Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Sometimes those tired ol’ clichés make a compelling case. If you’re turning up to your PT sessions with no real programme in place, chances are your clients are not going to be sticking around for long. But how best to assemble a plan in the first place? Could your practice benefit from any of these 5 tips?
1) What are your clients’ goals?
When you begin to pen your client’s programme, this question should be right at the forefront of your thinking. You’ve got to start with the individual. Establishing someone’s goals is not always straightforward process mind. There may be embarrassment about weight loss, perhaps a lack of belief in their own abilities – barriers to the truth in other words. It is the job of a conscientious trainer to help clients map their goals out clearly. If you struggle on this front, look no further than the PT-school classic SMART guide. Their goals have got to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and should all come with a timeframe attached.
2) Understand your client’s level of ability
As much as a client might want a body like a Victoria Secret model or abs that would make Peter Andre blush, you’ve got to be honest and realistic with them. If you go promising the world, it’s you who’ll take it in the neck when their efforts fail to bear fruit. Or a 6 pack. This will also stop you de-motivating your client by giving them workouts that are as likely to break their spirits as well as their backs. Clients that are able to perform (at least to some extent) the exercises you challenge them with are far more likely to stick around.
3) What have you missed?
Casting an eye back over your programme once you’ve got it all mapped out is an incredibly valuable process. Have you factored in the client’s reasons for seeking out your services in the first place? Injuries, major muscle groups, personal preferences – there are plenty of points that you need to ensure that you’re regularly addressing. A process of continual review will also help you to quickly realise what is and isn’t working.
4) Likes & dislikes of the client
It can be tough working with clients whose exercise baseline is complete aversion. We’ve all been there, where every rep is a chore, each new exercise greeted with a fresh whinge. Help yourself in this situation by opening up a dialogue with your client. What is it they don’t like about a certain exercise? What is it they do like about others? By profiling their interests this way, you’re in with a shot of a) putting an end to the moaning and b) making your job/life a lot easier in the process.
5) Research, research, research
The internet is now host to overwhelming amounts of information about new, interesting and challenging exercises. This means there is no longer any excuse for boring clients to tears with insipid workouts. Variety serves another purpose beyond keeping the client interested and therefore paying for the privilege, it’ll also help them to avoid encountering those dreaded fitness plateaus.
MotivatePT’s EXAMPLE of a Session Plan
Full Body Workout
Circuit 1, 15 Reps, 3 Sets
- Dumbbell Goblet Squat
- Deadlift with Back Row
- Bridge with Chest Press
Circuit 2, 15 Reps, 3 Sets
- Dumbbell Wood Chop
- Dumbbell Reverse Fly
- Lunge with Shoulder Press
Circuit 3, 15 Reps, 3 Sets
- Side Lunge with Bicep Curl
- Clean & Press
- Overhead Reach