Understanding Your Clients Limits

Sometimes its hard for a personal trainer to put themselves in the shoes of their clients.  I am sure that there are many trainers out there, like myself, who have basically exercised all of their lives.  While this is a very good thing, it at times causes us to take our physical capabilities for granted.  

Certain things that I thought were so basic and simple, really were not for some people. 


Here is a list of some of the things I had to learn along the way.  Maybe it will give some of you new trainers a head start.

bulletDo get experience working with individuals of all fitness levels.  The hardest clients will be the ones that don't have any fitness experience at all.  However, its THESE people who are MOST important.  These individuals really need your help.  They need to feel motivated and they need to learn.  Teaching an athlete a few new tricks is easy.  It is much harder to take someone completely inactive and make them healthy.
bulletDo NOT use yourself as a measure stick for the AVERAGE person.  Don't make the big mistake of thinking that since an exercise is very basic and easy for you... it will be for everyone.  
bulletDo NOT take for granted things like coordination, flexibility or stamina.  Certain movements that are very natural to you, such as doing crunches... are just impossible, let's say for someone who is very overweight.  Basic movements like going from a standing position, and then onto the floor to do an exercise... may be very strenuous for others.  These are all things you will learn along the way.  It may all sound a bit unusual... but trust me, you WILL encounter these situations.
bulletDO start with a very easy program.  If your initial program is easy, you can always increase the level of difficulty... and make your client feel like they have accomplished something.  However, if you start with a program that is too hard, and tone it down a bit... the individual will feel like they have failed.
bulletDO realize that it is very hard to assess the fitness level of a client just by looking at them.  Unless you do a formal fitness test, you will only know the capabilities of your client at the first session.  Again, keep the program simple in the beginning.

I hope that you find the above points helpful.  If you have anything more to add, please email us.  I will add your points on to the article!


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