The Programming Predicament

The purpose of this article is not to talk about the differences in programming from trainer to trainer, coach to coach and the like. It is not an article on how coaches and trainers should program for their clients. This article, however, aims to address the nuances of programming for the general population and potential clients so that there is an understanding of where their coach is coming from and what their experience with their coach might be.

The Programming Predicament

First, let’s define programming so that all who read this have a better understanding of what it is.

Programming is the practice of developing and strategizing a specific exercise prescription plan for a person in order to maximize their return on investment (ROI) and get them to reach their fitness goals. Programming is extremely important and is usually attributed to the success or failure of one’s results from training.

As simple of a definition as that is, programming requires a lot of thought, education, expertise, experience and…….time.

The last item on that list is usually the hardest pill to swallow for clients and most people. People want everything as soon as possible, the unfortunate part about programming is, it’s hard to get the programming 100% perfect the first time. This means that it usually takes a few trials to get the program dialed in. Sometimes, it might even take multiple changes to a program and multiple progressions of a program before the results really start showing up.

A coach can do the best they can based off of the information that they are given - training history, dietary history, medical history, injuries, etc. - but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. You could be really sensitive to training, or you could be de-sensitized to training. Those sort of factors, the coach won’t know until the client goes through at least a portion of a program in order to figure it out.


In this article I don’t really want to get in to all of those details of training and what makes one person more sensitive and responsive than the other, but I think that it’s important to mention that there are a lot of differences between each individual that affect how they respond to training.

The main point of this article is to point out the fact that even if your coach is highly skilled, has lots of experience, etc; they may not have your program dialed in right from the get-go. This means that you have to trust the process and trust in your coach in order to see the true benefits.

The caveat to all of this, is that you have to be careful and watch out for signs of your coach not caring about progressing and adapting your program.

These aren’t always going to be easy to pick up, but if your coach is not responsive to emails and other inquiries about your program, then he probably doesn’t know what he is doing and shouldn’t be your coach. You want a coach that cares about you and your results, one that is constantly answering your questions and engaged with you. That’s someone that can be trusted and is willing to do whatever to get you on the right track to where you want to be.

This article is a bit hazy and doesn’t have a defined line, but the main goal of this was to maybe provide some insight into what the programming process is, how it is managed, and how your trust (if earned) is huge when it comes to your success. Not only does it help you in the long run, but it helps build a relationship with your coach much faster and easier and that in itself can be a HUGE part of your success.

I have had clients who have been on both sides of the fence with this one and the clients that are more engaged and asking questions are the ones who get the most out of their coaching and are the ones who see the best results.


If you don’t take anything else away from this, take this: ASK QUESTIONS.

I promise you it will help you and your success and your coach (if they are good) should love answering your questions. I know I do!

Andrew Peterson