SOAP Notes For Fitness Progress

SOAP Notes For Fitness Coaches | EMAC Certifications

SOAP Notes For Fitness Progress

One professional way to record client personal training sessions is by using SOAP notes for fitness progress. SOAP notes are common among healthcare providers. This type of record tracking helps the professional document what’s going on with a patient, form a diagnosis, and put together a plan. Although fitness professionals should never provide a diagnosis, they can, however, put together their expert opinion on how the client is progressing to their fitness goals. The acronym, for use in fitness, follows this format.

  • Subjective information is a brief summary of how the client feels or has been doing.
  • Objective information includes data like weigh ins or other data related to the fitness goal.
  • Activity and Assessment is where information for the workout goeas and the personal trainer’s assessment on how things are going and what needs to happen.
  • Plan is what the client and trainer should focus on in the days between the next personal training session.

Maintaining fitness SOAP notes will increase the credibility of the personal trainer because of the professionalism. Considering personal trainers can charge $75 – $100 per session, this should be an expectation from the client. When used consistently, they can help the fitness coach with consistency and a structure for conducting each personal training session. Further, personal trainer SOAP notes support fitness client motivation and increases training client accountability. Therefore, they should be part of your routine practice and in all personal trainer client paperwork.

Subjective Information

This is a quick way to document how the client says they feel. It can be as simple as asking the client how they have been doing since the last session. Or, the trainer can ask details around their level of nutrition compliance and the experiences during their independent workout. We recommend using a star rating from the client. You can get this by asking the client how they feel things have been going on a four star scale. Then, the personal trainer documents the score and asks probing questions. For example, a client might score a four. Then the trainer can ask “Great, what got you to that perfect score?” or “How do you think we do the same thing next week?”. If the scoring is lower, the personal trainer can work to uncover what areas drove the score down and what their takeaway was from it.

Objective Information

Each time you meet with a client, you should be collecting objective data. Ideally, you have an accountability agreement set up with your client as part of your EMAC Personal Training services you provide. It’s the best way to hold fitness clients accountable. In your accountability agreement, you’ll have measurable process goals for the client to follow. The objective portion of your SOAP notes should include these data points. For example, if you have a weight loss client what did they weigh in at? Even better, you should be keeping a performance score card of your client’s compliance percentage. This should also go into the objective information section in your records. 

The best part of objective information is that both the personal trainer and client can’t argue with it. Even if an undesirable weight is due to water fluctuations, it’s still important to be tracking the trend. For weight loss client programs, the Objective section of fitness coaching SOAP notes is easy. For clients who have a performance orientation, you can include information such as resting heart rate, movement screens, or other sports performance metrics. Lastly, for clients with a more general functional fitness program, include metrics from their comprehensive fitness assessment. Of course, you won’t include all the assessment data here. However, consistently track a few metrics so your SOAP notes for personal training convey what client progress looks like.

Assessment And Activity

The assessment part of your SOAP notes is your quick expertise on where the client is. It isn’t the larger, comprehensive fitness assessment. Instead, here, you’re summing up what the subjective and objective information mean together. For example, if you may have a weight loss client who says they’re doing great subjectively. But then you see they didn’t finish their food log. And, they’re up a pound. Your quick assessment might be, the nutrition plan might not be on track, revisit basic nutrition coaching behaviors and work on client motivation. 

Then, the activity should include both physical activity and fitness coaching elements from the session. Here, you enter in the exercise you teach your client or the workout you put them through. Then, if you’re working on client motivation and motivational interviewing add your notes here too. If you have a separate workout template with more details, you can put a brief summary. Include items such as what you chose for the exercise, volume, intensity, and overall workout goal. 


In the Plan section of your fitness SOAP notes, include anything you apply to the client’s fitness program going forward. The plan should always tie to one of the five components of fitness. This section should include recommendations you’re giving them for their at-home workout or independent cardio sessions. Additionally, if you’re giving them nutrition coaching, include these recommendations. For example, you might want your client to do meal prep for each day of the week coming up. Or, you might want them to be exact in their food diary and measure their portions. With online coaching, especially if you are a 100% virtual personal trainer, the plan is the most important part. 

The Plan section in personal trainer SOAP notes should be heavy in detail and exactness. Just as much as the Objective information section aligns to the accountability agreement, so should the plan. If there are any modifications to your original accountability agreement, these changes should also go here.

EMAC Certified Personal Trainers excel at the art of fitness coaching. They provide more than just a workout for clients. Learn more about what makes an EMAC CPT different and be a part of the new generation of personal trainers.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: