I have a client that I have been working with for almost a year now twice a week. She has turned a 360 with me & I am so very proud of her efforts, motivation & consistency. Heres the problem. We have been doing some of the same things now for a while because I find each time I try to move forward to the next level she physically cant do it. I know she has the ability but for some reason she loses her confidence. I remind her of how far she has come & she gains a bit more confidence but she still cant get through the exercise. I tell her we will try it another time. Any suggestions or has anyone had this experience with their clients. I have been a trainer for 25+ yrs & have never ran into this before.
Ok. That sounds good. The pushup thing might be a grip/wrist or other joint issue. Have you used pushup handles on the floor? When you use the smith bar, are her knees lower than the bar? Or are her knees up on something? Or have you lowered the bar all the way down? I would seriously try to get her doing water exercise. You can really burn some calories in the pool and there is very little stress on the joints. I have some great core and complete body exercises for the water (deep or shallow) that can be adjusted from post rehab to pro athlete. I would also suggest going to higher rep sets to volunteery maximum reps. At least for a while. To change up the energy systeim demands for a while. With my long time clients I switch from low reps to high reps about every month. And try new cardio exercises about every month as well. On the diet issues, I generally go to a RD. But I have had support from RDs to suggest teaching clients to go to a plant based diet/eating/lifestyle. Starting with one meal per day. Teaching about choosing things like greens, vegies and fruits. How to quickly prepare meals for several days at a time. It is a journey. I now have a relationshiip with a physician that started a plant based mindful lifestyle practice here. They also have an RD on staff and do community outreach. But calorie restriction and more fruits and vegetables are the best things to work on for weight loss. Slowly reducing calories while increasing high fiber nutritous alternatives to processed foods. I would be happy to discuss this further if you wish.
Thanks for the additional information.
That’s a tough one. Client stigmas and stresses around food can be even greater than those around exercise. Would your client see a dietician? How have your conversations around tracking / improving her diet going? Are you comfortable having them?
I like your idea of staying mostly with the exercises that she does well, either changing frequency, intensity, or duration. Eventually, however, her body is going to get so adept at these exercises that she’ll get diminishing improvement. Maybe switch one exercise out at a time. You might have to get creative. As a trainer, you know 100 ways to work the chest, and only one of them is a Smith bar push-up. Maybe you lower the bar one click. Maybe you have her do a push-up on an even higher angle, but on a TRX, which is easier but harder if you know what I mean. She might have a stigma about the floor – pressure on her knees, feeling awkward or pain getting up and down. So put her in pushups standing against different things, higher but less stable (TRX) and lower but very stable (lower bar, jump box stationery against a wall). Even though a change might seem “small” to you, it might be “big” to her. Put her hands closer together. Put them farther apart. Stagger them (which you can’t do on a Smith bar but could do on another surface). Play with the timing. By making minuscule adjustments, you’re adapting her to change.
Or maybe do a similar exercise with a different plane or range of motion.
Since I work with a lot of clients with injuries, I keep a mental list of options in my brain. This doesn’t work for you? No problem! Let’s try this! Oh, that hurts your wrists? No sweat, how about if we do this instead? There’s always a plan for a client session, but it’s a flexible plan and I can come up very quickly with other things to do.
I will like to take a different approach at this however hopefully this will be of assistance to you. It might be the muscles utilized to perform the bent-knee pushup are not strong enough yet. You can stick to exercises that she knows well however the same problem remains; the body’s adaptation to the exercise. You might actually want to change their exercise selection altogether and begin anew. For example, do you have your client perform dumbbell presses from the floor or bench? Do you have the client perform Smith-machine bench presses from the floor or bench? If the client doesn’t have preexisting conditions then it is safe to state that you can have them try something like this. Strength increases due to resistance or weight training can lead to gains for other exercises.
If the client’s body weight is an issue then there are only two options; either the client will have to start losing the weight or what I like to do; increase the client’s strength profile based on their body weight. The food journal is a good idea you created for your client.
One more thing you can try is to build the client’s muscle density. When you build the client’s muscle density, you create an armor on their body. This makes their body much more durable & prevents it from breaking down.
It sounds like weight loss is not that important to her now. Trust that she knows herself. She needs to sell HERSELF on the weight loss idea then you can guide. Check out the Motivation Interviewing techniques in the IDEA video library. Typically when we make suggestions, like a food log, it may not work because it was not their brainchild.
Accept the client where she is now. She sounds content with her present progress. You may want to ask permission to revisit this original goal of desired weight loss say in 6 months, or a year, or a time of her choosing.
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