Build Your Business: Personal Training Consultation Guide

Build Your Business: Personal Training Consultation Guide

Being a certified personal trainer provides you with the knowledge and qualifications that make you stand out on the gym floor. There are many ways to build your business and grow your clientele. Implementing a personal training consultation is one of the most effective ways to do so.

A fitness consultation gives you a way to highlight your abilities to potential clients. It gives you the time needed to sit down face to face and listen to a person's fitness goals. During this time, you build trust and credibility before giving your professional recommendation. 

Doing this before a personal training session helps clients feel more confident and comfortable with you. As their personal trainer, you want them to feel confident that you can help. Just being a personal trainer in a well-known gym is not enough. Clients will commit to each training session when they truly believe you can help them achieve a higher fitness level. 

Use this opportunity to get to know your client and understand their fitness goals. Listen to them and build a relationship. Let’s dial in on how to perform an effective personal training consultation.

Getting Started with Your Personal Training Consultation 

The initial consultation is about the same length as a full personal training session. Potential clients schedule an appointment with you for 30-60 minutes.

From a client’s perspective, this is the time where they get to know who you are. They want to see who they will work with, ask questions they may have, and feel confident that you can help them.

Share your qualifications and experience, but do not make the entire consultation about you. Avoid creating an intimidating environment and making it seem like you are trying to prove your worth.

Ask your potential client about their goals: Why are they here to work with you? The value you offer as a certified personal trainer during this step is your ability to listen. Screening your client mentally, emotionally, and physically is part of the process.

Go over the training strategy you might use to help them achieve these goals as well as the timeline. Clients often have unrealistic expectations, so be sure to find out when they want to accomplish something. Then give them a realistic timeline if needed and explain why it takes that long. Medical conditions, family background, health habits, and exercise history play a role in this. 

Just got certified? Check out these tips for new personal trainers.

What to Ask About During a Personal Training Consultation

Acknowledge more than just a client's initial goal. Many factors influence a workout program, so get to know as much as you can about your potential client during their consultation.

Short- and Long-Term Goals

Long term goals are important. The steps you take to get to these goals is what matters most. As the personal trainer, it’s your job to help a client set smaller goals that will add up to the bigger goal. Strategize realistic goals for them and give your best recommendation on the best workout plan


A client's job tells you a lot about their daily activity level. What clients do during the day affects their exercise routine in the gym. A client that needs to lose 50 pounds and sits all day will need a program tailored to make up for inactivity. A construction worker who performs physical activity all day will need a different workout approach.

Medical Conditions and Injuries

Clients may have medical conditions or injuries you are not qualified to address. If you can help with the issues through exercise, then knowing what they are is important. Any medications a client takes can influence the body’s response to exercise. Be sure to take note of anything they’re taking so you can recommend the right fitness training.


Nutrition habits tell you a lot about how to adjust a client’s diet. Consider the times they eat and the lifestyle of every client. It is much easier for clients to give up if they feel overwhelmed. Therefore, avoid making big changes in a diet at the start. Begin with simple ways to stick to a healthy diet. An online personal trainer can apply this through online nutrition guides.

Previous Training Experience

Ask your client if they’ve worked with a trainer before. They are sitting with you for a reason. Try to find out if there was something they disliked about a previous training experience, or if something changed in their life to make this a better time to get fit.

Ask this question when inquiring about their workout history and exercise experience. Reassure them that you want to provide the best service possible and would like to avoid implementing anything that they might not want. 

Experience level also gives you an idea of where to start the client. If a client is inexperienced in the weight room, then you do not want to prescribe complex exercises. Focus on fundamental movements and technique.

Once you have enough information about your client, give your best recommendation on personal training packages.

Here are 10 things potential clients look for when considering you as their trainer.

How to Succeed with Expectations Made During the Personal Training Consultation

Clients want a cost-effective plan that will help them achieve their fitness goals. The price of personal training is determined by training needs, training preferences, total session length, and training package duration. 

To meet the expectations of your client, remember to set realistic goals. Setting higher goals may sound exciting (losing 50 pounds instead of just 20), but it often leads to disappointment if they’re just out of reach. 

Throughout the program teach clients how to set fitness goals. The SMART method is an easy and effective way to do this. It will help them stay committed and attain goals one step at a time. This will provide constant motivation.

S: Specific: What is the exact goal? Who? What? Where? When?

M: Measurable: How much weight loss? How much muscle mass?

A: Achievable: Losing 100 pounds in one month is not realistic, but 10 pounds might be.

R: Reward: After losing 10 pounds in one month, what is the reward?

T: Time: Lose 100 pounds in a year.

Track their progress toward the goals originally set during the first personal training session. Use results from functional movement tests and body composition reports. Include these as part of the consultation or first personal training session. 

Be sure to check out ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer program. Gain the qualifications to start building your own clientele.

How To Keep The Client After The Personal Training Consultation

After that first consultation session, stay involved with clients. Once you have a client you need to retain them. Client retention builds over time. Interacting with clients takes effort. Don’t just assign them a program and leave them to it. 

Dedicate time to spend on the gym floor to interact with them. If you are an online personal trainer consider having a follow-up system. Text messaging, email services, or video chat are effective ways to check in with clients. Social media is great to share fitness information that is useful to current and potential clients. 

Of course, you want to always be setting fitness goals, but also discuss future training plans. If clients want to continue with the training service, they will tell you. They will also let you know if they are unhappy with their results. Sometimes you need to initiate this conversation during a training session. 

Use their goals, their preferred timeframe, your realistic timeframe, and external factors to give an honest recommendation. Explain what it would take in a perfect world and what it takes in the world they live in to attain their results. 

And remember, staying involved with clients also helps generate more referral-based business. The more progress they experience with you, the more likely they are to mention you to friends. To promote your fitness business as a personal trainer market yourself. Start a referral program. Use social media. Use email campaigns and events to share your training program. A successful consultation is an opportunity for more and more business. 

Not yet certified but ready to take the leap? Check out ISSA’s Full Training Experience to make the most of your education and start a new and fulfilling career!