As a personal trainer, your job is far more than just getting people moving! Your task is to ensure that people are moving the right way. To do this, you’ll need to ask a few questions whenever you engage with a new client. These questions are intended to make sure that everything you plan to do will benefit rather than hurt your client.
1. Medications and Prescriptions
One of the first things you’ll need to know when creating a meaningful exercise plan is if your client takes any medications. Some medications may prevent your client from engaging in certain activities or may present unnecessary risks when attempting certain exercises. Moreover, the side effects of some medications (such as dizziness or shortness of breath) may make certain routines unnecessarily difficult.
Some of the medication-related questions you should make sure to ask new clients include:
- Do you take any blood thinners?
- Do any of the medications you take cause concerning side effects, such as dizziness?
- Do you frequently use any over-the-counter medications?
These questions may even help you solve problems that the client is trying to address. Some medications cause weight gain as a side effect and knowing this information can be a critical first step to helping a client obtain their ideal body weight.
2. Existing Health Conditions
In addition to knowing what medications your client takes, it’s important to know if your client has certain health conditions. Many pre-existing conditions will require you to edit your “usual” routine to fit a client’s individual needs. Moreover, depending upon the client’s goals, you may need to work around their limitations.
Some of the health-related questions you should ask your clients include:
- Do you or your family members have a history of cardiac disease?
- Do you have any conditions that are exacerbated by exercise, such as asthma?
- Do you have any conditions that may cause pain when exercising, such as arthritis?
3. Personal Goals
Another essential part of the welcoming process for new clients is getting to know their goals. When people are hiring a personal trainer, they are doing so for a reason. They want something, and identifying their goal is crucial to your success as a personal trainer.
“What outcomes are you looking to experience as a result of your exercise program?” is a question that is sure to have many answers. Some of the most common reasons for hiring a personal trainer include:
- Losing weight
- Getting in shape
- Improving lifestyle
- Staying active
- Aging gracefully
Once you’ve assessed a client’s goals and potential limitations to their exercise routine, it’s time to start digging into the issue. Everyone has a certain lifestyle, and this may impact a person’s ability to fully engage in your carefully formulated fitness plan.
When it comes to your client’s personal habits, the most important questions you’ll want to ask are:
- Do you smoke? If so, how frequently?
- What type of exercise program are you currently participating in?
- How often do you exercise at home?
- Are all aspects of your workout (where, how long, what time etc.) completely up to you or is there someone or something else I need to consider when designing your program?
Another critical part of a client’s lifestyle assessment should be to ascertain their normal diet. Depending on how a client answers these questions, it may be necessary to refer them to the Australian Eat For Health Dietary Guidelines. The important thing is to help them become more conscious of their own eating habits. While there are many ways to approach this topic, some of the questions you can ask include:
- What sort of food do you eat at home?
- How often do you eat, and what are your portion sizes?
- Do you frequently eat out?
- How often do you cook at home?
The basic reality of any personal trainer’s job is that the majority of their success depends on their clients. When choosing people to work with and mentor, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of how dedicated they are to their routine. Some people are not truly ready to begin their journey, and that hesitancy may impact your overall client success.
When you’re expanding your client base, be sure to assess each client’s individual devotion to their mission. Some of the questions you can pose to gage this are:
- Have you tried and failed previous courses or routines?
- How much time per day are you willing to participate in activities that augment your training goals (e.g. daily walks, using the stairs, home routine)?
- Will you be able to adapt your daily routine to fit any exercises I may give you?
Ask What You Need
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to provide your clients with a plan that fulfils their needs and reaches their goals. While the questions here are useful, they’re not all-inclusive! There may be questions that you think of that should also be added to your intake checklist.
Regardless of what questions you ask, it’s your responsibility to craft memorable and successful routines for your clients. PT Academy can help you navigate the rapidly evolving world of fitness with our certification and continuing education courses.