I have a client who has been training with me for about eight months. He currently weighs 137kg and is 6'2". He has lost at least 30kg. I would estimate his fitness to be good/excellent as his recent personal best for rowing 2000m was 6.45. I would like to start running with him but am concerned that he may do more harm than good due to his weight. Could I start? If not, when? How would I approach this?
I think his running goal is achievable IF the proper steps are taken into consideration. My view is his weight is HIS weight. In other words, his body has gone through an individualized adaptation to handle his weight. The key is to figure out HOW he handles his current weight. How efficient is he when he 1) walks 2) jogs 3) runs. His body needs to be as efficient as possible (within his functional threshold) taking the forces of gravity, ground reaction, etc. into consideration. Therefore, I would test his ability to walk, jog, run then strategize a plan to condition him to walk, jog, run as efficiently as he can – this is completely individualized (him vs. him). If a gait assessment is something new for you, please refer to Gary Gray’s Functional Video Digest Series on Walking. Gary explains the complexities in a simple manner and will help you immensely with all your clients.
To answer your question: yes, you should start him on a conditioning program within his functional threshold (how he handles forces specific to the task of walking, jogging, running). Don’t allow a body weight number to dictate if he can or can't. Just progress based on HIS ability level. This YOU vs. YOU approach will never steer you wrong. Good luck!