LO4 of Unit 4 – Know how to induct clients in the gym environment

Know how to induct clients in the gym environment

Learning outcomes
By the end of this section, you will be able to:

4.1 Describe a client induction process

4.2 Describe how to carry out a facility walk-through/show-round

4.3 Describe how to adapt inductions for individuals and small groups to maintain effectiveness

Describe a client induction process

How to carry out a gym induction 

The gym induction is a vital first step for individuals using a new facility for the first time, especially for beginners. Its main aim is to ensure participants can use equipment safety. It usually involves being taken around the gym by an instructor, whereby participants are shown how to use and set up equipment. Gym inductions are designed to be informal and informative. Participants are usually allowed to try setting up and using the equipment themselves, all under the watchful eyes of an instructor who can give advice and correct poor technique.

There are four key aspects of a gym induction programme:

  1. Services – Identifying services’ locations such as the changing areas, shower rooms, toilets, lockers, water fountain.
  2. Health and safety procedures – Includes participant screening (PARQ/Informed consent), how to access medical services – including first aider location and first aid box, the location of fire exists, what to do if the fire alarms sound and where to convene, and areas of the building to avoid.
  3. Equipment demonstration – Instruction in using the exercise equipment by a qualified instructor, followed by a demonstration by individuals observed and given correction on technique. For experienced users, tailor the programme accordingly.  Inexperienced users need more time and consider the choice of equipment. Inductions usually include a warming-up, cooling-down section along with stretching exercise.
  4. General information – Gym etiquette (i.e. placing dumbbells back in the racks after use), information on services (opening and closing) and how to book services. Advice on the next visit. Also, are there any clubs to attend, i.e. tennis or children’s clubs

By the end of the induction, individuals should feel familiar with the gym procedures and services and feel more confident using the exercise equipment.

How long is a gym induction?

Induction programmes may take 45-60 minutes; however, an induction duration may vary depending on participant numbers and the user’s level of experience. For example, an induction course for an experienced gym user will be shorter in duration, whilst for someone new to the gym, a longer, more in-depth induction may be required.

Physical Activity Readiness and Client Goal(s)

All gyms are legally required to ensure all their members completed a pre-exercise questionnaire before commencing exercise. This simple questionnaire includes a series of simple health-related questions requiring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to check the client’s readiness and ensure they are in good health to participate in an exercise programme.

The client will also be required to complete a fitness goals survey to assist the instructor to tailor the induction more around their goal(s).

The gym induction

CV equipment induction

The instructor will provide a clear demonstration on how to use all CV equipment within the facility. They will provide a demonstration on how to get on and off equipment safely, whilst also showing how to operate the settings on each equipment. The member or user will then be required to practice the use of the equipment, safely, before moving on to the next equipment.

Advise on durations and intensities will be provided to the member or user, based on their ability, fitness levels and their fitness and health goals.

Resistance equipment induction

The resistance equipment will then be introduced to the member or user, explaining its benefits and muscles worked. These will be resistance machines, as each introduces the member resistance training and easier for them to be used by the member.

During the induction of the use of the resistance machines, the instructor shows the member or user how to safely set up the machine to be used, changing of the resistance and correct demonstration of how to use the machine to work the relevant muscle group.

The member or user will then be observed setting up and using the machine safely, lifting with good form and tempo. Based on their goal or ability, prescribed reps, sets and rest can be advised by the gym instructor.

Member behaviour and etiquette

Gym etiquette is how you conduct yourself in a gym style environment. Whether others are around or not, it is important you conduct yourself in a respectful manner. This is an important topic to be discussed with members or users during the induction, making sure they understand rules of the facility. These could include placing dumbbells back in the racks after use, wiping down equipment after use, sanitizing before using equipment, respecting personal space, limiting the amount of equipment being used, foul language usage etc.

Basic programming

A simple programme can be constructed, based on the member or user’s goal, providing a simple warm up, dynamic stretches, main CV and resistance exercise, cool down and cool down stretches. Durations, sets, reps and rest can be documented within the simple programme card, given to the member or user to be undertaken whenever they visit the gym. The programme can be reviewed after 6 weeks where a new plan can be set for the member or used.

Describe how to adapt inductions for individuals and small groups to maintain effectiveness

Individual inductions

Individual inductions are ideal for any member looking to receive a personal instruction from a qualified gym instructor. The individual induction allows the individual to receive advice and guidance first-hand from instructors on specific aspects of their training e.g., use of free weights, review after completion of a cycle of training.

For an existing member or gym user, the individual induction will allow the trainer to adapt exercises specific to their specific health and fitness goals, fitness levels or experience. For example, an existing gym member who is now looking to learn how to use free weights to build hypertrophy can be shown how to use barbells or dumbbells to build muscle.

The trainer can manipulate the intensity/loads used within the induction, making sure they are able to complete the desired repetitions safely and with good form and control. Rest times can also be adapted, allowing for ample recovery ready for the next set.

Range of movement of the lift will be determined by the depth or distance the individual is able to go through. If able to keep alignment when lifting the load, range of motion could be through full range or partial to develop alignment and stability.

Changing body position can also be manipulated to create greater challenge or ease of a movement. This positioning of the body relates to gravity or direction of resistance, or both therefore can be adapted based on the ability of the individual.

The individual induction should include general guidelines on physical activity, a personalised exercise programme that is based on the member or user’s pre-activity screening results and predetermined goals, and a hands-on walk-through of that individual’s physical activity regimen.

Group Inductions

Group inductions are suitable for facilities that have a low staff-to-user ratio or that have a high volume of member usage.  Gyms can schedule group inductions for new members looking to kick start their training regime. Providing a schedule where a maximum of five people can be inducted into the gym, group inductions can focus on specific classes that members and users can select from can be a viable option.

Group inductions should be offered at various times to allow members and users the opportunity to attend. Group inductions should focus on basic instruction concerning how members and users should use the various pieces of equipment that are available in the facility. This could include setting up and getting on and off various pieces of cardiovascular training equipment, setting up and adjusting resistance machines etc.

In addition, group inductions could review what resources are available within the facility that can help members and users develop a suitable training programme. These could include personal training services, special fitness classes, fitness media library etc. Finally, group inductions classes can also introduce a general physical activity regimen that members and users can follow.

Adaptation of exercise must be suitable to the fitness level, experience and need of the individuals within the group. Gym instructors can for example, provide modifications to certain movement patterns for selected exercises by manipulating the range of movement specific to the capabilities.

Intensities can also be based on fitness levels, likewise loads adjusted to meet the ability and goal of the individual. Tempos can be applied to specific movements to either increase or decrease muscular tension, depending on the fitness levels, likewise volume of work being completed can also be adjusted.

The use of resistance machines can also be an effective adaptation for an inexperienced gym user, rather than free weights, as this teaches them how to train the desired muscle groups with good form using a fixed resistance, developing muscular strength and endurance.

The adaptations of exercise must therefore be specific to the individual or individuals with a group induction, making sure the gym instructor considers the needs, ability, fitness levels and goals of the clients within the induction. The gym instructor must take a client-centred approach when working with individuals or groups within the induction as it paves the way for a confident and successful client fitness journey.

Describe how to carry out a facility walk-through/show-round

All gyms will have a thorough induction and show-round process for their members and users designed to put them at ease so that they feel more confident in the new environment. 

A hands-on tour of the facility is paramount to any new member looking to kick-start their fitness journey.

Typically, the gym induction will be with a fitness instructor who will take you around the gym, providing you with useful information about the facilities and what the gym has to offer, they should also cover any health and safety issues to ensure you are safe in the gym.

During the show-round, instructors must provide a tour gym facility, showing members what the gym has to offer. These will usually include facilities/areas available to the clients – changing rooms, toilets, steam rooms/saunas, swimming pool area, treatment rooms, studios, gym floor etc.

The show-round also allows instructors with the opportunity to discuss the products and services available at the facility. This can include discussion of the classes on offer to the member, suitable to the health and fitness needs. The instructor will show the member or user the class timetable and how to access and book classes both at the facility’s reception or on the gym’s online booking system or website.

The tour of the facility can also involve showing the member or user, the organisational structure of the facility. This provides the member or user with a clear understanding of who to contact whenever needed. The personal training services on offer can also be discussed, showing the member or user the list of trainers at the facility, along with their areas of expertise.

Health and safety procedures will also be an important aspect of the show-round, providing the member or user with clear information on how to access medical services – including first aid equipment, who to contact in the need for first aid and where fire exits are located, areas out of bounds to all members, and fire evacuation protocols.

By the end of the induction, individuals should feel familiar with the gym procedures and services and feel more confident using the exercise equipment. Most importantly, members should feel safe within the walls of the facility and on the right track on their fitness journey.