the following is the procedure at the gym where I teach some classes.
A new member is invited to go through an assessment and then at another time through an exercise orientation which is based on the assessment findings and preferences by the client. Assessments and orientations are done by the fitness staff all of which are certified trainers. Whether they get those sessions for free is relative because members pay a one time initial charge in addition to the monthly membership dues. The assessment follows a certain outline but it is at the discretion of the trainer to depart from that as necessary. The same goes for the exercise orientation. The goal here is to provide the new member with a routine that they can do safely.
Yes we offer all members a complimentary session once they become a member. It is important to pre-screen these members so that they may be matched up with the best possible fitness professional that can service their needs. Asking open ended questions that will cause the member to go into detail about themselves will get them more emotionally attached to their session and will provide you more information to determine the best possible match up.
The reason why we offer this session is to show value in our service. Most members have a preconceived notion that a personal trainer is someone that just counts reps, or pushes someone as hard as they can like a drill sergeant. It is our responsibility to change their perspective of what a trainer actually does. Assessments should teach your member something new about their fitness level. I suggest a functional movement screening so that the member is aware of any possible muscle imbalances. Cardio,flexibility, and strength assessments also show a starting point of ones current fitness level. This creates value of the fitness professional and can add new goals to the member’s vision. Setting a re-assessment appointment every 6-8 weeks will show the member how they are progressing with their program.
The appointment should be preset and hopefully scheduled as soon as possible. The first 24-48 hours from joining is when a member is at their most “emotionally motivated peak”.