7 Key Personal Training Check In Questions You Need To Know

personal trainer check in questions

If you’re working in personal training, client check in questions are something that you need to become familiar with. 

Checking in on your clients is different to the initial consultation, that’s why we have a guide on what you should be asking, when you should be asking it and more, including:

Before we get straight to it, if you’re looking to expand your client base with a specialism, get started with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course. Find this and many other accredited courses in our downloadable prospectus here. 


Why Your Personal Training Check In Questions Matter

personal training client check in questions

Client check in questions for personal training are vitally important to keep your clients happy, on track and performing at their best. Not only is this important for checking their wellbeing, it also goes a long way in retaining clients to make money as a personal trainer.

These are not to be confused with client progress reports or PT consultations as these have a recognised structure. Check in questions are a little more generic and provide an informative input from both parties.

For example, you may ask your client to do some self reflection so you can see how they feel with their progress and you can also ask them if you, as their PT, can do more for them.

By asking these questions, you're showing your client that you are actively interested in taking their likes and dislikes into consideration when planning their programme.

It also shows that you care about how they are doing outside of the paid sessions, which demonstrates that you are committed to helping them to acheive their goals and improve their performance overall.

Essentially, personal training check in questions are a more frequent tool that allows for you to have a more casual conversation surrounding your sessions. 

The likes of progress reports and consultations are more specific in that you’re using numbers and measurements, but this is a more-so easy going way of increasing the efficacy of your sessions and happiness of your clients based on feedback.

7 Key Personal Training Client Check In Questions You Should Be Asking

Here are some examples of personal training client check in questions that you could ask. Take note of the style of question that is asked and the informality yet value of each one. This will help you to design your own suitable questions too and will show you go the extra mile for clients!

#1 “Have You Been Staying On Track With Food and Water?” 

client check in questions personal training

As a personal trainer, weekly check-in questions will help you to ask important things without going overboard and putting too much pressure on the client - this is one of those questions. 

Food intake is of course a huge part of success in clients, so it is important to know where they’re at with eating habits while also not going beyond your qualifications by instructing clients to eat certain foods or follow a strict diet proposed by you. 

That being said, the wording of this question works well as an informal check in since it isn’t a loaded question. For example, you could ask this in your first session of a new week ahead to see where they’re at before you go ahead with your planned sessions.

This is because you might feel the need to change it up if necessary, for example if they struggle to drink enough water they might feel lethargic. If they tell you this, you might want to tone down the intensity of the session or at the very least keep it in mind as to how this may affect their performance. 

personal training check in questions

Food is just as important, even though you’re not distributing any meal plans, you might still want to think about finding out your client’s eating habits. This might mean working with another health professional like a dietician in their life that could work with you to get the best results.

Though it isn’t your place to prescribe, there is no reason to not give informed advice and this is especially important if you’re seeing stunted progress in your clients. Their food intake could potentially be making your training sessions arguably useless and you may have to pay the repercussions of your unhappy client.

You should understand that they might not understand the significance of water and food intake in conjunction with exercise so it is your responsibility to check in with this and if necessary, refer them to another health professional like a dietician or nutritionist that could help them further.

#2 “Have You Done Any Exercise Outside Of Our Sessions?”

personal trainer weekly check-in questions

Depending on the goals of your client, it may be necessary to suggest that they workout outside of your scheduled sessions. This might also be necessary if they only have limited sessions with you.  

For example, if a client sees you just once a week, and doesn’t exercise outside of this time, it'll likely be tough for them to reach their desired goal, at least in a realistic timeframe.

Not only that, but the amount of time they put into their exercise can impact their performance, so it is important for you to know what they’re up to in the gym when they’re not with you. 

This is because you don’t want to overwork a certain area, if they have just trained legs the day before your session and you have scheduled them in for a leg session, they’re going to be overworking the lower body when their body could benefit from an upper body workout or even a cardio session.

Your clients need time to recover, so as the trainer, it’s your job to not only find out what their schedule looks like but also stress the importance of rest days if you feel like they’re doing too much and it is impacting their performance.

This is going to allow you to understand why their results are slow or how they're actually exceeding expectations and gives you the opportunity to encourage them to do so if they’re not. 


#3 “How’s Your Sleep Schedule This Week?”

personal trainer weekly check in questions

Sleep can have a huge impact on how you perform in the gym, and in everyday life for that matter, so it is important that you stress this importance to your client and ask them how their schedule is. 

This is one of the personal trainer weekly check-in questions that should become a habit, as this will allow you to get an idea of how well your client is sleeping and how much rest they’re getting.

You should always ask new clients how much sleep they get a night on average during the consultation process, but asking as part of a check-in will allow you to see if this is true in real time.

It can be difficult for your clients to know how much sleep they get if they have a bad sleep schedule, so though they may say in the initial consultation they get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night, you may find this varies dramatically.

what questions should a personal trainer ask

That being said, it is important to ask them on a weekly basis so that you can adjust your sessions accordingly. If you learn that your client has endured a bad night's sleep, you can take this into consideration when instructing and your assessment of the overall session. 

These sleeping habits may also be a part of their lifestyle that they have no control over, which might mean changing their session times. For example, if your client is a new mother who is taking care of a baby, chances are their sleep schedule will be greatly varied for a long time. 

Thus, if you check in and find that your client is consistently exhausted with the strains of motherhood, you should do your best to make their PT sessions an escape from reality. 

You could adjust your session times to see what works best for them, maybe night time sessions are better than early morning sessions or vice versa. 

You will not only see a notable difference in their performance, but also in their mood. The last thing you want as a trainer is for your clients to see your sessions as a chore added to their list, and by asking questions like this you can avoid this happening.

To find out more about how you as a personal trainer can stop your becoming burnt out as well, check out our article '9 Tips On How To Avoid Personal Trainer Burnout'.

#4 “What Type of Training Do You Most Enjoy Lately?”

personal trainer questions to ask client

As we just mentioned, you really want to avoid your clients viewing your sessions as some sort of chore so you should be using personal training client check-in questions to find out what their favourite type of training is.  

This can change depending on experience and the more they discover new training methods, so this is why you should be asking this more often than just in progress reports or consultations. 

For example, there is the possibility that your client has never tried resistance training or using weights of any capacity so during a consultation they might say cardio is their favourite exercise method out of default. 

So, once you have introduced other types of training and splitting days into muscle groups etc, they might actually find that they enjoy an intense leg day using free weights. Once you have introduced all the various types of exercises, their opinion could change. 

This is why it should be a question you ask relatively often, maybe every fortnight or on a monthly basis to ensure that you’re always keeping up with their likes and dislikes and ultimately contributing to the effort of keeping their sessions enjoyable.

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For some insight into how to be an attentive PT, read our articles below:

#5 “What Changes Have You Noticed Since We Started Training Together?”

questions to ask personal training clients

When it comes to what questions should a personal trainer ask when it concerns you as the trainer, this is a good one to get some feedback for both parties.

This isn’t something that you’re going to ask super frequently, but you could use it as a way to motivate personal training clients whenever it is lacking. 

For example, say you’re 4 weeks into your training programme, it isn’t quite time for a progress report but your client is taking a dip in motivation and self confidence. This is a good time to ask this question since 4 weeks is long enough to have noticed some level of change whether that is physically or not.

Mentally, your client should be feeling more positive and there is a good chance that they’re seeing physical improvements too. 

This is a good opportunity to celebrate the small wins like being able to do small jobs that they couldn’t before or realising that they are improving their sleep schedule and feeling more energised thanks to a better diet. 

This is not only beneficial for the client, but you too as the trainer. This is because you’re able to see which areas they’re feeling more confident in and those that you think that you ought to focus on more. 

It could give you a different perspective into their progress that only the client realises. Simply put, you can’t know the true difference in their energy levels or improvement in mental health unless they tell you. 

So by asking these questions and them letting you in on this, you’ll be able to better tailor their programme and help them get better results - so everyone wins!


#6 “Are You Still Happy With Your Goals?”

personal training client check in questions to ask

Another one of the personal trainer questions to ask a client of yours is whether they’re still happy with their set goals. 

The whole purpose of SMART fitness goals is that they’re achievable, so when they’re achieved might be sooner than you initially thought. 

This is of course good news overall, but in order to keep motivation high and to keep pushing forward, you should ensure that you check in and ask if their goals are still serving their purpose. 

If they’re feeling plateaued or deflated, this could be the reason why and it could be beneficial for both of you to talk about your clients goals and if they need looking at again. 

Reassessing goals is important because it isn’t often that you’ll reassess goals that are set since they’re usually long term. Nonetheless, it can happen sooner so it is important to ask if they’re still happy with this, maybe if you notice a change or you feel like they have achieved their goal already. 

This isn’t something that you need to ask frequently, you should use your initiative and pay attention to your clients. If they’re looking less driven or are reaching some sort of plateau maybe it is time to check in with this question.

#7 “What Can I Do Better To Help You Achieve Your Goals?”

personal training questions for clients

Working hand in hand with the previous example, personal training client check in questions can also work as a helpful question in what more you can do for your client. 

You don’t want to have to ask your client for too much help, afterall, you’re the one training them but some insight into areas that they’re struggling in can help you divert your focus more to a particular area than another.

For instance, if your client wants to reduce body fat percentage, yes you can help in training them to help them burn calories but they could be struggling due to a dietary problem. Unfortunately, prescribing meal plans is not in your realm of capabilities as a personal trainer unless you’re a registered dietitian too. 

You could, however, help them hire a dietician that you can work alongside in order to see better results. You should always try to have a solution, even if it means referring to another health professional, the only way you can confidently ask this question is if you’re going to give a helpful answer.

Again, it depends on the circumstances, you might only need to ask this question if you feel necessary or if they tell you that they feel like they’re not reaching their goals fast enough. 

On the other hand, you might need to explain to them that it takes time and solutions on your end could be things like adding more sessions to their schedule or working out outside of sessions. 

This is a good way of letting your clients know that you’re taking their feelings into consideration and will change anything they feel necessary within reason.

When Should I Ask My Personal Training Check-In Questions?

questions to ask clients personal training

Since these questions are not invasive and are informal, it isn’t detrimental to ask them at the wrong time. However, you should still utilise your initiative to find the right time to ask said questions.

Generally, most check-in questions can be asked on a weekly basis, questions that are concerning things like:

  • Sleep
  • Food
  • Water
  • Exercise outside of sessions

However, some questions could be asked at the correct time, maybe on a fortnightly or monthly basis (not including progress reports), these could be areas concerning: 

  • Goals 
  • Notable differences (mentally and physically)
  • Where you could improve
  • Training that your client enjoys the most

Weekly is a good way to informally get an insight into how your clients are feeling without too much invasiveness. You can take a look below at an example from a PT who asks their clients to fill in a short check-in form every week.

questions to ask clients personal training

This is a good example of how to keep on top of your clients feelings and goals and with it being online, they might feel happier to share things easier than they would in person. 

You can approach it however you like, you might want to do it more casually like at the start or at the end of a session at the beginning of a new week or have a set time each week. Find out what works best for you and your clients and the feedback will be invaluable to your business.


Before You Go…

We hope that you feel confident in asking the right personal training client check-in questions and are on the way to keeping your clients feeling happy and valued in your team. 

Don’t forget, if you feel like you’re ready to add another qualification to your repertoire, why not get started with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course. Find this and much more in our downloadable course prospectus here. 


Advance Your Personal Training Career

Take the next step and advance your career with OriGym by enquiring about our Sports Nutrition Course.

Written by Kimberley Mitchell


Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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