Customization in Fitness

Picture this. A young man in his 20’s decides to embark on a new fitness journey, but isn’t sure where to start. It then dawns on him that his 80-year-old grandmother goes to her water aerobics class 4 times a week and is incredibly agile and fit for her age. Recognizing that his grandmother’s plan seems to be working for her, he decides that it should work for him also. 

Sounds like he is setup for some real gains, right? No. Of course not. And this scenario would never happen. We all read this scenario and know that the young man is not going to be built like David Beckham if he mimics his grandmother’s exercise plan. Why do we know that? Because it isn’t taking in to consideration his or his grandmother’s ages, goals, previous injuries or interests. What this young man needs is a custom fitness plan that takes into consideration all of those things.

The Importance of a Customized Fitness Program

Many personal trainers would sell you on success by stating they would help you with the 3 steps below.

  1. Setting Realistic and Measurable Goals

  2. Strategic Planning to Achieve Goals

  3. Tracking Success

From our perspective, people can set goals, plan strategically and track their success on their own. However, we would argue that without a personal trainer to guide your plan, it is more likely you will set unrealistic goals, fail to recognize key barriers to achieving your goals, and completely fall off the bandwagon with a lack of accountability. That is why we believe a truly custom program involves a lot more than the 3 steps outlined above. Let’s look at what a custom training program through Apex includes.

  1. Setting Realistic and Measurable Goals

    1. Education: A key component to setting good goals is understanding the goal itself. If your goal is to run a 10K, your trainer should educate you from the start on what that kind of training requires (time, diet, fitness etc.).

    2. Assessment: In order to set goals that are realistically attainable, a trainer should do a thorough assessment. And no, we don’t mean a sit and reach test coupled with a check of your blood pressure. We mean a thorough review of any prior injuries, exercise programs (ones that worked/didn’t work). Your trainer should know when you like to exercise, how you like to exercise, what hurts when you exercise, etc, etc. For example, if you are recovering from a knee injury, it might take you longer to work up to running a 10K.

  2. Strategic Planning to Achieve Goals

    1. Time Management: You’ve stated that you only have 30 minutes 5x times per week to train. Great, so what do we do about it? What is the best possible workout for you to accomplish your goals in those 30 minutes? Your trainer can develop the most efficient plan for the time you have. 

    2. Schedule: What’s the schedule? It shouldn’t be loose. Your trainer will write out an exact plan for the week or month. Which days, what are you doing, and for how long? You will know right away what is expected of you.

  3. Tracking Success

    1. Accountability: You missed 2 workouts last week because you were binge-watching Game of Thrones? Well guess what? You are going to have to tell your trainer that (or lie, which is not going to help you meet your goals). 

    2. Encouragement: You’ve been crushing your workouts? Great! Let’s increase the intensity or duration sooner than expected. 

    3. Injury Prevention: Your bad back has been flaring up since you started lifting those heavier weights? Let’s re-evaluate your plan or your posture and give your back a break.

Don’t settle for a trainer that doesn’t take the time to get to know the person they are training. Fitness programs are not one size fits all. They just aren’t. Just like men have more muscle than women and kids have more energy than adults, fitness programs need to vary based on several factors. A good personal trainer has the education needed to create a truly custom plan for you.