I have been training for about four years, and I always get good results by using heavy weights. (I don't like using light weights.) My 54-year-old female client complains that each time she hires a personal trainer, she gets bigger because the personal trainer wants to use heavy weights. She is about 4'11"and weighs 117 pounds. She has little muscle tone and no muscle definition. She’s got a fat back and wants to do something about it. Her body fat readings have gone from 34 percent to 36 percent. What can I do to help her?
It is commendable that you have such passion for helping your clients. We appreciate your concern. However, as a trainer, you need to look at each client as an individual. Please realize, what works for you (and possibly others) does not always work for everyone.
Concentrate on what your client wants. When a person receives an individualized program based on their goals, wants, needs and functional abilities, they are more likely to adhere to the program.
Putting on muscle will happen automatically as a result of a proper resistance program (gaining muscle is an adaptation process). How much muscle one gains will depend largely on their genetic make up. Lifting “heavy” weights to gain muscle is an OLD myth. Who’s bigger: a bodybuilder or a power lifter? Who lifts more weight?
Anchor yourself to these four principals.
- Client Goals – In order to help your client achieve her goals, you first need to understand her goals (i.e., fat loss goal = energy in is less than energy out.) Fact: Resistance training is scientifically proven to be the fastest way to achieve fat loss (i.e., strength goal = Strength for what? Life or the bench press?)
- Client Wants – If your client doesn’t want to lift heavy weights or get sore, you must modify the program to achieve your client’s wants.
- Client Needs – The more you understand the kinesiology of the body, the more indepth your movement assessment becomes. Exercise is movement! What special needs does your client have? When a trainer explores a person’s body relative to what they need, a great appreciation is built!
- Client Functional Abilities – What can/can’t your clients do? Work on what she is not best at and then simplify the exercise so it is safe (i.e., if a dynamic lunge is too difficult, have your client perform a stationary lunge).
Conclusion: Concentrate on what your client wants, then choose exercises to fit that goal. If she is not reaching her goal, then modify the exercises as needed.