Should You Outsource Your Programming?

About the Author

Chet Morjaria

A growing number of fitness facilities are outsourcing programming. This isn’t inherently bad, but the programming does still need to be effective for your members, as well as ethical and practical for your business.

To facilitate these objectives, there are three rocks to keep in mind when outsourcing your gym’s programming.

1. Understand the Why

Perhaps the biggest problem with following other people’s programming is this one. A few of the better programmes that are specifically designed for outsourcing go some way to explaining the purpose in their method. This insight into purpose should run deep. If a member asks why you are doing a certain exercise, you need to have a good answer. If a member asks why you are doing a certain workout, you need to have an even better answer.

2. Understand the Regression and Progression of Movements

This comes from understanding the why of the programme, as well as its movement and strength principles. It’s impossible to make meaningful, real-time modifications of the programming based on what you see in front of you without understanding the principles on which the programme is built. Otherwise, regression or scaling is just an arbitrary exercise modification. And arbitrary exercise modification is hardly a pathway to member improvement. Does your outsourced programming give you deeper, principle-based information as well as sets and reps? And even better, is there an avenue to ask further questions from a coaching perspective?

3. Never Pass Programming Off as Your Own

Taking influence and inspiration from other programming is acceptable, as long as you have the above two rocks in place. Outright copying of another programme and pretending it’s your own work is not acceptable. Just because you’ve taken something from the internet and put it into the real world does not make it any less wrong than copying from one internet site to another. As a coach (and a human) you should have the relevant permissions to use the programming and give credit where it’s due. Your members aren’t stupid. They have access to this programming too, and if you’re asking them to pay for something you’re ripping off from elsewhere, you’re taking leaps away from building a trusting relationship with them.

If you’re going to outsource programming, do it in a manner that builds trust with your members, is effective in terms of their development, and differentiates your facility from other gyms.

Above all, consider this:

If you’re using other people’s programming and you offer little further insight into this programming due to a lack of understanding, how much value are you offering your members beyond basic fault spotting? How much is that going to differentiate your facility?


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