How We Do Individual Programming In Our Gyms

Introduction – Potentiality

If you are not providing your cliental the opportunity to invest in individual programming, then you are missing out on a potential revenue stream for your company. Besides missing out on a potential revenue stream for your gym and your coaches, you’re denying your coaches the opportunity to further develop their coaching skills. Group coaching, personal training (one-on-one, small groups etc.) are only one aspect of mastering coaching. Vital skills such as program design, assessment, communication (listening, asking the right questions etc.) and further developing their theoretical knowledge regarding the individualistic response from energy system training, strength training and skill acquisition are absolutely vital in order to become a truly effective coach.

If you are unsure on what educations to embark to further develop your coaches knowledge and how to practice individual design, then I strongly recommend OPEX CCP or STAC Elite-trainer (if you are located in Scandinavia).

Individual Programming – Consultation

When you’re responsible for guiding a person through the path of health and fitness, it is of utmost importance that you regularly meet them to have weekly, bi-weekly or at least monthly “check-ups”. Consultations are NOT 30-90minutes of chit-chat, they are sessions of deliberate discussions. Subjects that can be covered range from;

Life-style guidelines

Feedback client -> coach and coach -> client

Sales opportunity adding PT-sessions, extra nutrition consultations, Inbody analysis or other services that you and your gym provide

(you can also package these services to decrease the “slimy” feeling of selling, or you just become damn good at creating an emotional connection between your services and the client’s needs).

The purpose of a consultation is to identify / notice certain behavior that is more or less proned towards the clients’ goals. This could be words that they chose to use to describe a certain feeling towards what they eat, or how they feel about you as a person and/or a coach, the gym, their family etc. Another example of noticing could be:

“You notice your PT-client started to lose lean muscle mass and gain fat for the second consultation in a row and she doesn’t know why!” (This is your first noticing).

You decide to dig a little deeper with the questions, this is what you hear:

“She told you the last consultation that her sleep isn’t as good as it usually is . She says she sleeps three hours less than usual and experiences more stress.” (This is your second noticing). Your gut says there is something more to the conversation and reason behind change in behavior, so you decide to dig further and then you discover this:
Her husband has left her and her boss has emailed the employees of the company that they will be shutting the company down in three months.”

Now that you’ve a clear reason behind what you noticed, you can explain to her the reason she has decreased in muscle mass and increased in fat mass. When you can get the client to understand the reason for the changes that have occurred and if you can even get them to experience an emotional connection that fires them up for cause of action that’s when you have the opportunity to make an impact with the correct prescription!

Prescribe is the next step, this could be recommended changes in her lifestyle guidelines, this could be referring to cooperate with one of your colleagues or another service you provide or even externally. Let’s say she needs someone to hold her accountable regarding her choice of food and that she eats right and enough. Either way, you give the recommendation!

Once you prescribed, you have given her something to ACT upon. This allows the whole process to be recycled. Because new actions lead to new noticing, which leads to new explanations, which in turn leads to new prescriptions and thus new actions. This is the lifecycle of consultations.

Individual Programming – Assessment

Assessment is absolutely KEY when you are creating someone’s training regime. If you have no idea where they stand in comparison to their goal, then you’ll have no idea if what you are prescribing is actually what they need. It’s just the same as in a consultation, if you start to talk to them about gaining 10 kg of lean mass without asking what they want. Later you discover that they actually needed to lose 2 kg of mass in order to become more efficient in an ultramarathon, then you’ve not done your job properly.  This is applied in exactly the same way in assessment, you have to assess where they stand in relation to their primary goal.


There are three levels to assessing:

  • Move – you assess how your client moves in fundamental movement patterns. For an example as squat, lunge, hip hinge, vertical press, horizontal press, vertical pull, horizontal pull, throwing mechanics, running mechanics, swimming mechanics. The assessment depends on the client’s goal.
  • Body Composition (BC) – the reason for assessing BC could have relevance connected to risk of different type of diseases. Get an indicator on how they’ve been handling their nutrition to either loose or gain weight. What you see and how you interpret it, depends as always on your client’s goal.
  • Work – if you have a client that competes in functional fitness, long distant running, is a decathlete or just wants to be able to hike for hours. Then you have to test the energy system capacity, relative and absolute strength in movements that are relevant to the goal. For example, you’d not test a 100 m sprinters 10 k capacity, not because it is bad test. It is just an irrelevant test for that specific person (for the time being).

By doing assessments, you provide an opportunity for you and your coaches to deliver a better service, that is also experienced as extremely professional by your clients. It shows them that you really care about their journey and that you want to make sure that you are helping them as best as you can.

Besides providing a high value service, you’re also creating opportunity to sell more. Incorporating bi-weekly, monthly and/or bi-monthly session to assess is a create way to increase average revenue per member (ARM).

Individual Programming – Program Design

Program design is the art in the realm of sports science, this may be considered the hardest part in individual programming.

You have consulted and received a clear picture on what your client wants. You’ve assessed their movement pattern, body composition and their work capacity. You’ve now got a bunch of information and now you’ve got to put the pieces together in order to help them achieve their goal.

This is best done by practicing and having a solid foundational knowledge regarding energy system training and how a certain repetition span, with a certain tempo and rest in between sets, will cause a certain stimulus in your client and leading to a certain physical (and mental) adaptation.

NOTE: No need to grasp the eight steps of the citric acid cycle or how the beta-oxidation process works, but it is important to understand that work intensity, in regards to a certain time domain, and how rest ratio fits in to it, work together.

Providing the service of program design is an easy way for you and your coaches to increase the gyms ARM. It is even a service you could provide outside of your gym’s walls, it is an easy way to breach the geographical barrier.

If you want our help, or if you want to discuss ideas, don´t hesitate to reach out at

Good luck!



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