Better yourself and improve your business by getting honest client feedback. This is one of the most important and often overlooked, ways to improve your personal training service.

Keeping up with the latest science and techniques in order to be the best at what we do is critical. However, if you are focusing solely on that you are missing an opportunity. Assessing yourself and your business shouldn’t be something you do once a year; make self-assessing part of your routine.

Ask for Feedback

Asking your clients for feedback can be awkward, especially if you are asking in-person. Your clients may be uncomfortable providing negative feedback and you most likely will be uncomfortable hearing it. Our egos play into the latter, no one likes to be told about his or her shortcomings but in order to improve ourselves, we must be willing to ask for and accept, constructive criticism.

Ways to ask for Feedback

People tend to be more honest when they are answering questions anonymously. Using an online survey, like Survey Monkey, provides a free and reputable way to gather feedback. Creating a survey and making it completing anonymous will allow your clients to provide truthful responses and constructive criticism without worrying about hurting your feelings.

Ask the Right Questions

Before getting started, think about your coaching style, your programs, and your relationships with your clients. Formulate questions that allow your clients to provide valuable feedback. Asking close-ended questions like, “Am I doing a good job?” will result in “yes or not” responses, and won’t provide the information that you’re looking for. Your survey should be easy for your clients to complete, and use a variety of multiple-choice, open-ended and ranking scale questions.

Composing Questions


Composing questions can be tricky, you want to make sure that you ask your questions in a way that enable your client to provide more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Be specific. For instance, asking a client if they exercise frequently they will answer “yes” or “no” and everyone’s idea of “frequently” varies. By asking “how many times a week do you exercise” will provide the detail you are looking for.

Avoid leading questions. The question, “What can I do better to help you to achieve your goals” is better than asking, “Should we assess your progress more often?”. The second question leads your client into thinking about only one thing (the assessment) and will only elicit a “yes” or “no”.

Be sure to include an introduction to the survey explaining that their feedback is important to you and that you are looking for ways to improve their experience and strategies to help them achieve their goals. People are busy and if they don’t think it’s important they will disregard it.

For your in-person clients, give them a heads-up after a session. Remind them that the survey is purposely anonymous to encourage honest answers. Set a deadline and send a text with a reminder and the link to the survey to increase participation (weekends are the best time).

Review the Surveys

Not everyone will complete the survey, after one or two reminders let it go; some people are not survey takers– don’t take it personally. After a few weeks, review the responses and learn valuable information about areas where you can make improvements (enjoy reading the positive comments too!)

Remember you are doing this survey to look for areas to improve, not to be praised. This information will help you build your business and be the best you can be.

Your clients are the most important part of your business. Getting to know what they like, what you can improve on, and why they train with you over another trainer is invaluable at retaining your current clients and attracting new ones. Think about making it a regular practice in your business to obtain some sort of feedback from your clients.

What other ways have you creatively asked your fitness clients for feedback?

Mike Kneuer

Mike Kneuer is a professional health and fitness coach and retired pro physique athlete in Boca Raton, FL. He is passionate about health and fitness and helping others make positive life changes. Mike holds numerous advanced training certifications included 2 nutrition certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the International Sports Sciences Association. He has helped thousands of people around the world change the way they think about eating healthy foods and helped them reach their health and fitness goals by posting every meal he’s eaten since 2012 on (@WhatMikeEats)