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Scheduling Client's Workouts for the Best Results

March 24, 2022
tim saye

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The value of maintaining a regular exercise program has been known for sometime, a recent Harvard Alumni Health Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the value of regular training. Participants who had been moderately active but later became sedentary had a 15% higher risk of death than their counterparts who had never been active. On the other hand, those who started and kept up an exercise program had a 23% lower risk of death, those who'd always been active had a 29% decrease in risk. But knowing the benefits of lifelong exercise is one thing, making it happen is another.

Life is often very unpredictable and many people are “too busy” to consistently workout, however, we always make it to work, meetings, school, kids clubs (if you have children), doctor appointments etc... So why do so many people miss their workouts and blame “being busy”?

A key reason we make it to some things but not others is scheduling, and more accurately, putting an event in your schedule and putting time aside for it. Doing this for workouts can massively increase your clients adherence and results. Evidence suggests scheduling workouts leads to better adherence, better balance, lower risk of over-training and injury, increased workout quality, and possibly more time to do other things due to better organisation.

In this article we look at the benefits of scheduling your clients training and look at ways of working with your clients to make a training schedule that fits around their current lifestyle.

Benefits of scheduling training

#1. Better adherence and consistency

Verywell Fit tell us that scheduling your workout—or healthy activity—is effective because it reduces choice.

When presented with a choice, people are more likely to pick the option that's easiest, quickest, and most enjoyable. Exercise is generally not described as easy or quick and for many people, it's not enjoyable.

When you build a routine with scheduling, you reduce the impact of choice. There's no moment where you need to make a decision, you simply follow your routine as if on autopilot. This leads to better adherence and long term consistency.

#2. Workout balance

Everyday people tend to have simple goals, like losing weight, getting stronger, increasing energy levels. While there are many ways to achieve these results, people generally need an approach where you balance their aerobic activities with weight training and high intensity work, like circuit training and HIIT. Creating a schedule for clients to follow makes it easier to watch that balance.

For example, you might want your client to complete 2 strength sessions, 2 high-intensity cardio workouts and at least 1 lower impact aerobic or cardio training per week, plus include regular mobility work or yoga. If you just leave clients to pick and chose, it's unlikely they'll consistently achieve the right balance to get the results they want.

You can chat to clients about their lifestyle and figure out where each of those workouts would fit into their week, then create a workout schedule for them. If you use an online training software like PT Distinction, this will be an easy task where they also get reminders to log their sessions.

#3. Protection from over-training (or under-training!)

We know the magic happens during recovery, so it's important your clients find the right balance between working out and resting, so their bodies can do all the fantastic work to improve their fitness and health.

As a personal trainer, you teach your clients that rest days are essential for injury prevention and optimal performance. When clients are left to their own accord to figure out when to exercise, it's easy for them to repeat a favourite workout, not vary their training and miss rest days. As you know this can easily lead to injury, fatigue and poor results.

If you create a schedule with workouts set out in the correct order and rest included on the right days it's easy to avoid over-training and the issues that come with it.

You might also want to consider who your clients are because there is research to suggest that women may need more rest than men between training the same muscle groups.

#4. Better training quality

With a schedule, you know in advance you’ll have enough time to warm up, work out, and cool down. Clients won’t be trying to squeeze a workout into a small gap in their day and end up with a training session that’s rushed, ineffective, or results in injury.

Making a schedule that fits with your clients lifestyle

When creating a perfect training schedule for your clients a rigid plan can allow us to optimise training times with clients circadian rhythm, optimise rests periods for maximum results and create a near perfect plan for your clients. If training professional athletes this can be the way to go, but will need flexibility around skill training and matches. When training every day people with families and jobs we also need to consider their current commitments and lifestyle to create the best possible plan they can stick to. There are a couple of effective ways to create an excellent training schedule for your clients that also fits around their lifestyle.

#1. Create a schedule with your client

When working one on one with clients you can work together and create the perfect workout schedule around what your clients currently do in their life. Can they get up a little earlier to train? Can they fit in a training session on the way home from work, do they have days in the week with longer lunch breaks that can be used for training? Etc.. Working together, you can be proactive about making time to train in any clients day which leads to great levels of consistency.

#2. Teach clients to schedule their own workouts at the beginning of each week.

We made a video showing how this works in PT Distinction here. This set up is well suited to a group coaching set up where you don't have the individual time with each client to sit down and plan their week with them.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are many benefits associated with scheduling workouts for your clients. By helping them develop a consistent exercise routine you will be powering clients towards their goals and potentially increasing their life expectancy dramatically.

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