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The number one thing trainers should focus on with a client is, what are their goals? Do they have goals? Do they know what a goal is? Have they ever achieved a goal? These are all important questions that trainers need to ask potential clients.
Of course the goals must meet the S.M.A.R.T. formula:
Specific — nailing a goal down to a given numerical value (i.e. “I want to fit into a size four dress, or be able to perform an unassisted pull up.”)
Measurable — the goal must have a method to test whether or not it was achieved. Aka, objective versus subjective.
Attainable — if someone wants to look like a supermodel but has never weighed less than 150lbs, this goal is most likely not attainable.
Realistic — losing 75 pounds may happen, but not in three weeks.
Time sensitive — make sure the goal happens within a given time frame.
The goals for each client must be specific to that client, and must tap into what drives and motivates them. That is the second most important job the trainer has; finding out what motivates the client. The trainer needs to discover what gets the client out of bed in the morning and drives their ambition. The trainer then needs to tailor their goals around that desire. Setting random or generic goals of weight loss and fitness might mean nothing to a person who simply wants to be able to walk a golf course.
Vic Spatola is the Director of Personal Training for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.