Every client is unique.
This might sound rather obvious, but in truth, it's an elusive concept to many. There has been so much development and evolution in the past decade or two in the fitness industry that we almost take this for granted.
With high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, becoming more and more popular over the past decade, the "one size fits all" approach has become more of an issue. Normally, this is to accommodate a large class size. But this means that a lot of up-and-coming trainers have taken the wrong lesson from such practices. The assumption is that HIIT is itself "one size fits all," which goes against the core concept of "personal" training.
So what's the key? How do you ensure that you are including the right elements? Well, let's go through a checklist.
1. Focus on Goals
This is first because it's the most important. There are no "universal" exercises. Whereas most trainers and athletes have their "go to" favorite, this doesn't mean that it is universally great for everyone. As such, it's important to first consider someone's goals. This will tell you if the workouts should be weighted or not, duration, and even each exercise's movements.
2. Assess Ability
Not everyone is going to be able to knock it out of the park from day one. In fact, many clients have been taught improper form and programming at some point in their fitness lives. Thus, it's essential that you assume only one thing about your clients — that they were taught poorly.
The reason you want to make this a base assumption is because you are now their trainer, and as such you are the one liable. So not only should the first workout be a trial for the client, it should also be where you are putting them through some basic movements in order to assess their core competency.
3. Start Small and Simple
The great thing about HIIT exercises is that they will still work, even on the most honed of athletes. The fittest athlete on the planet could still get smoked from a 10 minute Burpee EMOM or a bodyweight circuit. This means that anyone you are training, provided they don't have a preventative medical issue, can start with the basics.
The basics allow you to make the determinations you need. If they're in decent shape, add reps to each exercise, increase the number of rounds, or simply find a way to complicate the movement — like turning a Burpee into a Burpee Pull-up.
4. Mix It Up
The great thing about HIIT programming is the variety. There is a seemingly endless array of possible workout combinations, all of which will keep your client focused and seeing results. Your place is to ensure that they are succeeding while being safe.
An injured client can't train, which means you lose money. Take injuries seriously and take injury prevention to heart.