A quality trainer thinks about the lifetime value of their clients.
Fellow trainers let that statement digest for a moment.
Consider how many trainers you see literally making up routines seemingly on the spot, or use the same program for all clients regardless of the clients goals.
Below are my guidelines for long term client success.
Further proof one size does not fit all.
1. Fit the programming to your client, do not fit the client to the program. The clients training needs to be customized to their specific needs, goals and abilities. For comparisons sake, imagine you owned a clothing store that only sold male/female size large. Would you tell the extra large customers they must lose weight and the medium-small customers they needed to gain weight? If you do, you are choosing to work with a small population and will have to compete against others stores that offer a wider variety of suits including your target market.
2. Know and respect, but don’t focus on client limitations. Focus on what the client can do. This happens with clients having medical conditions as well as those that don’t. If your client has a medical condition, it is your responsibility to educate your self on the condition, its warning signs, exercise limitations and first aid procedures. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the gold standard in matters pertaining to training clients with chronic conditions and provides scientifically/medically proven methods to effect positive outcomes.
Go ahead…tell this guy he is too old and shouldn’t try dumbbell chest presses.
3. Age alone is not a reason to prevent progression. With control, safety monitoring, proper load selection and most importantly common sense there is little reason why an older client cannot do many of the same exercises (or variants) that their younger peers enjoy. This is not to say that you should have elderly clients performing powerful plyometric moves or flipping heavy tire, but they certainly can do a number of balance, cardio and strength based exercises. What is needed, how will it benefit the client and is it suitable are the questions that need answering.
4. Don’t progress a client before they are ready. Regress when needed. Simply put the client must have a foundation to build upon. If the foundation is poor, then the house becomes wobbly. Some clients will progress faster than others.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine Optimum Performance Training Model.
5. Provide balance in your training. This guideline is aimed at trainers that provide service for a wider variety of clients, but has value to those that specialize as well. Strength,flexibility, balance and cardio capacity are major elements of a fitness program. While certain elements may take precedence over the others, all contribute to lifelong well being.
6. Instill the basics…no matter what. The tried and proven basics have remained with us for a reason, they work. They have evolved, but they are still the basics.
7. Variety is a good thing, but don’t hop about aimlessly. Learn about and experience a variety of exercise methods. Find those that click with your style of training and integrate what you feel best works.
This equation clearly explains how we could live in a world where Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon are dead yet Cyrus and Bieber still put out albums….at least that is what I’m told.
8. Explain things to your client in a simple manner, but be capable of answering with the depth of understanding you would expect in any professional.