I do not use body fat analysis for clients working on weight management. First of all it is very difficult to get accurate analysis. Second it focuses attention on the outward appearance of body fat and not the process of change that is necessary. My focus is entirely on lifestyle change and undoing years of deeply ingrained eating habits/taste preferences. I do not object to other methods of weight management. Using BF% isn’t one of mine.
All good points here. I think your tactic of looking at eating and lifestyle habits as potential reasons for the increase is also a good one – it shows that you have their best interest at heart, not to mention that it adds to your value as a trainer. Obviously, people go through some rough stretches & start slacking a little with their diets & this happens. It’s usually not a major cause for concern, but needs to be headed off before things get out of hand – then you’ll get blamed!
I tend to look at the overall picture and trend of my client’s progress, so if body fat went up a bit, I would discuss it with my client but not necessarily dwell on it. I may have the client reassess his or her diet or lifestyle more carefully, and pinpoint where healthy changes can be made. We do have to take into consideration that setbacks happen to even the most dedicated. Life happens! But, I would also focus on the positive aspects and have the client get right back on track.
Even though your question is a simple one it’s actually a very good one. Sometimes the BF% does go up and it can be related to a various reasons. Personally, I’m not that concerned if this happens once in a while because that is part of being human and life doesn’t always goes as planned. Stress, illness, work, family, etc. can have an effect on someone’s life that can lead to poor food choices or lifestyle. If it’s a pattern that is constant, then I have to look into my client’s lifestyle more closely and figure out what is going on and try to find a way to help them fix it. I like to see things from a wider angle and not neat picking every negative fact in their life. I tell my clients not to worry to much about it and try to stay focus on their overall fitness improvement that includes their lifestyle, diet and mental health.
If you are sure this is fat (such as: you measured with the device or re-checked with the caliper), try to discuss the eating patterns? Discuss how much cals a pound of muscle burns, comparing to a pound of fat, and encourage them to weight train even more? After all, we are 80% “made in kitchen”… Good luck! 🙂