What is Effective Fitness Programming?


What is Effective Fitness Programming?

When I write and create any fitness program or strength cycle, whether it be for a Focus PT client, my gym community, individual athlete or sporting team, I take into consideration a variety of different factors.  

The key aspects are as follows:

  • Effectiveness
  • Sustainability
  • Versatility
  • Individualisation
  • Perodisation & Cycles

When I finish a program or cycle, I always look back and evaluate what worked and what could have been better.  This then allows us to evolve our systems and learn how to do things next time around.  My goal as a coach is to ensure the best programs are made available for the variety humans, members, clients and situations we face and are responsible for.

Those who measure their results get an understood result. Otherwise you are just guessing.

Tracking your progress and performance over the course of a few weeks, months and a year can give you much more valuable information about what you should prioritise with your training and how far you have come.  Always remember where you started from.

Fitness is not just about the bikini body or how you look in the mirror.  Feeling good about yourself is important however fitness is about adapting to better choices, better movement, living a better life and learning more about yourself.  

Fitness and conditioning is about teaching your body to manage and cope with the activities and the lifestyle that is enjoyable for you, so when evaluating your performance with a training program, you should be looking for the practical development of control over your body for these activities.


What are the 3 essential components of a successful training program?:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility / Mobility
  • Body Control


Strength is a necessary component, pretty much regardless of what your goals are.

If you’re training for a specific sport, you will need to build the specific strength needed for that sport and the movements and physical action involved required to be successful. 

Strength and its benefits are relative to what you choose to use it for.

What movement of strength do you use often in your daily life? If what you do in the gym does not align with your lifestyle maybe your lifestyle or your training needs changing.  

Training needs to be sustainable, functional and effective.

A good program takes into consideration the relative nature of strength and guides you to a practical development for the life you lead. 

Flexibility / Mobility

Flexibility and your overall mobility can be difficult to see and feel in the first few weeks however you will often see a much bigger difference if you you stick with it.  It takes discipline and consistency. 

Every good exercise program needs a focused approach to the specific flexibility requirements of the group and the individual.

Body Control

Can you control the movement?

Can you control the movement at all points of the skill?

Does your movement align with your focus, breathing and range of motion?

My biggest tip is take pride in your movement, your attitude, your awareness,  your range of movement and your technique. 

Cycles and Perodisation

It can be difficult to make general public programs and that’s why many coaches prefer to work one-on-one as the program can be specifically designed to the individual.  You always learn more in an intimate relationship.

However, the key to a good program is taking the time to prepare it.  Spreadsheets, trial and error, discussion and feedback are all components to a good program.

Victory loves preparation. 

Periodisation is simply a process of dividing the annual training plan into a series of manageable phases. Each phase can then target a specific or series of attributes to be developed within a designated period of time. Periods of appropriate overload and recovery are designated within each phase.

Here are my 9 tips to writing great programs:

Tip 1: Use variety. Keep your training fresh, exciting, a little scary and fun.  Use all the toys you have available and teach people things. Teach them the techniques, cues, and reasons fro training the way you have prescribed. Coach people with variety and spice. 

Tip 2: Use repetition. Stick to a plan. Create a spreadsheet. Follow a cycle of linear progression and track your results. Those who measure and understand their direction get the best results. 

Tip 3: Use feedback. Listen, observe, ask, discuss and assess all that happens during your cycles and write notes. See what works and what does not and seek adaption and evolution the next time. Also be open to making adjustments as required for individuals as the program is in the end just a guide.

Tip 4: Administer small doses. Most people get “burned out” if they get too much of a good thing. Have a down load period where you can revert to lighter training with elements of fun and sustainability.  Fitness is for the long haul. I generally have a 4 week download from any cycle however maintain key elements for maintenance. 

Tip 5: Apply knowledge. A simple rule of mine is that if you can’t explain something simply then you don’t know enough about it. That is ok. Go and take some time to learn more about the skills or the methodology, do a course, ask your mentor or do some self-learning. It all matters and we are always learning. How you apply and deliver your knowledge is the key. 

Tip 6: Make it interesting.  Try to have a personality. It goes a long way. Be flexible in your approach and learn to understand people. Motivate, support, guide, apply and listen. 

Tip 7: Use training experts.  Bring in guests trainers and experts and present a learning environment for your team. Focus on quality of the coach rather than quantity and ensure these people align with your business model. 

Tip 8: Use a training matrix. Use spreadsheets. If you don’t have a matrix, you’re just guessing and your training is haphazard and your quality and effectiveness will suffer.  Victory still loves preparation and spreadsheets rule! A matrix allows people to compare their own training and progress to where they were previously. This can have a huge motivating effect as progress and evolution is paramount. 

Tip 9: Give everyone a chance. Create programs that ensure everyone can get involved with progressions, regressions and make sure you are ready for the curve ball when someone has an injury or needs and alternative skill.  This comes with experience so remember everytime you do another sessions you are one step closer to the coach you have always wanted to be.

Coach with passion, love progress in others, seek to be the guiding light someone needs when it matters and have fun.  

Movement with out music, progression, community and fun is never as good.  

Now go and open Excel and start creating your next program.


Email – getstarted@elements4life.com.au

Join our programs of human development at Elements4Life. Tell us below what you want to achieve.