An Individualized Approach

The best trainers out there will take the time and energy to train their clients to the best of their ability. There are a lot of fitness professionals out there that love to make money off of other people and they like to run wild in this industry. The most ethical trainers out there do not do this. Sure, I do have clients who may be in the same phase of training, so their workouts may have similar movement patterns and rep ranges, but by no means am I taking any of my one on one clients through the same workout!

I do also train clients in small groups, they do go through similar workouts, however, their fitness levels must be identical and their goals must be similar in nature in order for this to work. If a fitness professional trains a small group of one beginner, one intermediate, and one advanced client, chaos erupts. You can take one workout and modify it each and every way you’d like but it’s going to be chaos, and this is why: people don’t like doing lower level movements when there are more advanced individuals around. This is a psychological thing and it really plays on the minds of others. So why would I even think of putting someone with my level of fitness into a workout with someone who just signed up for training yesterday? It makes no sense and any educated fitness professional will tell you this.

The sad thing is that there are gyms that are built around this business model and there are actual companies that distribute this model! This degrades not only the credibility of the field of fitness as a whole but it is going to compromise the progress of clients, the philosophy of the fitness professional, and at times the well being of clients. This just isn’t ethical because it is going to create nothing but confusion and mis-communication.

What needs to be done is an individualized approach for all clients, and even those who train in small groups, because what if they are only with you twice per week? What about the other five days where they are not with you? They need their own individual homework to do on their own. People are all different. They all have different goals, needs, necessities, and desires. So we, as trainers need to treat them as individuals and not as a group. This should go for trainers who teach fitness boot camps as well or large group classes. Yes, it is OK to teach large groups of people a few times per week but they still need their own individual nutrition plans, they still need their own individual exercise programs to do on their off days when they are not with you.

I love teaching my large group classes and I even like to lead the workouts by actually doing the workouts, but one thing I do know is that every soul who attends my class have all come to the gym because they have a goal, and one client’s goal may not match the goal of another client. Why would I not take the time after the class to instruct them to do something on their off days when they are not with me on their own that will benefit them? The are paying us to tell them what to do when it comes to their lifestyle. They have invested in us, and this is something that I will never stress enough.

I like to treat all of my clients, one on one, small group, and large group clients as individuals. They are all on different levels, they all have different goals, and they all have different challenges that they may face outside the gym. So, in that regard, it is my job to treat them as individuals and give them their own individual programs to follow so they may better themselves when they are not with me.

Some fitness professionals work as team members in a gym that are overseen by a director of training and in these environments, the director of training is often hyped as being the personal trainer of each and every client and the trainers (team members) are just implementing the program. This is not a good model and here’s why:

  1. It is the team members that take the clients through the workouts.
  2. It is the team members that establish the relationships with the clients, because they are around the clients nearly one hundred percent of the time.
  3. It is the team members that have the ability to determine when their clients can move up a level in their training because they are around the clients all the time.

This model will hype two things and two things only:

  1. The gym where the clients train.
  2. The director of training, who is taking credit for designing all of the programs that are only implemented by his/her training staff.

No, these people are the trainer’s clients. That team member who is “implementing” a program, supposedly designed by a higher up is the real trainer to these clients, not a director who sells the training. In this setting, there is often one “master workout template” that all trainers must follow and must take all clients through. This is not an individualized approach to training, it is an approach that will take credit from those who deserve the credit. It takes away from the hard work of the trainer who may have gone out of their way for these clients, ensuring they get the best training experience possible each and every time.

Never follow training templates and never make one “master” template for clients. They are all different and they need to be treated as such. If you are a team member at a gym and a director of training sells the training, always make sure that it is going to be you and only you calling the shots for these clients. The reason for this is because:

  1. You are a certified trainer and you are educated in your field in order to provide a top notch training experience for your new client.
  2. You are going to be the one who establishes a relationship with this client better than anyone in that gym in terms of fitness.
  3. You are going to be the one who sees the progress that this client makes week in and week out and at times, if the client hits that infamous training plateau, you will be the one making adjustments to that client’s program.

It is our responsibility to ensure that each and every client is treated like an individual and not as another number in the training client column. In order to do this, we need to treat each and every client as a unique individual with their own unique goals. The best trainers will do this all the time and they will more than go out of their way for their clients.

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