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How Personal Trainers Can Design Effective Workout Programs For Different Clients

A personal trainer with a client

The most important part of a personal trainer’s job is developing workout programs for each client. People prefer personal trainers over gym instructors because personal trainers will help them achieve faster results with personalized workouts while gym instructors are there to guide clients.

But a big issue arises with personal training. Each client is different, and they have unique needs, so it can be challenging to come up with workouts that’ll fit everyone. A more simplistic approach to creating workout programs can save trainers a lot of time and effort.

The approach should focus on eliminating unnecessary factors and focusing on the client’s core requirements. From there, modifying the workouts as the client progresses is easier. Moreover, if a workout program isn’t working, it’s also easier to change it.

On a side note, if you’re interested in getting a personal trainer certification, check out W.I.T.S. Education’s personal trainer course.

How Do Personal Trainers Design Exercise Programs?

A huge part of personal trainers’ training involves thinking outside the box and coming up with creative ways to meet the client’s goals. So personal trainers don’t follow a single method when it comes to designing exercise programs. They understand the client’s needs and then analyze their lifestyles to determine what workouts would work for them.

They also need to determine whether the workouts would fit into the client’s lifestyle and whether or not the clients would have the time to successfully complete them. Additionally, once a program is developed, it doesn’t mean it’ll suit the client. That’s why trainers also monitor the client’s progress and tweak the exercise program accordingly.

 Two people standing outdoors

Why Do Clients Need Customized Workouts?

To Target Their Problem Areas

Every client has different needs, whether it be weight loss, bodybuilding, or general fitness. People prefer personal trainers to exercise instructors because they get more value from personal trainers. Moreover, personal trainers are also skilled in determining which areas need work and can help clients define their long-term fitness goals.

As the client progresses, their goals change, and most of the time, clients can’t identify them. It’s up to the personal trainers to track their progress and analyze which areas to target next or when the client has reached their fitness goals and needs new ones to continue training.

Works Well With Their Health Conditions

People with certain health issues that may hinder their workouts would need personalized training. Because gym instructors aren’t equipped to handle such clients, personal trainers, on the other hand, are trained to keep the client’s health in mind. Clients with certain health issues can communicate those issues with their trainers, and the trainers will incorporate them when developing exercise programs.

Moreover, trainers may even use an unconventional approach that includes swimming or other activities in place of the exercises. Not just that, trainers also work with nutritionists and physicians to ensure their recommended exercise programs fit the client and won’t elevate their health issues.

Gradually Improve Fitness Levels

In gyms, people are on their own. The instructors are only there for guidance and don’t compel people to train harder. But with a personal trainer, clients get proper monitoring, making it easier for them to achieve their fitness goals. However, personal trainers don’t rush clients to achieve faster results, unlike gyms.

Instead, the focus is on gradually improving their fitness so that clients can pick up healthy habits that allow them to maintain their fitness levels even after the training. Moreover, the training itself is upgraded frequently to fit into the client’s lifestyle, so it doesn’t seem like an extra chore but more like a part of the daily routine.

Woman doing boxing exercises

What Are The Elements Of An Effective Workout Program?


No matter how many exercises a program has, it has to be relatively easy for the client to follow. If the workout program is too complex or requires too many steps to follow, clients won’t be able to do it properly, and they’ll also lose the motivation to exercise. Initially, the workout program should only include a handful of exercises to get the ball rolling.

That’s because the trainer and the client need to understand each other’s personalities. Once the client has gotten used to the initial workout plan, you can gradually change the workouts to align more with the client’s goals. But even then, the workouts should be easy enough that the client won’t run away from them or give up working out altogether.


Specificity is the reason why personal trainers are in business. If people didn’t want specific workout programs, they just head to the gym to work out. But specifications are highly relative. Just because a client has certain fitness goals doesn’t mean their entire workout program should be centered around that goal.

The correct ratio would be to add a few specific workouts, but the rest of the program should include exercises that work out the entire body. Trainers can even take feedback from the client and adjust programs to better align with their goals, but they should know that only targeting a specific area won’t generate meaningful results. Instead, a good workout of the entire body with emphasis on the target area is the best approach.


Intensity means the number of exercises a client does during a session. Maintaining the right workout intensity is important to prevent overworking the client. If you don’t, you’ll not only lose the client, but they can overwork themselves and end up with health issues.

But at the same time, if the workouts are not intense enough, the muscles won’t get stimulated enough, and the workouts won’t be as effective as they should be. Trainers need to create a balance between this intensity and the effectiveness of the workouts to achieve meaningful results. The goal isn’t to exhaust the clients but to create progress.


Whatever constitutes the exercise program, it should be effective enough to give meaningful results to the clients. That doesn’t mean the workout should exhaust the clients, but it should get their heart rate up and boost cardiovascular activity. Trainers can do this through high-intensity workouts or low-intensity ones. They can even combine both for a balanced approach. But the effectiveness doesn’t just depend on the exercises. It also depends on the duration, the frequency, and the amount of exercise.

Duration shouldn’t be too long to the clients would get fed up, and it shouldn’t be too short that it won’t give any results. The frequency should be according to the client; schedule but generally, at least three days a week is the minimum. Finally, the number of exercises includes each exercise’s reps.

A person doing pushups with dumbbells

What Steps Are Needed To Design An Effective Program?

What Are The Client’s Goals?

The client’s goals are the basis of any workout program that a trainer designs. Personal training aims to translate the client’s ideas into effective workouts so they can achieve their ideal fitness levels.

Trainers who don’t incorporate the client’s input when developing workout plans fail to design effective workouts. That’s because the workouts don’t align with the client’s goals, and therefore they don’t produce the required results. Most of the time, clients themselves don’t fully understand their end goals, so the best course of action is to sit down with the client and discuss what they want in terms of fitness and help them identify their goals.

How Are Their Current Fitness Levels?

Each client is different. Some are comparatively more physically fit than others, so trainers need personalized approaches for each of them. If a client is already careful about their fitness, they won’t need basic beginner exercises, and you can start them up on advanced workouts. Moreover, they’ll reach their fitness goals comparatively faster because they’re already in control of their fitness.

At the same time, if you get a client who’s not as physically fit, you’ll need to train them from the beginning and take small steps to improve their fitness. They would require much more patience and hard work, and you’ll also have to modify their workout frequently.

What Training Will Fit Into Their Lifestyle?

The biggest reason people give up working out is that it conflicts with their other schedules especially work and personal lives. People want fitness to be an addition to their lifestyle, not something that takes time away from their commitments. So developing a workout that integrates into the client’s life is the main job of a personal trainer. The frequency and intensity of the workouts should not make the client feel like it’s too much.

Instead, it should feel like a regular part of their life. So trainers should work with their clients to see which workouts are good for them and which aren’t. This back and forth will allow both parties to determine an effective workout that can offer clients their desired results and fit into their lifestyles.

What Else Do They Need In Addition To The Exercises?

Exercise alone won’t achieve the same results desired by clients; it always requires certain lifestyle changes. These changes can be related to the habits or nutritional requirements of the client. If a client doesn’t follow a healthy diet to make up for the muscle damage caused by the workouts, their body will only get weaker with time, leading to permanent health issues.

Similarly, if the client has bad habits such as binge eating, it’ll also make it harder to achieve their goals. So a personal trainer doesn’t just give exercise plans to the client but also helps them overcome such issues by either working with their doctor or nutritionist to determine the best course of action. Only after the client maintains a healthy diet will the workout be effective.

A man using battling ropes

How are Programs For Regular Clients And Those With Chronic Issues Different?

Centered Around Managing Illness

Personal trainers use a different approach when working with clients with chronic issues. Their fitness approach is centered around minimizing the pain and stress related to chronic issues. For example, people with arthritis turn to personal trainers to help them relieve joint pain and help them maintain healthy bones and muscles.

Similarly, people with diabetes hire personal trainers to manage their weight and diet. So the general approach of a trainer isn’t related to long-term fitness goals because, with chronic illness, the fitness goals aren’t defined clearly. Instead, the focus is to train the clients to continue their lifestyles.

Requires Input From Doctors

Besides designing workouts to relieve pain, the trainers also need to include input from the doctors to ensure the exercises aren’t affecting the client’s health. In some cases, such as diabetes, trainers also work with nutritionists to ensure the diet doesn’t have many carbs or fats that can elevate the blood sugar levels.

Moreover, the doctors can determine how strong their bones are and how many intense workouts they can bear for patients with cancer and other such illnesses.

Frequent Modification Of Exercise Programs.

Because there’s no definitive goal for people with chronic illnesses, the exercise programs are modified constantly to keep up with the client’s health requirements. In certain cases, the exercises are no longer effective, so trainers need to come up with new ones that are effective enough. That way, clients can find exercises that work well in managing their illness and helps them get healthier day by day.

A personal trainer teaching weight training

Learn More About Effective Fitness Training With W.I.T.S. Education

W.I.T.S. Education is a leading fitness training institute offering several specialization courses to people starting their careers in the fitness industry. Their courses are designed keeping in mind the fitness industry’s changing needs and the customers’ new demands. You can enroll in a certified personal trainer course, a group fitness instructor course, a youth fitness instructor course, and many more.

Moreover, their courses have informative online lectures as well as practical in-person labs that focus on developing skills. Besides that, four of their courses are accredited by the American Council of Education and have N.C.C.A. accreditation for written and practical skills. This helps students to earn course credits toward their college degrees. So visit their website, explore their courses and enroll today!

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