3 Things I Learned from my First Client as a Personal Trainer
The road to my career in fitness began in an even smaller town than where I grew up, at Acadia University. The experiences you gain from study in the labs, neighbouring schools, and arenas are the priceless features of studying Kinesiology in an environment like Acadia.
I’ve always been interested in fitness. Getting stronger in the gym has changed countless peoples’ lives. Along with losing weight or gaining muscle an increase in confidence comes along with an exercise program.
Watching the seeds of confidence sprout has a contagious effect. That has been my favorite part, by far. Seeing the lightbulb flash on when the client understands and feels the new movement or exercise.
I started my Personal Training career in January of this year (2016). My first client had won a free 3-month pass for personal training; with no commitment through payments, she still showed up each day eager and ready to work hard. My first client was 64-year-old female who wanted to be able to walk longer and be stronger. We were successful with both goals, doubling her walking time while her walking speed also increased 50%!
Here are 3 important things my first client taught me as an exercise professional:
- Cookie cutter programming doesn’t cut.
There’s nothing personal about a personal trainer handing out cookie cutter programs. Every client is unique, it’s the job of the personal trainer to adapt to their needs. Whether this be choosing an exercise of a lower intensity, modifying it to be more difficult, or simply taking out the exercises that they’re just not in to. If a client is comfortable with performing the exercises they’ll be more likely to stay committed and to work hard.
- You need to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
A science based approach is crucial for any type of exercise programming. That being said, there is an art to applying the science-based programing to each and every client. If you don’t get the perfect amount of reps in, or you have to change up the weight; that’s ok. Responding to how the client is feeling day to day will make for better rapport, more consistency, and harder work from the client.
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”
– Yogi Berra
- Celebrate all successes.
No matter how small it may seem to you it may be a life-changing moment for your client. The smallest wins your client achieves should be noted. I tracked my clients total walking time each session along with the speed. I was able to graph both of these statistics and print off a visual representation of continual successes. Seeing the line on the graph on a continual incline showed the client that their hard work was paying off.