Before I design an exercise program for an individual, we meet for an "intake" session.
I'm often asked what this session is like, and whether it's really necessary.
Yes, it's necessary, not only for me to comply with professional standards and "best practices," but also it's an opportunity for you to check me out. We will be working closely together and need to have a mutual comfort level (that "personal" part of "personal trainer").
What's the intake like? A lot of conversation and a lot of forms. It takes about an hour.
There are 5 parts to the intake (not necessarily performed in this order):
1. Completion of general business forms (contact information, waiver, billing policy, cancellation policy).
2. Discussion of your fitness and/or weight management goals, your likes and dislikes regarding exercise, past history with exercise (which informs your likes and dislikes). If you love the outdoors, I will recommend a cardio workout that takes you outdoors. If you like company when you exercise, I will suggest types of group classes or activities you can do with a friend.
3. Medical history: past and current injuries or illness, medications, physical limitations. This is the most important piece, because it lets me know many things:
5. Whether you and I are likely to have a rapport. If you don't trust me, or if I sense that you are not really interested in following through with training, or if our personalities clash, then we can part ways before wasting any more of your money. (Yes, there is a fee for the intake session.)
When we have completed the intake session, I should have all the information I need to design a program that will help you reach your goal and that you will like (or, for the die-hard exercise-haters, that you won't detest).
You should expect any personal trainer to do a similar intake. It's the professional thing to do. Having this information enables a trainer to design a safe and effective program for you. Otherwise, you might as well just Google a generic exercise program or pull one out of a magazine.
Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor since 1998.