8 things to consider whilst training an obese client
Gaining new clients is great, but what happens when you gain a new client who is more deconditioned than the average person you train?
I have trained several people who fell in to the obese category. These people helped me learn a lot and adapt my training to help them achieve the best results possible.
However, there are some crucial things you must take in to consideration before getting started with the training:
How they currently feel about their weight
This can make them very intimidated by a gym, don’t push them too hard on the first session.
Underlying health issues
A thorough screening process, including identifying family history of relevant illness, is essential. That way you will be able to ensure the best and SAFEST possible service for your client.
What they like/dislike
If they have hired you then they are on the right path, but finding out what they enjoy is key to delivering an enjoyable session for them. Keeping this in mind will help you plan a session that has some of what they like and a lot of what they need.
Keep sessions short
30 minutes is an ideal start for many obese people, some will really struggle to have a full hour in one go. You can see them twice a week for half an hour each time, and this will allow you to become a more influencing personality in their life. They will also become accustomed to seeing you twice a week which means if and when they are ready for a full hour it will already be a habit.
Make a Plan
Failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. Having a solid plan will also help your new client feel more comfortable with you.
Keep nutrition simple
It might be tempting to rush in and plan the exact macronutrients required for their goal, but you must remember they will need to take small steps to begin with. Simple lifestyle changes are paramount to their success, adding in more veg or swapping white refined products for their wholegrain counterparts is always a good start. The more they train with you the more you can help them change as time goes on.
Try to understand WHY it is they want to make a change to a more healthy life style, this will help you create more rapport with them. They will also enjoy their sessions more too.
As fitness professionals it can be frustrating when a client doesn’t have the required motor patterns to do the move we have just demonstrated, however it is vital to offer regressions when needed when training obese clients. Perhaps your client can’t squat; not a problem - grab a box and suspension kit and have them do supported box squats until they can do a solid box squat, before you know it they will be squatting their body weight on the bar.
Many of these points of course apply to any new client. If you take them into consideration when you begin working with someone for the first time you won’t go far wrong.