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Focusing on Fat Loss

Jade Teta discovered that optimal success comes when the client takes the wheel.

Client: Becky

Personal Trainer: Jade Teta, ND, CSCS, co-owner of Metabolic Effect

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Baby Fat. Jade Teta was first approached by Becky in 2007. Tired, out of shape and lacking time and motivation, Becky needed help. “I was fit most of my life until I had children,” she says. “I had three children in 41/2 years, so that pretty much wrecked my body. I gained weight after each child and never lost it.” According to Teta, Becky was 100 pounds overweight when they first met, but it was her energy level that seemed to be her concern. “Her major goal was to simply feel better,” he recalls. “She obviously wanted to lose weight, too, but at the time she first came to me, I think feeling better about herself and having increased energy was just as big of a factor.”

The Best Path. Teta believes that clients need options. He knows that some thrive best individually, while others prefer working alongside peers. To avoid pigeonholing Becky, he allowed her to determine whether she would be most successful working one-on-one or in a group. “The first option is the standard one-on-one personal training,” he says. “This option is sometimes not appealing for several reasons, including cost, convenience and intimidation. Very few people who have weight issues or are severely out of shape enjoy having a personal trainer, who is usually very fit, watch them sweat and struggle for 60 minutes.” Both Teta and Becky agreed that, based on her current level of fitness and significant time constraints, the
30-minute group program would be the best option. “This approach is usually done with a group of peers who are all at a similar fitness level or who know each other. Right away these participants feel more comfortable.”

Fitness Philosophy. One of the reasons Teta’s programs work is because he places ultimate accountability on his clients; he makes them responsible for their progress, so they move forward at a pace that is not overwhelming. The 30-minute workout includes a 5-minute dynamic warm-up, a 20-minute collection of compound movements and a 5-minute stretch. “The workout moves fast and is done by time, not repetitions,” he adds. “In order to accommodate different fitness levels and abilities, we developed a system that we coined ‘rest-based training.’ The idea is for participants to work as hard as they are able to within their limits, and stop and rest whenever and as long as they need to.”

Self-Discovery. Teta’s “rest-based training” worked well for Becky. She progressed in a manner suited to her individual capacity and was also driven by the camaraderie of the group dynamic. But it was not long before she experienced the dreaded plateau. Teta and Becky determined that it was time to up the ante on her nutrition program. Though Teta emphasizes a combination of exercise and nutrition for optimal body composition changes, some clients need to hit a wall before making lasting change. “Once [Becky] fully understood this, she really started seeing amazing results. This is when her body started changing shape, and when her focus switched from weight loss to fat loss.”

Lasting Changes. “Over a 12-month period Becky lost close to 100 pounds, but I don’t think that [the weight loss] is what’s most remarkable,” says Teta. “[To me, the key] thing about Becky is that she seems more confident and more alive. She literally looks as if there was no way she could ever have been overweight.” Teta believes that her success would not have been possible had he forced her into a differenct approach. “I don’t think she would have gotten the same results if she had done personal training or if the diet had been given to her right from the beginning. People like Becky have taught me over and over that you have to provide many options for clients and help them discover the path that is going to work for them. I think the ‘one size fits all’ approach leaves a lot of people behind.”

Calling All Trainers

Do you have a client who has overcome the odds to achieve new heights in health and fitness? Send your story to [email protected] and you and your client may be featured in an upcoming issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.


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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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