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Reporting Test Results

On this page we talk about how to report fitness test results for maximum positive effect and get your personal training clients excited about their next training phase

Once you have completed your fitness tests with your personal training clients you need to think about how to communicate the results in line with your clients need for the following:

  • Reward and celebration
  • The client gaining support from others
  • Reflection and planning for upcoming training
  • Creating expectations for the future
  • How our client might best understand the information


Reward and celebration

Whether it’s the first test or the fifth you should always look for the positives and emphasise them with your clients.  The bad stuff (average or poor results) will typically jump out all by itself and, depending on your clients self esteem, self efficacy, and their references, could create problems. personal training trophy

When testing for the first time it’s always nice to pick out the highlights and talk them through with clients.  You can easily make the low lights quite good too by outlining how they will usually improve quickly with exercise and the next test will show that.

If the test is a repeat of earlier tests and good progress has been made don’t be afraid to make a song and dance about it.  A small gift, lots of praise and printed information (in the form of an achievement certificate for example) that your client can take away are all very well received.


The client gaining support from others

As a matter of practice we suggest you give the client a summary of their results in very basic language and ideally with a graph that shows improvements so they can then take that away and show it to the other people in their lives who will support and celebrate the progress with them. 

It’s one thing for you to jump up and down, it’s another to have the clients family and friends excited about what’s happening.  Also, if the person is a paying personal training client the positive results help validate the investment in your services and also help your client protect that investment and justify it to their partners who will often be looking at the costs versus benefits of personal training in partnership with your client.

Positive results communicated with others goes a long way to having the client rejoice and buy in to the next training phase with you.


Reflection and planning for upcoming training

programme design imageWith the 'numbers' in from the tests you will likely be doing a ‘programme review’ session as well.  A programme review looks at the progress made and helps you work out with your client what are their secrets to success and what may be holding them back.  Your aim is to do more of the successful things (concrete them in with positive reinforcement) and work on ways to overcome any barriers with your clients.

Completing programme reviews with test results at hand links everything together, from attendance, to adherence, to the training intensities, to the results.  Once you establish this positive link with a client the programme updates become a focus for the client as well as the trainer and allow you to easily set training targets that the client will understand and invest effort in.

Creating expectations

As mentioned above, training targets become a focus once clients understand explicitly how the actual training results in progress.  This allows you to create expectations for the future by setting and refining both training targets and goals over the short term (usually a month to six weeks),

Testing results allow you to clearly frame out expectations across the fitness components that will be in the clients programme.  The improvements in health risk, performance (training outputs) and appearance (training outcomes) are all linked.


How your client might best understand the information

You want to make sure your client understands and values the results from their tests, and can communicate them to others.  For that reason we recommend:

  • Wherever possible express improvements as a % change in a fitness component.  For example, a 20% improvement in upper body strength or an 8% increase in aerobic fitness.  This allows your client to easily communicate the result to others and to understand the volume of change themselves.
  • Always use ‘lay’ terms and give analogies to show them what you mean.  This is very important when trying to get ‘buy in’ from members.  Anything too complicated or confusing will simply be ignored.  For example, a 10% improvement in aerobic fitness is better than a 5mmol/kg/min increase in VO2max.
  • Try to use the word ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ when talking about what will happen with consistent training and where the results should move to.  Put the client clearly in the future and link the results in the testing, to the goals they have, to how they will feel when all that is happening.  For example, “Bob, your aerobic fitness is better by 15% already and when we get it up to 25% in the next three months there’ll be a significant difference in your ability to burn fat and you’ll see those girth measurements changing.  We are progressing very well in this area.”
  • If you have a shy client, who needs ‘testing’ but you know will shudder at the word, use the word ‘appraisal’.  It’s a lot nicer and a more acceptable word than ‘test’.  Ease the shy client into the situation by only completing safety tests first (such as blood pressure) and after a month or so of training start to incorporate some ‘in session performance tests’ or as you would say to them “an appraisal of your fitness on your favourite piece of equipment".
william o brien
william o brien says:
Jul 24, 2016 01:24 AM

I would like to thank you for giving me access to everything I required so I could get up and running in my new personal training business.
Kind Regards
William O Brien

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