Writing exercise programs is not something taught to coaches in their certification. And only the basics are covered in upper education degrees. The majority of education on exercise programming comes through courses, and experience by coaches and trainers – either before or after getting certified.
This post in particular is aimed at coaches who do have some level of writing programs for their clients. Many insecurities can surface in this practice. It’s not as simple as some might think. Which became clear to me in the programming questions below:
“Is it okay if I repeat parts of a program from one clients program to another?”
“What if two clients need very similar programming…am I not delivering on ‘individualized’ if I don’t come up with two completely different programs?”
These are questions I have received for YEARS. More so since working with coaches. I too was overwhelmed by programming back in my college years. But over time, and through my internship in college strength, programming came to be my favorite aspect of coaching. Not common for many coaches, I know.
1️⃣ The more you program, the more room for efficiency you’ll see. You’ll find a superset or warm up that works really well for a given goal/stimulus. Find progressions that just make sense. You’ll see what “your people” tend to need.
2️⃣ The more you program, you’ll begin to see the use/need for a “skeleton” for given types of goals or starting points. Most clients work with a 4 day split? Make a skeleton base to work off of. Still individualized but not wasting unnecessary time starting from square one every time.
Take a breath my friend. You’re doing great. Your intentions are pure. And no shame in making skeleton templates to work off of once you’ve seen some common trends with your ideal clients.
So do what makes the most sense for you and the client. Build systems that make your life easier while still providing programming that fits the clients needs/wants. If you’re starting over from scratch every program, look for ways to NOT do that. You feel seen?
If you want to learn more, Pure Programming, my signature programming course, currently approved for NSCA 2.0 CEU and NASM 1.9 CEU, opens to the waitlist next week. Join here to get the inside scoop.
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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