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March 25, 2024

245 | 5 Common Mistakes in Program Design: How to Avoid Pitfalls and Deliver Results

If you want to get clients results, I want you to consider doing less but better.

Today I share five program design mistakes, why they are mistakes, and what you can do differently.

At this point, I’ve approved almost 100 Pure Programming final program submissions. That’s a 12 phase macrocycle, and at least one meso cycle consisting of three months of full programming. So I’ve seen my fair share of common mistakes and insecurities that coaches may have around their approach to program design.

By addressing these potential mistakes, you avoid pitfalls with clients, but also increase your confidence in the choices you make around program design and selling your own methods.

So often, I think coaches make decisions to appease clients instead of whatever might actually be best from a programming standpoint. But I understand that you need to be able to communicate your decisions to your clients. And if you lack backing or confidence in that decision making, it makes sense that you would appease the client.

Most of these can apply to individualized programming as well as templated programming, so take what fits and leave the rest.

1. No assessment or clear goal

  • even with templated there should still be common issues or desires we’re working towards

2. Week to week programming

  • define your meso cycles 
  • monthly program design = predictability and measurability for the client.

everyone on one business client I’ve had who transitioned from weekly or ongoing program design to monthly phases has had two consistent results. One is that there are more efficient in their own work. And Two is at the clients Absolutely love it.

Truly, it’s a win-win if it works for your overall model.

3. Changing too many aspects at once

  • what’s the LEAST amount you can change and still get the desired stimulus

I absolutely understand that you cannot just do the same five exercises for 16 weeks. You might be fine doing that from a muscle standpoint, but people do get bored, so some level of exercise variation will be welcomed. But it’s the extent of that exercise variation that I see being a necessary a lot of times.

Can you simply take a Bulgarian split squat, and change the way that it’s loaded, or elevate the front foot as well?

If you missed my YouTube video on three ways to progress your accessory exercises I highly encourage you to look that up.

4. Not including all of the following aspects of program design:

  • blood flow warm up
  • Movement prep
  • Rest
  • Tempo
  • Some kind of intensity guide

Simply leaving potential on the table if not defining these.

5. Not managing volume phase to phase

  • big jumps or dips = not capitalizing on the gains made in previous phases
  • Potential for injury due to load / capacity discrepancy

Something you learn how to do inside Pure Programming is calculate your total weekly, volume and daily volume. This allows you to be sure that you’re not making these big jumps or dives from phase to phase.

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to iTunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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