I have been training a female aerobic dance instructor for two months now. She is 39 years old and has taught aerobic dance for 15 years consistently. In the past two years, she has put on 20 pounds. Currently, she has been doing cardio for 45 to 60 minutes, five to seven times a week. She also lifts three times a week. I have removed the cardio from her workouts, and she has lost four pounds. My question is: how long should I keep her off of it, and when I do put it back into the workout, how much? I would greatly appreciate any information!
Thank you for your question. I feel for your situation. It must be very discouraging for your client to have the sudden weight gain while working as a fitness professional. In terms of the “cardio” aspect of her workout, you have seen little progress by removing that completely. Many studies have looked at the type of exercise in regards to changing body composition. Briefly, these studies looked at the results of three groups:
- Cardiovascular exercise only
- Weight (resistance) training only
- Weight training and Cardiovascular training
The results showed very conclusively that the weight training group lost significantly more stored body fat than the other two groups. Although the cardio group burned more calories (per workout) than the weight group each day, the weight trainers were adding lean body mass, which altered their body’s metabolism. This extra body mass meant the weight group burned more calories in a week than the cardio group.
I have a couple of suggestions for you to try:
- Suggest your client have full-spectrum blood analysis done. Not too uncommon (especially in an active population) in middle-aged women are changes in thyroid function. The thyroid controls body metabolism.
- Modify her weight workouts to three times weekly. In each workout, she would receive total body exercise. Try to avoid machines that support her body artificially. By forcing her stabilization system to work along with resistive training, a large amount of heat is produced.
- Cardio exercise in one plane of motion is not very challenging to the body, irrespective of intensity. If your client wants cross training aerobics, that should be all right.
- Consult a nutritionist.
I wish you and your client the best of luck!