By Marla Kaminsky, AFS Community Expert
We are a society of vanity who puts a lot of weight (pun intended) into how much people weigh. As leaders in the fitness community, it is our role to change that conversation.
Stating the obvious, bodyweight is the sum of all parts and includes water, fat, lean tissue, tendons, organs, etc. When your client steps on the scale, it isn’t only measuring fat. Unfortunately, that is the only thing a client sees if it’s a number they don’t like. Reminding clients how the scale works, despite it’ simplicity, is important to their fitness journey. Here are a few simple reminders:
- Your weight can vary up to seven pounds in one day.
- Water has the most impact on your changing weight from day-to-day.
- Fat and muscle are added and lost over time.
- For women, hormones play a large part in their fluctuating weight.
- Daily gains or losses in weight are usually fluctuating water and can signal dehydration.
It's important to remind clients that a higher than expected number on the scale might be due to muscle build, water weight and/or fat gains. Impact questions on diet, exercise, and hydration help give a different perspective on why weight is gained and/or lost and helps keeps clients on track to achieve their goals.
If you want to go deeper and find the best way to determine progress - I suggest looking into a body composition scale. It breaks down the weight into the different body parts, so we know if gains or losses are due to water, muscle, fat or inflammation.
As professionals, we need to be, 1) Talking about nutrition as part of fitness 2) Ensuring clients are drinking enough fluids at rest and during exercise 3) Teaching clients the value of rest (rebuilding) days 4) Educating clients that weight gained doesn’t always mean fat gained 5) Asking clients to look at their actions over the past to decide what might be happening inside their body.
I am often asked how often a client should weigh. If you talk to five different experts you will get five different opinions on how often a client should step on the scale. The reality is unless you are tracking fluids and hydration levels, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how we frame the conversation. A few of my favorite tidbits to share with clients that reframe the conversation include:
- Rest Day has a negative connotation to some clients, I prefer to call them “Rebuild Days”
- Ask open-ended questions about their week that allows you to dial down to what a client actually did. For example, a client might not write down or tell you that they had a funnel cake at the amusement park, but if you ask what they did on Saturday, and they told you they went to the amusement park, you can dial in better to what they ate.
- Identify inconsistencies in their circadian rhythm, which can impact their progress. Lack of sleep and stress have more of an impact on progress than we give credit for.
Even if the client isn’t paying you for nutritional support, asking these questions during personal training can yield better results. Better results lead to a long-term client and great referrals.
If you want to go deeper and find the best way to determine progress - I suggest looking into a body composition scale. It breaks down the weight into the different body parts, so we know if gains or losses are due to water, muscle, fat or inflammation. If you are going to invest in a scale for your gym, take the time to talk to an expert to make sure you're adding the right scale for your business, finding a scale that fits your budget, and implementing it in a way that seamlessly supports your goals
At Spartan Wellness Technology, we are always here to support your goals. Feel free to reach out to us for more information, ideas and support.
Marla Kaminsky is the owner of Spartan Wellness Technology. Ms. Kaminsky has extensive knowledge in the implementation of bio impendence analysis in the fitness and wellness industry. Her expertise extends into training and educating individuals and business owners in how fitness testing can improve member engagement. If you are interested in learning how SWT can help you improve your business model she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.