A career as a personal trainer can be both lucrative and rewarding. Many people have turned their love of health and fitness into a personal training business.
There is much more to being a successful personal trainer than just showing up and making your client sweat, though. The fitness business is extremely competitive. There are currently more than 300,000 personal trainers in the US alone and standing out amongst the crowd means paying attention to details both in and out of the gym.
Using client intake forms is a great way of streamlining your onboarding process. Personal training forms allow you to gather information from contact details and relevant medical information to their current state of physical fitness and availability status for training sessions.
In this article, we will talk about why a client intake form is important for you as a personal trainer, the relevant fields to include, and the easiest way to create your own with Bonsai's 14-day free trail!
What is a personal trainer intake form?
A personal trainer intake form is a standardized form that fitness professionals use to onboard new clients and allows them to gather useful information before meeting a client for the first time.
Client intake forms used by personal trainers are comprised of several sections including personal details, lifestyle, and an initial fitness assessment to name a few (more on that later).
Why use a personal trainer intake form?
Gone are the days of lazy personal trainers who are more interested in client quantity than their services' quality. The fitness business has moved on and potential new clients are much more discerning when seeking out someone to help them achieve their goals.
We've already mentioned how competitive the fitness industry is. A personal training intake form gives you a good grasp of your client's needs before you ever meet face to face. Many of the world's best personal trainers use intake forms, and if you don't they may also be taking your clients!
Let's look at the top reasons why your personal training business should make use of intake forms:
Professionalism and efficiency
Providing a great personal training experience starts long before your client sets foot in the gym or studio. As with so many fields, becoming a success in the personal training world is about building relationships. The intake form is your first point of contact and can set the tone for that relationship moving forward.
Show your client that you care by making the effort to gather relevant information ahead of your first meeting so that they don't have to waste their's filling out paperwork during their training session.
The fact is that the vast majority of personal trainers (the good ones, anyway!) provide intake forms to clients in advance.
How do you think it will reflect on you if you don't?
Build better training programs
No two clients are the same. As a trainer, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of their expectations, long and short-term goals, and any limitations you may have to work around.
There are many reasons people choose personal training and it is your job to create a bespoke program that takes their needs into account. After all, there are plenty of generic workouts online that cost far less than one-on-one training.
The more time you spend together, the better tailored your program design will be, but using a personal trainer intake form means you can be ahead of the game right from the start.
Risk and Liability
Pre-existing injuries or other medical conditions are common with new clients and will dictate the type, intensity, or volume of training they undertake. It is up to you to take these factors into account when building a program to ensure that you only expose clients to a reasonable risk when training with you.
Included in your intake form should be a "Waiver of Liability" which protects you in the event of an accident whilst exposing your client to training that is considered a reasonable risk.
It is almost always the case that your certification body and/or insurance provider will require that all clients sign a Waiver of Liability prior to training with you.
What sections should you include in your intake forms?
As we've discussed, your personal trainer forms should cover various areas of importance. Let's go over some of the main sections to include in your intake form and the kind of information you are looking to gain from each (if you would like examples of specific questions to go with each section then check out this free personal trainer client questionnaire)
Medical history and PAr q form
A physical activity readiness questionnaire is a standard set of seven questions designed to get an overall picture of a client's health and whether they are physically ready to undertake a new exercise program.
Whilst the Par q form is a good start, we also recommend asking some additional questions that it does not cover on topics such as medication history, surgeries, pregnancy, or previous injuries (specific examples can be found here).
Waiver of liability
The waiver of liability form is a document that releases you from any liability associated with a client injuring themselves during training.
It should be noted that this form will only offer you legal protection if you are not exposing your client to unreasonable risk. It is your job as a trainer to ensure that you use all the information you have collected to create an exercise program that is considered reasonable.
Fitness and training
Every new client will come to you with a different background of physical activity. Here you can ask about previous fitness experience, long and short-term goals, whether or not they have worked with a trainer in the past, etc.
Many lifestyle factors can have an impact on the kind of program you design for a client. In this section, you can find answers about current exercise habits, sleep and nutrition quality, job description, stress levels, and much more.
All of this will help to give you a complete picture of your client.
New client agreement
A new client agreement form helps to give the trainer/client relationship a solid foundation by outlining various agreements such as:
- What happens if the client is late or doesn't show up for a session?
- How would you like to be paid?
- Refund policy
- An understanding on the client's behalf of the level of commitment needed to see results from training
In this section, your goal is to record member information that is essential to the running of all fitness businesses such as:
- Date of birth
- Phone and address
- Emergency contact information
- Payment details
The best way to create your own client intake forms
Creating intake forms that look professional and cover all the right topics can be a challenge. Luckily Bonsai has your back when it comes to delivering great-looking forms to your clients!
Whether you use a template or design from scratch, Bonsai's forms are fully customizable and can be branded with your business logo. You can track the status of completed forms, store client information, accept payments and keep on top of your accounting all in one place.
Get started with Bonsai's 14-day free trial here and see if we can help you streamline your personal training business!
Using client intake forms just makes sense. It saves time (for both you and your client), helps to keep information organized, and gives you the ability to provide the best possible training.
Don't be left behind in this competitive environment by not doing the things outside of the gym that ensure your client's results inside it.