What Makes a Fitness Program Successful?


    What Makes a Fitness Program Successful?

    We reached out to top fitness professionals, including a Certified Personal Trainer and a Head Strength Coach, to share their insights on crafting successful fitness programs. From optimizing program adherence to training multiple strengths simultaneously, here are five effective strategies that have propelled their clients to peak performance.

    • Optimize for Consistent Program Adherence
    • Set Realistic Expectations
    • Design With the Client’s Goal in Mind
    • Build Confidence Through Achievable Challenges
    • Train Multiple Strengths Simultaneously

    Optimize for Consistent Program Adherence

    I've designed numerous successful fitness programs for clients that have proven effective. This success can be attributed to several key factors. First and foremost is educating clients on the importance of adhering to a program consistently. Additionally, adapting the program to the client's wants, needs, and availability is crucial. Another vital aspect is starting with achievable goals; it's important not to set clients up for failure. Instead, we begin with simple tasks that the client can accomplish, thereby ensuring progress, even if it's through small milestones. Moreover, addressing common concerns like limited time by adjusting expectations—asking for just 15 minutes instead of an hour, for example—can significantly contribute to a program's effectiveness. These strategies have been fundamental in creating successful and effective programs for clients.

    Sergio PedemonteCEO - Certified Personal Trainer, Your House Fitness

    Set Realistic Expectations

    There is so much information available out there, especially when it comes to fitness. The most important thing is filtering out all the nonsense and setting realistic expectations with clients.

    Once it is clear on the goal and the time frame we are working within, I begin to reverse-engineer the program. A successful program, to me, consists of three workouts per week. Each session consists of a full-body workout. The exercise selection is based on filling the 'buckets' of a squat pattern, hinge pattern, upper body push, upper body pull, core, and finally, something that’s going to elevate the heart rate and leave the client feeling good!

    Lee OwensHead Strength Coach, NEPA Fit Club

    Design With the Client’s Goal in Mind

    A successful program is first designed with the clients' goal in mind. Whether the goal is strength, conditioning, physique change, or sport performance, having the adaptations or outcome this program is designed to achieve clearly defined by your client (with your help) is the first step toward success.

    The BEST program is the one that the client can adhere to; achieving buy-in and commitment, and creating a training schedule that is conducive to the client's lifestyle, recovery needs, and schedule is essential for the execution of the plan.

    A solid training plan also has a clear progression with attainable metrics for applying progressive overload, the fundamental principle that drives progress. The program should enable the client to challenge themselves, prompt them to record reps, sets, and load, and allow them to recover and beat this performance in successive weeks.

    Lastly, a successful exercise program does not live in a vacuum; the program should be incorporated into a larger periodization of programs and phases, painting a clear picture for how your client will be consistently increasing performance and progressing toward their goal long-term.

    Follow these four principles to create a plan for success for your clients!

    Christian Kruszewski
    Christian KruszewskiStrength and Conditioning Coach, CK Strength + Performance Strategies LLC

    Build Confidence Through Achievable Challenges

    The most successful program is one that a client can and will adhere to. It should be challenging but doable. It should be achievable. When my clients feel pushed and are still able to be successful, they buy in. And as their sense of self-competence and resilience grows, they are able to push harder.

    The confidence clients gain by overcoming hard things in the gym then tends to spill over into the rest of their lives.

    The actual components will look different for every individual, based on their specific needs, abilities, and availability. But all feature mobility, strength, plyometrics, and progressive overload.

    Elena Self
    Elena SelfMaster Personal Trainer, The LIV Method

    Train Multiple Strengths Simultaneously

    I developed a highly effective strength and conditioning program for a professional athlete, based on the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method. The program incorporates three different training methods that were originally adapted from the Soviet and Bulgarian training systems, and then further enhanced by Louie Simmons.

    The program involves three methods which are the Maximal Effort Method, the Dynamic Effort Method, and the Repeated Effort Method.

    - The Maximal Effort Method involves lifting the heaviest weight possible, in order to increase absolute strength.

    - The Dynamic Effort Method involves lifting sub-maximal weights at the highest possible speed, to improve the rate of force development and explosive strength.

    - The Repeated Effort Method is used to build muscle and address weaknesses, and accounts for 80% of the volume using a combination of special exercises and accessories.

    What sets this program apart from others is its ability to train multiple strengths simultaneously on a weekly basis, without allowing for the detraining that often occurs during transitions between training phases with other popular methods. The athlete trains three days a week, giving them an extra training day to focus on skill acquisition, increasing their strength, speed, and general physical preparedness for their sport.

    Mac McFarland
    Mac McFarlandWestside Barbell HQ S&C Coach, Westside Barbell