This isn’t going to be a typical Workout Wednesday post. It’s Wednesday, and I did workout. I had quite a few different posts I’ve thought about working up for today, but this is something that I feel is a little more important.
Why is talking with your client important? Not only does it establish some type of comfortable relationship, but it helps you, as a trainer, get to know who your client is. It also gives you the opportunity to learn their “tells”, which is key in helping your client progress forward.
Each client appointment I have with my regular, weekly clients, I check in with them. I take about 10-15 minutes from each session just to chat with them. How was their weekend? Their week at work? Etc… It breaks the ice, makes them feel more comfortable with me, and gives me the chance to get a solid read on them as a person. This way, when I shift the questions to how they felt after the last session and the following days, I can tell better just how honest they’re being with me.
“Well… I was good.”
Some trainers may just brush that off, and just get on with the session. If they even take a moment to chat with their client and ask at all. Me? That answer doesn’t leave me feeling comfortable going into the session. The long pause. The only good, not great. No details as to how they really felt.
I have one client who answers this way almost every time. It takes some careful prodding with questions like “Only good? Not great?” or “Any soreness in the following day(s)?” and the likes to get more solid answers that will tell me whether or not it’s a good idea to proceed with the session as the program I designed for them or make some tweaks and changes.
We all think we’re invincible. Just as not everyone knows the difference between soreness from usage versus soreness from oh-crap-something-got-pulled/sprained-torn-etc. It’s my job as a trainer to find out how the client was feeling, in the best description possible, to make sure that it’s not an injury they’re facing. And if it is, help them with a new course of action.
More stretching? Take a break all together? A short break? A long one? Change up their program some so that they don’t experience the feelings they are post-workout? There are a thousand and one reasons why talking to your client is key. Their safety and health is priority. Not that paycheck you get at the end of the month.
I have a client who currently only lives here for six months out of the year. The first month we worked together, he was confused as to why I would always ask him about how he felt after our session. Ask him about how he felt getting out of bed, just doing his daily activities. Then, as I began making small changes here and there to his program, he realized that I was adapting the program to best suit his needs and help keep him safely on track for his goal. He noted that his trainer where he lives during the winter months has never once asked him the questions that I do. And in my mind, I can’t help but wonder why not?
No, a personal trainer isn’t a doctor, but at the end of the day, us trainers are responsible for the well being of our clients. It is our job to make sure that they are okay and doing okay. We should never just assume that because they showed up for their session, or didn’t cancel, that they’re alright.
Assuming is never a safe thing.