When a client signs up for personal training sessions with you, what do you do in their very first session?
Do you do a bit of cardio, then weights?
Maybe you spend some time doing assessments before going into a session?
or maybe a combo of all the above!
There are lots of things that you can do, but here’s what i’d recommend and what has worked for my business LEP Fitness over the last 6/7 years.
Side Note: This advice is for personal trainers working with your everyday gym goer (not professional athletes or bodybuilders!) it’s for trainers coaching people who haver limited knowledge and not much training experience….
What Not To Do…
Before we look at what we should do in your clients first personal training session let’s take a look at WHAT NOT TO DO!
DON’T Take ‘Before’ Pictures and DON’T Take Your Clients Weight…
I’m a huge fan of measurements, weight, fitness tests, before and after pictures, etc.
Especially with pictures, I believe all personal trainers should be taking ‘before’ pictures of their clients, especially if you’re a fat loss coach or muscle building trainer. Anybody who’s looking to improve their image, lose weight, enhance shape, etc needs to see visual results, and taking photos are the best way to see progress.
That said, I don’t believe these assessments should be taken on the very first session, because it can be embarrassing/intimidating for clients to 1) have pictures taken and 2) to hop on a scale and have you look at their weight. They know they’re overweight do you need to point that out straight away!
Instead your first sessions should be used to…
#1 Build rapport with client
Make them feel comfortable in your presence, and give them words of encouragement.
#2 Assess fitness
Don’t be a military sergeant and run your clients into the ground straight away! Instead give them small fitness challenges to do and assess where their current level of fitness is at. You can obtain a lot of information from the first workout and then in your next session you’ll be better equipped to know what to do with them and how hard to push.
#3 Reassure them
Let them know that they are doing really well, for example…”great squat!” or “well done for completing that set”. Let them know that it’s normal to feel slightly tired and out of breathe and to assure them that they will feel much better after the session.
#4 Explain the process
In between exercises, and sets explain how things are going to happen over the next few sessions i.e. today we are looking at your general fitness, next session we will take some measurements (weight, inches, and pictures) and also complete a fitness test, and then on session 3 we will start working on the program I design for you, which is based on improving the areas we need to focus on at this moment in time. Let your clients know what you plan to do and put it into Laymans terms (do not use fancy anatomy lingo that they cannot understand!)
#5 Obtain Feedback
When you finish the session ask your client for feedback:
Did you enjoy the session? yes/no. Why or why not?
What did you learn? you should be teaching your clients not just counting reps! ask them for 1-2 things that they learned during their first personal training session.
Your job as a coach is to gather information about your client, listen to what they say, the feedback they give – you can learn a lot by listening. As time goes on you’ll know what approach to take with each client and your results will be better.
#6 Home Work
Give them something to do outside of your session. For example ask them to bring a bottle of water to the next session, keep a food diary, or go for a 30 minute walk the next day, it should be a small goal and something that’s obtainable for your client. It’s no use asking them to run a marathon and start living off chicken, broccoli and rice! lol (still amazes me how many coaches put beginner clients on programmes like this!). You need to start building up the confidence of your client, and get them to make small, sustainable changes.
Thanks for reading,
If you’re a personal trainer and want more help then why not check out the other FREE PT articles on my site