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6 Questions Every Smart Should Trainer Know About Their Clients

Reps, sets, and exercises used to be the most important parts of a personal training routine…but the business of fitness is changing in a more empowering direction.

Yes, knowing that 8-12 repetitions are an ideal range for muscular hypertrophy where the muscle is in a hot spot of stimulus between strength and endurance training is important. Yes, the proper progression of a squat from assisted, to bodyweight, then effectively cueing, and then loading them is important. And yes, recalling the joint action and dynamic stabilizers of the shoulder during an overhead squat is important (which is shoulder flexion, the proprioceptive mechanoreceptors, and the rotator cuff muscles…just sayin’).

A good trainer knows the ins and outs of exercise. But what separates a good trainer from a smart trainer is knowing what the heck your client, YOU actually wants! Our coaching minds are loaded up with hours of data on the ways to move better, build muscle, gain confidence, and develop skills…but that has little to do with understanding why you are coming to train with us in the first place, and what you are looking to gain from our time together. It might seem rudimentary, but it does not need to be complex to be effective.

If you are in the coaching community, use these 6 questions in your meeting or assessment with new clients to understand why they are coming to you. The answer lies much deeper than losing 10 pounds or feeling better; dig for it. You can elaborate more deeply, I am providing just a few examples of some deeper details to learn more about them to create the most customized experience possible.

If you are someone seeking a quality coach who can meet you where you are and progress, listen for these to appear or provide them the answers yourself to enhance your fitness and fulfillment journey.


  • A new or experienced lifter?
    • What is their ‘training age’?
  • What type of fitness/activity/sport have you done before?
  • Gender, Age, and Identified Restrictions
    • Screening, Joint/Muscle dmg, Perceived Limitation, etc.


  • Is the superficial/immediate answer goal of the client? Can it be broken down further?
    • Ask ‘why’, the root lies much deeper than initially admitted on the surface? It may not come out right away, but as they feel more comfortable they may reveal)
  • Is the intention of beginning/continuing a fitness based lifestyle?
    • Sports, competition, physical freedom, longevity, specific task, etc.
  • Are their daily demands?
    • Desk Jockey, Food Service, Night Shift, Manual Labor, Excessive Travel, Athlete, etc.


  • Is this preparation for? Does it have a deadline?
    • The date of a race, summer vacation, wedding, special date/event, etc.
  • (If an athlete) When is their competitive season? That will dictate the type of training, outcomes, and intensity (plus others)
  • Do they have time to commit to their training program
    • Frequency per week, time per day (not one block of time, per say, rather small mini workouts I call Moments of Movement)


  • Is their ideal training zone?
    • First, identifying where the client is right now in their fitness and commitment will guide what is appropriate as a training level. A form of an assessment with some a mechanism to establish a baseline to track progress is a perfect place to start. Where do they want to “go towards” as far as outcome desires?
  • Will the training take place?
    • Your facility, Online, Home-Visits, The Outdoors, On the Road While Traveling… the where will influence the what.
  • Do they need to restore balance in their physical body?
    • Technical Competency Rockblock v. Physical Execution Roadblock
    • More Mobility v. Strengthen Current Range of Motion
    • Improve Self Image v. Enhance positive habits…


  • Are they coming to you, the professional?
    • Body Composition Improvements
    • Sport Specific Goal
    • Self-Efficacy Elevation
    • Gain Physical Freedom
    • Become a Total Bad-Ass With Age
  • Is this going to Improve their daily life?
    • Look through your program, dissect it, and extract the true elements of what the training program is giving them.
    • Are the facets of fitness they need being adequately respected? What will they allow them to do/become outside of their fitness? Real world application is key!


  • Will you work with them and guide them towards what they want and what you know they need?
  • Is your fitness philosophy unique? What sets you apart from others? How can you amplify those beliefs and thoughts positively influence your client without blowing smoke?
  • Are you going to keep them accountable?
    • They are coming to you because they cannot – or don’t want to – do it on their own. How will you keep in contact with them so it’s easy to communicate?
    • What is the type of reinforcement style used? Constructive, Overwhelmingly positive, Keepin’ it Real no matter what (honestly is great), Negative shaming (I hope not), etc.

You as the health professional are an important asset to them. Financially, they have invested in you for the quality of your ‘product’. Emotionally, they have invested in you because their willpower has been overmatched and they want to change.

To stay current with what is going on around you, a method I enjoy using is sending surveys. Every quarter, in order to gather feedback from many of my clients, a quick 2-3 minute response for feedback can share valuable information. Or since you know the ins-and-outs of your own program, why not use these 6 questions every quarter to be your own coach, assessing if you can answer the Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How’s to be the smartest coach on the block!

If you are looking for more customized content, training, or lifestyle tips, connect with me on social media to see what other beneficial life-enhancements you can implement today!





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