I work at my gym here in Arlington, VA (we specialize in personal training) and recently a client came in and told me she’s trying to get ready for a wedding but doesn’t know what to do. I take my personal training test this Friday to get certified, but I have yet to actually train anyone.
I was the only person working in the gym so I couldn’t ask another trainer for advice or to help her. I almost choked and fumbled on my words because I wasn’t sure what to tell her. I know a ton of exercises, but I’m not a pro at routines, especially for women.
What would you have told the client and what would be some signature workouts that you would put her though? I’m not training her, but I naturally just enjoy helping people. She is obviously inexperienced in the gym and she has only worked with one of our trainers one time. She says she forgot what they showed her.
Help a brotha’ out!
Hey Charles, don’t worry.
This is so much easier than it seems. What you need to do is forget about the fact that she’s getting ready for a wedding. Think about it – why train her any differently than someone getting ready for a reunion, a 50th birthday party, or anything else? The truth is those are all just motivating factors to get someone on a program or exercising again.
The key with all routines is to adopt a realistic approach. I’ve had brides-to-be ask me if I can help them lose 20lbs. in two weeks, and of course I say, “we could do it, but I won’t” and the reasoning is simple – they’ll gain it all back and then some. The more unrealistic a program, the less likely a person will maintain their results.
You already know I’m a proponent of using multiple modes of exercises including strength, cardiovascular, flexibility, core, balance etc. That means I recommend for everyone to use weights, yoga, SPIN, TRX, kettle-bells, aerobics and all sorts of activities in their program. But depending on what the trainees goals are, I may plug in a bit more of one exercise ingredient than others. So if I had a man that was looking to gain size, his program will still encompass everything, but we’d certainly include more traditional bodybuilding and strength exercises. On the other hand, a person that was interested in becoming more fit, toned, and wanted more endurance, I’d focus more on cardiovascular, plyometric, and calisthenics exercises.
Let me give you a tip Charles – NEVER take at face value a new clients account of their exercise program, when then say that they’re fit, and especially don’t assume they’re in shape, even if they appear to be. I learned this the hard way many years ago. Many people have a, lets say, ‘distorted’ perception of themselves and will paint a picture of a very active lifestyle. On one occasion I listened to a trainee, and put them through a rigorous workout based on what they had told me. It was the only time in my training career I had a client literally pass out, fall off a stool, and be unconscious for 15 – 20 seconds. He was fine, but I learned a valuable lesson.
With any client trying to improve their health and fitness for any reason, take the time to perform “information gathering sessions” which I usually include in my first two meetings with a new client. I assess their overall fitness; balance, wind, strength, imbalances, core, abs, weaknesses, misalignment etc. I’d have them perform body squats, one legged deadlifts, crunches, leg raises, jumping jacks, jump rope, pushups, planks and other tell tale movements. Plus it gives you two hours to talk and ask questions in addition to seeing how they perform and react. You can learn a lot in just those two sessions.
If you approach everyone’s training sessions with the goal of improving fitness and health, then ultimately the goal of looking better will come – it has to. Take the “event” they’re trying to get in shape for and use it as a mini goal in the path of their life’s fitness journey.
And Charles lastly, the true sign of a professional is being able to say, “I don’t know, let’s find out together”. I’m still learning new things on a daily basis. Most people will appreciate that you’re not trying to bluff them and will be interested in learning as much as you do.
Good luck on your test, I know you’ll ACE it and I’ll be welcoming you to the personal trainer family!
Let me know how it goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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