I am just about to graduate college with a degree in Ex. Science. I don’t really have any hands on experience. I have to interviews and big gyms. They are asking me to take the managers through a workout routine as if they were new clients. How much of an initial assessment do I do? What should I ask aside from goals, current fitness, health conditions, injuries? Should I just have them do basic exercises? perhaps a bull body workout? If anyone can help me out I do appreciate it. I am quite nervous about these interviews as I am a new trainer. How do you usually go about first workouts with new clients? Thank you greatly.
Most clubs have some standard procedure to follow with new clients/members but I assume that they want to know how you would apporach the subject. Here’s what I do:
You certainly need to ask about health conditions, injuries, current exercise status and goals. I also inquire into their degree of commitment of time to exercise. While this ties in with goals, I often find that people have grand expectations but are not willing to spend the time necessary or are misled by “5 minutes per day is all it takes” claims.
An assessment is absolutely essential. In an interview situation, this is also your opportunity to shine and set yourself apart from the crowd. As you have already gotten information about the health status, you can use a postural analysis and maybe a gait analysis (if you are confident to do this) to gather more information about the potential client. When I do that, I take pictures to help me refresh my memory when I summarize later what I saw. I also do a body composition assessment, take blood pressure, and check range of motion.
Since this an interview situation, you will probably be asked to come up with a workout immediately. If you deal with a healthy person without major problems, that may be okay. I personally like to summarize the assessment and look at the pictures more closely to pick up any areas of imbalance.
You will probably not have that luxury and have to start right there and then. I would recommend to go back to the clients goals and develop a program for it if it seems compatible with the assessment. As you will be asked to treat one of the managers as a potential client, he/she is probably a person used to exercise. But the manager may also describe to you a profile of a person. If I were a manager interviewing you, I would want to know whether you are careful in the exercises you choose, whether you listen to a client and whether you err on the side of safety.
Yes, I would pick a whole body workout. Make sure you can explain why you selected the exercises. Be moderate in the amount of resistance you choose. You can always add more later but you can potentially injure somebody when you give him too heavy a weight. The first workout is usually an extension of the assessment because you can observe how a client follows instructions, how well the sense of peoprioception is developed. For that reason, a first workout is often rather bland but I never had a client complain about that. However, in a gym environment, that sometimes needs to be spelled out.
I have seen trainers trying to be ‘spectacular’ with new clients and dazzle them with exercises for which they are not prepared. The degree of soreness the next day is NOT an indication of a good workout.
I am sure you had hoped for more specifics and less generality. But that is exacly what sets us apart from those trainers whose default workout routine is to start a client on machine # 1 and finish with # 10 regardless of needs or wants of the client.
I wish you good luck in the interview.
A fitness PAR-Q is pretty standard in terms of determining what questions to ask, and can easily be found online. One of the things I was taught to implement with the assessment is the Push-pull-squat method in which I would have the client (assuming the health questionnaire ruled out injuries) perform repetitions of a body weight squat while I would monitor his movement pattern, a dumbbell press with light weight watching his/her ability to control the movement at a slower tempo, this exercise proved to be great at helping me identify neuromuscular efficiency. Lastly I would perform a basic cable row and monitor their ability to sit upright, maintain alignment and keep their shoulders “down and back”. This technique helped me build my confidence tremendously as a new trainer and I still implement it now if I deem necessary.
Hope this was helpful
First and foremost, be yourself! Although it may be difficult, try to present yourself with a sense of confidence. If they are asking you to run the manager or whomever through a practical workout “as if” they are a beginner, new client or whatever, try to truly see them in that role instead of someone who is interviewing you. By that I mean talk to them and explain what you are doing as if they have the level of understanding that the person they are pretending to be has. I use a “tell-show-do” pattern to training, so if you’re comfortable with that and you follow this pattern with each exercise you have them perform, you will be consistent and thorough throughout the interview.
As for exercises, if you yourself workout (which I’m sure you do) then I would perhaps sit down with a pen and paper and begin by writing down some of the major body parts and perhaps 3-4 exercises that you are comfortable with not only doing but also explaining for each part. For example, shoulders (front shoulder raises, external rotation, shoulder press). Then, practice, practice, practice running yourself and someone else through your exercises.
I hope this helps.