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How to design a fitness program: 36 yr old male. 5'9 155lbs BMI 23. Profession: Attorney

Feb 14, 2022


How to design a fitness program: 36 yr old male. 5'9 155lbs BMI 23. Profession: Attorney

If you want to become a successful personal trainer, READ THE BOOK. Certifications like NASM, NSCA, ACSM, ACE and ISSA do not teach you how to program for clients like Show Up Fitness does. Our personal training internship program was voted the BEST FITNESS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES! Join our ONLINE or IN-PERSON INTERNSHIP PROGRAM HERE


Never worked with a personal trainer before and have no medical issues. I suppose I’m considered skinny-fat and have always wanted to have some sort of muscle definition. I’ve half-jokingly told people I want to look like I was carved out of a block of wood. While this gets laughs, a part of me actually would like to approach that in some form. I know this requires years of serious commitment and I would at least like to try and push myself towards that goal. I’ve lifted weights in the past but have never really followed a program. I’ve basically gone online, read some article about what one should do to get bigger, get leaner, etc., and followed that for a few weeks. At some point I feel like what I’m doing isn’t working and then I go looking for another article online and start the cycle again. I feel overwhelmed with all of the information and would like to talk to someone who actually knows what they are talking about and follow a specific program.

Some questions that I would focus on & movements part of the assessment:

1- How many days a week do you want to train? I would assume he would want to train 3-5x per week. The programming would range from full body (3x), Upper / lower split (4x) and/or Push / Pull / full body with either the pushing including squats or the pull having a hinge.

2- Grip Strength & Blood Pressure. The silent killer is hypertension. He could easily have a blood pressure reading greater than 140/90 in his line of work. By taking his blood pressure, you'll establish yourself as the professional and not a meathead. You can get a cheap one on Amazon for less than $50. Just make sure you have a few different cuff sizes (10-20inches). Handheld Grip Dynamometer is one of my favorite strength measurements because it is simple & fun. You can get one for less than $30 on Amazon HERE.

3- Bench Press, Goblet Squats, Pull-Ups, & Planks. The three main patterns that I would focus on would be a push, pull & squat. I would have him do a few push-ups first before progressing to the bench press to establish a solid 10rm. Nothing boosts your client's ego and testosterone levels more than moving some solid weight. I would find a weight that he could do for 8-10 reps and then push him for another two to show the value of working with me by taking him out of his comfort zone. I would like to see how many pull-ups he could do. I'd play red light green light and also have him hold at the top while I apply pressure into the eccentric (see video below.) Back squats can be intimidating for newer lifters, so I would begin with goblets. I would like to find a 10rm. Planking variations can be a great way to establish core stability and strength. Planks are so easy to do, but rarely done properly.

How I would implement all of this into a 60-90 minute personal training assessment:

1- Review the Show Up Fitness Assessment form 10-15 minutes.

2- Warm-Up by hitting the 9-checkpoints for human movement. Do some Push-ups, squats and rows to establish movement competency. The following is my favorite warm-up routine with capable newer clients.

3- Bench Press, Curls with iso holds at the end, Planks for circuit 1. This workout is the same one that I use on page 150 of my book How to Become A Successful Personal Trainer.

4- Pull-ups, push-ups, farmer walks circuit 2.

5- Goblets, landmine press, Landmine rotations, cardio IF HE CAN HANDLE IT circuit 3.

The circuit is performed with the core pattern first, then proceeding into the next core pattern or accessory exercise and then the last accessory exercise. After the first round, rest until the client is ready to work. Ask them great questions, get them some water, put on a song they enjoy and then get after it for round number 2. After 3 rounds, we will get into circuit 2 and so fourth. Here is an example of a LIVE personal training session at our San Diego internship program.

4-things that Show Up Fitness Trainers focus on during EACH workout:

1- Trainer engagement i.e. Spotting during the bench & pull-ups, push knees in & tap lateral aspects of the foot during the goblets, have him drive 1-leg into my hand during push-ups,

2- Learn something new about your client. I would want to know where he went to college. What kind of law he practices?

3- Use his name at least 3x during the entire workout.

4- Show him at least 1 new exercise that he's never done before. That would be the red-light green light pull-ups or pushing into my hand during the push-up. Curls with iso holds at the end of each set.

If you want to become a personal trainer, Show Up Fitness has 2-month personal training internship programs in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin and we're ONLINE. The online portion is part of the in-person which allows for us to optimize students time and for the ability to go at your own pace. We have hundreds of videos on our online platform. In one week, you'll learn more than any personal training certification (NASM, NSCA, ACSM, ACE, ISSA) MONEY BACK GUARANTEE.

Written By: Chris Hitchko – Your favorite trainer with a belt buckle.

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