Clients want results. That is a fact. It seems like an inevitable conclusion that your clients will get results if they continue to work with you and stay focused on their goals. Doing both of those things certainly helps, but as many of us fitness professionals know, most of the time, that isn’t enough.
- Understand the importance of a detailed initial fitness assessment when showing clients the results they have achieved.
- Learn why multiple scheduled performance & body composition assessments should be part of your yearly business plan.
- Start using three simple steps to keeping organized and updated client files that play a significant role in helping clients see results.
One of the most important jobs you have as a fitness professional is to keep your clients motivated and continuing to work toward their goals. Of course, you do that it many ways, such as mixing up their workouts, doing research on what will help them most, and making workouts fun and effective. Yet, the most concreate way to motivate your clients is to show them the results they have accomplished.
At our studios, we make a point of doing just that!
- Performing an initial Fitness Assessment with each client.
- Conducting Scheduled Performance & Body Composition Assessments 3 times per year (January, May & September).
- Consistently keeping client files organized and updated.
Conduct an Initial Fitness Assessment
To show results you must have an accurate assessment of where your client started; measurable benchmarks are the key. You need to be able to take the information from your initial fitness assessment and use it.
Performing an initial fitness assessment not only allows you to show your clients where they are strong and where there could be improvement (which can help them decide to work with you), but it also gives you a measurable place of comparison for future assessments.
Below is an example of the specific measurements we take when assessing posture during the initial fitness assessment.
Click here to download a printable copy of the Initial Fitness Assessment
You might be asking how to ensure our clients are assessed with consistency from trainer to trainer. Answer: we give them the specifics and are clear with expectations.
Here is an excerpt from our Initial Assessment Protocol form:
Make sure that you have your client remove any sweatshirts or jackets so that they expose as much of their body as they feel comfortable and is appropriate. Inform them that this is important so that you can get a good visual of their alignment. Have your client stand in a very normal and relaxed position. Have them breathing naturally and maybe even have them close their eyes for a moment and then open them so that you can get them in their most relaxed and normal posture.
Using the “Initial Fitness Assessment” form, start with the postural assessment and work your way from head to feet. You will want to do a profile of the front, back and both sides, looking for gross deviations and taking notes on what you see.
HEAD - Notice if their head is rotated or tilted, forward or neutral.
UPPER BACK - is it kyphotic, flat or neutral?
SHOULDERS - Are they dropped or elevated, forward or internally rotated, look at all profiles. Do they have “winged” scapula?
Now that you have a starting place, you can regularly come back and assess your clients!
Conduct Scheduled Performance & Body Composition Assessments
“Scheduled” is the key word here. Many of us believe we will remember to conduct performance and body assessments with our clients or we do this when it “seems like the right time,” but I have found that scheduling specific times each year (we perform assessments 3 times per year with both group training and personal training clients) where everyone on our staff conducts assessments ensures that they are completed and shows clients the results that have accomplished….and that keeps them coming back for more!
Again, consistent and measurable progress is the only way this process can be successful. Use numbers and specific measurements so that your clients can see their results when you check back on their file. Make sure that all client files have a blank fitness assessment form included in them before starting the first sessions of the year. Be prepared, take assessments seriously and show your clients how much you care about their health and fitness. It will pay off!
Performance Assessment Chart:
Click here to download a printable copy of the Performance Assessment Chart
Consistently Keep Client Files Organized and Updated
One of my biggest pet peeves in the personal training industry is picking up a client file and not being able to determine what a trainer has been doing with their client. If a trainer does not make any notes in their clients’ files, how can they record and comment on progress? (i.e. “John, last week you did 10 reps and today you could do 12 reps at the same weight”) How can they assure systematic periodization how can they implement planned variety? How can they record any subjective and objective notes critical to make program updates and modifications?
In an ideal world, a personal trainer would have an assistant follow them around to record notes but that’s not realistic.
Here is what I ask our personal trainers to do...
- At the End of a Session:
- Be sure you are consistent at finishing sessions on time (which means early). Leave 3-5 minutes to make the notes you need to.
- Take a quick note to write how the client felt during the workout and any issues that surfaced.
- Take a quick note on what you worked on and what your plan is at next session.
- If you get into the bad habit of taking sessions right to the last minute, you’ll never have the time to complete these important notes.
- During a Session: It’s important to record what you’ve done during workouts. Here’s the best way to accomplish this:
- For each exercise, start the client off so they are doing the exercise correctly and understand the intent.
- In the middle of the set, quickly make a note regarding the exercise you are doing, resistance level etc. It should only take you a few seconds.
- Then return to push the client through the last few reps of the set.
- When you return to record notes during the next exercise, record the clients’ final reps.
- This process definitely keeps a trainer on their toes but will ensure a very effective and professional approach to client files and session tracking.
- To Make it a Win: Win:
- Clients will get better results and will feel like they are better serviced because trainers will remember what clients have mentioned and/or experienced and what the trainers said they were going to do.
- Clients will gain confidence in their trainers when they are working with multiple trainers because these trainers will track workouts more effectively and communicate concerns, workouts completed and action plans.
- Trainers will feel a lot more professional because they won’t just be relying on memory when working with clients. Plus, clients will continue training with them because they will trust they know what they’re doing.
Now...how to make sure everyone is keeping those client files updated and organized? Schedule a specific month in the year where your personal training manager will randomly select a couple of files from each personal trainer’s client list and review the files. Then follow up with each trainer to give feedback.
Simple Tasks Gain Results and Trust
The simple tasks of performing initial fitness assessments, regular performance and body composition assessments and keeping client files organized can make or break the experience and potential results your clients will see. Take the time to incorporate these tasks in your yearly plan and watch as your clients see increasing results and trust in your services more and more!