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5 Common Obstacles Stopping You From Achieving Your Fitness and Health Goals

 

As a personal trainer, I’ve helped hundreds of people achieve their fitness and health goals. I’ve also seen first hand what can psychologically stop people from reaching their goals. Here are the top 5 things that I see holding people back:

 

  1. Quitting too easily. This is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving any goal. When you start a new fitness program, it’s important to be patient and persistent. You are likely learning new skills and habits which can take a duration of time to adjust to. Don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately. It takes time and effort to make lasting changes. Just like safe investing it takes time and patience to see your investments grow.
  2. Not valuing your health enough. Many people don’t make their health a priority. They put it off until they have a health scare, but by then it may be too late. Make your health a priority today and you’ll be glad you did later. You can buy all the material items in the world but we cannot buy our health, it’s priceless and it’s important that we value it and place it at the top of our priority.
  3. Fear of failure. Everyone fails at some point. It’s how we learn and grow. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. Just pick yourself up and keep going. As a personal trainer it’s our job to identify the areas that may make us stumble and come up with a strategy together to negate that from occurring in the future. Health and fitness is a journey that no man or woman should a shy away from.
  4. Not having enough time. This is a common excuse, but it’s not always true. You can find time for fitness if you make it a priority. There are many ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Organising your diary to fit in some exercise each week, treating each training session like an important non negotiable meeting. The best time for you to train is when you can fit it into your diary weather it’s early mornings, on your lunch break or in the evenings after work, get it done!
  5. Not being able to give up on bad habits. This is a tough one, but it’s essential if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, and eating unhealthy foods can sabotage your progress. Make a plan to break these habits and stick to it. Breaking a habit can be hard but it’s not impossible. We’ve seen many individuals break lifelong addictions for the benefit of their long term health. There is a saying that one of our clients has up on his gym wall; “Hard Choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” Everything we do will take some effort but need to put our effort and energy into areas that will elevate our health and well being.

 

If you’re struggling to achieve your fitness and health goals, the most important thing to do is to not give up. Identify the obstacles that are holding you back write them down and actively start working on steps on how you can overcome them. Our personal trainers here at Soma can help guide you through this.

 

Here are some additional tips for overcoming the obstacles to fitness and health:

  • Set realistic goals. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with small, achievable goals and gradually build up from there.
  • Find a support system. Having people to support you on your journey can make a big difference. Find a workout buddy, hire a personal trainer, join a fitness class, or talk to your friends and family about your goals. Strength in numbers!
  • Make it fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re less likely to stick with it. Find activities that you enjoy and that challenge you.
  • Don’t give up. There will be setbacks along the way, this is part of the process, don’t let them discourage you. Just pick yourself up and keep going.

 

Achieving your fitness and health goals takes time, effort, and dedication. But it’s worth it. When you are actively taking steps toward your goals, you’ll feel better physically and mentally. You’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll be more confident. So don’t give up on your goals don’t wait till tomorrow start now!!!

 

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Our Expectations From Our Coaching Clients

Speaking on behalf of all professional personal trainers, we become personal trainers because we are dedicated to guiding individuals towards their goal. Nothing gives us a more rewarding feeling than seeing someone change in their health, habits and body. I believe it’s essential for both client and coach to have a clear understanding of what we can expect from each other. This article aims to illuminate what I, as a personal trainer, anticipate from you as my valued client, and what you can anticipate from me as a coach in return.

 

What I Expect From You, My Valued Client:

 

  1. Wholehearted Commitment: Just as I’m invested in tailoring a fitness plan that suits your needs, I expect you to be wholeheartedly committed to the journey. Your consistent presence during sessions and your dedication to putting in the required effort are crucial for achieving your goals.
  2. Transparent Communication: Your fitness journey is a collaborative effort, and open communication is at its so important. Share your fitness history, preferences, and any concerns openly with me. This information helps me create a plan that’s not only effective but also aligned with your capabilities as an individual and goals. This also allows me to adjust anything along the way.
  3. Eagerness to Learn: Fitness isn’t just about getting a good workout in; it’s about understanding the principles behind each exercise, learning about proper form, each exercise is a skill and grasping the significance of nutrition. Your willingness to learn gives you the knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
  4. Trust in the Process: Sometimes the journey might not seem straightforward, and results may not be immediate. I urge you to trust in the process and the plan we’ve crafted. With dedication and consistency, you will see progress and positive changes over time.
  5. Dedication and Perseverance: We design workouts to challenge you, to help you discover your strengths, and to push your limits. I expect you to give your best effort during our sessions and to persevere even when facing tough moments. Your commitment directly influences your progress. Some days you won’t feel like training, and that’s ok I have those days also, you can still come in and do your best just let your coach know the status on how you are feeling.

What You Can Expect From us as Your Personal Trainer:

  1. Personalised Guidance: Your goals and you are unique, and so should be your fitness plan. We will provide you with personalised guidance that takes into account your goals, fitness level based on an assessment that we have taken you through, and any limitations you might have. Any professional coach worth his salt will never throw a cookie cutter program at a client. A professional coach will assess first then design a program and a strategy tailored toward you as an individual.  
  2. Support system: You coach is here to encourage you, celebrate your successes, guide you and to provide a support system during the more challenging times. Your victories are mine as well, and I’m committed to helping you stay inspired throughout your journey. There’s nothing more that we want than to see you succeed and be a stronger healthier version of you!
  3. Expertise and Knowledge: As your personal trainer, We are dedicated to continuously upgrading our knowledge to provide you with the best guidance. Expect high quality control on all exercises, nutritional strategies that work for you and your lifestyle, and full support outside of sessions.
  4. Adaptability: Life is unpredictable, and circumstances might change. We are prepared to adapt your fitness plan when needed, whether due to shifts in your goals, injuries, lifestyle stress or any challenges that may arise.
  5. Positive Environment: Our training sessions will be conducted in a positive, non-judgmental environment that encourages progression, growth and self-improvement. We are here to listen, to address your concerns, and to make our sessions enjoyable yet productive.
  6. Progress Tracking: I will help you track your progress, providing insights into how far you’ve come. Regular assessments/check ins will guide our journey and enable us to make any necessary adjustments for optimal results. The fitness journey is ongoing and there is no end, we all need to keep ourselves strong and fit throughout our lifetime, as we embark the journey of life our fitness journey may also change along the way, as your coach we are here to help you every step of the way.

The journey together as personal trainer and client is built on a foundation of shared expectations. By understanding and respecting what each of us brings to this partnership, we can create an environment that fosters growth, transformation, and achievement.

I have been fortunate to personally coach individuals for over a decade and take them through many stages of their lives it’s a huge honour to have been part of many journeys and the best thing about it is building lifelong relationships and friendships built on trust. 

 

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Personal Training Client | Testimonial | John Haynes

Discover the Remarkable Personal Training Journey of John Haynes at Soma Fitness

At Soma, we believe that the path to a stronger, healthier life is one filled with determination and dedication. Meet John Haynes, one of our long standing personal training clients, an embodiment of these principles, whose inspiring testimonial showcases the transformative power of consistent effort and resilience.

Over the course of 12 transformative years at Soma, John’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Confronted with ongoing hip issues and a prognosis for a hip replacement 17 years ago, John refused to be defined by limitations. Through his commitment to his fitness journey, he not only managed to overcome his hip challenges but also emerged stronger and more resilient than ever before.

John’s story is a testament to the fact that age is no barrier to achieving remarkable physical feats. His relentless pursuit of a strong body has positioned him among the most vibrant and youthful members of our gym community. His determination has granted him a level of strength that rivals even the youngest gym enthusiasts.

Join us in celebrating John’s exceptional journey as a shining example of how consistent effort, dedication, and the guidance of Soma’s expert personal trainers can transform lives. At Soma Fitness, we understand that fitness is a lifelong endeavour, and John’s story embodies the spirit of continuous growth and empowerment.

Explore our comprehensive fitness programs and experience first-hand the Soma difference. Embark on a journey that redefines your potential and propels you towards a lifetime of strength, vitality, and well-being.

Begin Your Personal Training Journey with Soma Fitness Today:

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The Importance of Hydration

Water intake is often underestimated in its significance to our overall well-being. Beyond quenching your thirst, staying adequately hydrated has an array of benefits that extend to various aspects of your health, performance, and vitality. Working with our personal training clients it’s a frequent area that are required to address and we most commonly do so with hydration targets to apply some structure to an individual’s hydration habits.

 

The Foundation of Vital Functions

 

Your body is a complex symphony of processes that require the right conditions to perform optimally. Water plays a central role in maintaining these conditions. From regulating body temperature to aiding in joint lubrication, water is essential for preventing infections, delivering nutrients to cells, and ensuring your organs function correctly.

 

Physical Performance Potential

 

Whether you’re an individual interested in optimal health and well being or a dedicated athlete, staying hydrated is paramount for peak physical performance. During intense exercise or when facing high temperatures, your body’s demand for water intensifies. Dehydration, even as low as 2% of your body weight, can significantly impact your performance, altering body temperature regulation, motivation levels, and increasing fatigue. Athletes, in particular, can lose up to 6-10% of their body weight in water through sweat, further emphasising the necessity of optimal hydration.

 

Enhancing Mental Clarity and Mood

 

It’s not just your body that benefits from proper hydration – your brain relies on it also. Even mild dehydration, as little as 1-3% body weight loss, can impair various aspects of brain function. Studies reveal that fluid loss affects mood, concentration, and cognitive abilities. Working memory, anxiety levels, and fatigue are all areas that can be negatively impacted by inadequate hydration. By keeping your hydration levels in check, you’re giving your brain the environment it needs to stay sharp and focused.

 

The Battle Against Headaches and Migraines

 

Dehydration and headaches often go hand in hand. Scientific research indicates that dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines, with a direct correlation between headache frequency and hydration status. Drinking water has been shown to alleviate headache symptoms and improve the quality of life for those who suffer from migraines. Tip: Adding 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt to your water can increase the absorbency of the water that you consume, often times individuals that may drink enough water but struggle to absorb it into the body. We may cover this topic in further detail at a later date.

 

Aiding Digestion and Preventing Constipation

 

Your digestive system requires proper hydration to function smoothly. Insufficient water intake can lead to constipation, causing discomfort and disruption in your daily life. Increasing fluid intake, particularly water rich in minerals like magnesium and sodium, can help improve bowel movement frequency and consistency, aiding in the relief of constipation.

 

Guarding Against Kidney Stones

 

For those who have experienced the excruciating pain of kidney stones, prevention is key. Adequate water intake can help reduce the risk of forming kidney stones. By diluting the concentration of minerals in the urine, water makes it less likely for these crystals to clump together and cause discomfort. The evidence suggests that hydration plays a role in kidney stone prevention.

 

Weight Loss Potential

 

For those on a weight loss journey, hydration can be a valuable ally. Drinking water before meals can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate, helping you consume fewer calories and potentially aiding in weight loss. The common question we ask our personal training clients who get hungry while in a calorie defect, “are you hungry or are you thirsty?” Timing is crucial – consuming water half an hour before meals has been shown to be particularly effective in curbing appetite and supporting weight loss efforts.

 

It’s not just about quenching your thirst; it’s about optimising your body and mind to reach their full potential. By staying mindful of your fluid intake and making hydration a priority, you’re investing in a healthier, more vibrant you.

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Adherence – WHATS YOUR WHY?

Dedication vs Motivation

 

Adherence to any program or plan is the number 1 factor that will determine success to reach a particular goal or failure where you quit prior to achieving it or even getting close to it.

 

Don’t make excuses find solutions!

 

In any pursuit of getting to a certain goal consistency is king, if you are not consistently putting in the effort for the most amount of the time you will be taking 1 step forward and 3 steps back rather than the opposite.

 

Motivation will fail you, when emotions get in the way when your not in a good mood, your stressed sad, overwhelmed. Motivation will seize you’ll quit or have a day off that turns into a weeks to a month off.

 

Dedication is something that you will do regardless of your circumstances, regardless if your stressed, tired, overwhelmed and regardless if your not in a good emotional state. You’ll always find a way regardless of the situation.

 

If your just motivated you will find any little excuse to stop yourself from doing the things that you need to do. When we are dedicated we will find a solution you’ll adapt to get what you need get done to progress.

 

That’s why it’s important to identify your Why, your why is an emotional thing which can change and progress or can remain the same through the course of your journey.

 

It’s really important that we really think about this and put some focus into it as we can use it to remain dedicated when things will get in the way of our progress and progression and having that awareness as we navigate through our journey on how it may change or progress.

 

Be attached to your why, write it down put it on your notes in your phone and review it periodically. When your making excuses to yourself read it out 10 times and you will see how your focus /mindset will change.

 

We have to set our self’s up for success we are living in a more stressful environment at present and each individuals allostatic load is much higher which means we are required to acknowledge all of these things that may happen along the way over the course of the month and year and say to yourself your reactions to these stimuli that may raise your emotions will be X or Y. For example I will not drink a bottle of wine when X happens at work. I will do a workout and do 10 mins of deep breathing and meditation, or I will book myself a massage so I can release the tension from my body. Often times it’s not the stimulus but our reaction to the stimulus how we perceive it and react to it.

 

Let’s look at examples of what someone’s WHY may look like?

 

  • I want to be fit and healthy for when I have children.
  • I want to be able to keep up with my Grandchildren.
  • want to be a good role model to my children so they can see me focusing on good habits toward my health eating good foods and exercising regularly.
  • I want to be mobile and active when I reach and elderly age.
  • I like to look good for my husband/wife/partner and myself.
  • I want to look good for my clients so they believe in what I advise them to do (as a coach you are your own business card).
  • I like feel good cognitively which by creating healthier lifestyle habits allows me to feel this way. (exercises has a positive impact on mental health).
  • I want to be healthy enough to continue to do the hobbies/sports I love.

 

Make note of yours, focus and review it regularly, use it as your fuel to keep your dedicated on becoming the healthiest and strongest version of yourself.

 

A good physique, health and vitality is created by consistent habits that will require a consistent dedicated approach. As coaches and personal trainers we help individuals navigate through this process and keep you accountable to your WHY!

 

 

Staying on track over Christmas

With Christmas only 6 weeks away, celebrations are fast approaching. Most people will spend their time going out more and enjoying themselves and as Christmas only comes around once every year it’s important we all enjoy ourselves. However, the last thing people will want to do is to undo the hard work they have done in the gym and leave themselves with an uphill battle to climb when January comes around. Therefore, this article will go into ways in which you can still derive all the enjoyment from Christmas festivities, without derailing the progress you have made towards your fitness goals.

 

Firstly, you need to establish the mind-set you are going to adopt. Broadly speaking, there’s three to choose from. Firstly, there’s the athlete’s mind-set whereby you don’t derail from your diet or training regime at all. On paper, this is the best approach everyone. However, in practicality, the majority of people will not be able to adopt this approach because of the increased amount of socialising that Christmas brings which limits time being spent in the gym, as well as not having access to the foods on their meal plan.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, many will choose to completely drop fitness as a priority and choose to enjoy themselves by any means necessary. Although this is the more fun approach in the moment, it can leave people feeling really down about losing their way when January come around.

 

The third approach, is to enjoy yourself whilst making small adjustments to your Christmas plans in order to not regress over the next couple of months. What this approach looks like will differ between individual’s due to the varying levels of sacrifice people are willing to make in order to stay in shape over Christmas. Below we will discuss ways in which you can alter your plans to suit your fitness goals. The extent to which you apply these to your lives will be dependent on the amount of sacrifice you see as sustainable and enjoyable for yourself.

 

The first alteration we can make is with nutrition. With many people indulging in high calorie, low nutrient based foods over Christmas, the first thing you should have in mind is to still prioritise protein in each meal. This will help you maintain muscle mass, as well as making you feel full, to help prevent overeating on that box of Celebrations lying around. What this looks like in practice is sorting the protein source in each meal out first. For example, when Christmas dinner comes, fill half your plate with a portion of turkey leaving less space to fill up on the extras such as roast potatoes, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding. This ensures adequate protein is being taken in, whilst still being able to enjoy the other parts of Christmas dinner with less chance of over consumption due to less space on the plate.

 

Next, we can opt for lower calorie options of certain foods and drinks. For this we need to identify the calorie dense items of food and drink and make switches which you are happy to settle for. For example, you may find yourself going out drinking more over the Christmas period. A typical alcoholic drink for winter is Bailey’s and the number of calories in a 250ml glass of this is 437kcal. This is over 4 times the number of calories found in a single gin and tonic (96kcal). Although this is an extreme comparison, even consuming 100-200kcal less with each drink can be the deciding factor on keeping your calories near maintenance when having multiple drinks in one sitting. The same can be done for food. If you wish to indulge in ice cream as a Christmas treat, 460ml of Haagen Dazs salted caramel is 1309kcal whereas Halo salted caramel of the same size works is just 320kcal, a 1000kcal saving on snacks which are essentially identical.

 

Planning ahead with your training is also going to be key. It’s normal to not be able to maintain 3+ sessions a week if you are travelling and with family in other parts of the country. However, training a muscle group just 5 working sets per week will maintain the size of the muscle for an extended period of time. Therefore, if you can find it in your schedule to fit this in, then that is going to go a long way in terms of maintaining your progress and prevent the consequences of ceasing to train altogether such as losses in muscle mass and strength.

 

Finally, many of us will cease work for 1-2 weeks over Christmas. Therefore, planning to use some of this added time with physical activity with family can significantly help increase one’s energy expenditure for the day. For instance, choosing to go out on a long walk in the countryside during the day instead of sitting down inside is a hugely positive action to take. This will also make it a lot easier to transition back into regular training, should you have to stop training due to travelling or other social events over the festive period.

 

In conclusion, I hope that the several lifestyle tweaks discussed in this article have given insight into how small changes can produce big results in ensuring that you start January in a really good place with your fitness whilst still being able to enjoy Christmas the way you want to. If you are hiring a personal trainer it might be worth sitting down together to plan your Christmas strategy so you can hit the ground running come January.

Short vs Long rest periods for Muscle Growth

Reference: Schoenfield et. al. (2016) Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance Trained Men.

 

Information on the study:

 

  • Trainees with at least 6 months resistance training experience were split into 2 groups

 

  • Both groups performed 7 compound lifts, for 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 3x per week, for 8 weeks

 

  • 1 group rested for 1 minute between sets, while the other rested for 3 minutes between sets

 

 

  • It was found that the longer rest group saw superior gains in all muscle groups when compared to the shorter rest group.

 

  • This supports the idea that longer rest periods are superior for hypertrophy

 

 

Application to real world:

  • With longer rest periods come longer overall sessions durations, unless you cut overall volume.
  • Overall volume has been shown to be a significant factor in muscle hypertrophy
  • Therefore, it may be worth only applying these long rest periods if you have the extra time free in your schedule to allow you to do so.

Is scale weight an accurate way to track progress?

When people embark on a fitness journey, whether that be to lose body fat or gain muscle mass, the common tool to track their progress people use is how much the number on the scales changes over time. However, is this the most accurate way to track progress towards body composition goals? Just like most questions relating to health and fitness, the answer is- it depends.

 

The first thing to remember is that scale weight is the total weight of all the tissues in your body and not just muscle and fat. Therefore, it is not the most accurate measurement when it comes to measuring body composition. Other methods include skin fold callipers, a cheap tool which measures body fat percentage. However, despite its low cost, the skill needed to take an accurate measurement makes this a fairly inaccessible method of measuring body composition. The gold standard of body composition measurement in a DEXA Scanner. Although, this is a very expensive piece of equipment, only really seen in medical facilities due to its use in also identifying bone density and helping diagnose patients with osteoporosis. Due to other methods being inaccessible, scales are by far the most common tool used by the general population to assess progress in their body composition goals, so what can be done to ensure you are getting the most reliable and accurate changes to body fat and muscle as you can with scales?

 

Any tool is only effective when you know how to use it and scales are no different. Weighing yourself on Monday at 7am and then again on Sunday at 8pm will not give an accurate measurement for how your weight has changed over the course of the week, due to factors that will be discussed in this article. Therefore, if you are to use scales accurately, I would recommend taking daily measurements, first thing in the morning each day and then calculating the mean average each week and compare each week’s average from the last, to get a more accurate measurement of how much your weight is changing due to changes to fat or muscle tissue.

 

So, what factors can influence the weight on the scales besides from muscle and fat tissue? Firstly, there’s water retention. The amount of water our bodies hold will hold will change throughout the day, as well as day by day. Reasons for this include carbohydrate and sodium intake, which cause our bodies to hold more water- not add on fat tissue (a common misconception in, the case of carbohydrates, spread by the misinformed and keto zealots). Therefore, if your diet is more heavily carbohydrate based for a few days, then you may add some weight. However, this will be due to the added water retention from an increased intake of carbohydrates, not an added amount of fat tissue.

 

Next, there’s the amount of food you are currently digesting. First thing in the morning, is when you have the least food in your digestive system as it will have been 9-10 hours since your last meal. Therefore, food being digested cannot influence your scale weight, unlike if you weighed yourself shortly after a meal.

 

Besides from keeping these variables at bay, what else can be done to improve the reliability and accuracy of scales measuring body composition? Firstly, you could also use a measuring tape and measure your Hip to Waist Ratio. This is productive because most people hold the majority of fat around their Waist area. Therefore, if you are trying to gain muscle mass and you put yourself in a calorie surplus and put on weight, you may believe you are getting closer to your goal. However, if you take measurements are realise your Waist measurement is increasing at a faster rate than your Hips, then this indicates you are putting on fat faster than muscle mass. This information can then lead to you making productive changes to your training and/or nutrition.

 

Next, it’s important to ensure you are setting yourself up for success. One way to do this is to ensure you are consuming enough protein and tracking it. Ensuring adequate protein intake with a suitable resistance training programme and sleep will ensure that any weight loss will not be due to loss of muscle mass. Alternatively, when gaining muscle, will ensure you are adding as much muscle mass as you can in the calorie surplus you are in.

 

In conclusion, scales are far from perfect when it comes to measuring body composition goals. However, with the correct information, it can be a very useful tool to help you stay on track when pursuing your goals.

 

How often should you change exercises?

The Study:

‘Kassiano et. al. (2022) Does Varying Resistance Exercises Promote Superior Muscle Hypertrophy And Strength Gains? A systemic review J Strength Cond Res.

 

What is the study is about?

 

It’s a review that tries to find evidence for how often exercises should change in an exercise programme in order to maximise results.

 

Results of the study:

 

  • Changing exercises too frequently seems to be less effective for muscle growth compared to sticking with the same exercises for an extended period of time.

 

  • Furthermore, there’s evidence supporting that less frequent exercise variation may promote greater long term muscle growth as a result of differences in regional hypertrophy

 

  • However, each exercise stresses specific ranges of a muscle. Therefore it might be beneficial to switch exercises every so often.

 

  • The general recommendation for how often you should change exercises looks to be in the region of every 4-6 weeks. Certain factors may change this though, such as enjoyment of a programme, linked to adherence.

 

Application to clients:

 

  • My recommendation would be to generally follow these guidelines with the exception of a couple of reasons: Firstly, if the client gets bored of certain exercises. Secondly, if the clients goals change. But if your goal is to become better at certain lifts then its likely that you will require those lifts throughout your macrocycle.

 

Principles of Training – Individualisation

Each and every one of us is physically and mentally different. This is why, when it comes to training, everyone’s approach needs to be bespoke to them, if it’s going to be optimal.

 

One of these factors will be their starting point, in terms of ability, in their fitness journey. For example, if two people come to a personal trainer saying they wish to build better whole-body strength, then both will be assessed to see where their starting point is at. If it becomes clear one athlete has a proportionately stronger upper body than their lower body, and the other person vice versa then despite the same goal, their programmes will look different. The first person will need a more lower body focussed approach whereas the other person would need the opposite, this is an example of applying the principle of individualisation.

 

Another key factor to consider is lifestyle variations. Everyone has a life outside of the gym, all of which will include factors which influence their performance inside the gym. Therefore, this needs to be considered when programming. To give another example, imagine someone wants to become generally fitter all round. If they’re a labourer then you need to consider that their job is very taxing, therefore workload needs to be managed more carefully as to avoid overtraining and injury.

 

 

Next, there’s anatomical variants between each individual which can affect performance in the gym. For example, someone with a larger rib cage convexity, steeper sternum angle and short limbs is going to have a better chance at being better at the Bench Press compared to someone with a smaller ribcage, flatter sternum angle and long limbs, due to the first person having a shorter range of motion to achieve a full repetition and the line of pull on the pecs from insertion to origin. Another way in which anatomical differences influence training, can be down to active range. Everyone’s active range for a given movement is different. A common example would be overhead mobility. If someone cannot lift their hands directly above their heads (180 degrees of shoulder flexion) then trying to perform an overhead press is going to take them out of their active range and they will lean back to achieve the overhead position. This person will be putting a lot of stress on joint structures outside of this range and also increase the risk of injury when lifting outside of it. Therefore, consider this individual difference and give them an exercise that challenges them in their active range, for instance an incline press, set to a height whereby they are working in the active range that they can achieve.

 

Next, there’s two factors that link together. These are tolerance to training loads and responsiveness to training load. One’s tolerance to training load is going to help you in the initial phase of deciding things like how frequently they should train and how demanding each session should be. Their responsiveness to training will link closely with progressive overload. So, someone who responds very quickly to training will need to increase their training load more frequently than a slow responder. It’s important however that progressive overload is applied correctly to both people to prevent any from overtraining or undertraining.

 

Finally, the psychology behind training must also be taken into consideration. As with most things, intrinsic motivation is the key to long term adherence and this is achieved when someone feels competent, so the training programme must not feel too difficult for the participant. They also need relatedness, this comes from good relationships attached with the activity. Therefore, having great rapport with your PT, or attending the gym with a friend is a great idea. It’s also a reason why exercise groups with a more ‘community feel’ are more popular, the biggest example of this being the rapid growth of CrossFit over the past 10-15 years. Also, the participant must feel like they have autonomy, this can come via a number of ways such as having the freedom to train when they want, as well as being able to have a say in what they do during sessions (if they want that).

 

Overall, there’s many factors here to consider, it’s important to manage them all carefully, in order to ensure you are getting the most out of your training.