but her previous exam stated it was 13.5. Can I treat her workout program the same as if she was did not have a low blood iron level but keep an eye on her symptoms until it is treated?
Good answers. It’s not a matter of altering your client’s workout, it’s making sure that treatment for the iron deficiency is onboard. Has she been prescribed supplementation from her doc? A registered dietician? Just make sure that your program is approved by her primary care physician.
A real simple solution is have her go to her physician & get it dealt with. The low iron level could be for a number of reasons – it could simply be a dietary issue – they’ll figure it out. It’s not an uncommon problem, especially with female athletes. Tell her to make an appointment ASAP. Once she gets that resolved, either of you don’t have to think about it – train away!
I agree with responses above. Also be aware that some people have this chronically. Over-trained women athletes for example. Regarding content of workouts:you haven’t mentioned if there is an underlying physical cause for the anemia or if she’s your current client. If you’ve been working with her I wouldn’t change the workouts much, nor increase resistance or exercise difficulty, until the problem is resolved. If a new client I would choose easy whole body strength training exercises with lower resistance and increase rest times if needed. However (might get some flack here), keeping in mind you said “athlete”… with reservations, I would carry on with her usual sports specific workouts and monitor as stated above. You can’t resolve the problem. The client needs proper nutrition counseling and supplementation, as well as treatment by a qualified physician.
Communication with your client during her sessions with you is vital. Clients that have low Iron tend to be anemic(low O2 attached to RBC). Monitor her vitals including Heart Rate before and after her training. It is also a good idea to monitor her blood pressure(BP) on a weekly basis. Have the client check in with her/his physician regularly. Structure your sessions as interval training bouts with ample rest in between(1-4 minutes) each exercise bout. Be mindful to ask your client how she is doing (i.e talk test). Also monitor the intensity of the exercise session by using the Borg scale. This is an easy scale for a person to identify how hard the session is. Pay attention to her physically as she is working out. Make sure her pigment of her face/body doesn’t appear to rapidly change to a pale white. If the client complaints of dizziness, lightheadedness, or feelings of passing out; stop the session immediately and check her BP, HR, and O2 saturation(if you have a O2 saturation monitor in your fitness facility). Have her sit and relax and wait until her symptoms goes away. Check HR and BP again when symptoms stop. If the symptoms continue or emerge again during the session, end the session and have the client see her physician immediately.
Hope this helps