I have a client who is 125 lbs with 25% body fat, she is toned and lean except for her mid section. We do Pilates ab series and other Pilates excercises, ab machines, crunches, full sit ups with weights, and we’ve gotten into hoola hooping, still this is where most of her problem area is. Are there any different things we can do? Or some dietary change that may help?
From the information you have provided and without being too specific (since I don’t have enough information regarding her health history, training regiment, diet plans, etc.) I would suggest that engaging into interval training 2-3 times a week might help her losing more BF%. I believe that a BF target of 20% or lower will eliminate much of her fat around her waist (and her overall as well). Since you have not provided much information about her diet, maybe switching a few things will not hurt. As far as doing cardio for 1 hour 3 times a week I would have her do a higher intensity cardio for about 25-30 minutes each time 3-4 times a week. Adding some sprints drills should also help. I would also add a few other type of exercise equipment such as ropes, kettlebells and other type of cross training. I’m sure you know your client better than anyone, so you can suggest to her the best approach to help her with her reach those goals.
getting the hormones levels tested is a good idea, but in case the client does not want to undergo a test, prescribing a good antioxidant formula is a must for almost everyone in the world today.
keep the solution to the problems simple, don’t complicate. the client will love that. this problem of clients with a thought that weight training will bulk them up is common.
for a basic solution tell her to take 3-4 gms of fish oil, and 4 tablespoons of L-carnitine daily, divided into 2 doses, morning and evening. you will see the results in days.
Change would be good for her but it needs to monitored and done with care.
Diet is a great place to start.
Interval running or changing the speeds along with inclines are options.
Try changing her whole routine for 6 to 8 weeks. I always felt this was a fun time for my client to try some new exercises. I always felt this was a good time for me as a trainer to get out of my mold of exercises and challenge myself.
Just a few ideas would be like trying Insanity type workouts, P90X, Kettlebells, TRX has some fun suspension trainers and Rip trainers, different forms of functional training (ropes, bands), crossfit training, Brick training (triathlon) like biking to running, boxing or whatever you want to come up with. Core training does involve rotational movements (which does present more caution also).
Changing the weights and reps are always the easiest things to do, but something new can be fun if you introduce it with enthusiam. You have to believe in the product or exercise you are introducing also. I hope this helps.
I don’t have any of my clients do full sit-ups. For a flat stomach you need to strengthen the abdominal muscles, not the hip flexors. Have your client only roll her shoulders up off the floor until you / her feel the abdominals tighten. Going any further will engage the hip flexors which connect to the lower back & put pressure on the lumbar spine
As David asked I would like to know more about her cardio: Is she doing an easy 30 minute steady state routine? I would suggest she make at least two of those days interval training, have her go for a shorter period of time, but make sure she gets some high intensity intervals. You might also want to check her sleep status; as with high stress, lack of sleep can interfere with her hormones, and cause increased abdominal fat storage.