Many women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and it is important for personal trainers to have a wide knowledge of the subject so that we can help.
To be informed is to be professional and caring. If we want to make our personal training count we need to be aware of everything that affects our client’s health and wellbeing.
Clients who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
I first became aware of the syndrome when one of my clients told me they had severe PCOS and I realised I didn’t really know what it was. I asked her to tell me more. Unfortunately, she couldn’t provide me with much information. She was only able to tell me about her symptoms and at the time she was not sure if she should exercise at all.
Being a passionate personal trainer, these words hurt me and I decided to analyse existing data and medical research. I also asked other professionals for help.
Learning about the syndrome helped my client to improve her health and mental state. It is vital that other personal trainers are able to offer a service tailored to the needs of their clients, and learning more about PCOS is a great way to do so.
PCOS is a set of symptoms that occur as a result of elevated androgens (male hormones) in females. The symptoms can include – irregular periods, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant, patches of velvety darker skin.
PCOS is one of the most common endocrine disorders among women between 18-44 years old and it effects around 20% of these women. It’s one of the leading cause of infertility. PCOS can be caused by genetic and lifestyle factors. PCOS has no cure, but it can be treated by changing lifestyle – losing weight in particularly is important for those who are planning to get pregnant.
Exercising and healthy eating is vital for all females who are suffering with PCOS. That is why it is important for every fitness professional to get more familiar with this syndrome in order to maximize results for their clients.
Exercise for clients with PCOS
Even though there is no cure for PCOS, exercise and a healthy diet can help you restore normal function of the ovaries and result in normal hormone production. It’s important to understand that changes are not going to happen overnight.
Exercising and changing a client’s diet is going to improve every aspect of their lives. Latest studies conducted in Brazil in 2017 have shown that any type of exercise is good for PCOS. Earlier in the 21st Century scientists were sure that the best type of exercise for PCOS was aerobics. However, recent studies have shown that not only do low and high intensity aerobics make a huge impact but progressive resistance training combined with aerobics has also been effective.
These kind of exercise regimes have resulted in reduced body fat, more regular periods, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced serum testosterone concentration.
Personal Trainers can help clients with PCOS
It is important to understand that every person is different and that patience and encouraging motivation is really important.
Here are the things you can do to help:
1. Explain the benefits of training
2. Encourage motivation
3. Be patient
Taking on the responsibility will provide you with a valuable personal training experience. It as an opportunity to learn something new and help someone.
What to Expect Whilst Training Clients with PCOS
The latest studies have shown that regular exercise improves cardiorespiratory fitness and HRQL in the following domains: physical-functioning, general health, and mental health. Exercise has decreased BMI, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol level.
Unfortunately, when we are talking about fat loss the news is not great. We have to be careful what we are promising to our PCOS clients. A 12-week exercise intervention in overweight and obese women with and without polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) showed that women with PCOS had 3 times less body fat reduction than women without it.
Personal trainers must contend not only with diets and the body but also with mental wellbeing. Training clients with PCOS can be mentally challenging. Many who have this syndrome tend to be depressed and lack motivation. Patience is the key. From my personal experience as well as medical research, PCOS clients have shown amazing personal growth through exercise.
Conclusion on training clients with PCOS
I want this article to make a difference and ensure that the understanding of PCOS grows so that women across the world are able to feel comfortable and motivated.
Hopefully the above advice helps PTs when training with clients who have PCOS.
You should now be able to detect PCOS and give your client the required assistance.
About the Author:
Justina Triasovaite is a certified female personal trainer in London and also runs justinatraining.com, a site with useful information for those who are interested in general fitness and body transformation. A committed health and fitness fanatic, Justina is very passionate about helping people transform their lives. Learn more fitness tips and follow her journey on Justina Fitness Training or her Instagram account, @justinatraining.