Nick #104 - How specific should a training program be? | Fit Futures

Hey what’s up guys, it’s Nick from Fit Futures here with yet another answer to yet another question.

Today’s question comes from Pete in Taupo and his question is; Nick, if our clients are working in a self-directed manner, how specific should the training programs be?

Well Pete, I’m going to assume that you don’t mean the training programs with respect to content, but the training programs with respect to the information that is on it because of our clients are working in a self-directed manner, that means that it’s a similar to working with a gym instructor as opposed to a personal trainer. With the PT, the PT is there with them all the time. With the gym instructor, they just meet with them once or twice, they design the training program, they show them through it and then they leave them to their own devices for six to eight weeks before revisiting things and determining if there’s been any progress. So I’m going to assume that it’s the latter. I would say that any program you give somebody and, if that individual is going to be working in a self-directed manner, it should be absolutely saturated with information. Obviously you will have the various exercises that you want them performing and you’ll have the sets and reps schemes, you’ll have the rest, you will have the tempo, I would also encourage you to saturate it with notes and cues on how to perform the activity. It doesn’t have to be anything too in-depth. It would actually just be little bullet points, things that are simple and easy to remember, and then from there the client can refer back to the training program and go, “Oh ok, they’re going to ask me to do a stiff leg deadlift. How do I do that? Oh that’s right, I got high hips and I’m working through a slightly greater range of motion, engaging the hamstrings. ”All those little pieces of information can help the individual recall precisely how you want them to perform an activity. You’re probably thinking, “Yep, I would be including that on pretty much every program I write. ”But just know that there is a heightened importance if the individual that you are training is working remotely.

In addition to the training content, one thing I see with our students quite a lot with the gym instructor level programming is that they will say warm up and cool down on their programs, and they will say warm up five minutes, cool down five minutes. All well and good, but what does the warm-up actually entail? What does the cool down actually entail? With the warm-up, you might want them just simply running on the treadmill to increase the muscle temperature and get the blood flowing. That’s perfectly fine, but make sure that you stipulate that on the training program, because if all it says is warm up five minutes and this individuals working remotely, they’re going to down at their training program and they’re going to say,“Right, I don’t know precisely what I should be doing with this. ”So make sure that you put down something along the lines of row or treadmill, five minutes, at a moderate pace, make sure that you include some cues, let them know why they’re doing it. We’re looking to get the muscle temperature up,we’re looking to get the blood pumping. We’re looking to warm ourselves up prior to going through maybe some dynamic stretching, maybe some mobility work.

But again, if you do include some dynamic stretching, what dynamic stretches? How often? Make sure that we’re providing a little bit of training prescription around that. We’re going to perform leg swings, we’re going to perform front and back leg swings and side to side leg swings across the body. You’re going to do 10 on each side and you going to do that twice. That sort of training prescription is critical. You do the same with the cool down, you’d want to make sure that you’ve got a list of activities that you have them perform. It may be that you ask them to go for a brisk walk on the treadmill or maybe a light cycle just to remove any byproduct, especially from a heavy anaerobic workout. You’d want to make sure that we’re getting rid of the lactate and the hydrogen that builds up. And then any stretches, again, you would want to be specific with the training prescription. If they’re throwing and quad and hamstring stretches, that’s tremendous. Make sure that your specific with which ones those are, piriformis stretch, whatever. And make sure that you let them know how long the holds should be and how many each side they will be performing.

The last point I’d like to make, Pete, with respects to training somebody remotely, is that online personal training is a growing business now and the majority of the time, you aren’t taking a programs how through with those clients. They will come to you, you will determine what’s best for them, you will design the training program you’ll send it out to them and off they go. Again, to their own devices.If they’re complete novices, they probably won’t have a great handle for precisely how to do the activities and even including notes and cues may not be enough. So, I would encourage you to form your own video library or at least identify some videos on YouTube of the correct way to perform activities, and maybe include those as a hyperlink on their training programs when you send it through to them, so that they can go away and they can view it and immediately have an appreciation for how that exercise works, how that exercise should be performed.

So Pete, I hope that answered your question. Give it a go, see how you get on with it. And to the viewers, keep an eye out for future content.

As I’ve said in previous videos, there’s always plenty more on its way. Until next time, team, keep well.

Disclaimer: The exercises and information provided by Fit Futures Learning Institute (T/A Fit Futures Academy) ( are for educational and entertainment purposes only, and are not to be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. Read the full content disclaimer.