The rolling reopening of fitness centers means that, like bears coming out of hibernation, people want to get back into working out. During the closures, even the most dedicated clients probably didn’t push themselves as hard as they could have done with a trainer. So, whether it’s been a few weeks or a few months, it’s important to update programs to fit clients’ current status, not their pre-pandemic fitness levels.

Help Clients Get Back Into Working Out

Though they may not be new customers, your clients have been through a lot of change since they last visited the gym or studio. Therefore, begin each comeback experience with a thorough assessment. Maybe the assessment won’t reveal anything new, but chances are it will.

Start with an interview. Find out if there have been any changes in medical and/or medication history. Ask thoughtful questions about how clients handled the lockdown physically, economically and mentally/emotionally. It’s possible some of your clients were isolated and alone for a period of time and would welcome the opportunity to connect and share their stories.

The pause caused by the pandemic has allowed people to reflect on life in a new way, so be sure to include a question about goal-setting. What are your members’ new objectives? Priorities may have shifted owing to event cancellations and more spent with family. Some clients may now want to focus more on function-related goals. In addition to using your preferred assessment outlined by your accredited certification provider, consider the following:

Assess Current Capacity

Take all clients through a thorough assessment of strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity. People may have worked out through lockdown, but their overall fitness capacity could still be lower than it was if their daily step counts decreased during home isolation. Remember, the aim is to assess a starting point, not to shame clients for their post-coronavirus condition.

The same approach holds true for strength and flexibility testing. Rather than risking belittling clients by asking them to match or exceed their previous one-repetition maximum, start with a 10-RM test. Allow people to experience successful movement against resistance; having done a bit of exercise, they’ll feel accomplished and satisfied—which will encourage them to continue.

Getting Back Into Working Out: Easy Does It

Once clients connect with their gym community and get back into a routine, they’ll likely want to jump back in with full force. While it’s important to capture this enthusiasm, you might need to rein it in a bit to prevent injury. Proper progression is key.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed the world forever, including how and why people exercise. Repercussions of the lockdown are socioeconomic as well as psychological. Therefore, clients may carry a more significant “internal load” as they return to gym-based training. A thorough assessment and close monitoring will help you plan the best program to reach their goals.