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5 Tips for Personal Training Clients Going Through Menopause

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Being a personal trainer for those during menopause can be tough to navigate. If you’ve been presented with this challenge, our tips will help you be as supportive and effective as possible!

Before we start, as well as being a Level 3 personal trainer you can boost your expertise with other qualifications.

Our other personal trainer courses, such as our Level 4 nutrition course, will give you the added skills and knowledge to help with a whole range of menopausal symptoms using exercise.

You can find out more by downloading our free course prospectus which has details of all of the courses we offer here at OriGym!

Key Information for Personal Trainers Working with Menopausal Clients

Before you get to our tips for being a menopause personal trainer, we’ll run through some of the terminology you’ll need to know.

There’s different stages you’ll need to be aware of if you’re going to be a personal trainer for throughout the menopause. These stages are:

  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • Postmenopause

We’ll briefly look at how each of these stages, and their symptoms, can affect exercise. Then you’ll better understand what your client is experiencing and be able to train them safely and effectively. 

What Does Perimenopause Mean? 

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If you’re a personal trainer for those before, during, and after menopause, you won’t just be personal training older clients like you might think.

Some people can start to experience perimenopausal symptoms as early as their 30s and as late as their 50s. 

This stage is sometimes referred to as the ‘menopause transition’ and is when the ovaries start producing less hormones and, as a result, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular.

 

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They can still get pregnant and may be in this stage for several years or just a short time.

When you do an initial consultation with your perimenopausal client you should ask about the symptoms they’re experiencing. These may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Changing cholesterol levels
  • Bone density loss

If your client is going through this transitional stage of the menopause, as a personal trainer your programme will be shaped by these symptoms.

For example, if your client is experiencing bone density loss you want to be careful about the kind of strength training you use.

Cardio will help combat the negative effects of higher bad cholesterol levels, for the heart, but can sometimes increase the risk of hot flashes, so this will differ from client to client.

What Does Menopause Mean?

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This is when someone has had their final menstrual period. This will only be certain when somebody hasn’t had a period for 12 months. Symptoms will usually ensue for that period and beyond.

This marks the end of someone’s menstrual cycles and ability to get pregnant.

This is also usually when symptoms will be most intense. The length of time will differ from person to person but the average is around 4 years. 

The other symptoms you should be aware of if you’re a personal trainer during menopause include: 

  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism
  • Brain fog
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle aches and joint pains

Exercise can help reduce some of these symptoms. For example, recent scientific research suggests that exercise helps with hot flashes as it:

  • Improves cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Reduces cutaneous vasodilation (blood flow to the skin bringing heat from core to the surface)
  • Improves cerebral blood flow (blood flow to the brain, which is reduced during a hot flash)

Clients going through menopause should have a personal trainer that can choose exercises to alleviate symptoms rather than exacerbate them. 

This can be a delicate balance so the more details about their experience you know, and the better your communication, the better your programme will be.

What Does Postmenopause Mean? 

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People will also need personal training after they are menopausal, when they enter into the postmenopausal phase. 

This is when somebody has reached the 12 month mark from their final period. Then they’re classed as postmenopausal. 

There’s increased risks of certain long term health conditions at this stage. If you’re a personal trainer for menopausal clients you should be aware of the increased risk of: 

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart Disease

Being aware of these conditions will mean you can tailor your programme to factor in how exercise may aggravate them.

For example, if your client reveals in their Par-Q that they’re suffering from osteoporosis, you can work with them and their healthcare professional to provide a programme that’s low impact. 

5 Tips for Personal Training Clients Going Through Menopause 

#1 Show Sensitivity When You’re a Personal Trainer for Menopausal Clients 

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If you’ve got a longstanding client as a personal trainer, you may be there for the menopause transition into some of the more severe symptoms of the later stages.

It’s incredibly important to remain sensitive to a client's individual experiences during this time, considering their mental and emotional state as well as the physical.

Being sensitive and compassionate will not only help your client to feel supported but will keep dialogue open and help you to get the best results.

There’s several important things you should be aware of when you’re a personal trainer for menopausal clients

Give Your Menopausal Clients Privacy

Though you’ll need to know some details about their physical and mental condition, as well as any symptoms they may be experiencing, you should be mindful of people’s privacy.

You can only work on what people are willing to share with you! One of the signs of a bad personal trainer is not respecting clients’ boundaries.

The best thing you can do is focus on rapport building as a PT and maintain an open dialogue so they feel comfortable sharing with you anything that will affect training. 

 

The most immediate risks will be revealed during the Par-Q form so you can train safely whilst you’re building a connection with your client and they share more with you.

Be Compassionate With Your Menopausal Clients

Compassion is another one of the best personal trainer qualities to foster because you want to make your clients feel heard and supported.

By doing this you’ll be showing your client that you understand some of the more emotional symptoms of menopause and build on the open dialogue you’ve established.

In your personal trainers sessions your clients may experience some of the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Frustration towards physical symptoms
  • Frustration towards decreased ability on a particular day

Being aware of this and making sure you offer words of support, encouragement, and offer the opportunity to stop if your client should feel comfortable, will help your professional relationship.

Another important thing to remember is how this can affect your sessions specifically, and the need to be adaptable as a result. We’ll touch on this in a little more detail now!

#2 Be Adaptable as a Personal Trainer for Menopausal Clients

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Another thing to remember if you’re working with clients going through menopause is that their condition and symptoms can change very quickly.

It may be that what they were capable of in one session isn’t matched in the next. This will often be nothing to do with their fitness levels but due to:

  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Fatigue due to sleeping issues the night before
  • A hot flash comes on

This is why you should be adaptable as a personal trainer for your menopausal clients. It will build on your compassion and sensitivity to make them feel supported in sessions.

Having a good relationship with your clients will mean they’re more likely to provide personal trainer testimonials too, which you can use to promote your services!

One way that you can do this is to have ideas of how you can modify the exercises in the session to be easier for your client.

 

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This could mean removing equipment in order to modify exercises or switching from cardio to flexibility training so that the session is gentler for your client.

You can include plenty of breaks too and take every opportunity to be encouraging. You can still make sure they get a good workout without compromising their confidence in the process!

#3 Get Qualified in Nutrition for Training Menopausal Clients 

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Next on our list of tips for personal training menopausal clients is to boost your expertise with further qualifications.

One of the best Level 4 personal trainer courses you can invest in to enhance your sessions is a sports nutrition course.

Combining diet and exercise is especially important if you’re a personal trainer with menopausal clients because of the weight gain that can happen during the menopause and postmenopause stages.

Not only will client’s weight typically fluctuate during this time, the health risks associated can be alleviated much more effectively with broader lifestyle changes.

As part of OriGym’s course you’ll learn about the link between disease and diet, helping to support clients when they’re at higher risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

You’ll also learn about the hydration and nutritional requirements at different life stages, helping to deepen your understanding of this stage of a client’s life and develop applicable nutritionist skills.

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Having a qualification like ours will mean that you can offer a more well-rounded service and help your clients to make lifestyle changes that will see long term results.

For instance, there’s now plenty of scientific research to suggest healthy eating benefits mood and mental health as well as physical wellbeing.

Offering a range of services as a personal trainer for menopausal clients will mean you can charge more, see longer term results, and through this build a reputation for success!

This is exactly what Dr. Wendy Sweet does with My Menopause Transformation, combining nutritional advice with training to transform people’s symptoms and lives:

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Her testimonials speak to the results you can see when you develop nutritionist skills as a personal trainer:

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For during the menopause and post-menopause stage you can help clients alleviate symptoms and gain these incredible testimonials for yourself!

However, it’s important to remember you’re limited on the kind of advice you can give. As a sports nutritionist, without a degree, you can only suggest rather than give diet plans.

The only people who can prescribe diet plans are dieticians. The difference between a nutritionist and a dietician is that the latter is a term protected by law, giving them these added responsibilities.

You can advise and suggest if you become a sports nutritionist though; you just need to be careful of the language you use. 

You should phrase things in the following way:

I would recommend you eat plenty of oily fish for Omega oils. These can help with mood and lowering your cholesterol"

My advice is to try to eat more broccoli. You absorb a lot of calcium from this and it may help strengthen your bones

You can make these suggestions and give healthy eating tips without designing a bespoke diet plan, pointing people towards scientific research for more information. 

#4 Include a Strength Training Programme for During Menopause

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When you’re designing a programme for menopausal clients you should include plenty of strength exercises. 

If you’re safe and thorough, including strength and resistance training in your programmes will help with several of the symptoms we’ve already mentioned.

One of the best ways to do this is with a weight training programme for before or during menopause. This is when some of the symptoms start, like bone density loss, that could turn into more serious health conditions.

This is why it’s especially good as a preventative measure but scientific research from a university department has also shown improvement in bone density in postmenopausal women.

Another one of the benefits of strength training is helping clients maintain weight loss. Not only is this great for the client but will mean you can use transformation photos to market your services! 

Other exercises you can include in your strength training programme during menopause include: 

You should always make sure you do this after you’ve thoroughly discussed your client’s experience and any health concerns associated with their menopausal symptoms.

Fitness companies like Lean, shown below, will use details of these workouts to promote their services and attract new clients:

lean example strength training for menopause image

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So, as you can see, these exercises can be hugely successful. Designing a strength programme for during menopause will show your clients you’re catering to their exact needs!

#5 Include Plenty of Pelvic Floor Exercises 

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First on our list of tips for training menopausal clients is to include exercises that will strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.

This is because one of the symptoms of the menopausal stage is an increasing weakening of these muscles.

This can contribute to incontinence issues with people as well as decreased sensation during intercourse. 

These will become most prevalent during menopause and postmenopause so it’s an important feature of your programme as a personal trainer for any menopausal clients. 

One of the best exercises you can do with clients for this are hip thrusts. Depending on the strength of clients, and their joints or bone density, you can include a kettlebell or medicine ball to intensify the exercise.

You can check out instructional videos like this one for ideas and inspiration on OriGym’s YouTube channel: 

You can also instruct clients how to do kegel exercises at home with resources like this one from the NHS.

Before You Go!

That concludes our list of tips for any personal trainer for with those through each menopause stage!

Hopefully now you know how to adjust your training to help people throughout each part of the menopausal experience, helping to alleviate symptoms and boost their confidence!

Don’t forget to check our OriGym’s Level 4 personal trainer courses to enhance your training and deepen your knowledge!

You can also download our full free course prospectus for details of all of our personal trainer courses.


Written by Jessie Florence Jones

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has been doing religiously over lockdown.

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