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First Session: Fitness Assessment

Fitness_AssessmentYou can't know where you're heading with personal training without figuring out where you're beginning with a client. While the client might look fit and talk about various goals that they want to achieve, personal training is a lesson in working together with someone in order to reach the goals that they want to reach. In order to do this, your first session with a client should begin with a fitness assessment to see just how fit the client is and just how far they are from the goals that they want to reach.

A fitness assessment needs to be comprehensive from the beginning. This means that you will want to ask about previous workout experiences, past fitness levels, etc. You want to know how much they know about fitness and training so that you can ascertain just how much guidance they might need from you. Have them write down their past five years worth of workout history and how long they have stuck with programs in the past. Encourage them to be as detailed as possible so that you can determine if there was anything that they enjoyed doing in the past as well as what workout for them in the past. You might also want to ask about anything in particular that they didn't like and why. You might want to come up with a form that your clients can fill out during their first session in order to facilitate this process.

You will want to learn about their current health, if they have any health issues that might hinder certain exercise routines as well as any life threatening conditions that you might need to be on the lookout for. For example, those with heart conditions might need to have less strenuous workout routines than those without any heart-related troubles. Of course, you will need to count on your client to be open and honest for these kinds of questions and have them sign the form to indicate that they are stating that the information is accurate and true. Have them also list any medications that they might be on as well as any injuries that may have required medical intervention in the past. You will want to make sure that you know as much as you can about them so that you can tailor their workouts to their specific body history.

The part that most personal trainers focus on during the first session is the goals that the client wants to reach. These might include short and long term goals, weight goals, speed and stamina goals as well as any other goals that might be important to them. This is a crucial part of your personal training as you are providing a service that should be able to get them to those goals; and if you're not doing that, you're not doing your job. The point is not to reflect on whether or not these goals are realistic, but just that they are what the client is expecting from you.

To see just how far you are from these goals, the first session should also include some sort of fitness assessment to see what physical condition the client is in. You will want to start by seeing what kind of aerobic shape they are in (of course, with their health history in consideration) by having them walk or jog on a treadmill. Before they begin, take their pulse to see how fast it is and then have them begin to workout at a moderate pace for about ten minutes. At the end of that time, note how the client is feeling as well as what their heart rate is. Then wait about another ten minutes to see how quickly their heart rate returns to normal. The faster the heart rate returns to normal, the better their physical condition.

The next thing that you will want to test in your first session with a client is their muscular strength. This can be done by testing to see how many pushups they can do in sixty seconds as well as how many pull ups and sit ups. You can look at these numbers to see how their fitness levels improve as you train together too. To test their flexibility in this fitness assessment, you can have them try to touch their toes while standing as well as while they're sitting down. With all of these tests, you should have a good idea as to where their current fitness abilities lie.

The first session fitness assessment is designed to show you just how ready your client is for certain activities. With this information in mind, you can also retest them at regular intervals in order to see just how far they've come; maybe even set higher goals than they thought they could ever reach.

Of course, you can always learn more by reading a fitness book. 
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