Understanding Clients on a Deeper Level as a Personal Trainer

deeper level

By Daniel Giasson

Marc was getting ready to welcome Esther into the gym for her first training session.  As a personal trainer, he met Esther a week ago when she registered to Free Form Fitness.  Marc had since performed an assessment of her physical condition and had shared a good conversation with Esther.  He believed he had a thorough understanding of her goals and expectations in entering a fitness program.

Marc’s assessment of Esther was that she was a determined, high-energy woman who was looking for a training regimen as a means to reduce stress and maintain peak performance at work.  Esther was in her mid-30’s and was working as an account manager in a fast-growing IT start-up.  She was in good physical condition and while she had eluded to carrying a few pounds too many in her interview, Marc felt that with the fitness program he had designed, along with a nutrition plan, Esther would easily lose the extra weight.  Esther was an accomplished runner, which indicated an ability to follow a regular exercise plan. What struck Marc the most however, was Esther’s confidence.  In the interview, she came across as someone who knew what she wanted.  She was articulate. She had performed a thorough research of fitness centers in the region and told Marc she had selected Free Form Fitness based on a number of criteria such as reputation, proximity to her work place and references obtained from clients.

Marc was at the door of the gym, ready to welcome Esther.

Esther, entering the gym:

“Oh my God, what am I doing here?  I am scared to death!  Where did I get this crazy idea to join a gym? I must have been out of my mind!  Look at this trainer. He is fit and confident.  What will he be thinking of me? What will the other clients think of me? I am fat and totally out of shape! I will be laughed out of this place in three minutes flat!  I am not good at interacting with people. It took me long enough to get a handle on my job, I have to do this again here.  When I run, I am by myself and I feel secure and in control. Not here! And to think that I wanted to join FFF to reduce stress.  I am stressed out just passing the door! And I would have preferred being trained by a woman but if I ask, they will think I am being difficult.

This story is fictional.  But could it be a true story?  Let’s think about it for a while.  As a personal trainer, you are expected to perform the best assessment possible about the people you will train.  Yet, the main tools you have available to get to know a client are a physical test and a conversation before you start a fitness program.  Nothing wrong with these tools by the way; they are the ones you have at your disposal when meeting new clients. But the point is: you do not know your client at all yet!  You are forming an opinion based on partial, incomplete information.  Not only that, but it is information that the client chose to give you. It may not reflect how the client feels or what their true expectations are.  It is only through keen, recorded observation, inquisitive and respectful questioning, and time, that you will develop a deeper understanding of your clients’ needs and will therefore be able to shape the most effective training program for them.

You have chosen a profession as a personal trainer.  There is a very important word here – “personal”. You have a responsibility to understand clients at a deeper level.  Free Form Academy will show you how to establish genuine rapport with your clients, which will translate into a truly transformational experience for them.

Sign up for our free 5 day mini course