How to choose efficient and effective exercise programs |

How to choose efficient and effective exercise programs

If you are like most of our clientele, who are extremely busy, you want to attend your personal training sessions, large group exercise program or small group exercise program, getting in for an efficient and effective workout and then on with your day.

Designing safe, efficient and effective exercise programs requires significant formal education in the health and fitness field of study as well as years of programming experience. Consequently, seek out the guidance of a certified, qualified and experienced trainer or training organization as the first step, then ask the following questions to ensure that they are able to provide you with efficient and effective program designs that yield extraordinary results (As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician):

Question No. 1: What are the credentials and qualifications of the program directors/trainers/instructors responsible for designing the programs?

As mentioned above, in order for an efficient and effective program design to be achieved, the fitness professionals who are programming must possess relevant credentials which would lead to this type of professional program design. For example, university degrees in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics and Kinesiology, nationally recognized industry instructor/trainer certifications such as American Council on Exercise and American College of Sports Medicine (to name two of many) both of which hold NCCA Accreditation, which is the gold standard within the industry. The NCCA ensures the certification program meets defined standards of excellence for best practices in this industry.

Question No. 2: Are all five components of physical fitness addressed in the general program formats? In order to achieve solid general fitness outcomes, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition components should be present in each program.

Question No. 3: Are the principles of progressive overload (stress/adaptation), specificity (to be good at it you must perform that specific modality), the F.I.T.T. Principle (frequency, intensity, type and time), all five primary movement patterns (squatting, lunging, rotating, pushing and pulling) and all three planes of the body (sagittal, frontal, transverse) addressed and applied in each program design?

This is a great question to ask due to the fact that if question one and two are answered satisfactorily, the program director will be able to answer this question right off the top of their head because they are acutely aware of all program formats and designs for all they offer. And fitness professionals are excited to answer these questions as it indicates that you have performed your due diligence before making a potentially life-changing decision such as where to make your workout home.

Question No. 4: How often is the program changed or modified to provide adequate variety leading to program adherence, results and fun?

If the macro/meso/micro programs are well designed and those directing and coordinating the program are on top of their game, they will be thrilled to share this information with you as they understand how important a role that variety plays in adherence, results and fun.

Question No. 5: Who is the program designed for in terms of capability and fitness level?

Every program director should know who the program is designed for and should be able to provide you with the guidance you require to choose the right program based upon your physical fitness needs, limitations and goals.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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