Mollie Martin by Mollie Martin

Very few people in the world have the luxury of having a full-time personal trainer take them through workouts every day. So how can you create successful workout schedules if you only get to see your clients once a week? It all starts with asking your client about their preferences and needs and what they can realistically commit to. For example, is your client a morning person? Can he or she work out during a lunch break? How about fitting in a group exercise class right after work? What about all of the above? How many workouts are reasonable per week? Maybe Mondays are hard for your client to get moving in the morning so an after-work, group fitness class is the best option. Friday, on the other hand, may be better for morning workouts. Whatever works best for each individual client will be the most effective workout schedule.

Finding the training times that work best for your clients is key to keeping their motivation going and their adherence levels high. Once you have identified the dates and times for your private sessions, urge your clients to stick to this this routine so it automatically gets added into their schedules—and then do the same for their solo workouts as well. If a client goes to the gym every morning, it becomes less of a hassle and more of a routine.

Keeping the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model in mind, you can create and implement a program that is appropriate for every fitness level. Remember, you do not have to start in the same phase for cardio and resistance training—this is unique to each client’s current fitness status and custom goals.

Here is a sample workout schedule that can work for many clients, along with some tips for avoiding injury and getting the most benefit from their workouts:

Sunday Outdoor activity such as a hike, bike, swim, yoga
Monday After-work group cycling class
Tuesday Morning jog, lunchtime resistance training
Wednesday Morning personal-training session, lunchtime yoga
Thursday Morning jog, lunchtime resistance training
Friday Morning cycling class
Saturday Morning jog and stadium stairs
  1. Make sure the days are balanced; strength training every other day is more effective if there are only four resistance-training workouts
  2. Break up the cardio, resistance training and stretching sessions, as these don’t have to be performed all at once.
  3. Ensure your clients are enjoying their workouts and activities so they stick to them and look forward to every day.
  4. Constantly check that their workouts are aligned with their fitness goals.
  5. Have your client write down the workouts they are going to complete for the week in a planner or scheduling device.
  6. Planned workout routines are great in terms of time, but make sure to help them change up the classes, workout types and/or intensities to avoid boredom.
  7. Workout routines for beginners may alter slightly when considering time and the number of workouts per week, but the intensities will vary greatly with more advanced clients. Expecting a new client to work out seven times a week for 60 minutes a day is not realistic.

When it comes to an actual daily workout plan, ask your client about the types of equipment and exercises they like to do, and where they most often work out (e.g., gym, outdoors, at home). With this information,  design workouts that are easy to follow, so they don’t skip exercises they may not understand. You can always add more challenging or new exercises during your private sessions. They may even become interested in helping you create their workouts, which will foster further changes.

Remember, the purpose of personal training is to not only help your clients achieve their goals, but also help teach them how to be self-sufficient and efficient on their own in order to create positive and healthy lifestyle changes.

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