How to run an effective consulation

By Jonathan FitPro
In this article I’ll address how you should structure your first personal training consultation to ensure a long-term training

Don’t start them off with a “workout” 

The average person judges a workout’s effectiveness on two main factors, how much they sweat, and how much the workout burns. You can very easily make that happen. The problem is, the client, in their ignorance will often think they can do the exercises you gave them and get in shape without you. If you want a long term client your have to establish a baseline and educate the client.
Your value as a trainer lies not only in your ability to motivate, but also in your ability to assess a client’s current state, determine their potential, and lead them to their next level of fitness. This can only be done by consistently taking, tracking, and interpreting data with fitness testing.

Why is fitness testing so important for the client?

Fitness testing gives details on where your client is, and helps you to understand where your client wants to go. Without a thorough fitness test you have to rely on two horrible things, the mirror and the scale. Why is this so bad?

  1. Clients rarely notice changes in the mirror because they look at themselves every day.
  2. The scale only tells you how much you weigh. It doesn’t tell you how fit you are.

A thorough fitness test gives a broad range of more reliable metrics to determine a clients fitness including:

  • Body Fat Percentage
  • Anthropometric Measurements
  • Waist to Hip Ratio
  • Fat weight v Non Fat weight
  • Heart rate

Getting started

I did this for a long time on paper and had a file cabinet full of measurements that were easy to misplace. Because I wanted to be more efficient I put my fitness report card on a web app called the  FitPro Calculator. You can always use paper if you’d like or develop your on spreadsheet but for the purposes of this article I’ll use screenshots. Let’s go through this step by step. 

Step #1 – Take weight, body fat, and girth measurements

You want to start off by taking weight, body fat and girth measurements as it gives your client a clear idea of their current state of health. You also see in the example the the client can understand that body fat, not weight, determines how healthy they are.

In the upper right, your client sees how much work they have to do, this example client has to lose 48lbs of fat. This is a perfect situation to say that it will be in Jane’s best interest to lose no more than 2lbs per week. She should expect her goal to take her about 6 months.

Step #2 – Go over resting heart rate and caloric need


The client should also have a clear idea on how to healthily lose this 48lbs of fat. Based on the clients’ activity level, and body composition, you should let the client know how many calories they need to consume daily. Moreover, make sure the client knows that as their body changes, the number of suggested calories will change as well.

Next, resting heart rate tells the clients how hard their heart has to work. Explain the people with a red shading usually have a hard time keeping their breath with regular activities like climbing a flight of stairs. Everything that you can metric that you can test and improve gives your clients more reasons to continue their training program.

 Step #3 Run a battery of performance tests

Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 6.50.09 PM       The benefit to this is you won’t accidentally smoke out your clients. Another benefit of a standard battery of tests is that you have something to base all future performances against. Think of this as the “before picture” of performance. Best of all, if you allow the client 2 minutes of rest in between each test, you have easily put together a 30 minute training session. This takes the pressure off of you to put together a workout for someone you don’t know yet.

Step #4 Run your client through a few mobility tests

Flexibility is another area that can be tested in the first session. By running your clients through a few simple test, you can help your clients identify muscle imbalances with tend to lead to lower back pain. Helping to eliminate lower back pain alone with make you a hero to your clients.
Use the information from your mobility tests to establish a stretching routine for your clients. Like massages, stretching your clients leaves them relaxed and relieved. It takes the focus from having to sweat like crazy to developing a fit and balanced body. Finally if gives you an opportunity to go over clients’ nutritional habits without interrupting the intensity of the workout. If there’s one assessment that will allow you to blow your clients away with your intellect it’s the overhead squat assessment. I’ve found some great videos explaining how to administer and assess the overhead squat assessment, check out Brent Brookbush’s videos page right here. 

Step #5 Write up a small summary with you information and print it for the client

Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 7.00.34 PM

   Because this is the first report for your client, your will probably spend a little bit more time on the notes section but you can follow the same format for all clients. The huge benefit is that your notes are personal to the client. Just highlight the areas that are most important to the client and explain how “we” need to work on it. Print a hard copy of this report the first time because giving your clients something physical that they can hold onto. If you don’t already have a printer I would highly recommend the HP Office Jet Mobile Printer mainly because it’s wireless, has bluetooth and has it’s own battery. So you can do the assessment on your tablet and print the document on your printer without an outlet or USB Cables. It’s pricey but it’s so worth it as you can take it anywhere you go.
As you print this document you should be going for a close of a larger package if your clients will need more time with you. I set up a reminder system in the FitProCalculator that will send an email to clients who haven’t updated their fitness report every 6 weeks.
Now you’re ready to start training your client. You can build a program around their goals and show them progress as they spend more time with you. Do the front end work and your clients will spend a long time with you.


Obviously you can see the fitprocalculator plays a huge part in the sales and management process for me. Try it yourself, click here

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