Introductory Fitness Consultations – Why They Matter

A few weeks ago I met with a new gym member for a fitness consultation.  Julie (not her real name) is in her early 40’s and mother to three children under the age of eight. She works part time and mainly sits at a desk when she is in the office.  Since having kids Julie hasn’t exercised regularly, has a few minor knee issues from her college days, but is otherwise in fair physical shape.  Julie admitted to me that her diet is lousy, but she is working to make some changes for 2017.

After chatting with Julie for about 15 minutes about her health history, I took her out to the gym floor to conduct a Functional Movement Screen and Overhead Squat Assessment and took notes on the results.  We then spent another 20 minutes going over foam rolling, stretching and movement techniques that she could use to get started with her workouts. After wrapping up her consultation, Julie signed up for a 5-pack of personal training sessions, and I am looking forward to helping her get back in shape. 

Introductory fitness consultations are worthwhile whether they result in personal training sessions or not. Even if a person does not choose to get personal training right away, we’ve established a relationship so that if they come back to me for advice later, I will be able to hit the ground running.

So here are the main things I try to accomplish with each introductory session:

  • I ask a lot of questions – What is their work history? Exercise history?  Physical activity background?  Were they an athlete in the past?  Do they have kids living at home?  What is their typical work day like?
  • I take notes – These are just little tidbits of information, like “bad diet,” “achy left knee,” “sees chiropractor sporadically,” etc.
  • I’m genuinely curious as to not only their gym goals, but their personal lives as well – Are they from the area? Where do they live in relation to work?  Do we have any commonalities in terms of where we’ve lived, maybe a past business connection, or a mutual friend?
  • I perform the Functional Movement Screening and Overhead Squat Assessment – They give me the most basic recorded data that I can use to introduce someone to foam rolling and corrective exercises. They also help me show how to alleviate basic aches and pains, such as tight hip flexors or a strained lower back.
  • I show my clients how I’ll use all of this information to tailor exercise programs specifically for them – The notes aren’t just for me. I’ll actually show them everything I’ve written down at the end of the session so they can see how I work, what the consultation has determined and, at the end of the day, exactly what I am going to do for them from a health & fitness standpoint.

by Adam Marks, Fitness Site Manager for HealthEase