8 Questions to Ask New Personal Trainer Clients

8 Questions to Ask New Personal Trainer Clients

Are you looking to build and retain new clients? That's every personal trainer's dream! Getting new clients is only half the battle, actually keeping them is the key to growing your business.

Getting clients to stay with you is all about first impressions, achieving results, and communication. With each of these elements, you stand a great chance of keeping your clients and attracting new ones. 

We recently wrote the ultimate guide to finding personal training clients, but today we’re delving into those initial assessments as personal trainers. In this blog, we cover the top 8 questions you should ask when you first asses your new client.

These questions help set a positive tone for your clients, find out their routines, and how you can best help them achieve their goals. This ultimately will help you retain clients because you can design programmes to fit their individual needs.

If you’re starting out in the industry as a pt, are feeling a bit stuck for inspiration, or have a tricky client, these questions will help you steer your client in the right direction. You’re ultimately opening a client up and getting the best answers so you can help them achieve their fitness goals, all with a few simple questions.

So without further delay, let's jump into 8 questions you can ask your pt clients in their initial assessment that help you gather lots of important information.

An image of a personal trainer

8 Questions to Ask New Personal Trainer Clients

These questions are used in conjunction with your usual questions, eg. full induction, fitness testing, discussing any medical history, whether they’re on any medication, or have any injuries. Those are a standard in every initial assessment! However, you can use these questions to gain further insight into what your clients want to achieve.

To gain all the knowledge to effectively train clients, you need to be a qualified Level 3 personal trainer. Learn about how to become a personal trainer here.

1. What Is Your Fitness Goal and Have You Tried to Achieve This Before?

Asking an open question like this allows your client to have the time to tell you about their previous experience with exercise and how they are looking to move forward. Your new client has come to you for help and that starts with listening to their ideas.

It's great to know their experience with exercise, if they have tried to achieve this goal before and what they are looking to achieve now. This will help you structure their workout, get creative to try something new, and suggest changes to make sure they achieve their goal.

Remember, just because your client didn't achieve their goal before doesn't mean it's impossible. Consider different types of exercise, implement small changes at home, and look at a client's diet. These are great places to start when dealing with an ongoing fitness goal.

2. What Type of Exercise Do You Enjoy?

Following on from what they want to achieve, it's time to look at how they will achieve it. Again asking an open question like this to your client will get an honest answer. Knowing what type of exercise your client enjoys will help you tailor their workout plan to what they actually like doing. Therefore inspiring them to want to work out, leading them closer to their fitness goal.

If a client likes exercising differently from your other clients, challenge yourself to try something new. This could lead to your growth as a personal trainer. 

In need of some new qualifications? Check out our courses for personal trainers here.

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3. What Do You Do for a Living?

This question is key for getting to know your client better. It will allow you to plan an effective program around their current lifestyle, making it an easy adjustment to their new exercise plan. 

It may seem like a redundant question, but it also shows how active a client is currently. Knowing a client's activity level will guide you toward the intensity of their workouts. You will learn how hard you can push them from the start. 

Whether you have an active client or a sat-at-a-desk client, knowing their job role will help you push them the right amount to stay on track to achieve their goals.

4. What is Currently Stopping you from Achieving your Goal?

Having a goal is one thing but achieving it takes time, dedication and a plan. Many clients, as you may know, come to you with a goal that they have tried time and time again to complete. Whether it's losing weight, fitting into a dress, toning up or changing to a healthier lifestyle, there can be some things that stand in the way.

Determining these from the get-go will allow you to create a training programme that moves past those barriers. This is a great question to ask from the start so they don’t get in the way further into their training programme. 

5. How Much Sleep Do You Get?

Did you know that 71% of the UK’s adults do not have the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night? Your new client could be one of them. Asking this question can seem a little pointless.

But gauging your client's sleep will give you an insight into where to set the intensities of their workout. If a client isn't getting a lot of sleep and you do a high-intensity session on their first day, not only could it put them off, but it isn't going to retain them as long-term clients.

Sleep helps your body recover, aids brain functionality, helps recover from injury, helps promote positive mental health and can help prevent illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

An image of a persoanl trainer and his client

6. What do you Eat in a Day on Average?

Another important lifestyle question for your new clients is to determine what they eat daily. You may have heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen” and as cheesy as it is, it's true! This open question will give you a great insight into your clients day to day eating habits, so you can access where they can improve, offering professional advice. 

If a client wants to achieve their goal, you need to look at their diet to assess how healthy they are. If they are eating junk food every day, they’re not going to achieve their goals. If you want to retain your new clients, you need to address other aspects of their life outside of the gym! 

Check out our blog on macronutrients for a deeper dive into how you can advise your clients as a pt.

If you want to upskill your nutrition knowledge, check out our Level 3 qualification in Nutrition or our Level 4 qualification in obesity and diabetes

7. How Much Time Can You Commit to Working Out Each Week?

This question puts the ball in your client's court. It opens a client up to discuss how much they can commit to working out. You can therefore weigh up a client's expectations versus how long their goal will take. 

The more realistic a client is about their goals, you can then set the expectation for how long their goal is going to take to achieve. Your client doesn't need to commit to hours each day, just to a set amount of sessions per week. 

Setting expectations with a client from the start will help them stay motivated and on track for their goal. These realistic goals can help retain your clients for a long time to come. 

An image of a personal trainer and his client

8. What Are Your Top 2 Priorities in Life Currently?

Finally, this question allows you to see where fitness lies in your client's priorities. It might shed some light on why they haven't achieved their goals in the past. You can then tailor your services eg: pt sessions, sports massage sessions, group training etc, to help work around their lifestyle and priorities.

It also allows you to explain to your client that following an exercise plan to work towards their goal doesn't mean sacrificing these priorities. It means you can do these with a fitter and healthier mindset and body. 


Those are our favourite questions to ask new personal trainer clients. They allow you to get to know your client quickly and easily, gaining new knowledge about their routine, lifestyle and expectations. 

As we mentioned earlier, these are add-on questions as part of your usual format when chatting to a client in their initial assessment. Make sure these are in addition to your medical questions and forms. 

Want to become a personal trainer? Check out our pt qualification here. Already qualified? Check out our courses for personal trainers here.


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