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How To Create A Workout Plan For Clients

fitness plan with equipment

With the new year right around the corner, people are starting to seek out personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals. Whether you are just starting out or are looking to change up your strategies, knowing how to create a workout plan for clients is one of the most important things you can do as a personal trainer.

When making your next training plan, try some of these tips to help you get the most of your time with your clients.

Personal trainer high fives their client after a workout.

How To Design A Workout Program for Clients

Listen To Client Needs And Wants

Start by sitting down and having a conversation with your client to find out where they want to be. Get an idea of their current activity level, their lifestyle, what they eat in a day, and more. This helps you know more about their background and how many changes you may need to help them make.

See if your client has anything in their medical history you should be aware of. Sometimes a client’s age, a previous injury, or an existing condition may prevent them from certain exercises, but they are wanting to work toward rehabilitation. Others may want to lose weight to help a heart condition or increase their strength to heal a damaged muscle. Take their exercise experience into consideration so you know how long to give your client to reach their goals.

Determine Right Metrics for Success

Having a goal to work toward motivates both you and your client. Your client can feel a purpose in their efforts and you will know how to better guide them to their goal. Use the previous conversation you had with your client to determine what metrics you can put in place to measure success and progress.

Metrics are going to be determined based on the end goal—which varies from building muscle to losing fast and improving cardio. Space these metrics out based on how long it will take each client to reach their goal. Having metrics can help you determine the types of workouts, frequency, length, and more about each session.

Personal trainer helps clients measure their body and takes notes to help track their progress.

Go Through a Fitness Assessment

It’s important to create a benchmark test to help you track the progress of your client. This test should be done periodically throughout the training process so you can assess where your client is in their training.

You can also do a test before you make a workout plan so you know where your client is with their strength, resistance, stamina, and more. This helps you know how much they need to train so they can get to where they want to be. Assessing your client at the end of the training period should show your client has met or exceeded the goals they have set for themselves.

Make A Schedule

How much time can they dedicate to the workout program? Determine how much time it will take to reach a client’s goals so you can set the frequency and lengths of training sessions

Break up exercises so they are not doing the same routine every session. Having a change in routine allows them to work different muscle groups and keep them from getting too tired or sore quickly.

Personal trainer sits with their client to show them their custom workout plan on an iPad.

Start With A Skeletal Plan

When building the workout plan, start with labeling your exercise days by which muscle group you are targeting. This helps you have a “theme” for the workouts that day, meaning you know exactly what types of exercises your client will be focusing on.

Having a skeletal plan gives you the freedom to customize your plans each week and be flexible with your client’s needs. As they get closer to their goals, you can adjust your plans to make sure they continue to progress. Try to make a few variations of your initial plan so you can rotate out different workouts.

Add Scalable Workouts

Based on the target muscle group on the skeletal plan, add in workouts you can scale up or down based on your client’s needs. As they get stronger, you can add on to these exercises with different techniques and alter the reps. Don’t forget to add in the rests!

Just like the skeletal plan, don’t just make one set schedule of individual workouts. Have a variety, and even try asking your client which ones they prefer. By presenting options, your client can feel a lot more involved in their fitness journey. After all, they know their bodies and limits better than anyone else.

Personal trainer talks to client about their workout plan as they use the treadmill.

Warm-ups And Cool-downs

Teach your client basic stretches and simple cardio exercises they can do before and after a training session to help them avoid injuries. Harvard Medical School recommends at least 5–10 minutes of a warm-up and cool-down. This gets the heart rate up to prepare for a workout and regulate the body afterwards.

Plan on your client having time to warm-up and cool-down on your schedule. While you don’t always need to be present during this time, be sure to guide them during their first few sessions until they feel confident enough to do it on their own.

Factor In Nutritional Needs

Exercise without diet can keep your clients from reaching their fitness goals. A client who wants to lose weight is going to eat differently than a client who is preparing for a strength competition. Take some time to educate your clients on what foods can help them achieve the results they want.

It’s important to be mindful of any dietary restrictions or allergies your client may have. Provide them with a basic list of foods, meals, or recipes tailored to their workout plan.

Plan For Milestones

Reaching a milestone helps break up a goal into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help keep your client motivated, as well as help you measure progress.

Whether they are halfway to a goal or have attended a certain number of sessions, having a reward for reaching milestones can help strengthen the bond you have with your clients and make them feel successful. A reward can be letting them choose their workouts for a day, getting a free training session, or coupons to a local health and wellness store.

Personal trainer assesses their client’s balance as they do a workout on a mat.

Pro Tips That Make A Difference

Knowing how to design a strength training program is only the first step in becoming a great personal trainer. Staying on top of your game can help you stand out from competitors and give your clients a better workout experience. Here are 4 pro tips to help you strengthen your personal trainer career.

1. Take Time To Educate Yourself

Once you get your personal training certification, the learning doesn’t end there. You can continue to grow your understanding by continuing your fitness education. You can become a certified online trainer or take some courses on nutrition. By increasing your knowledge on health and fitness, you can better yourself as a trainer.

2. Have A Referral Program

Finding new clients can sometimes be the toughest part of being a trainer. Luckily, you already have a great network of current clients you trust and they trust you. They can be your best resource for finding new clients. If you set up a referral program, you can allow current clients to be rewarded for referring a friend to you.

Try offering “you plus two” or small group workouts to your current clients. If someone they referred signs up with you, they can get a free session or other reward from you.

3. Get Personal Trainer Insurance With Insurance Canopy

Good personal trainers try to protect their clients from injuries, great personal trainers also protect themselves from liability claims. Having personal trainer insurance not
only qualifies you to meet facility requirements, it can keep you from having to pay for costly claims on your own. Accidents can and will happen while training clients, insurance can prepare you for those unexpected moments. Insurance Canopy offers high-quality, affordable policies to help protect you, your equipment, and your training facility.

4. Don’t Forget, You’re The Coach!

Remember you are the one in charge. Your clients are looking to you for support and guidance. Always try to end each training session on a positive note, and try to offer uplifting feedback. Take some time to take care of yourself, too. If you are not at the top of your game, your clients can struggle to feel motivated or see you as reliable. Try to not overwhelm yourself with clients either. Only take on as many as you know you have time to manage.

Personal trainer gives their elderly client a thumbs up as they complete a workout.

Happy Training!

We hope you feel prepared to help guide your clients toward their fitness goals. At the end of the day, you know your clients best. Listen to them and be open minded to each individual’s needs. After all, no two training plans should be the same!

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