Today’s personal training clients are much more sophisticated in their expectations regarding health and fitness than they were in the past. The Internet and social media offer countless ways to train using the latest programs, tools or philosophies—all at the touch of a finger. As a result, many personal trainers may feel as though they are no longer relevant, or that it’s simply too hard to compete. Perhaps it’s the realization that creating an experience through an individualized program takes more work when clients are turning up having just heard about the latest “amazing” way to lose weight. Clients want better results in less time than ever before.
As a health and exercise professional, your success depends, in part, on making a conscious effort to improve every day. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of change over the last 30 years in practically every area of the fitness industry—except one. Personal training is still about the client. This concept hasn’t changed and won’t ever change. Clients are paying health and exercise professionals to make a difference in their lives. The key to staying relevant in this ever-changing, fast-paced world is to ensure we maintain focus and understand that when everything else is stripped away, our clients are still looking for an experience that fits their personality, schedule and level of fitness.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, centric means “located in or at a center” or “concentrated about or directed to a center.” Therefore, client-centric programming means the program is designed with the client at the center. With all the noise and distractions around us, it’s critically important to come back to, or stay grounded in, the basics of personal training, which ultimately provides a personalize experience for our clients. Fortunately, as the demands and needs of a growing population of physically inactive individuals continues to grow, so too does the research in exercise science. We are keeping pace with the increasing demands for more specialized evidence-based programs that can cater to a variety of changing health issues.
The ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model was created to provide health and exercise professionals with a comprehensive system for exercise programming. The ACE IFT Model provides a framework through which all exercises and movements can be implemented. It can help you determine the appropriate exercises and progressions for your clients based on each individual’s unique needs and goals.
At its very core, the ACE IFT Model is client-centric. The key foundation, and the most critical aspect of the model, is rapport. Building rapport is a critical component for a successful client-centric program. If you intentionally build rapport from the outset of the relationship through open communication, it’s easy to develop trust going forward. This, in turn, builds and helps foster the client’s desire to participate in and stay on track with a program. Providing positive exercise experiences early in the relationship can help to build long-term exercise adherence. Ultimately, successful long-term lifestyle changes for clients are based on staying with a program that can be adjusted over time to their changing needs, goals and fitness levels.