Some clients do have unrealistic time frames for goals. I have a client who wants to make marked changes in her body in a month. We have worked together for a month already and she said that she feels like she just wants to run a lot to shed 10 lbs.
I have designed several workouts that target her legs, glutes and midsection. Most of the programs include weight lifting along with Tabata or HIIT cardio. She has limited equipment. The heaviest weights she has are 2 10 lb dumbbells. This I know will only get her so far with lower body transformation. She does have cellulite in her buttocks and thighs. She seems to have a tendency towards this as her mother did.
What would you recommend as far as a program for her in the coming month? I feel like she needs to hit the gym where she can do some leg presses/extensions and such with heavier weights and less reps to actually build muscle and not just depend on cardio for body changes. I think she needs to build muscle first and do some cardio at the same time.
I am afraid that if she does heavier lifting and cardio at the same time or at least on the same day, that she will compromise muscle growth.
It seems like we all have the same suggestions for you. Aiming to lose 10 pounds in a month is a pretty reasonable expectation. Considering 1-3 pounds a week is safe weight loss. But if she wants to lose ten pounds in a week, then you need to re-set her expectations about weight loss. Educate her on what’s healthy weight loss and why dropping a lot of weight quickly will not be safe.
What does she do for a living? How old is she? What’s her life style, her social habits, her friends, family, work, all will impact her weight loss. Let’s face it; a daily work out is a very small part of weight loss. How much time is she spending sitting from the time she wakes up? Be it sitting to eat, commuting to work, at work, socializing with friends and family, watching TV etc. Coach her on how to keep moving during the day. The one to two hours our clients work out per day barely puts a dent in their weight loss journey if they are spending the rest of the day eating and sitting. If she likes running then encourage her to get started on a training program for a race, managing her diet, food, sleep and stress.
Secondly, and most importantly keep a close eye on what and how much she’s eating. I have found that perception of healthy portions varies from person to person. Without putting her on a diet, or eliminating any food group, just by having her eat smaller portions will get her started. Gradually work with her on assessing her diet. If you start off by cutting out foods she likes she’s bound to cheat and fail. That’s one of the biggest reasons Weight Watchers works for people. Most apps and tools are so time consuming that people get discouraged. Keep it simple for her. Smaller plates = smaller portions. Darker plates = more satiety.
Really good insight from everyone. The only thing I would like to add is that her goals may not be all that unrealistic.
Really. Ten pounds in a month is not unheard of and falls within the rate of what we consider safe – 1-2 pounds per week and the occasional 3 pounds doesn’t tax the liver and kidneys excessively.
But it depends on how much she has to lose. How close is your client to her final weight goal? If she has 40 pounds total to lose, losing ten of those in a month can be accomplished in one month with just minimal to moderate effort.
But if these are her only 10 pounds that she wants to lose, it’s going to take a lot more focus on her diet than on her workout. Also ask her if she has a pant size she’s working toward – you know, so that she keeps thinking about THAT rather than a number on a scale.
Help her design a plan of eating that follows the general guidelines for weight loss by showing her the information you know about basal metabolic rate. Give her the tools to figure out what hers is, and then ask her to begin writing in a food journal. Help her see where she can make some healthy adjustments to her diet – substituting a few lower calorie items for the higher calorie ones, or adding healthy fats to help her feel satiated.
Also, HIIT training and Tabata often leave people feeling exhausted and hungry. I would save those for just one or two training days.
If she wants to run, let’s get her running. Train her to find her threshhold. I know people are turning away from commonly used terms and I don’t want to get into a debate about the presence of oxygen in the metabolic process, but training clients to do a couple of days a week of low and slow cardio, coupled with HIIT or Tabata on other days, and a systematic approach to lifting with push, pull, and back/legs using body weight for resistance will be incredibly effective.
How old is she? Does she have any limitations? Is she used to running? You’ll want to reduce the risk of injury as she increases mileage – only 10% increased per week is the general guideline that has been effective for my clients.
I hope this has helped you think about things a little bit differently… if you would like to collaborate or have any questions or if there is any way I can help at all please email me at [email protected]. I love collaborating and helping resolve client issues and training challenges.
This type of client is not uncommon. Below are a few ways you can use to help her understand why she is exercising and trying to lose 10 lbs. is not the only way to look at this:
-Refer her to a dietitian.
-Keep having educating her on what it takes to succeed when setting goals (doesn’t happen in a day).
-Genetics can only take you so far.
-Measuring success in overall fitness pounds alone are not the best way to approach it.
-Alter or redesign her the fitness plan. Incorporate or eliminate some of the methods and/or equipment you are currently using in her regimen.
-Use fitness assessments to help her see the real progress that she is making. Use numbers and graphs to make her see and understand her results (some people are more visual than others).
Unfortunately there is no one way to approach this. Since you are the one who knows her better than any of us, you will need to decide which one will work best for her. I hope this helps.
I agree with Christine Hales above. Try to make small adjustments in the client’s attitude about her timeline for making progress. Some of her effort in the gym will go toward increased lean mass and won’t be indicated on a scale. And I educate clients about mindset. An impatient mental attitude can often interfer with progress and create the misconception that they are not moving ahead with their goals. All clients are unique, but clients like this often have unrealiztic expectations that reflect a personality that internalizes a lot of self ridicule and dissatisfaction. Try to bring out the optimist in these clients and have them work on positive self talk. Things like “I am putting in a good effort”, “I am doing pretty darn good today”, “I did it and I can do it again”, etc. And lastly, build rapport. Connect with the client. Empathize and listen.