Client Strategy: Young Adult Female
In October, I shared My Training & Nutrition Program which has been one of the most popular articles posted on this blog. In the article and on The Integrated Insider, I mentioned that is my program and how the training and nutrition principles apply best to me, right now. Copying this program would not be a good idea for someone else.
As a result, I had some questions asking about the application of these same training and nutrition principles to their goals and experience. Since I do not know enough about each individual to provide personalised recommendations, I decided to put together four articles outlining how we apply the training and nutrition principles to different clientele.
I will be releasing four articles looking at the training and nutrition strategies we use with the different clients, in the following order:
The aim of these case studies is to demonstrate the strategies and considerations used by these clients, in a setting that is relevant to you. As mentioned in my program, those were the strategies for me, while one of these articles may be better-suited to you. However, these are still not personalised to your goals, experience, and lifestyle, so be wary of implementing too many of the strategies.
These strategies are not advice or specific recommendations for any individual. They simply an insight into the successful strategies we have used with these types of clients.
The information used is not specific or typical of each group. It is simply a reflection of the clients I have worked with and the strategies used. Any generalisation reflects that of experience with these clients I have worked with, not a wider generalisation of gender and/or age.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE YOUNG FEMALE
Body composition: decrease fat mass and increase muscle.
Training: increase strength - mostly general strength, but sometimes specific exercise (squats, chin ups, etc); learning how to exercise with correct technique.
Training note: the young female clients I am currently working with are predominately online clients (~72%). These online clients tend to have a moderate-high level of training experience, hence the recommendations below are suited towards these clients.
The majority of the clients have either been training without a structured program or have been following a generic program, with mixed results.
The general consensus is that when they stick to their program they get results, but they find it hard to do. Many fall into the routine of being on/off, where they are either on their program 100% or not at all. As a result, they are frustrated with the lack of progress.
Most are of medium-term duration (3-6 months) with a specific goal in mind, such as a wedding (not necessarily theirs), holiday, or getting maximal results during a phase of training.
A tip for bridal clients: allow for a 16-week training and nutrition program, with the target composition being achieved at 12 weeks. From there, just maintain and peak for the big day.
Why? Often final dress alterations are about a month out (4 weeks), which allows a 12-week transformation phase. It also minimise stress about body composition - theoretically, at least - as the event gets closer. Last-minute starvation diets will only ever cause trouble!
Should I know about dress alteration timesframes? Probably not.
Bonus: Very few train harder than a bride-to-be!
Most are working full-time and many studying part-time as well (usually online). While hours are long and commitments important, training at a consistent time is usually achievable.
Work travel is infrequent, but these clients are often interstate during the weekend.
The study commitments and weekend travel can be mitigated with a training program that is built upon weekday sessions. When available, an additional weekend training session can be completed, which may be every fortnight or so.
This allows a solid training routine that can deliver body composition goals while still being able to travel.
3-4 training sessions per week. For personal training clients, three of these sessions are supervised in the gym, whilst the fourth might be a cardio session, circuit-style resistance training, exercise class or walk/ride (ie. around the lake).
Some clients like to do GRIT Strength or spin clasess, particularly as these sessions can be done with other friends.
This will vary for the individual, but here is an example of a training session for a intermediate-level trainee in the gym three times per week. The emphasis is on technique and introducing a range of movements (hinge, squat, press, pull).
Since the young female clients that I work with have moderate-high level training experience, we are usually moving directly into barbell training and metabolic conditioning.
- Front squat - 5 x 10-12 with 75s rest
- Romanian deadlift/terminal knee extension - 4 x 8/10 with 75s rest
- Bulgarian split squat/RKC plank - 3-4 x 10/40-60s with 90s rest
- Step up/ball slam - 3 x 8-12/6-10 with 60s rest
- Row - intervals or steady-state, depending on fatigue and how long training for.
- Standing DB press/band pull apart - 5 x 8/10 with 90s rest
- DB chest press/face-pull - 4 x 10/10 with 70s rest
- Snatch-grip high pull/seated lateral raise - 3-4 x 8-12/8-10 with 90s rest
- Ring inverted row/DB row - 3 x 8/12 with 60s rest
- Conditioning: bike/row - steady state
- Deadlift - 5 x 8 with 60s rest
- Chin up - 4 x 4-6
- Walking lunge - 3 x 12
- Conditioning: modified strongman - sleds, carries, slams, rows, press, core, etc
- Start with a low-volume and build up from there
- Intermediate-advanced trainees respond well to strength goals, particularly on accessory exercises.
- Maintain form under fatigue better than young male clients.
TYPICAL MEAL INTAKE
This is very general advice and is not personalised.
The main goal is to get a consistent intake and avoid skipping meals.
Big energy intake overloads tend to be related to social events - brunch, dinners, and nights out. Most stick to a nutrition plan quite well during the week, which gives some freedom on the weekend.
If progress halts, these meals might need to be altered. However, that will only occur if the client want to progress to the next level and they would be reasonably lean at this point (which is often the end goal).
Accurate nutrition reporting or simply recall is an important component for such occasion. Fostering accuracy and trust is the role of the trainer, not the client. If you berate a client every time they deviate from 'the plan', I can assure you they won't be upfront and honest with you ever again. Simply take the information on board and move on.
Breakfast: yoghurt, oats and berries
Snack: fruit & nuts OR smoothie
Lunch: grilled chicken wrap
Dinner: lean meat, vegetables
For those unfamiliar with hyperpalatable foods , you might like to read this article on Trigger Meals & Hyperpalatable Foods.
During a program, we seek to identify hyperpalatable foods and manage their intake.
Common hyperpalatable foods for these clients are biscuits, chocolate, and lollies, nothing dissimilar to other client groups. Since these clients rarely have children that need to occasionally bribed, snacking on these foods can often by avoided by not purchasing them.
The need for such meals depends on the individual. Most plans are quite flexible and therefore do not need dedicated breaks.
As mentioned above, the off-the-plan meals tend to be weekend brunches, lunches and evenings. These meals are the cheat/flexible meals that suit these clients and their goals.
Chai lattes (up to 400kcal per serve) are a common calorie bomb that we may need to diffuse. Most people have no idea about the energy content and are happy to switch them up when they realise.
Adding sugar to coffee is an issue, particularly for those with a high coffee intake (4-6 per day; the most I have seen is 8!). Switching to a Stevia or low-energy option is a good place to start. It's easier to limit sugar while maintaining caffeine then it is to cut both at the same time. Read: The Control & Variable Approach.
I have never advised anyone to cut their caffeine intake, but have developed strategies for those who have decided they want to decrease it. The approach we have used to to wave-load (usually associated with training) coffee intake.
Example: someone drinking six coffees per day and wanting to reduce intake to two. Most consider cutting to five coffees per day, then four coffees per day, and so on, will be the most-effective method. Wave-loading might go 6,5,5,6,5,5,4 for the first seven days- incrementally decreasing the overall intake. I did not invent this idea - I heard it at a Phil Learney seminar, in London - in reference to helping a client quit smoking.
Intake is often infrequent (1-3 time per month) but of a high volume (4-8+ drinks). Cutting down this intake and having a limit can be useful, however, this is very individualised.
Initially, we rarely change alcohol intake and allow results come from training and nutrition. If results begin to plateau after a few months, the alteration of alcohol intake might be considered.
In saying that, abstaining from alcohol during a transformation phase is a popular option. Since intake is mostly infrequent, it seems to be relatively easy for this client to do so.
With a full-time job and study, many people don't mind getting their Sunday's back and improving body composition at the same time!
Whey protein powder is usually consumed post-workout, after three months of training.
Creatine is also popular once goal body fat has been achieved, and we move into a muscle-building phase.
Fat burners and/or thermogenic boosters are sometimes being taken or considered, but we do not use these supplements. The active ingredient tends to be caffeine (give you energy) and maybe some nootropics (make you feel good). A supplement that makes you feel good and gives you energy will always be popular with someone in an energy deficit, but it won't make you burn significantly more energy or fat.
We often use a meal delivery service to provide lunches and sometimes afternoon snacks. These are cost-effective (less than a cafe/fast-food meal), simple and healthy. Also, I can pick them and send them straight to their workplace or home!
Most are sleeping pretty well, if not slightly erratically.
In the older clients (previous two articles), they will get up at the same time every day, whether they are training at 5:45am or not. The younger clients tend to get up early for training, but sleep in more on other days (fair enough).
They would probably feel a bit better if the woke up at the same time every day, but I understand that if you have nothing scheduled, why would you want to rise at 5:00am...
I have worked with a number of outstanding young adult female clients who have optimised their body composition while managing busy jobs, studying and a social life. These clients tend to find our services online, either via social media, or via some articles in women's fitness magazines.
Most of these clients want to get a bit stronger, leaner and train effectively. Our role is to create a training and nutrition plan that is appropriate for their goals and experience, and then delivers results which feedback into the motivation to continue training.
Due to the previous experience in training, we can push some more advanced training protocols and support them with correct nutrition. Working out what suits an individual for body composition changes long-term is rewarding and provides great value for their investment.