Ask about your client’s fitness goals – Are they entered in a race? Do they just want to get in better shape? Are they trying to lose weight? Do they want try something new or more challenging? Remember, you as the Pro are there for guidance.
Ask what your client has done in the past and what they are doing now. This is also a good opportunity to determine what the pitfalls may have been or why he may have stopped exercising regularly. It’s also a good time to determine whether the is self-motivated or if you are going to have to stay on him.
Ask questions about any past injuries or medical history that may prohibit some exercises and indicate a need for others. Listen carefully, sometimes clients don’t like to talk about limitations, but those details may surface later in conversation. Often, weak ankles, that have been long forgotten, will show up during a balance assessment.
Take into consideration what activities your client performs at work or at home (ex. sitting at a desk or in meetings, lifting heavy objects or standing for prolonged periods of time, caring for children or disabled parents). If she is in retail and stands all day, consider exercises that strengthen the posterior chain and watch her execution to check for proper body alignment.
Ask the client if there is any fitness equipment that she does not like to use like the treadmill or the assisted pull up machine, or any specific activity that is dreadful to her (I get a lot of push back on running and squats).
Ask if there is any equipment or exercises that he is curious about and use this as an opportunity to introduce them to new or unfamiliar equipment or exercises. Try to find something that he likes or is good at, that will keep your client engaged and make the workout fun and appealing, especially if he is not self-motivated.
Determine whether the client would be better off using free weights or machine weights. If you have someone new to weight training, perhaps beginning with machine weights may be better. If they sit all day, try to avoid lower body exercises that put them in a sitting position to lift heavy weights, like a seated squat machine.
Ask how much time he has to devote to each workout. Try to get a sense of whether it is good to incorporate cardio and weight training on the same or alternate days. Sometimes, getting a client that is new to exercise to commit 30 minutes, three times per week is a good start. Other clients might be willing to go five days a week for longer durations per workout. Remember, you are there to help the client set realistic and SMART goals.
Above all, listen to your client. If she is asking you for exercises or a program that you may not agree with, talk with her. Share your views and make suggestions or suggest a plan for how to get her there. Just keep in mind that it may be better to show her how to do it properly than to attempt to divert her.