The Value Of Reflective Practice In Personal Training Fully Explained

Using reflective practice in your personal training business is the ideal way to make sure you are giving your clients the best workouts possible whilst ensuring that you are doing the best job you can.

At its most basic, it’s the feedback that you give yourself in terms of how well you think you did and what you could do better, and it should also come from your client to make sure you understand how you can serve them better as their trainer.

You may be here because you’ve been asked to “explain the value of reflective practice in personal training“, and I will be explaining the best ways that you can use reflective practice to retain your clients, gain valuable insights into their minds and learn from every experience you gain in the gym, so that cover the question for you.

Sound good?

Let’s go…

Reflective practice is a little-used skill in personal training that can help improve the relationship between yourself and your clients. By asking your clients for feedback and critiquing your own actions, you will vastly improve the rate of your own self-development.

You always hear that when you have passed your driving test and get out on your own is really when you start learning how to drive.

The exact same thing happens within personal training. Once your course is complete and you have your personal training qualification, you have only just begun your journey into the fitness industry. The great news is that you can very quickly improve your services as a personal trainer by using this technique, which in the long run, means more money and a more successful business for yourself.

So let’s dive in and I’ll explain the value of reflective practice in personal training and how it can vastly improve your business.

Can you go without practicing reflective practice?


But can you excel at your role without it?

Probably not

reflective practise in personal training

What is reflective practice?

Reflective practice is just a matter of looking back at what you have done over the past few days or weeks and seeing what could be improved upon. It sounds complicated, but the process is as simple as looking back at specific tasks you have completed and asking yourself a few simple questions so that you can gather some information to improve yourself and the services you provide.

A simple example would be the feedback that you get after each driving lesson. At the end of your session, your instructor will usually take five or so minutes to run through how the session went and what can be improved upon for next time. Getting this feedback is an invaluable way of improving your driving skills.

How can you use reflective practice to become a better personal trainer?

The harsh reality of personal training is that it is a dog-eat-dog world, the best of the best survive and have flourishing businesses, whereas the trainers that think they know everything tend to lose clients and are constantly needing to replace them, which can be exhausting.

Instead, by looking at how you are training people and asking your clients for feedback, you can make sure that not only are you becoming a better trainer but that your clients are getting everything they need out of their training. By asking these questions you are more likely to retain your client base and have positive word of mouth from them which can, in turn, lead to more referrals.

In short, it makes your business run smoothly and increases its profitability.

It’s a practice that’s commonly overlooked because people do not understand how powerful feedback can be.

Examples of questions you can ask yourself to improve your training

  • Am I making sure each exercise is always in my clients best interests and will help them reach their goals faster?
  • Am I giving enough nutritional information to assist my clients progress?
  • Am I progressing or regressing my clients’ workouts appropriately?
  • Am I creating enough rapport during my sessions?
  • Am I making myself available enough outside of sessions so that clients feel they can ask me questions when they need to?
  • Is there anything else that I can learn that will assist all or specific clients needs?
  • Am I acting professionally at all times, whilst remaining approachable?

And so on

This practice is not meant to be an exercise in self-deprecation, but more in self-improvement. By asking these questions to yourself and answering them honestly, you can make sure that each and every time you walk into the gym to start training your clients you are providing a better service. Far from being self-deprecation, this is self-improvement at its best!

An important factor of using reflective practice to its full potential is to write down what you have learned and act upon it. There is little to no benefit from reflecting if you choose to do nothing with the information you have gained.

The information you gain is not only limited to improving your personal training business, it can also be used in your day-to-day life. Finding areas of your personality that can be improved upon can enhance your relationships with friends, family, and other aspects of your personal life.

It is a truly valuable skill.

Examples of questions you can ask your clients to improve their training

  • How do you think your training sessions with me are going so far?
  • Is there anything that you would like to see in future sessions?
  • Is there anything in particular that you think the sessions are missing, or you would like to see more of?
  • As your trainer, are there any further resources that I can provide to you that will enhance your training?
  • Do you feel like you can ask me questions at any time, and is there anything you would like to ask me now?
  • Outside of our training sessions, do you think there is anything I can suggest for you to help you reach your goals faster?

And so on

A certain amount of your clients will have reservations about your training or other things that are bothering them that they would otherwise feel uncomfortable asking you about. By bringing these questions out into the open, you are showing that you are comfortable with taking feedback and using it to improve the quality of sessions you can provide for them.

Let me be very clear here, you should not be asking these questions to your clients on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong with you reflecting on your own sessions each week. But asking your clients regularly how they think you are doing could come across as a lack of confidence in your own ability as a trainer.

I would recommend after the first five sessions with a new client you should ask these questions. This gives you an opportunity to give your clients everything they want from their training which makes it much more likely that they will continue with you.

After a certain amount of time, you will start to build up a profile of what the members of your particular gym are looking for from trainers, so you can start to ease off asking these questions, but feedback such as this is particularly valuable when you are either a new trainer or have recently moved to a new gym.

It is by no means an easy skill to master, but with continued utilization, you will find you will learn more and more about yourself and your clients.


Reflective practice is an often-overlooked skill that can dramatically improve the quality of service you can provide for your clients. By making sure you are keeping your clients happy, they are more likely to stay with you and continue to pay for sessions with you. This makes your business more stable and reliable, which is vital to the success of any business.

I’ve done my best to explain the value of reflective practice in personal training, as I really do feel that it’s something that a lot of trainers could use to enhance their businesses. It’s not something that gets taught frequently in training courses, but I really think it should.

If reflective practice is something that you have never tried before, I strongly encourage you to give it a go and see how much you learn about yourself and your clients.

Go get ’em

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Chris Walker

Chris Walker worked in the City of London as a fully qualified REP's level three personal trainer for just under ten years. He built and maintained a client base of 40 individuals and worked with several high profile clients, including actors, actresses, comedians and politicians.

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