Despite what social media and fitness DVDs try to tell the masses, fitness trainers and personal trainers know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all fitness plan.
People have different needs, goals, likes, and dislikes when it comes to exercise, just as they do with nearly every lifestyle factor.
When it comes to building a fitness plan for clients, you want them to reach their goals, enjoy them, and feel supported by and around them. You also want it to be realistic – something they can make a part of their daily and weekly plans for months and years to come.
Here are eight areas to explore when creating customized, realistic, and sustainable fitness plans for your clients and some of the leading questions that can help you find the answers.
Things to consider and lead questions to create a personalized fitness plan for your client
Note: As you explore these areas, keep in mind that you should always seek permission before asking about a topic or providing information. You can learn some useful information about shock-appropriate training and motivational interviewing by reading these articles:
Current perceived fitness levels
Evaluate your clients’ fitness levels Important to measure the starting point. Asking different questions can also help you understand their current habits and general lifestyle. For example, if you have a client who says he doesn’t play sports, but is a carpenter or bartender, he does a lot of physical activity as part of his job, which also has a positive effect on their fitness levels.
Depending on your abilities and methods, you may want to take a fitness test to assess cardio, flexibility and strength separately because actual fitness levels may differ from perceived fitness levels. However, it is important to at least ask questions about perceived physical activity and exercise levels.
Here are some key questions that can help you understand the perceived fitness levels of your customers:
- Are you currently exercising?
- Why the type of exercise you are currently doing?
- How long have you been exercising? How do you feel when you exercise?
- How often and for how long do you exercise?
- What is your profession?
- Do you currently do any type of physical activity in your daily life? Some examples might be mowing the lawn, walking the dog, doing housework, or riding a bike to work.
Previous exercise experience
One thing is getting to know your fitness levels, but another thing is getting to know your client’s level Experience and feelings With practice in the past. If your client is open to talking about it, you can ask them if they exercise, go to the gym, or do other types of physical activity, and you can talk about how it made them feel and if they quit and why.
Conversations about previous exercise experience can also help you understand whether they have worked with other trainers or exercise programs in the past and possibly determine whether they feel it has been successful.
Answers to questions that delve into past experience with exercise can help you understand how you can provide them with better support. Avoiding saying or doing things that your client felt that other coaches influenced negatively on, for example, can make all the difference in helping your client feel like they’re on the right track this time around.
Here are some conversation starters that can help you explore this area with your clients:
- What is your history with exercise and physical activity?
- Have you ever played any sports, danced or did other types of exercise in the past?
- How and why did you enter (sport or physical activity)?
- Have you worked with a personal trainer or fitness trainer in the past? If you feel comfortable, tell me about your experience.
- Have you ever taken aerobics classes online or face to face? If you feel comfortable, tell me about your experience.
- how do you feel…
- When are you not exercising?
- Right before exercising?
- during exercise?
- Right after a workout?
- What’s left of the day after exercising?
Likes and dislikes exercise
People have varying feelings regarding exercise. Some people like the whole process or just about any type of exercise—from anticipating to getting ready to sweat and recovering. However, other people don’t like any kind of exercise but do it anyway.
It could also be that they’ve never had a personalized fitness plan for them based on how they want to move. Finding out what they enjoy playing sports and the different types of movement can help you create a personalized routine.
Here are some examples of guiding questions that can help you gain a better understanding of your client’s fitness and dislikes:
- Think about the whole process involved in exercising – anticipating the exercise, preparing, performing the exercise, and recovering from the exercise. What parts do you like the most? Are there parts you don’t like?
- What types of exercise, fitness or exercise routine have you tried in the past? Which one do you like more? What did you like least?
- What do you like the most [your favorite fitness routine]?
- What do you dislike the most about [least favorite fitness routine]?
- What type of movement do you feel most comfortable with?
- Are you comfortable with sweating and difficulty breathing?
- Are you comfortable with less intense exercise?
- Have you ever tried [chose an exercise type or routine you think they might like]? How did you feel? Or would you be open to trying it?
For the client, finding and harnessing the motivation to stay active is vital to incorporating fitness into the priorities of the week. For coaches, helping clients express and understand their true motivations is important to designing a fitness plan that uses those motivations as a starting point.
Here are some questions you can ask to identify and understand what motivates your client to exercise and fitness:
- What prompted you in the past to be active?
- What does not motivate you to exercise?
- On a day when you feel a little tired but hope to exercise, what moves you?
- Is there an image, phrase, or feeling that inspires you to move?
- What would you like to hear or see from me to motivate you?
- I usually do [describe how you usually motivate clients]. Do you think this would help you feel motivated?
Sometimes, clients cannot easily express their motivation for wanting to exercise. In these cases, you can use files motivational interviews Techniques to help your customer dig deeper and find at least one thing that will keep them going.
Overcoming and managing challenges
When exploring how your client might overcome challenges, it is important that they first think about what those challenges are.
- In the past, were there reasons that made you stop doing a routine exercise?
- Think about your daily life. What are the biggest challenges to exercise?
- Are there internal factors (feelings, thoughts, emotions, memories) or external factors (time, irregular schedule, lack of space or resources) that may present a challenge to sticking to a fitness plan?
- How have you overcome these challenges in the past?
- How can I, as a fitness coach, support you in overcoming these challenges as they arise?
- Are there challenges that you feel unrealistic to overcome?
Know that there are challenges that are out of the client’s hands but that may have a real impact on the client’s motivation and ability to exercise regularly. Some of these may include social and cultural factors, such as bullying and discrimination, and environmental factors, such as access to open spaces and sidewalks.
Make sure to adapt your fitness plan to the challenges you identify, considering whether the challenges can be overcome or if they can only be managed.
Past health conditions and injuries
Fitness trainers and personal trainers know that customer perception health conditions And the past injuries Essential for building a secure fitness plan for clients.
Here are some ways you can ask your clients about their health conditions and past injuries:
- Are there any health conditions you would like to disclose?
- Could you be pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Have you ever had injuries in the past?
- Have you fully recovered from your injuries, or are you still recovering?
- Do you feel any pain in your body when you go about your daily activities?
- Are there any exercises or movements that are uncomfortable or cause pain?
Personal fitness goals
Without a doubt, fitness trainers should not overlook why their client comes to them in the first place. Ask your clients about their goals and objectives for their overall fitness journey and their time with you.
- Why did you decide to work with a fitness trainer, or me in particular?
- Is there anything specific that you would like to achieve by adopting the habit of exercising regularly?
- To what extent do you see yourself in the future achieving these goals?
- Once you achieve your goal, what will happen?
Clients sometimes have a hard time making clear their goals. you can use motivational interviews To locate your customer in a chain healthy behavior change, And you can work with your customer to get right mindset Build relevant and realistic goals.
Having time to exercise
Most people do not earn their living through exercise and fitness. They likely won’t have the time to spend three to four hours a day exercising. The fitness plan you design should be in line with its real-time availability.
Keep in mind that when people are excited, they may exceed their available time. When they are nervous or show resistance, they may fail to make the time they have. Do your best to read the situation and check in soon after your customer starts implementing the plan.
- Realistically, how often can you make time for exercise?
- How long do you think you will be able to practice each session?
- Do you have people who can support you with kids, dogs and meals while you exercise?
- Are there any factors that might interfere with your taking this time to exercise? How can you overcome these factors?
- Try to imagine your life three or four months into the future. Has anything changed regarding your time availability? Do you think you would still be able to devote that much time to exercise?
- What would your normal day look like when you exercise?
While reading this list, you might be thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of information to gather before designing a fitness plan.”
While there is a lot of information and it might take a whole session to cover it, the eight areas presented here will provide you with valuable information for designing a high-quality, realistic and highly personalized fitness plan.
Even after your client starts a fitness plan, be open-minded. You may have to make adjustments in the weeks and months after the initial start to reflect their changing needs, goals, and limitations.
Remember in general to be supportive of your customer. After designing the plan and helping them with the technical part of the exercise, supporting them as they deal with obstacles and reassessing their availability is a vital part of being a coach.