I was talking to my mentorship attendees at my gym last week and we got on the subject of programming.

They pointed out that what we actually do at Results Fitness and what people have seen me write (in terms of programs) are not always all that similar. They were right. The programs at our gym can be somewhat different than some of the stuff I write about.

For example – when we write a program at the gym -it’s based on a thorough health history, postural evaluation, range of motion assessment, functional movement screen and possibly some performance measures. We review this material with the training time availability, prioritize what’s needed given the client’s time line or deadlines and design the program.

An article is usually an assignment where I have none of the above. For example – A magazine will tell me that they need a workout with dumbbells only, and a max of six exercises (as that’s all they have room for). You’d see that and without knowing the parameters of the assignment – you may think that’s what we’d do if you joined our gym.

I recently wrote a workout for an article that was based solely around chins and dips – no other exercises. It’s unlikely that I’d come up with that as a program if I assessed someone in person.

Books and articles tend to be more generic. Real programming is more customized.
Now obviously any program written by a skilled professional is useful as going from not having any plan to picking up one of these books or articles and following the plan laid out is an excellent start. Especially since the average person shows up to the gym without any kind of plan at all.

But to really get the most out of your training a program that has been designed specifically for your needs and goals will be most effective and that is what we use at our gym when we have the client in front of us.

Other misconceptions

I think people often read something I or one of my team have written and think that they know what we do with all our different clients. For example, people think that we don’t ever use aerobic training – but we have several triathletes and other endurance athletes at Results Fitness. Or that we only use full body workouts — we don’t – we actually usually use split routines. We’ve had a ton of figure and physique competitors as members of our gym.

People also assume that the article or book that they just read is “all we do”. So if they read a metabolic conditioning article – they assume that’s all we do and we never use traditional heavy lifting. (Not true btw). Or because steady state aerobic work is not our number one fat loss choice with a time-challenged client that we don’t ever recommend it. (Also not true).

I actually read something recently where someone thinks that I don’t do any isolation training or direct arm training. Guess they’ve never been at a seminar of mine, read many articles I’ve written or been in my gym…nearly all my programs available on my website include isolation exercises for direct arm training.

Program design needs to be based on an assessment and a system. If you’re not assessing – you’re just guessing.