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Four Unique Clients; Four Unique Solutions

I’m sometimes asked what kind of clients I work with and how I help them achieve their fitness goals.

To answer that question, I want to showcase four of my newest clients.  These four case stories typify the results my clients attain if they dedicate themselves to the program.

Shannon hired me at the end of January with the goal of adding muscle to her very small frame.  At just 102 pounds, Shannon was thin and described herself as “mushy.”  I could see she fit the description of “skinny-fat,” and indeed, a nine-site caliper assessment showed that her bodyfat was 32.5%.  That’s close to being clinically obese!  I realize that many people have trouble understanding how a 102-pound person can be described as obese, but it’s quite common in our over-fat,  under-muscled society.  You don’t have to have a big, protruding belly to be fat.

Shannon was already eating mostly healthy foods, but in bird-like quantities. I needed to increase her protein and calories in order to for her to put on muscle. I designed an eating plan for her based on the foods she was already eating, but with a few hundred more calories per day. And the calories increased even more as her weight gains plateaued.  We’re looking for very small weekly weight gains…about 1/4 pound per week, roughly.  I’ve seen some muscle-gain plans that ask for weight gains of 1-2 pounds weekly.  Muscle doesn’t accrue that fast, so gaining that much weight that quickly for several months is a sure way to make yourself fat.

I put her on a simple, old-school bodybuilding-oriented program — full-body workouts performed three times a week, with an emphasis on increasing her strength in basic, compound movements (Bench press, squats, rows, etc.).  None of this one-or-two bodyparts a day, 6-days-a-week-in-the-gym nonsense I see other skinny beginners advised to do.  That’s an advanced bodybuilder’s fine-tuning program, and even for them it’s often not the best way to get results.


After three-and-a-half months, Shannon now weighs 107.4 pounds.  That’s a 5.4 pound gain.  But the 9-site caliper assessment shows that Shannon is now 27% bodyfat.  So, in  three-and-a-half months, Shannon has gained 9.4 pounds of muscle and lost 4 pounds of fat.  Her muscles are rock-hard now, not mushy, and you can see the shape and firmness the new muscle has given her body.

That’s awesome progress, and Shannon says she couldn’t be happier about it.

The rigors of law school led Monet to an unhealthy lifestyle and a large weight gain.  She hired me in the middle of March to help her lose weight and get back in shape.  Her lower back was constantly tight and in pain.

I helped Monet formulate a diet plan she could live with…one that didn’t involve too much cooking or food preparation.  I got her to eat 5 small meals daily to maximize her metabolism and supply the nutrients she needs without excessive calories.  Two of those meals involve protein shakes or bars, and the other meals are easy to prepare.

She exercises with me three days a week on a fast-paced routine that mixes cardio with circuit weight training.  We try to make each workout slightly more challenging than the last.  The goal is to burn more calories each workout within a 60-minute timeframe.

Monet adheres to her diet 99% of the time, and due to her work as a lawyer sometimes has to miss a workout.  Nevertheless,  in 2 months Monet has dropped 17 pounds and a full dress size.  Her lower back pain is noticeably reduced, and will bother her less and less as she continues to drop weight.

I started working with Travis just 3 weeks ago.   His goal is to drop body fat and improve his physical conditioning. He had been using another trainer, and was also on the HCG diet that is currently so popular.

His former trainer wasn’t pushing him very hard in the gym (nor was he advocating proper form in Travis’ exercises, but that’s another story…) And the HCG diet had ground Travis’ metabolism to a halt…he just couldn’t lose any weight.  (And here’s where I say that the HCG diet is pure quackery…500 calories daily…SERIOUSLY????  Does anybody actually lose weight on that plan and KEEP IT OFF??)

I put Travis on a reasonable eating plan with an appropriate number of calories and put him on a circuit weight training program three times weekly.  The goal is to keep him moving in the gym, alternating between upper and lower body exercises and cardio on the elliptical or treadmill.  I want him to burn tons of calories AND create an afterburn effect that lasts for hours after he leaves the gym.  The workouts are challenging, as they must be, but I never ask him to do the impossible.

In 3 weeks Travis has lost 15 pounds.  This rate of progress won’t continue — a loss of 1-2 pounds weekly is reasonable in the long run — but it does show what a sensible eating plan combined with vigorous exercise can accomplish.

Blythe hired me 3 months ago to train her for figure competitions.  She was already in terrific shape, lean and muscular, and wanted my help to get to the next level.

After assessing her physique, I noticed that her thighs (quadriceps) and middle back lagged behind the rest of her body.

I developed a program that emphasized those areas of the body while continuing to improve her entire physique.  To build her quadriceps, we’re implementing deep squats and high-repetition leg presses, emphasizing different foot positions to target specific areas of the quads.  To target her middle back, we’re using various rowing movements using particular angles and hand positions.

It’s working: Blythe’s legs are growing and the muscles we’re targeting in her middle back are always sore after she works them.  I expect big things from Blythe in her competition debut later this year.

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And THAT, folks, is the “secret” to results-producing personal training.  It’s not about “miracle” diets or supplements, and it’s not about faddish, over-hyped training programs.   It starts with dedicated, goal-oriented clients who stick to their eating plans and training programs….. programs designed by a professional with decades of experience.

May 20, 2012 | News | Comments Off on Four Unique Clients; Four Unique Solutions

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