From cell phone cases and mattresses to beach towels and neck ties, everything in 21st century American can be customized and curated to match your individual desires. In the last 5 years, the prevalence of subscription-based services has given rise to monthly “boxes” which purport to recommend the best wine, whisky, coffee, cigar, or fashion to match your preferences (just take our quick 5-minute quiz to find out!) In the age of customization and individualization, the health and fitness industry has lagged. Certainly, there are more options today than ever before to choose from when thinking about an exercise or nutrition program, but if all those programs purport to be “for everyone”, then how do you know which one is for you? Individualized fitness programs can benefit anyone.
Individualized fitness programs allow coaches and clients to explore how exercise can serve them and their lives. The lives of a college student, a young professional, a middle-aged mother, and an empty nester all carry different experiences and expectations. A college student may find she has plenty of time for exercise in the evenings and a desire to compete in a sport while a mother may only have a few spare hours per week to try to maintain the figure she once took for granted. Each of these prospective clients will find success in different levels of engagement with fitness. The college student may find that she wants to compete in long distance races while the empty nester may find that resistance exercises a few times per week allow her a freedom and independence which she has never experienced. However, if these unique individuals were all forced into the same template or mold of exercise (I.e. bodybuilding template, 1 hour CrossFit class, cardio bootcamp, etc.) they may never have the opportunity to explore different modalities which best serve their lifestyle. Individual fitness programs allow coaches and clients to explore a diverse range of fitness experiences in the context of the clients' schedule and goals.
Individualized fitness programs encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own fitness. Traditional fitness templates, group classes, or one-size-fits-all programs are structured with the goal of fitting as many clients as possible into the same program. When Sally’s shoulder bothers her during push-presses or Billy can’t quite get strict pull-ups, it can feel like a failure of the client to live up to the expectations of the program. This mindset is completely backward and can cause a great deal of harm if left unchecked. Conversely, if Sally presents to her individual design coach that her shoulder is bothering her, he will ask questions, perform an assessment, refer her to a specialist if needed, and design an exercise program to strengthen and rehabilitate her body. Likewise, if Billy presents to his coach that he cannot yet perform a strict pull-up, his coach will design a program with the specific goal of progressing Billy from where he is to where he wants to go. Individual fitness programs (when done correctly) flip the narrative from “client failing to perform” to “client progressing toward goal”. When clients are empowered to take responsibility for their own fitness journey, exercise becomes an exciting lifetime pursuit rather than a daily dose of feeling like they can’t measure up.
Individual fitness programs can benefit anyone by empowering clients to take responsibility for their own fitness and allowing them to explore different expressions and opportunities within their journey. Empowered clients are more likely to stay engaged in fitness and pursue physical activity over a lifetime. Knowledgeable, caring, and enthusiastic fitness coaches are ready to guide the next generation of individuals through their lifetime pursuit. In a world where every pen and coffee mug is carefully crafted to the individual it was designed to serve; why should you be forced into a fitness program designed for someone else?