American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

The ACE Mover Method™ is the centerpiece of ACE’s client-centered approach. This philosophy positions ACE Certified Professionals to be effective behavior-change guides for their clients, and the ACE ABC Approach™ provides a practical means of implementing this philosophy when communicating with all types of clients.

But how do the ACE Mover Method and ACE ABC Approach work alongside the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model?

First, a primer on the ACE IFT Model: The ACE IFT Model is a comprehensive system for exercise programming that pulls together the multifaceted training parameters required to be a successful exercise professional. It organizes the latest exercise science and health-behavior research into a systematic approach to designing, implementing and modifying exercise programs based on the unique abilities, needs and goals of each individual.

The ACE Mover Method is an integral part of the ACE IFT Model. This unique philosophy allows you to adopt a client-centered approach to training clients, which is critical to the clients’ success, no matter where they are on the function–health–fitness–performance continuum or what stage of training they are currently in.

Every interaction with a client is an opportunity to build a positive and meaningful relationship through the utilization of a few key coaching skills. It is through the lens of the ACE Mover Method philosophy and the skills mastered in the ACE ABC Approach that you will gather vital information from clients by asking powerful, open-ended questions and actively listening to them to collaborate and design a truly personalized exercise program.

It is in that personalization that the ACE IFT Model and ACE Mover Method work so seamlessly together. As all ACE Certified Professionals know, personalized training is essential, whether you are progressing or regressing an exercise or program for a personal-training client or offering modifications during a group fitness class to accommodate participants of different fitness and skill levels.

The same holds true when it comes to behavior change.

Each client is unique in terms of his or her needs, desires, preferences, values, goals, stage of readiness, and health and fitness levels—and all of those things must be considered as you collaborate with the client to map out the best path forward.

Let’s take a moment to consider the ACE IFT Model, ACE Mover Method, ACE ABC Approach and the four stages of the client–exercise professional relationship: rapport, investigation, planning and action. While it is important to remember the concepts and theories underpinning these topics, it is imperative that the practical application of this information is not lost when taking a client-centered approach to personal training or health coaching.

Beginning with the ACE Mover Method, keep each interaction client-centered, use active listening, ask open-ended questions and recognize that clients are the experts on themselves and are resourceful and capable of change. This works best when rapport has been established, which is the first stage of the client–personal trainer relationship.

Next, the three steps of the ACE ABC Approach can be thought of as skills for effective communication and the drivers for empowering clients to make behavioral changes throughout the life of the professional relationship. The ACE ABC Approach may be used the most during the rapport and investigation stages of the client–personal trainer relationship, but one should always be coaching and communicating effectively regardless of the stage of the relationship.

As the relationship progresses to planning, this is where the ACE IFT Model is used to develop an effective exercise program, taking into consideration what was learned about values, motivation, goals, activity history, interests and medical history during the rapport and investigation stages.

Once an exercise program is created and an initial training focus is determined, the relationship is ready to progress to action. To truly stay client-centered, it is important not to lose sight of how the various concepts tie together to deliver a client-centered personal-training experience.