As fitness professionals our clients vary from the “never worked out a day in my life” to marathon moms and everything in between. The way to maintain as well as increase a client base is providing programs tailored to each individual client’s goals. This can be finishing their first 5k or just having more energy and fewer limitations when playing with their grandchildren. A method in which to achieve this is a thorough preliminary screening and adaptive training sessions.
First off, develop a set of questions that find out about their daily activities, limitations, goals, and family network. A great starter is the standard PAR-Q and risk stratification questionnaires, as well as reviewing their past exercise programs with the FITT principle (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of Exercise). Some of these will give you insight into how they spend their time, but also give you a chance to get to know them more personally. As a trainer you have already experienced the close bond that can develop between you and a client. You hear about their job, families, and their vacations. All of this information can make developing a more tailored fitness plan.
So much can be learned from a client in just an hour. Use this knowledge to make their workouts and them better. For example, if your client spends a few weekends a year hiking and camping with their kids introduce exercises that work on knee and ankle stabilizers to help prevent injury on the trail. Also, shortly before a trip show them stretches to stay limber and in shape while on vacation. When they start to notice that the hour training session with you trickles into better free time with the people they love they’ll look forward to your next bag of tricks.
Don’t’ be afraid to provide them with homework that compliment your training program. The goal of the sessions shouldn’t be to provide them with one or two workouts a week, but to provide them with a plethora of tools to use all week. With that being said, allow for a few different workouts that focus areas of concern, but in a way that keeps it engaging. If they’re heels come up during squats give them stretches that will loosen up their calf muscles.
Finally, ensure baseline measurements are taken in the first session and then again at pre-planned intervals (monthly, quarterly, etc.). Also, track their workouts using a standardized method such as a spreadsheet. This will allow you to show progress at certain predetermined periods of time. Their training sessions are like an investment in themselves and they will love to see how they’re paying off. While each client is different, in a way they are all the same. They want one on one prioritized training that is effective, personalized, and engaging. Every new client you receive brings with them a new set of challenges that will add to your overall ability to assess, address, and improve on your clients’ physical well being. Check out the link to our FITNESS CALCULATOR PAGE.