My clients are all over the map with what they are able to accomplish in fitness during the week between our sessions… with both injury prevention in mind and the clients’ desire for change and growth, it is paramount to keep the sessions challenging and yet safe. Are most trainers providing “home programs” for their clients? And if so, is this customarily a separate charge?
Hi Mary! Great question. Keeping it simple, you are not responsible for what your clients actually do or don’t do (you are not responsible for their action/inactions). However, I do feel strongly that as a fitness professional we are responsible for educating our clients on exactly what it will take for them to reach their desired goals, getting their mutual committment and buy in, and then providing them the tools to do so. This may mean creating and teaching them independent workouts that they can do on their own. It may also require some form of formal accountability system with their exercise and nutrition.
All of this should be somehow figured into the price of your services. You should always be paid for the time you spend working!
Good question! What I do is try to help them set goals and then work with them to reach those goals. For example, have them sign up for a race or an event (5k, half or full marathon, obstacle course event, triathlon, bike race, etc.). This will give them a reason to train on their own outside of their scheduled sessions. Of course, I provide them with training tips and programs to follow when they’re not with me. It keeps them motivated and they have something to look forward too.
Apart from that, you are not responsible for any of their actions. You can give them all the tools and motivation to exercise on their own, but if they decide for whatever reason not to, then it’s on them and not you. If you’re with a client only a few hours per week, they’re responsible for what they eat and their level of exercise for the majority of the time. Clients need to understand that ultimately their success is in their hands and their success depends on their level of commitment to making a lifestyle change. Yes, you can provide a path and motivation, but your clients have to do the work.
I hope this helps.
I agree with everyone here, we are not responsible for what our clients do outside of our training sessions with them. However, I take a different approach. I only work in-person with my clients once a week and during that time give them instruction and set goals for what they will do for the entire week. for this to work properly, they must keep a fitness diary where we write out the goals for each workout they will do and then they record what they actually did without me. I even have them wear a heart rate monitor and accelerometer so I can monitor intensity. This approach keeps them focused during their non-training workouts and puts the respnsibility back on their shoulders, where it belongs. Because of this approach, I do not charge an hourly fee for my programs, but program fee for the entire program (which I break down into monthly payments). This keeps their focus off of what I charge per hour, and more on what they get for their program. I also offer phone and email support during the week if they have any questions about exercises they will be doing alone.
I don’t think you should be responsible for what they do in their down time.
As fitness professionals we are obligated to share with our clients the relevant science that helps them achieve their goals, however it is up to them to decide whether they are going to apply what we’ve taught them. It’s called self-accountability.
Just remember that you shouldn’t work harder at their program than they do, meaning you give 100% if they give 100% Also you mentioned “a week” between sessions. You might want to recommend that clients see you 2 or 3 times a week. Only my most conditioned clients are seeing me once a week, the rest (most) are seeing me 2-3 times a week.