"How do you handle the situation when you train a client who also works with another trainer?"

Although I am a former competitive bodybuilder and worked as a personal trainer for many years, I currently offer private yoga, breath work and meditation sessions, emphasizing yoga therapy for people with physical limitations and health issues. I strongly encourage most of my clients to weight train. Most of them already work with personal trainers and take up private yoga and meditation sessions as an adjunct to their strength training or pool rehabilitation sessions.

I always encourage clients to let their trainers know that they are studying yoga or meditation in addition to doing their other training. If I feel that a client can be better served with a team effort, I say that I would like to contact the trainer to make sure we are on the same page, with the client’s best interest at heart. I do everything I can to avoid a sense of competition and instead to foster the understanding that we are working together using our individual skills to the maximum benefit of the client.

Michele Hébert

Wellness Educator and Raja Yoga

Guide, Spa Spirit

San Diego, California

I have double-teamed with trainers for scheduling reasons and/or out of need. How did I handle training a client who also trained with another trainer?

For Scheduling Reasons. I split twice-a-week training with another trainer. She trained the client once a week, and I trained the client the other day. We used the best of our resources and our personalities. I pushed the client, and the other trainer held back and pampered the client, but we kept the exercises roughly the same. As long as we agreed on the program, our personalities steered the rest. It was a winning combo.

Out of Need. The other instance was training a client for a fitness competition. Since competition was beyond my area of expertise, I recommended and worked with a competitive coach and trainer. We worked in concert to create a regimen for the client.

What does it take for this type of arrangement to succeed? There has to be an ebb and flow between the two trainers. In both cases, we worked well together and respected each other’s strengths and differences.

Is there ever a time I would not train a client who is also working with another trainer? I would avoid any situation where the trainers felt they were in competition for money or to “win over the client.” Some trainers might feel you were trying to “steal” their clients and be suspicious of your intentions. Dual training always has to be about the client.

I would also absolutely avoid dual training with someone whose training philosophy did not jibe with mine. We’d likely spend more time arguing over methodology and wind up frustrated.

Grace De Simone

Certified Personal Trainer, Plus One

New York, New York

Many of my clients are referred to me by other trainers. Given my specialty in corrective exercise, I can help these trainers’ clients overcome their musculoskeletal imbalances. I do this by designing exercise programs that can be incorporated into the clients’ existing personal training programs. Any trainer who refers a client to me is also invited to attend the sessions. This way the trainer learns about the client’s imbalances and gains firsthand knowledge in how to incorporate corrective exercise into program design.

I am not concerned that if I teach a trainer what I know, he or she will stop referring clients to me. My belief is that the better the trainer understands the client’s function and/or dysfunction, the earlier the trainer is able to see a problem and make the right referral to an allied health professional or specialist. The client benefits from the referral by improving function. The specialist benefits by helping both the trainer and the client. The referring trainer ultimately benefits because the client reaches his or her goals more quickly. This setup means greater client success and more business for everyone concerned.

Justin Price, MA

Co-owner, The BioMechanics

2006 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year

San Diego, California

I stopped working with one-on-one clients who work with other trainers. Why? Because I don’t want the responsibility of injuries and/or mistakes made by others. I don’t want that liability.

A client comes in with a host of issues, medical limitations and potential for injuries. I know what I do with the client, but not what he does with others. To risk the client getting injured with me as a result of overtraining or poor guidance from another trainer is not safe for me professionally. If a client wants to work with another trainer as well as me, I ask him to make a choice.

When I first begin to train new clients, I conduct initial assessments. In these assessments and throughout our relationships, I learn exactly what clients do, with whom and when. I am aware if they take cardio or yoga or other classes that complement our workouts. I just make sure that they schedule their other activities in a way that safely blends with what we do together. Appropriate recovery time is very important as well.

Marla Richmond, MS

Author and Exercise Physiologist,

Together for Life Inc.

Deerfield, Illinois

If you have a question, send it to IDEA Fitness Journal via regular mail (see “Your Membership” page); e-mail (websters @ideafit.com); or fax (858-535-8234). Include name, company, city, state/province and phone number.

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October 2006

© 2006 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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