inquisitive fitness questions

I am a new and introverted trainer who recognizes the value of digging deep in conversation with my one on one clients, but sometimes has a hard time coming up with conversation topics. What are some good questions to always have on hand to get the conversation going, but not remain too surfacey?

When you’re an introverted individual, it can be very difficult and even uncomfortable to begin conversation with another person, especially when you don’t know the person very well. Additionally, because personal training is very personal – it’s important to have open and honest conversation with your client. However, this dialogue must obviously remain comfortable for both parties and the client’s privacy must always be respected.

While starting a conversation can be downright terrifying for some shy trainers, there are plenty of open-ended questions that you could ask when you are beginning a training program with your client. These questions can be very practical to improve your client’s training program all while having some consistent conversation in the process.

The essential questions to ask your client are as follows:

1. “What’s your fitness history?” – Inquiring about your client’s exercise history is a great question to ask to learn more about their past abilities and goals in regards to fitness. Follow-up questions include: “Have you play organized sports?”, “Do you have a favorite exercise that you performed in the past?”, or “What kind of training do you prefer?” By asking all of these inquiries, you should learn a great deal about your client, which will only continue to spurn more and more discussions between the two of you in helping you create an even more personalized fitness program.

injuries2. “Have you had or do you have any injuries?” – This is the most important question to ask your beginner client for the most obvious of reasons because you absolutely don’t want to cause them any additional harm. Hopefully your client will not have any injuries to speak of, however, if they do, you should learn a great deal about the cause and effects. Foremost, asking this question this should help inform you of how to craft your training sessions. Secondly, this helps stimulate and encourage open conversation, which is so important to building trust and openness with your client, which will help maximize their experience and your ability to effectively train them. For example, you might learn about your client’s high school ACL injury or their dislocated shoulder from college. Any and all information about their body will help you train them better. This question needs to be followed up secondly after learning about your client’s fitness history.

3. “What do you do for work?” – Asking your client about what he or she does for work is a personal question, although has purpose in your ability to design the correct routine for them based upon their lifestyle. For instance, what are the physical ramifications that your client’s job entails? Are they standing or sitting excessively? What are their physical and mental stresses of their job? The answers to these questions will better prepare you in creating a routine that properly addresses your client’s needs. Moreover, you may find that talking about work for your client is an instant stress release for them and can only spark continued conversations on similar topics.

4. “What are your fitness goals?” – This question gets to the sole reason you are meeting your new client at this very moment. For some new clients, it could be that they want to add more muscle, lose unwanted fat, have better posture, or just to have more energy in their daily lives. Whatever the reason, be prepared that your client could become emotional (even during the first meeting) since their struggles with fitness could be very personally difficult for them. The best response that any trainer could share is to be comforting and sympathetic to their client’s struggles. Your new client needs to feel comfortable in your company especially when they may be feeling vulnerable. Remember that even if you feel timid, always have a positive and helpful approach while remaining patient to their specific needs.

Asking these important and inquisitive questions should help “break the ice” while encouraging the trust and openness vital to effective, efficient training.

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Shaun Zetlin

Shaun Zetlin

As the son of a professional bodybuilder, Shaun was exposed to weightlifting and exercise at a very young age. After overcoming his own physical limitations having been born with club feet and gross motor skills, Shaun made it his mission to share his passion and knowledge of proper fitness and health to help others meet their fitness goals.

For over ten years, Shaun has successfully run his own personal training business in the New York City Metro area. Able to relate and adapt to each individual, Shaun prides himself on developing exercise plans and nutritional menus to foster every client's fitness needs. His clientele ranges from the athlete, and senior citizen, to bodybuilder, and dancer. Shaun's specialties include: strength training, power techniques, corrective injury training, and core stability training.

In addition to the highly regarded Master Trainer status, Shaun is a certified personal trainer of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). With NASM Shaun also holds specialized certifications in: Pre- and Post-Natal, Corrective Exercise Practices, Cardiovascular Weight Loss, Youth Training, Senior Citizen Training, Balance Training, Core Stabilization, and Self Myofascial Release (SMR). Additionally, Shaun is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist, with training in the Female Athlete, Knee & Shoulder Rehabilitation, and Marathon Training. Shaun earned his Bachelors degree in English Literature and Writing from the University of Delaware.

Shaun's first full-length book, "Push-up Progression Workout for a Stronger Core" is currently available worldwide both in paperback and e-book formats. It was featured as one of three top books in 2013 for healthy living as selected by Dr. John Whyte of The Discovery Channel. His latest book, "Push-up Progression (2nd Edition)" has already achieved great success and notoriety in the world of fitness. It is currently featured in bookstores across the United States and United Kingdom in paperback and available wherever e-books are sold. Shaun has had a multitude of articles, program designs, and tips published within a variety of books, magazines, and on websites in the world of fitness and beyond including: Price World Publishing, Demos Medical Publishing, Livestrong, Rodale Books, OnFitness Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Brides Magazine, and GO: AirTran Magazine. Additionally, Fitness Professional Online recognizes Shaun as an "expert," answering questions for other fitness and health professionals.

Shaun also has media experience in both television and radio, ranging from fitness modeling, to hosting his own weekly radio fitness show.
Shaun Zetlin

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