-“Thinking Outside the Box”: Client Files-
Every now and then, i’m going to share my $0.02 on how I “operate” as a Fitness Professional. Since i’ve been an active member of several fitness industry-related forums, i’ve really come to realize, yet again, that not every Personal Trainer does things the same way. Furthermore, there’s no “right way” or “wrong way” to do things (within reason).
With that being said, I have MY “right way” of doing things, which doesn’t always “jive” with the ways other trainers operate. I’ve come to form my own “system” of training over the years, and am still working on it. I will actually always be working on it, because I feel that if one doesn’t continually evolve as a Fitness Professional, they are doomed to failure.
MY “right way” of doing things includes planning for each and every client’s workout, each and every time. I am still perplexed at the fact that not all trainers do this. I have known trainers who wake up and go train their clients without writing up workouts for them. I have always felt that this is irresponsible, but then again, that’s just ME. My main point is this: If you are paying a “Fitness Professional” $70 of your money for an hour of your time, and are wanting to reach a goal, wouldn’t you feel a lot better if you knew they had planned ahead for your workout? I put the term “Fitness Professional” in quotations because I do not feel it is professional for a Personal Trainer to NOT plan ahead. My clients appreciate the fact that I do this! Yes, I realize many of us are able to come up with workouts specific for each of our clients “on the fly,” but in MY world, the simple act of sitting down and putting the plan onto paper is just plain smart. Not doing this makes absolutely no sense to me!
As they say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I write up workouts for each and every client…each and every time. Sometimes this may mean using a recent workout and modifying it on that same workout sheet. I use the manila folders with brads at the top like doctors use. Each client has a folder. I have numerous folders for some clients b/c they have been with me so long. I don’t throw some of them away b/c I like to go back and look at past workouts. I make notes each and every time b/c a client may love a new exercise progression, may hate it, something needed to be “tweaked”, something didn’t work quite right, etc. I love my notes b/c without them, all i’d have would be just a gazillion workout writeups. The notes make them REAL and allow me to see how I thought “outside the box” during a session. Also, I make notes referencing a client’s energy level, pain, etc. I have one particular client who has low back issues and if I put together a workout that really seems to alleviate the stiffness, I make a note of this and learn from what I did. Sometimes what I feel might work in my head doesn’t seem to work in real life, and my client files reflect this. I plan for each and every session but the plan is always flexible!
If you think about it, a client’s file is their “care plan,” and is a lot like that of an MD or a PT. You don’t see doctors walking into an exam room without a client file in their hands! You don’t see PT’s treating patients without referring to their file! When all is said and done, the file serves as that patient’s treatment history. A personal training client’s file is no different. To me, my clients’ files are their stories…their progress…their successes…their “road map” documenting their journey from “point A” to “point B”…the proof is in the file!
Trainers, how do YOU do things? What are your thoughts? Non-trainers, what are your thoughts?