Being a good personal trainer means getting to know your clients. This will naturally happen over time assuming your client retention is good, but it always helps to gather information beforehand. Each new client is different and it is extremely important to the success of your personal training business that you take the time to ask a few questions in advance to hit the ground running (no pun intended!).
A personal training client questionnaire form gives you the ability to screen new personal training clients and asses potential injury risks and design a training program that achieves the most positive results.
A healthy client who is consistently achieving their fitness goals will stick with you in the long run and provide invaluable word-of-mouth advertising for your business.
In this article, we will talk about why a training questionnaire is important and how you can go about creating an effective client questionnaire for your business!
Note: If you think a personal training questionnaire could help your business, check out Bonsai and see how easy it is to create! We have contract, proposal and invoice templates for personal trainers. Claim your 14-day free trial today.
Why use a personal training client questionnaire?
There are plenty of subpar personal trainers out there. We have all seen examples in gyms of the disinterested PT checking their phone as their client grinds their way through another set of a generic exercise program.
The idea of personal training is to create a bespoke program for each one of your new clients based on their specific needs and fitness goals. A well thought out personal training questionnaire arms you with a better understanding of your client's needs before you even meet. Let's look at three of the main reasons why a training questionnaire is important to your business:
Personal training is a competitive industry. Potential clients nowadays are better educated than they once were and will have certain expectations of your services. A client questionnaire has become an industry standard and not providing one may reflect poorly on you as a trainer.
The training questionnaire is your first real opportunity to get to know your new client. The fact that you care enough to gather necessary information before your first session shows that you are a professional and value their time. No one wants to spend the first half of a paid personal training session filling out forms!
Assessing risk and ability
Many clients will have pre-existing injuries or conditions that will have an impact on the type, volume or intensity of the training program they undertake. It is essential that you get as much information as possible about their capabilities both for their progress and your liability.
Knowing your client's goals
Having a good understanding of what your clients want to achieve by working with you is crucial to providing them with the best possible service. The reasons people seek out personal trainers can be wide-ranging and it is up to you to tailor your approach to best fit their needs.
Obviously, you would approach program design much differently for a sixty year old who's main goal was weight loss than for a twenty year old athlete looking for an edge in competition.
Over time you will be able to tailor your programs further as you get to know the client, but using a training questionnaire to inform you from the beginning makes it more likely that they will stick around in the first place!
Note: Try Bonsai's full library of templates. We have intake forms for personal trainers, proposal, contract, invoices, and questionnaires. Our pre-made templates can be personalized for your business. Claim your 14-day free trial today.
Guidelines for writing an effective personal training questionnaire
If you want helpful answers you have to ask the right questions. We can go over some specific examples later but first let's go over some general rules to keep in mind when composing your own questionnaire:
Ask specific, relevant questions
A questionnaire is only useful if the client actually fills it out. Whilst it is useful to ask for longer-form answers to some questions, the last thing you want is to make it feel like homework. Some solutions to this could include using drop-down menus with a list of answer selections and tick box options for some sections. This can help to speed up the process and make it easier for the client.
Ask questions about a variety of categories
The purpose of the questionnaire is to gain as much insight into your client as possible. Include questions about their fitness experience, goals, medical history, lifestyle, nutrition and any other relevant topics you can think of to build a complete profile.
Use it as a springboard for further discussion
As you are going through your client's responses be sure to take note of things you feel might need delving into further. You may ask them to elaborate on certain things by discussing them in person. This gives you a chance to expand your knowledge of the client and build a good rapport between the two of you by showing them you care.
What questions should I ask on my personal training questionnaire?
So we've gone over some general rules to keep in mind when writing your own client questionnaire. Now let's look at some examples of specific questions you might want to ask across various relevant categories:
Medical history/PAR q
PAR q is an industry term that stands for "Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire". It is used to determine whether or not it is safe for a client to undertake a physical training program. Below we have listed all questions generally used in a Par q (shown in italics) and included some others that we feel are relevant:
- Has your doctor ever advised you to only engage in physical exercise on a doctor's advice because you have a cardiac condition?
- When you engage in physical activity, do you get chest pain?
- Have you experienced chest pain in the past month even when you weren't exercising?
- Do you ever experience fainting or lose consciousness? Do you often lose your balance?
- Do you have a bone or joint condition that could get worse if your physical activity changes?
- Does your doctor currently prescribe medication for your blood pressure or heart problem (such as water pills)?
- Do you have any other knowledge that might prevent you from exercising?
- Are you currently on any medications that may affect your training?
- Are you pregnant or have you given birth in the last six months?
- Have you suffered any serious injuries in the past? Please list
- Have you undergone any surgeries?
Fitness/training related questions:
- What made you decide to seek out a personal trainer?
- What are your long and short-term fitness goals?
- Do you have any prior experience with fitness/sports training?
- Have you worked with a personal trainer before? If so what did/didn't work for you?
- How many sessions per week are you able to commit to?
- What kind of equipment do you have access to?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your current fitness level?
- How many days per week (if any) do you do some form of physical exercise?
- Do you smoke or drink?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the quality of your diet?
- How many hours of sleep per night do you get on average?
- What do you do for a living?
- What is your current living situation (ie. living with partner, living alone, living with housemates)?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your general stress level?
Streamlining your personal training business by using client questionnaires has a whole host of benefits. Not only will it help you to put together all the most important information you need to build effective training programs for your clients, it also helps you keep track of information as your business grows.
With Bonsai you can send out questionnaires, accept payments, keep accounting and tax information safe and manage ongoing projects all in one place. See if we can grow your business by taking advantage of Bonsai's 14 day free trial which gives you access to all the features you need to be the best trainer you can be!