The circle is broken.
The relationship between coach and athlete is now mostly one-way. It wasn’t always like this.
In years past, most fitness coaching was done one-on-one. A client would do their workout in front of their trainer; take homework or book their next appointment, and then the trainer would plan their next workout.
No one “programmed” a month ahead, because tomorrow’s program depended on today’s result. For example, if a client was doing a 3-minutes-on-1-minute-off HIIT workout, and couldn’t finish all five rounds, their future workouts would be altered to reflect their performance.
Likewise, if a client was running 400m repeats at a 1:16 average pace, their coach would program the next workouts based on that score (maybe 200m workouts with shorter rest breaks, or 400m repeats with a target time of 1:15…)
Now, it’s easy to do this with a 1:1 client. It’s even possible to stretch one client’s program enough to cover a second client, if that second client is similar in goal and ability.
It’s very hard to do this with a gym full of members taking group classes. VERY hard. But why isn’t anyone trying anymore?
The original HQ programming, as I understand it from Coach, was reviewed monthly. The workouts were all designed to have objective scores attached. So coaches could look at the scores and say, “90% of our clients improved their max deadlift this month, but only 5% improved their Fran.”
And then they’d program shorter HIIT workouts. Not too complicated, really.
So why aren’t we doing it?
Why are we searching for the hardest workouts we can find, instead of the best possible workouts for our clients? Why are we choosing “hard for the sake of hard” over “here’s where the majority of my clients are weak?”
Constantly varied, functional movement covers all the bases. Eventually. But what if your programming has a strength bias? Are you turning a willful blind spot to the fitness of your clients?
And how would you know?
Look, I’m guilty here. I browse workouts online and think, “Ooooh, that looks spicy!” and then put it in my own programming. There are a lot of fun workouts to choose from, and dozens of creative programmers out there. But is programming “hard for the sake of hard” what’s really best for our clients?
How do YOU track overall progressions and regressions, and what are you doing about them?