Helping clients decide when they can train with you to best reach their goals and fit their lifestyle can be tricky. While there are physiological reasons to choose an ideal time, preferences and external variables certainly also play a role in committing to a schedule. What we do know is that picking one time of day and sticking with it reaps the most benefit. But what are some of the things your clients should consider?
Early AM: Dawn Patrol
When it comes to personal training it is common to have those early AM clients, ready to meet and sweat at 5 or 6 in the morning. Those committed to the 9-5 workforce only have a small window in the early hours, or perhaps you are coaching some athletes that are hardwired to get up and go, full of energy before the sun comes up. There may even be overnight shift workers on your roster that come in after their night shift to get a workout in before going to bed. This contingency may have no choice but to workout first thing in the morning. Then there may be other clients who don’t have time constraints but instead may benefit from working out at this time of day as well.
Getting in that training session is certainly beneficial any time of the day, but first thing in the morning has a few key elements that you and your client can take advantage of, starting with one that is tried and true to success.
* It is done and off the “to do” list for the day. Many fall prey to the “I’ll do it later” syndrome, but then never actually do. Getting in a workout first thing in the morning will set the tone for the entire day and assure that the box has been checked. Energy tends to be higher, there is a drive to eat better, and precious sleep comes more easily. This can be helpful to the success of your client because an important part of the day is complete!
*Early mornings are a great way to reap the benefit of those long windows of time-restricted eating. They’ve slept through the night anywhere between 6-9 hours, ideally, making those 12-16 fasting hours easier on your client. They may have to determine however, if working out on an empty stomach works for them; not everyone is built that.
*Space is more readily available. The gym/studio is typically less crowded, there is more space and wait times for equipment is almost nonexistent. Go into a gym at night and it looks completely different, there are crowds, waiting on equipment is common and more often than not what you need is not in its place ie. plates are loaded on machines, dumbbells across the room, all of which can be frustrating should you be on a time constraint. Get up, get in early and get out and these inconveniences are gone!
How about the noon hours? This time frame can be a bit challenging due to time constraints for your clients. Not all of them will be on a lunch hour, however it is common and the window they have is typically an hour in and out the door. Fitting in a well-rounded workout when crunched for time can be a challenge but not impossible. This is a perfect opportunity for half hour sessions and HIIT work is great for this situation.
As the trainer, you can recommend whatever time frame you think will benefit your client but you can also accommodate these time frames with a little practice. With 30 minute sessions, have your client warmed up and ready to get right to it. Show them in advance a warm-up routine that can be used regardless of what your programming is that day. A full body roll/active stretch that takes about 10-15 mins is ideal. Doing so will free up time and also give them some independence to do work on their own, having that autonomy is a plus.
Evening Workout Times
Bring on the crowds! Crowds are not necessarily bad but when you’re trying to train your client it has its challenges. Namely space and variety of equipment as mentioned before. Between the hours of 4:30 and 7:30 PM you may find a few things that can hold up your session with your client in regards to flow and how you’ve prepared your program:
*Chatty members that hang out on equipment while talking to friends in between sets. Some gyms are a social club for members, so this scenario can be common. The key is finding a polite way to get them to keep it going and let them know you’re waiting. They may not realize that the “rest” period in between sets just lasted 5 minutes because of a good ole’ conversation!
*Weights left loaded on equipment. The statement “your mom doesn’t work here” gets thrown around a lot amongst trainers and gym-goers wishing that they would re-rack their weights. It can be extremely frustrating when you need a piece of equipment and you have to unload 400 pounds off of it. This may be the case more often in the evening hours. Although part of a trainer’s job is to keep the facility tidy during downtime, this doesn’t always happen so you may end up doing it on the client’s time.
As trainers, not all of us will be working in a big box gym, but it is likely that’s where you will start, be prepared for these scenarios. All though they may seem insignificant it can be a challenge if you are not prepared. Luckily gyms are providing designated space for trainers and clients however, you will still be working your way out to the “main floor” with them so think ahead and the roadblocks you could potentially run into won’t affect how productive you are in helping your clients reach their goals!