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The Great Debate: Pre-Made vs Bespoke Workouts for Online Training Clients

June 2, 2023
tim saye

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One of the most debated topics regarding online training is whether to provide pre-made or bespoke workouts for clients.

Some trainers swear by the convenience and efficiency of pre-made plans, while others argue that personalized workouts are the only way to help clients achieve their fitness goals truly.

So, what's the correct answer? The truth is that it depends on each client's individual needs and preferences.

While pre-made plans save time and provide a general structure, bespoke workouts can cater to specific goals, limitations, and preferences.

As the founder of PT Distinction, one of the most popular online personal training apps, I've seen both approaches work effectively for different types of clients.

This article aims to explore the pros and cons of pre-made and bespoke workouts and help you determine which approach is best for your online personal training business.

However, before diving into each approach's pros and cons, let's define what we mean by pre-made and bespoke workouts.

What are Pre-Made Workouts

Pre-made workouts are typically generic workout plans that can be applied to many clients. These plans are often created in advance and can be reused for multiple clients. These workouts may include a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups or aimed at achieving specific fitness goals such as weight loss or building muscle.

What are Pre-Made Workouts

Pre-made workouts can be a convenient and less expensive option for individuals looking to start an exercise routine or add variety to their current one. They can also provide structure and guidance for those needing help knowing where to begin their fitness journey.

However, pre-made workouts may not be tailored to individual goals, needs, or limitations, and their effectiveness will depend on an individual's fitness level, consistency, and effort put into completing the exercises.

What Are Bespoke Workouts?

Bespoke workouts, or personalized workouts, are explicitly designed for an individual's unique goals, abilities, and limitations. These plans consider the client's fitness level, goals, preferences, and constraints and are created specifically for them.

An online personal trainer will work with the individual to develop a program based on their fitness level and specific goals to provide a customized fitness plan tailored to their needs and preferences. These workout plans may include a variety of exercises, such as cardio, strength training, and flexibility work, that are specific to the individual's fitness goals.

The program is designed to progress with the client as they become fitter or stronger, ensuring continued progress and challenge. While bespoke workouts may be more expensive than pre-made workouts, they offer a higher level of customization and attention to detail, leading to more efficient and sustainable results.

What Are Bespoke Workouts?

The Pros of Pre-Made Workouts

One of the main advantages of pre-made workouts is their convenience. So let's explore all the pros of using pre-made exercise plans for online training clients.

Time-saving: Pre-made workouts can save time for trainers as they don't need to create a new plan for each client.

Scalability: They can be easily scaled to accommodate multiple clients so trainers can reach a larger audience and increase their revenue without sacrificing too much time.

Cost-effective: These plans can be sold at a lower cost than bespoke workouts, making them more accessible to a broader client base.

Standardization: Pre-made workout plans are standardized, ensuring that all clients receive the same quality of training.

Variety: Pre-made workout plans can offer a more comprehensive array of training programs, attracting more clients interested in specific training goals or styles.

Expertly developed: Experienced fitness professionals often develop pre-made plans, ensuring that each program is designed with the latest training techniques and standards.

Consistency: Pre-made programs can also provide a sense of structure for clients. They may feel reassured knowing they are following a tried-and-tested plan that has worked for others.

The Cons of Pre-Made Workouts

However, pre-made workouts also have some drawbacks. So, let's look at the cons of providing pre-made exercise plans.

Lack of personalization: Pre-made workout plans may not be tailored to each client's specific goals, fitness level, limitations, or preferences, which could limit their effectiveness. People need to see the desired results to avoid clients feeling frustrated or demotivated.

Limited flexibility: Pre-made workout plans may need to be more flexible to accommodate clients with unique medical conditions, injuries, or special requirements.

Not suitable for beginners: Pre-made workout plans may not suit beginners or clients who have never worked out, as they may require more personalized attention.

Inability to adapt to client progress: Pre-made workout plans may not be adapted to each client's progress, leading to stagnation and a lack of progress. If clients plateaus or want to change their routine, they may need to switch to a different pre-made plan or find a new trainer.

Overuse or repetition: Pre-made workout plans may have a limited selection of exercises, and clients may get bored with the repetition, leading to reduced motivation and adherence to the program.

Lack of client engagement: Pre-made workout plans may not engage clients as much, as clients may feel less invested in a program not created specifically for them.

The Pros of Bespoke Workouts

Let's explore why offering individually designed workouts can benefit your online personal training clients and business.

Personalization: As the name suggests, bespoke workouts are designed for individuals' unique abilities, goals, and limitations. This means the program considers an individual's fitness level and physical restrictions. This can lead to better results and higher client satisfaction. Bespoke workouts can also be adapted as clients progress or change their goals.

Efficiency: A bespoke workout program is designed to be efficient and effective, focusing on targeted exercises to help individuals achieve their goals.

Increased accountability: Working with an online personal trainer or strength coach who develops the workout program can help increase motivation and accountability, primarily if progress is assessed regularly and adjustments are made to the exercise plan based on the results.

Adaptability: Bespoke workouts can be adapted and modified as an individual's fitness level and goals change, ensuring continued progress and challenge.

Reduced risk of injury: A bespoke workout program considers an individual's physical limitations, reducing the risk of injury or exacerbating existing conditions.

Personalized attention: With a personalized workout program, an individual receives individualized attention and support from a fitness professional, helping to ensure that they are performing exercises correctly and safely.

Long-term benefits: Bespoke workouts have the potential to provide long-term benefits, as they are designed to be sustainable and achievable over time.

The Cons of Bespoke Workouts

Offering custom workouts also has some drawbacks, mainly for the business or individual offering the online training plan.

Time-consuming: Creating personalized workout plans for each client can be time-consuming for online trainers, especially if they have a large client base and each program is created from scratch.

Lack of scalability: Customised workouts can limit the number of clients trainers can take on, making it difficult to scale and grow their fitness business.

Heavy communication load: Bespoke workouts may also require more communication and feedback between the trainer and client, which can be time-consuming and lead to miscommunication.

It may not be cost-effective: Creating bespoke workouts for every client can be costly, and not all clients can afford a fully tailored service.

Difficulty in standardizing: It may be challenging to standardize workouts if each client has a unique plan, which may affect the quality of training provided.

How to Create Effective Pre-Made Workouts

As a busy online personal trainer, creating pre-made workouts can be a game changer. It saves you time and ensures your clients get the best out of their workouts, even when you're not there to guide them.

Here are some tips on how to create effective pre-made workouts:

Step 1. Identify the goal: You must identify the target before creating a pre-made workout. For example, is it to build strength, increase endurance, or burn fat? Once you know the goal, you can create a workout that is specific to that goal.

Step 2. Consider the fitness level: You need to consider your prospective clients' fitness levels. A workout that is too easy or too hard will not be effective. Create different plans for beginners, regular gym-goers, and seasoned athletes.

Step 3. Include warm-up and cool-down: A proper warm-up and cool-down are crucial to help prevent injury and aid recovery. Make sure you include both in your pre-made workouts.

Step 4. Use a timer: Using a timer can help keep your clients on track, ensure they complete the workout in the allotted time, and provide structure to the exercise session.

Step 5. Keep it simple: Don't overcomplicate your pre-made workouts. Instead, keep them simple and easy to follow. Remember, your clients are not fitness experts, so make it easy for them to understand.

Creating effective pre-made workouts can be a powerful tool for online personal trainers. If you aim to create something similar to Beachbody, now BODi, you can apply a filter so people can choose a suitable plan based on their preferences and workout type:

How to Create Effective Pre-Made Workouts

How to Create Effective Bespoke Workouts

As an online personal trainer, creating bespoke workout plans for your clients can help them achieve their fitness goals faster and more efficiently. Here are some tips on how to develop effective custom workout plans:

Step 1. Assess your client's fitness level and structural movement: Before creating a bespoke workout plan, you need to assess your client's fitness level. You can do this by asking them about their fitness history and doing an assessment.

Step 2. Identify their goals: It's essential to ask your clients about their fitness goals before creating a bespoke workout plan. You can download a PDF template from Future Fit's website if you're looking for ways to streamline this process, or if you use an online training software like PT Distinction, you can add an extensive goal assessment questionnaire.

How to Create Effective Bespoke Workouts

Step 3. Create a challenging but achievable plan: Your client's workout plan should be challenging but doable. It should push them to improve their fitness level but be manageable so they can complete the workouts and feel a sense of achievement. You can introduce them to the RPE scale so they can monitor how much effort they put into each training session.

Step 4. Use variety: Variety can be essential in a workout plan to keep your client engaged and target different muscle groups. You can use a variety of exercises, equipment, and workout types to create a well-rounded program. However, ensure all equipment and movement you add has a purpose and align with client goals. No need to keep it varied just for the sake of preventing boredom.

Step 5. Consider any health issues or injuries: If your client has any health issues or injuries, you must consider these when creating their workout plan. For example, you may need to modify specific exercises or avoid certain activities altogether. Also, ensure they are cleared to exercise by their medical team.

Step 6. Progression plan: A good workout should allow progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the intensity or duration of the workouts as your client's fitness level improves.

Step 7. Communicate clearly: Communicate clearly with your clients about their workout plans. Explain the exercises, sets, and reps clearly, and provide pictures or videos if necessary.

Creating an effective bespoke workout plan for your clients can help them achieve their fitness goals faster and more efficiently. Following these tips, you can develop programs specific to your client's fitness level and goals, providing variety and progression to keep them engaged and motivated.

Case Studies: Examples of Successful Pre-Made and Bespoke Workout Programs

Let's look at some case studies to illustrate the effectiveness of both pre-made and bespoke workouts.

Case Study #1. Joe Dowdell - Dowdell Fitness Systems

Joe Dowdell - Dowdell Fitness Systems

Joe Dowdell's online pre-made workout plans offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for individuals seeking to improve their fitness levels from the comfort of their own homes. As a personal trainer with over 25 years of experience, Joe has created a range of workout plans designed to cater to his prospective clients' varying needs and abilities.

One of the critical benefits of Joe's pre-made workout plans is accessibility. Clients can access the programs anywhere, anytime, without coordinating schedules with a personal trainer because Joe uses PT Distinction to deliver all his programs.

Another advantage of Joe's pre-made workout plans is affordability. While one-on-one online coaching often comes with a hefty price tag, pre-made workout plans are significantly more cost-effective. In addition, the Dowdell Fitness System plans are competitively priced, making them accessible to a broader audience.

Joe's marketing is clever since he has developed these plans based on his work with Hollywood stars and athletes. As a result, people may feel more connected to them and motivated to stay on track. While several programs are available, Joe also developed a short questionnaire to ask them about their exercise environment, history, gender, and fitness goals to suggest the best-suited plan.

Joe Dowdell Fitness Systems Program Builder

Overall, Joe Dowdell's pre-made workout plans offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for individuals seeking to improve their health and fitness levels. While they may not suit everyone, they provide an accessible and affordable option for those looking to incorporate regular exercise into their daily routine.

Case Study #2. Pello Fitness - Online Personal Training

Pello Fitness - Online Personal Training

Pello Fitness' online personal training services provide a comprehensive and personalized approach to fitness that is tailored to each individual's unique goals and needs. In addition, Pello Fitness offers bespoke online training plans to help clients achieve their desired results through a customized workout and nutrition plan.

The key benefit of Pello Fitness' bespoke programs is that they are tailored to each individual's goals and physical abilities yet use PT Distinction to deliver their program, set-up reminders and add daily habits and workout sessions to their schedule.

Another advantage of Pello Fitness' bespoke programs is the support and accountability provided to clients. They receive ongoing guidance, feedback, and support from Zach and in-app messaging access whenever they have questions. This ensures that they stay on track with their fitness goals and continue to make progress over time.

Overall, Pello Fitness' online personal training services provide a high level of personalization and support ideal for individuals with specific fitness goals or unique physical needs. While they may be more expensive than pre-made workout plans, clients can expect a customized program tailored to their unique needs, ongoing support and accountability, and a high likelihood of achieving their desired results.

Conclusion: Which Option is Right for Your Online Training Clients?

The decision to offer pre-made or bespoke workouts depends on several factors, including your target audience, time and resources, and client needs and preferences. Both approaches have pros and cons and can be effective for different clients.

Pre-made workouts offer convenience and scalability, while bespoke training plans provide personalization and customization. However, suppose you want to tap into the benefits of both worlds. In that case, you might want to consider using pre-made workout plan templates that you can tailor to individual needs where necessary and use them as they are when you want to provide a low-cost experience.

Ultimately, the best approach will depend on your own business goals and the needs of your clients. By considering these factors and utilizing technology to deliver services, you can offer a high-quality online training experience that rivals traditional in-person training.

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