“The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, & the science is in the explanation.” Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit.
“The art is in the programming.”
It’s easy enough to peruse the web for workouts or slap some movements together for workouts on the fly. That may well be good enough to give your clients a good workout. Perhaps a good week of workouts. But will that be sufficient to ensure long term progress? Probably not. Given that results are essential to client retention, you need to ensure that your program is results based.
You first need to understand who the bulk of your clients are.
Consider a graph with a bell shaped curve. The area under the left tail of the curve represents your new members. Every month they form a small percentage of your total memberships. They know very little about what you do, aside from what their friends and family said to encourage them to join! They need a bit more attention than your regulars, and you need to ensure that their introduction to your methods are graded to foster safe, effective and efficient movement, and that they move on to permanent members.
The area under the bell shape – the largest area under the curve – represents your regular members. They’ve been there for at least a couple of months, understand your systems, are able to distinguish between good and poor mechanics, and are getting better at scaling workouts to their abilities. This group of people comprises the overwhelming majority of your client base. They just want to be better than yesterday, and are keen to challenge their realms of experience. They are your bread and butter.
The area under the right tail of the curve represents your members that aspire to reach more advanced levels of fitness, and wish to test that fitness in the competitive arena. Just as your new clients are, this group comprises a very small percentage of your client base. And of those that have the aspirations to be a part of this group, an even smaller percentage of them have the talent and work ethic required to achieve such levels of fitness.
So you have your newbies, returning regulars, and aspiring fire-breathers. Your programming needs to cater to the needs of each group.
Focusing on just one of those groups is going to leave a hole in your armour, and the potential success of your business may be diminished. And if you’re anything like the clients you attract, you want to be better than yesterday too! Here are some tips to help you cater to the needs of all the clients you have training at your facility.
- You need to have some form of introductory program. Be it private or small group sessions, three or nine sessions, one week or four weeks.
- Teach them your fundamental movements and give them exposure to conditioning workouts.
- Introduce them to your nutrition methods.
- Educate them about scaling.
- Give them the technique and knowledge required NOT to be a fish out of water when joining the regular group classes.
- This includes people just off their intro program, as well as your aspiring fire-breathers. The ultimate goal is fitness, and changes in fitness need to be observable, measurable and repeatable.
- Direct them to the tools required to record results.
- Program the basics – single modality days to work on strength, mechanics and skills; live by couplets and triplets for (metabolic) conditioning; only program chippers or long effort workouts once in a while.
- Regularly test fitness.
- Have set guidelines and levels of fitness that they need to achieve in order to be considered more ‘advanced’ athletes.
- Manipulate their working load and volume accordingly.
- Consider allocating some class times only for this group to work on the ‘sexier’ stuff.
There are no finite rules with programming, and there are many ways to skin this cat. But always be mindful that how you program will affect client results, and their results ultimately affect the growth of your business.
Try something and then test it. If it doesn’t work, bin it. But if your clients aren’t progressively challenging your ability to keep making them fitter, you need to try something else.