I would begin with an assessment as you would with any “new”client coming to you.
Be honest and direct without impeding the reputation of the other trainer.
Make it clear that you have your own style of training and go over your techniques and philosophies with them during the initial meeting.
As for keeping them on their current program, the length depends on their needs.
I switch things up all the time, but again this is between your scope of practice and the needs of your clients
Remember, everyone has their own techniques and personalities. Use yours to be the best possible trainer for your clients.
Hi Jennifer. Great question! I echo some of what Susan has said here (e.g. perform your own assessment, have a short “getting to know you” meeting to go over their goals, your style of training etc.). But after this “initial meeting,” I’d start putting your own stamp on their training sessions immediately! After all, you are NOT a “substitute” here, and unlike let’s say a substitute teacher who simply carries on with the “regular” teacher’s lesson plans, you ARE now the client’s trainer. I wouldn’t necessarily make a full training change overnight with your client, but instead follow some of what the former trainer did (to the extent that you agree with what they are or have been doing) and mix in some of your own exercises/philosophies. Then, as each session passes, don’t be afraid to start weaning the client off of their old program by including more and more of your own. Before you know it, the client will be looking forward to the new challenges that you bring, rather than lamenting their old program.
LaRue and Susan make good points. One thing I would add is that you may want to find out how long the client has been training with the other trainer and what their relationship has been. I assume that you have an opportunity to talk with the other trainer. Do not hesitate to call him when you have questions.
I remember a situation when a client of mine moved to another city and hired a trainer there. By her account of the story, it was war within weeks, and I could never understand why he never picked up the phone to call me and ask. I believe that his greatest shortcoming was that he was not me, and I am sure I could have made this a successful client/trainer relationship.
We all have our own approach to training, and it is important that you do not inadvertently contradict what the client was told before. I like LaRue’s suggestion of gradually changing towards your training.
I wish you good luck.
All great points, I will look at the program design from the other trainer but respectfully start from scratch and begin my way, right away. The weaning process if needed should be short and immediate. If this is going to be a long range client you need to establish yourself right away. I had a client from transition who NEVER worked legs. Mainly because the trainer never worked his legs, only upper body. The first thing we did after asking her questions regarding leg work was LEGS. Set the tone from the beginning, be respectful but establish yourself and style.
I’ve recently been in the same situation at my facility. I had a meet & greet with the new clients, discussing their goals and what they can expect from me. I also performed a quick assessment and evaluated their movements during our first training session. The evaluation was informal, basically taking them through basic but fundamental movements such as the squat, push-up, plank, lunge, and a form of row. The evaluation helped me get an idea of imbalances, tightness, and weak points if any. And before getting started with our sessions I did tell all clients to forget what they did with their past client as each trainer has different styles of training. This was no to be rude or disrespectful, but to allow us to start from a clean slate, helping vanish any comparisons amongst myself and their old trainer.