As your clients’ trainer, it’s your job to provide them with a plan that will help them reach their goals. Please note that these questions do not cover everything, but it’s a good place to start!
While these questions will certainly help you in the development of a customized plan for your client, it is your responsibility to create a specialized and helpful routine for your client. The first step to understanding how to create these plans is to get educated and certified.
One of the first things that you need to understand about your client is their level of dedication. The reality of being a personal trainer is that your clients’ success will largely depend on their work and their dedication. You can create the best plan possible for your client – but at the end of the day it’s their effort that will achieve results.
With this in mind, some of the first questions you should ask your client should be focused on gauging their dedication and devotion to their goals. A few questions to ask:
How much time per day/week are you prepared to give to your training plan and reaching your training goals?
Are you willing and able to adapt your daily life to accommodate exercises I could give you?
Have you ever tried and quit personal training courses or plans in the past?
Regardless if nutrition is part of the plan you are developing for them, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of your client’s diet. This assessment can help you to give them advice on basic adjustments to their dietary lifestyle and to help them understand how much of a role fitness vs. nutrition will play in the pursuit of their goals (depending on the quality of their diet). After all, someone with the worst diet in the world will not be helped too terribly much from exercising 2 hours a day.
A few questions that would help with this assessment:
How often do you eat out?
How often do you prepare your food at home?
When you eat, what are your portion sizes?
Similar to their diet, some lifestyle habits could certainly limit or hinder a client’s ability to reach their goals. It’s important to consider these lifestyle habits when developing your customized fitness plan. A few of the most important questions to ask are:
Do you smoke? If so, how often?
How often do you currently exercise?
How much of your average day are you sitting?
After you have a full picture of your client’s lifestyle, you can begin to see what they hope to achieve with personal training. Your client hired you for a reason, and you need to make sure you are both on the same page about these goals. Identifying their goals is a crucial part of your success as a personal trainer.
"What are you hoping to achieve through working with me?" This is a question that will surely receive many different answers. Some of the common responses to this question might include:
Getting in shape or getting stronger
Weight control of weight loss
Existing Health Conditions
Many health conditions will require you to alter what might be your ‘usual’ routine when developing a client’s plan. It’s important to know what these pre-existing conditions are and also what medications your client takes that could affect their ability to exercise or do certain exercises.
Some health-related questions you should ask your clients might include:
Do you, or any family members, have any conditions that affect your cardiovascular function, such as asthma?
Do you, or any family members, have a history of cardiac issues or disease?
Do you have any past injuries or conditions that cause pain in exercising, such as arthritis?
Medications and Prescriptions
Similar to health conditions, some medications can prevent your client from engaging in certain activities or could bring unnecessary risk when attempting certain exercises. Further, some medications may have side effects (such as shortness of breath) that could certainly make some activities difficult to do.
Some specific medication-related questions you should ask clients include:
Do you take any medications that have side effects, such as shortness of breath or dizziness?
Do you frequently use any over-the-counter medications?
Do you take any blood thinners?
Remember, these questions will just scratch the surface of getting familiar with the specific needs and circumstances of your client. To best know how to factor your clients’ answers into your plan development, make sure to get educated and certified in personal training!