THE INITIAL CONSULTATION – Any trainer with a soul should be willing to meet you for initial consultation totally free of charge
- This gives you an opportunity to see the gym first hand
- Meeting your potential trainer to see if you like him or her – if you are serious about achieving your goals then you are likely to be spending a couple of hours of your own personal time a week with this person so you better make sure you like them!
- Meeting your potential new client – this is an opportunity for the trainer to find out as much about your relevant history as possible, such as previous experiences (bad or good), your current training if any, your goals (e.g. I want to look good on holiday or I want to fit into this old pair of trousers) and any targets you may have (e.g. I want to xx weight).
- Talking through your available options – so you can decide what package best suits your needs and finances.
- Getting you booked in with the most appropriate trainer – just because you met with one specific trainer does not necessarily mean they are the best member of the team to train you. If you have specific needs (such as injury) then you should be booked in with the trainer best qualified to meet your needs.
THE INITIAL SESSION
- Assessment relevant to you goals – Assessments are key for you to know you’re getting the results you asked for in the first place! In my opinion there are 5 main types of assessment that a typical client could need and it will depend on your goals which one(s) you will need:
- Body Composition assessment – for those who want to see a change in the way they look. A good body comp assessment should not just take your body weight, but should have a more accurate way of showing your progress, such as assessing your
Body Fat Percentage.
- Functional Movement Screen – if you want to see an improvement in the way you move for athletic or chronic pain reasons then this is the test for you
- Basic Movement Screen – nowhere near as detailed as a functional movement screen, but enough that the trainer can prescribe safe exercise – EVERYONE should do at least this
- Health Assessment – if you want to improve your health above all us, then your progress should still be quantifiable.
- Fitness Assessment – if you have specific strength or performance goals, then baseline values are essential for knowing how much progress you’re making
- Nutrition consultation – a nutrition plan should be bespoke to you and take into consideration your likes & dislikes, your daily work schedule, your family life and your social life. The more specific a nutrition plan to your individual situation, the more likely that you will be able to follow it. Since nutrition is nearly always the most difficult part of changing your physique, this is essential. Unless you have specifically asked to not be given nutrition advice, then this should always be one of the highest priorities for your trainer.
- Creating a plan of action – your next 4-6 weeks of training will be planned out for you. And I don’t just mean your gym sessions. If you exercise outside of the gym (home workouts, sport etc) then your gym plan should fit in with that training appropriately. There is a big difference to you saying you might do an extra workout in your own time, to you and your trainer planning out what exactly you’re going to do in that workout and when you’re going to do it.
- A quick workout – just a taster of what to expect from your upcoming sessions.
From then on you will be working with your trainer towards your goals. Your trainer should be tracking your training and each session should build on the next. Progressive overload is the most basic principle of training that is key for changing your body shape. If in week 6 you using the same weights as you were in week 1 then your trainer is doing something wrong!
Throughout that process you should be doing regular assessments to help ensure you are hitting your targets as well to help keep you motivated. This is especially important in the first few weeks of training, if after week 1 your haven’t seen any change at all, then it stands to reason that if you carry on in the same vain nothing will have changed by week 6. There’s no point spending 6 weeks on a plan to find out nothing has changed!
Joe Birch BSc MSc Wimbledon Gym
Wimbledon Personal Trainer