head-fake-cartoon1If you haven't heard I recently opened my own official brick-and-mortar gym. It's called Revolution Strength & Conditioning LLC or RSC for short. It is a small group training facility. We train groups of up to four people at once using individually designed programs for each person.

We are a very lean business. It is just myself and another trainer who fulfill all the roles that come along with owning a training-based gym.

We also only have about 1,000 square feet of space to work with when training our groups. This means space for us comes at a premium and we have to pull out everyone trick in the book to make each square foot count.

Recently we made our largest purchase of new equipment. It might not sound like a big deal, but it was to me. It was the largest investment thus far I have made into the business and made the idea of owning and operating my own gym feel real.

It was not only a big deal for the gym on the business side of things, but it was also a a big deal for our training model. It forced us to really think about how we wanted our gym to operate and what kind of training we wanted to provide our Superhumans (that is what we call our members).

This made the purchasing process much more challenging, but also forced us to grow and refine our training philosophy.

We had to come up with criteria for the equipment we purchased based on our training philosophy and how we envisioned our facility operating. Any equipment we decided on had to fit this criteria which made sure the money we had was well spent and would eventually yield a large return on the investment.

The final criteria was as follows:

  1. It has to help our Superhumans get better results.
  2. It has to be multi-functional. Meaning has more than one use.
  3. It has to have a minimal footprint. Meaning it takes up as little space as possible.
  4. It must be mobile. Meaning it can't be a pain in the ass to move.
  5. It must be used everyday the gym is opened.

As intended this criteria did an awesome job of making sure we spent wisely and got a lot of great equipment to help us carry out our mission more effectively.

But the surprise of the whole process was that it improved my ability to write effective training programs. I know seems unrelated, but let explain the parallels and the carry over between the two.

When writing a training program you have a budget just like when purchasing equipment. The only difference is when writing a program you are budgeting time not money. Each person we train at RSC has a finite number of hours per week to dedicate to training. I have to make sure and spend these hours wisely in their program in order to make sure they progress toward their goal at a rate that is realistic and agreeable to them.

And just as with purchasing equipment we want to make sure whatever we spend our time on is going to be worth it. This means creating a criteria for everything that is going to be put into the program based upon what the Superhuman wants and what I think might help the client get there faster. This criteria is going to always vary from person to person just as the criteria for purchasing equipment will be specific to the location of the gym, what style of training will be implemented, and how much space there is to work with.

However I do have a universal criteria that forms the foundation for every program I write and which I was made to refine during the equipment selection process.

It is as follows:

  1. Everything in the program must have a purpose.
  2. Everything in the program must move the client closer to their goal.
  3. Everything in the program must be practical for the client to do.
  4. No time during a training session should be wasted.
  5. Whenever possible select exercises that have more than one function.
  6. Everyone can get stronger and benefit from it.
  7. Strength will lay the foundation for all other physical capacities.
  8. Resistance training will be the primary modality for the program.
  9. Progression over regression.

This criteria helps me create universal templates for a variety of different goal archetypes and then customize them based on the criteria I decide upon for an individuals program.

I never thought that sitting down to order a couple squat racks and some foam rollers would help me refine my training philosophy and my ability to write effective training programs, but it did.

Just goes to show you that there is opportunity for growth and development in almost any task you undertake.

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training