Doing a great job with the people you’re already working with is *hands down* the single best way to get more clients. Help your clients achieve amazing results and you won’t have to look for business, it’ll come looking for you.
If you really want to be a great coach, tracking your clients’ progress for the best results isn’t just an option, it’s a requirement. Setting fitness goals without tracking your progress is like setting financial goals without a budget. It usually doesn’t work.
Why you need to track your clients’ progress:
· It establishes you as a professional
· It shows your clients that you actually care about their success
· Marketing (at the end of the day, people will hire you based on what you’ve done for other people)
· Your clients are usually their own toughest critics (progress tracking allows them to look back on their success with objective data)
That last point is crucial. Everyone is their own toughest critic. You’ve probably had clients make substantial progress without them ever noticing it firsthand.The beauty of progress tracking is it provides objective data to your clients. This can be invaluable information because it allows your clients to see the fruits of their labor while reinforcing your ability as their coach. Win-win!
How to Track Your Clients’ Progress (Step by Step)
Progress is personal and it means something different depending on who you ask. So when it comes to tracking your clients’ progress, they’re not all going to follow the same protocol. Not all of your clients want to lose weight, some just want to get stronger. Not everyone cares about how much they deadlift, some just want to wake up without lower back pain.
So with that being said, these progress tracking methods are simply suggestions. Depending on your clients’ individual goals, you can pick and choose which ones you feel would be the best way to help them achieve incredible results.
1. Weight lifting/Bodyweight Strength
Track the weights your clients are lifting, obviously! If they don’t have access to weights or just prefer bodyweight training, track their bodyweight strength (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.).
This is great for clients with strength-based goals because you can refer back to their performance when you started working together and compare it to now.
“Hey Stace, three months ago you were pressing 65lbs for 8 reps. You just did 8 with 85lbs! Awesome job!”.
“Hey Michael, when you started training 5 months ago you were doing 8 push-ups against the counter. You just banged out a perfect set of 10 from the floor. Great work bro!”
Your clients want and appreciate praise from you. They want to know their hard work is paying off. Objective data like strength gains allows you to give praise without sounding patronizing.
2. Exercise Technique
Some of the most noticeable progress your clients will make is their lifting/exercise technique. As a coach, you know that the squats your client performed on day 1 are drastically different from the squats they perform after 3 months of training with you. Show them the difference firsthand.
With your clients’ permission, ask if you can record them (or ask them to record themselves) doing a couple sets of whichever lifts/exercises you feel necessary. Keep these videos handy in their profile/database and refer back to them when providing feedback and looking for opportunities to improve on.
After providing coaching cues and working on their technique after maybe a couple months, have them record another set and show them the difference. It’ll usually leave them smiling or looking dumbfounded in amazement. That’s a good thing!
How to gather videos from your clients:
· Ask your clients to record their first or last set of whichever exercise(s) you feel necessary for review. Just one set is enough, they don’t need to send every set of every exercise.
· Give camera angle recommendations. If you’ve ever coached anyone through Skype or Facetime, you’ll know camera angles aren’t everyone’s strong point. Tell your clients how you’d like the camera angle to be when they record and upload their videos. “Hey John – When you record your box squat, give me a ¾ angle from the back please. Thanks!”
· Have your new clients upload videos of each major exercise the first time you program it for them. This will help you ensure your clients are performing exercises correctly before you continue to include it in your program. You don’t want to make a bad situation worse.
· Have your existing clients upload their top/heaviest sets. Coaching online means you need to find ways to ensure your clients are working just as hard without you physically being there. One way to do this is to ask them to upload their top/heaviest sets. For example, if you ask them to work up to a 6RM squat, have them send you their top set. This is helpful because oftentimes your clients’ definition of intensity and your definition of intensity are found in two separate dictionaries. Seeing their top set will help you determine whether or not they’re training as hard as they potentially could be 😊.
How to provide technique feedback to your clients:
· Pick 1-2 days a week. Set a schedule and block off time where you provide technique feedback to your clients. For example, I’ll review my clients’ videos every Monday and Friday. Don’t do it every day, you’ll drive yourself nuts with clients sending you videos every hour while you should be doing other shit. Like living.
· Written. Can you communicate your feedback effectively with words? Is writing a strong point of yours? Awesome! Play to your strengths and provide feedback whichever way you feel is best for you and your clients.
· Video. Video feedback is always great because you’re able to clearly communicate what you’re looking for in terms of optimal technique and camera positioning.
· Audio. Sometimes a simple voice note works wonders. It also adds that personal touch to your clients’ experience that can sometimes get lost through text alone.
Piggybacking off the idea of tracking your clients’ exercise technique progressions, keeping track of their mobility can be immensely beneficial. An example would be to have your client perform an overhead squat. If they’re like 99% of the population, it’ll suck. Work on their hip, ankle, and thoracic mobility consistently for a few months and have them do it again. It’ll be a completely different squat and your clients will feel and see the results firsthand.
4. Bodyweight (Daily)
This won’t be for everyone, and bodyweight is only one small piece of the puzzle but can also offer valuable feedback. If a client has weight loss (or weight gain) or body composition goals, I have them weigh themselves every day. Yep, every day. In the morning, after going to the bathroom and before eating or drinking anything.
Why track bodyweight daily?
It helps them accumulate a weekly average. We then want to see the weekly average go up if their goal is to gain weight or down if their goal is to lose weight. The more data points we collect (in this case, daily bodyweight) the easier it is to see a trend.
When it comes to weight loss (or weight gain), the important thing is the trend, not the day to day fluctuations (which happen to literally everyone). If you explain this to your clients, they’ll be way less freaked out when their weight hasn’t changed in a day and they can’t wonder why!
Here are some tips when tracking bodyweight for the best results:
· Create a personalized spreadsheet for each of your clients in Excel or a similar app
· The rows (weeks) should be labelled “Weeks 1-12”
· The columns (days) should be labelled “Sunday-Saturday” (this is where your client will plug in their bodyweight daily)
· The last column should be labelled “Average” (you can use a simple code in this cell to automatically generate the weekly average in Excel)
See below for an example:
5. Measurements (Bi-Weekly)
If you’re training clients online, this can be a little tricky since you need to ensure your clients are measuring the right places consistently. It’ll never be perfect, but one thing you can do is record a video of you measuring yourself or one of your clients and explain how to do it. You could even take screenshots/pictures of how to take measurements and send it as a pdf. Depending on your client and their goals, usually measurements every 2 weeks is safe.
6. Progress Photos (Monthly)
Not everyone will want progress photos, but many of your clients will.
In addition to explaining camera angles for technique feedback, it’s a good idea to give guidelines for your clients’ progress photos.
How to do it:
· Same clothes (either fitted clothing or shirtless)
· Same time of day (first thing in the morning is usually best)
· Same lighting (no filters)These are all things that help keep things consistent. Depending on the client and their goals, I tend to favor photos every month (on the 1st of the month to keep things simple from an organizational standpoint).
Progress is personal and it means something different to everyone. Finding out your clients’ goals and why they want to achieve them will help you determine how you should be helping them track their progress for the best results. Your clients will love you and your business will be booming because of it.