Great services deliver great value and produce highly satisfied customers. Generally speaking, great personal training sessions maximize the physiological and psychological benefits clients get from their workouts. Every client is unique and what makes a session great for one can be vastly different from what makes a session great for another. Personal trainers are responsible for many elements of their clients’ workout, including exercise selection, exercise execution, training intensity, and the psychological impact the session has on the client.
Most clients entrust their trainers to select exercises (program design) that best serve the client. Well- prescribed exercises are compatible with and enhance the client’s movement capabilities, can be performed safely and effectively, and are consistent with the client’s goals. Some very good exercises may not be appropriate because of medical precautions or movement limitations certain clients have, or may simply be too risky if outside the client’s skill level. Also, too often trainers prescribe exercises based on their own preferences even if those exercises may not be ideal for their specific client. Examples include trainers who are powerlifters who over-prescribe squats, bench presses and dead lifts; trainers who are kettlebells experts who over-prescribe kettlebell training; or trainers who are bodybuilders and design bodybuilding type programs even if their client’s goals warrant otherwise. Clients should be able to trust their trainers to design the best programs for them and should ask their trainers why they have chosen the exercise they have chosen. Good trainers have a well thought out reason for each exercise they prescribe.
Having a well-designed program is important, but successful execution of the prescribed exercises is even more important. Assuming the exercises selected are appropriate, getting the client to execute the exercises safely and effectively is both science and art. The science component is the trainer’s knowledge of biomechanics as well as her ability to assess the individual client’s movement capacity to determine how that client can execute the exercise with safe and effective mechanics. The art is the trainer’s ability to communicate and effectively teach the exercise to the client. This is more complex than one might think. Great trainers don’t over or under teach, and great trainers make sure their clients do not feel inadequate, frustrated, defeated or dissatisfied. On any given day with any given client and with every single exercise, the trainer should provide just the right amount of instruction. This could range from a full two minute demonstration with verbal instruction, to a few quick pre-exercise tips coupled with just the right amount of effective queuing and reinforcement during the exercise.
Just as exercise selection should be specific to each individual client so should training intensity. Some clients want to be pushed to their absolute limits, others want to feel challenged but not overwhelmed and others are extremely precautious and have narrow comfort zones. Beyond different personality types and personal preferences, everyone has days when they feel great and able to give it their all, as well as days when they may not feel up for their best effort. Great trainers get just the right level of intensity out of every single exercise within a training session as well as out of the entire session as a whole. Regardless of the personalities and preferences of each individual client, generally speaking, clients should leave personal training sessions feeling as if they were challenged and that they accomplished more than they would have on their own.
Great personal trainers not only design and implement exercise programs that enhance physical fitness and performance, but that also enhance how a client feels. Ideally, great trainers help clients feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after each exercise they do, and, even more importantly, help clients feel great both physically and emotionally once their workout is completed. Like any other service, great personal training sessions should leave clients with a sense of accomplishment, truly cared for, impressed and well served by their trainer, and looking forward to their next session.