Just What is a CUSTOM Workout and How do I Build One?


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What does it mean to provide a custom workout to a client? When you see a personal trainer offering custom workouts for each client, what kind of ideas pop into your head?

Just what is a custom workout anyway?

It’s all about customizing workouts to a clients needs, and it is an involved process. We have to get to know the person. Starting with a health screening and fitness assessments. Then we have to learn the way they move, look for improper movement patterns. We must take into account their daily habits, and motivations and most importantly, what their favorite things in life are.

The last two weeks in class we’ve talked about motivating and preparing clients for exercise. We asked each other a lot of questions and got to know one another probably more than we thought we would. Next week we will be building custom exercise programs for each other. How do you design a custom exercise program that will keep a person engaged and coming back time and time again?

1st: The client has to be engaged

The client has to enjoy the routine, if there’s no enjoyment there’s no engagement. That doesn’t mean the client has a smile on their face or wants to talk. Enjoyment can look like a lot of different things. To really know what a client will enjoy we have to know what they desire in life and more than that what the person needs. Some people will need an escape, other will need encouragement, and still others may need companionship. Exercise can offer all these things and more. Ask your client what they want to get out of the time they spend with you. When creating a custom workout, think about the atmosphere that the client needs and create it.

It’s up to you to give your client that little bit of something that they are short on or missing in their life

2nd: The movements have to be relevant to the client

Lets face it, when it comes to exercises, there is no shortage of movements that we can take our client through and no shortage of equipment to use either. Wait what do you mean the gyms is closed?! Okay, so maybe we need to start getting creative. The good news is, there a plenty of exercise modalities that use little to no equipment that will get get your clients the results. What did you call that exercise again?

Try explosive movements or isometric holds to increase intensity when little equipment is available!

We have spent some time in class analyzing exercises, and looking at the joints and movements of the human body. Next we will analyze some common activities of daily life (ADLs) so that you will be able to assign appropriate exercises to strengthen and improve your client’s performance in a way that is relevant to them.

Choose a mixture of traditional and novel movements. Incorporate mini challenges, small goals that your client can work toward from week to week

When it comes time to pick the exercises that your going to include in your clients program, as always it comes back to clients needs. What motions do they perform most often in their life? What injuries have they sustained? What movements are starting to become hard for your client to do? What movements does your client want to get better at or perhaps do for the first time since childhood and simply what movements does your client enjoy?Use small goals within each movement like rep count targets, time in isometric holds or weight lift targets to increase the enjoyment level for your clients.

3rd: Keep the client involved in the process

A client will have more stake and feel more involved in their exercise program if you ask for feedback from them during the design process. I will often write out a program design with my client sitting in front of me so that I can ask how they feel about different movements, modalities and equipment. I will ask them for experience level, and if it is something they think they might enjoy.

Asking for feedback from your client is essential in building a custom exercise program

4th: Nail the delivery

Now it’s time to perform. This is where you shine and do what you love. Have fun and engage your client. Many clients over time will consider their trainers as a close friend, confidant, or even part of the family. We need to respect the role that we play in people lives and be there for them.

If you do what you love, you will love what you do!

For more information about AFNA’s Fitness and Nutrition Trainer Program visit : https://afna.edu/how-to-become-a-personal-trainer/