I just started training my first client at my new job. She is a 50 y.o. female who is overweight and undertrained. I met with her last week and took her through a 20 min walk w incline on the treadmill, followed by some basic body weight exercises. I had her do 6 lunges on each leg and afterwards she said her quads were cramping so bad that she couldnt walk or stand. I wasn’t sure what to do so I had her just sit and do some bicep curls. Later we did some crunches on a large ball and she said her abs were cramping the same way. I guess I’m not really sure what to do in this situation… I find it hard to believe that such little movement could cause such a negative reaction. I’m drawing a blank about what to do the next time we meet because I don’t want to overwork her, but she wants to lose weight and get in shape so she’s going to have to do SOMETHING. Like I said, she’s my first client and I’m used to training myself… so any advice for training super beginners would be great! Thanks!!!
Hey Randi and others. This is why I love the Q and A here. EVERY one of us as new trainers have put a client through a workout which was a little too tough and through that we learn proper progressions. 🙂
There are folks that can still catch us by surprise and get sore from the most basic movements even after a referral from working in PT for months or other trainer. Always best to start easy and let the client guide you a bit. Ask for feedback constantly in the first few sessions IE: how does that feel on a scale of 1-10…it will let you know what they are feeling and also: if they feel a 2 and are a 10 sore later or crampy, just what direction you may need to take.
Karin also had a good point about body weight exercises. They are much more difficult and complicated when people are overweight!
Keep up the great progress
I am not judging, six lunges sounds so simple to most of us. But lunges are very intense for most untrained clients. I would start with more basic movements. And I do, all of my clients begin with foundation movements without resistance. I learn a lot about how they move and how ready they are for exercise from the way they perform these movements.
Many trainers are starting clients at a higher than necessary intensity level. There is a lot to be gained from starting out below a level that will elicit physiological response. Most clients (even many of my very athletic clients) do not move with good stability. Starting with foundation movements is a good way to sort out the poor stability and movement patterns before loading the movements or performing repetitive movements.
I teach CECs that address this and more. If you are interested check out my website, www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com .
Y’all had some great advice and I’m happy to report that our second session went much better. I focused on basic movements with resistance bands, alternating upper body and lower body exercises. I could see she was much more confident than last week, both in my abilities as her trainer and her ability to complete the exercises. Thanks so much to everyone who answered!
You over did it. Back off. Some great suggests on getting client walking above, start small to see what can be tolerated. Q
You stressed her out first by 20 minutes of incline. I’m surprised her anterior tibialis did not scream.
Good point made above about trust. You need to regain the client’s trust. Ask them for feedback when you ask for a particular performance. Build on their self-efficacy by allowing them to achieve goals, or doable exercises. While you most likely
A trainer gets a history, but also has to be intuitively aware of a client’s potential. This is built from experience. You ask for small steps, evaluate the response, and then ask for more, stay steady, or pull back.
Less is more in the beginning.