Personal Trainer Notes: How to Interview a Client
As a newly qualified personal trainer, you need to search for some clients. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not merely a case of going to the gym and training someone. Even if they come to you and ask for your help, you shouldn’t just jump straight in!
Instead, you need to interview all of your clients before you start training them. Why? Because this helps you get to know each client and understand their specific goals. As a result, you’re in the best position to create a training plan that’s tailored for them.
So, bearing that in mind, here’s how should interview all of your clients:
Ask about their medical history
The first step is getting to know more about their medical history. This will inform you of any underlying medical conditions they might be suffering from. You should ask them if they suffer from any problems - with specific mentions for things like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. If a client has a medical condition, then it could impact the way you train them and the things they can do.
Also, you should ask about any medication that they’re on as well. If you’re going to start recommending supplements, then they might interfere with certain types of medication. So, it’s safe to know if your client takes medication or is on a specific prescription.
You could also ask about any injuries they might have suffered from as this can help you see if they’re at risk of getting the same injuries over and over again. For example, if you ask about this and a client says they keep getting shoulder injuries that come and go, then you know that’s a problem area that should be addressed before you move forward.
Ask them if they smoke or drink alcohol
This line of questioning blends in with the ones about their medical history in that you want to know more about their physical health. If a client smokes a lot or is guilty of drinking quite regularly, then it could explain specific issues they may be facing.
As an example, if they’re overweight and complain that nothing they do helps them lose weight, then this question could point the finger at alcohol. If you find that they drink a lot every weekend, then this is something they should cut down on to prevent excessive calorie consumption that leads to weight gain.
Ask about their job
It might not seem very significant, but a client’s job can play a big role in the type of training plan you put them on. If it transpires that they have a desk job where they’re mostly inactive during the day, then you know your job is to try and make them more active. Plus, jobs that involve lots of sitting can cause postural problems that you might want to address as part of your training plan.
Ask them how often they exercise/what their experience is in the gym
You need to know how experienced your clients are with regards to exercising and working out. This plays such an essential role in how you create training plans and the different things you get them to do. Clients with zero experience who never exercise will need different plans to ones with plenty of experience. It determines how detailed you need to be when explaining things, the exercises you introduce, and so on.
Ask them if they go to the gym, and how often they go each week. Ask if they play any sports or if they do any other form of exercise. This is also another way of figuring out what might be causing their problems. If someone is overweight but does no exercise, then you instantly know that they could see improvements if they started exercising.
Ask them about their diet
As a personal trainer, you have to talk to your clients about nutrition. You can be an amazing personal trainer with a certificate 3 and 4 in fitness, but if your clients aren’t eating correctly, then all your work will be for nothing.
Ask them what they eat on a daily basis, and this gives an indication of how well their nutrition plan currently looks. You will learn so much from this as it can show you why someone is complaining about a lack of results despite exercising regularly and being in good health. If their diet isn’t in check, they’ll never get to where they want to be!
Plus, this helps you think about different nutrition plans and guidance to give each individual. If you find someone is eating far too much sugar, then you can advise them to cut down. If someone isn’t eating enough, then you can encourage them to eat more calorific foods so they can actually put on weight and muscle mass.
Ask them what their goals are
We’ve saved the most important question for last; what are your client’s goals? A personal trainer can’t do their job if they don’t know what the client wants to achieve. Do they want to lose weight? Are they hoping to build muscle? Do they want to improve their strength gains?
We all have different fitness goals, and there are different ways of achieving them. So, you have to ask them what they want to accomplish after training with you. Not only that, but you have to know when they want to meet them. Some clients might have a specific timeframe to work in - for example, they have a wedding in 6 months and want to lose weight.
By understanding their goals and when they want to achieve them, you can develop a personalised training plan that is focused on these aims.
The bottom line is that you need to be pretty extensive with your client interviews. You have to know why they’re coming to you; what do they want? You also need to know more about them and their lifestyle/health.
Understanding all of this will help you be a better personal trainer to them because you can create plans that are ideal for each individual client.