You’ve taken the first of many steps towards a healthier lifestyle by choosing to take part in Personal Training.
Like many other savvy users who found their way to Trainerize.me, you’ve probably Googled how to find the right Trainer for you. Generally, these articles discuss how to find key words and phrases in the Trainer’s questions and answers during your FREE Fitness Consultation to weed out the good Trainers from the not-so-good ones (at least for you, of course).
This is an important step, as the Fitness Consultation is a major part of the trainer/trainee relationship. It’s not just a questionnaire, but a building block for a relationship that’ll be built on trust. For that reason, I want to help you be prepared to answer some tough questions that’ll be asked so that you can not only find the perfect Trainer for you, but also help you in dialing in on your desperate “why” that will motivate you to succeed in your training program.
“Tell me a little about your health & fitness goals…”
This is a purposely open-ended question you should be prepared to answer. Warning: chances are the answer you give during your consultation will not be your final answer. That’s okay! We’re using it as a jumping-off point to get you to realize what your goals truly are. It’s generally never about a number on a scale or looking like someone you saw on TV.
For example, I had a client come to me with the fitness goal of looking like a major Hollywood celebrity (for purposes of the example, let’s say Brad Pitt in “Fight Club”). Unless you’re a male in your mid-20’s with great genes and countless hours to kill on cardio & strength training, that’s not exactly a realistic goal. By asking the question in the form I did, I was able to follow that answer up with what about Brad’s character did he consider ideal. When he talked about his killer six-pack and ripped upper body, I was able to translate that to the client wanting to increase core strength and develop their upper body, while also decreasing body fat. That is a much more attainable goal than getting him ready to star in a potential “Fight Club” sequel!
Another client of mine came to me with a number in mind: 123 lbs. When I asked her why that was the number she had in mind, I got a very oddball response (which, knowing this woman from a previous job we worked together, was typical): “I want to tell people I weigh 1-2-3!”
We had a chuckle, but then I drilled a bit deeper into why that number was the one she had in mind, as it was pretty specific. We ended up talking about a pair of jeans she had owned since college. Apparently, they had a special meaning to her: they were the jeans she was wearing when she met her now-husband. After telling me she wanted to fit into those jeans again, her goal had gone from goofball answer to tell friends at parties, to wanting to feel as beautiful as when she met her husband for the first time. Which answer do you think is more impactful?
“Tell me a little about your nutrition habits…”
This is yet another probing question that can’t be answered by a simple yes or no. Trainers use this question to get you to understand that a poor nutrition program is detrimental to any fitness program. Honestly, I can beat you up for an hour a day a couple times per week and, if you fuel your body with processed food that’s not portion-controlled or spaced out evenly across the day, that work will have been in vain.
Now, that’s not to say you lie to your potential Trainer about your current diet. My suggestion is to take the few days leading up to your consultation and write down exactly what you’ve consumed so that you’re not rattling off stuff as you remember it, like this generic client:
“Well… I didn’t have time for breakfast this morning, so I grabbed a cup of coffee with cream and sugar… then we had lunch at a restaurant for a co-worker’s birthday… but I didn’t eat a roll because carbs are bad! Then, I grabbed another cup of coffee around 3:00 because I was getting sleepy. By the time I got home, I was too tired to cook, so I ordered takeout Chinese food and had a glass of red wine because I read somewhere that it had antioxidants and that’s good…”
Don’t be ashamed of what you write down. Think of it as the last days of the old you. Yes, it wasn’t the healthiest of times, but those days are over and you’re committed to making the change to a more structured diet plan.
“How long did it take you to develop this problem?”
This is always the toughest question to ask potential clients, because things get real. A question like this one opens the client up to discuss what they’ve done in the past and why some (if not all) had not been successful.
Trust me: we don’t ask this to judge or trash what you’ve done before. I use this discussion to better understand what makes a client tick and how to get maximum effort from them. If a client tried P90X and only lasted the first two weeks because the programming was intimidating (as well as the actors making each type of pushup look effortless), I’m not going to program a bootcamp-style workout because that hasn’t worked in the past. I’d probably take it back to basics, using simple functional exercises that I know a client can learn and feel confident with, making fun modifications along the way to prevent boredom and plateauing.
There’s really no “cheat sheet” for this question. My best suggestion is to be brutally honest with yourself and your potential trainer. The good trainers will know how to use the answers to this question to make a tailor-fit program.
The first step is always the toughest. Getting to the point of wanting to get Personal Training is a MASSIVE first step. It’s in your best interest to maximize the results of the next few steps by preparing for your Fitness Consultation, whether it be by logging your current meals or by sitting down and thinking about why you want to do this in the first place. Personal Training is an investment physically, emotionally, and financially. Answering these questions before starting a fitness program will help you reap benefits both short and long-term.