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The BEST way to write fitness programs for beginners

Mar 28, 2023


The BEST way to write

fitness programs

for beginners

Written by: Katie Barrett SUF Master Instructor

How to design an effective fitness program for a beginner UNDER 5-minutes&

Learning how to design programs for beginning clients is a very challenging task for most textbook trainers (CPT's who read a 700-900 page textbook and then take an exam.) One of the most important parts of becoming a QUALIFIED personal trainer is understanding the fundamentals of programming. Within these concepts of programming is the overload principle. Watch the following video to better understand the 9-key principles for overload

How to design a program for a beginner


After you have cleared the client from any Coronary Artery Disease (ACSM-CAD read more HERE) and assessed their injury history, start with a warm-up that addresses the 9-checkpoints of human movement (as of 2023 we have added breathing so there are 10).

Core movement patterns

Choose 6-8 of the core movements that are specific to the clients goals. These should be multi-jointed (bench press > chest fly; Squats > leg curls) exercises that can be lower body emphasized (hinge, squat, unilateral, transitional) or upper body (horizontal push/pull, vertical push/pull.) The first core movement pattern should be what the client wants to train and then the second core movement pattern should be the antagonist or opposite of body position (upper vs lower; push vs pull.)

Accessory exercises

Choose one single jointed exercise that the client enjoys to perform. For example if a client wants big glutes, you could do band walks. If they like training their abs, do a plank variation where you can get involved as the trainer (trainer engagement.) Most trainers are on their phone, iPads or uninterested- DON'T BE THAT AVERAGE TRAINER. You can also add in cardio (as long as it's not within the first CCA), prehab / rehab (check out our partners at the PreHab guys)

Putting the CCA together into a workout

Here is an example of a 60-minute workout for a client who wants to grow her glutes and tone up the upper body:

  1. Warm-up (see above)

    1. CCA – Core Movement – Squat

      Core Movement – Military Press

      Accessory – Deadbug

      Perform each CCA in a circuit for 2-3 rounds pending on clients condition state. Start with 10-15 reps to strengthen connective tissue (ligaments and tendons) and optimize neuromuscular communication (3-4 weeks.)

    2. CCA – Core Movement – Unilateral – Step-Up (forward lean glute focused)

      Core Movement – Row – DB Row

      Accessory – Lateral Raise

    3. CCA – Core Movement – Hinge – Glute Bridge

      Core Movement – Vertical Pull – Lat Pull Down

      Accessory – Triceps Extensions

If your client doesn't have 60-minutes, you can cut out the accessory or just do 2-rounds per circuit. For clients who are really overweight / obese, you can make it: CORE – ACCESSORY or just a CORE OR ACCESSORY.

Every workout, SUF-CPT's are challenged to say your clients name at least 3x, showcase a NEW exercise, get involved (trainer engagement) and to learn something new about your client (ask great questions.) Here is an example of what a 60-minute workout looks like from Master Instructor Chris&

How to become a

personal trainer

in 2023 SUF-CPT:

If you want to become a personal trainer, Show Up Fitness CPT is the best fitness certification. We have daily LIVE calls with master personal training instructors. The calls are recorded for on-demand use within the Show Up Fitness APP. Each month of the CPT is $100 and to take the exam in front of a panel of master instructors it costs $149 as of Q2 2023. The average personal trainer quits within 12-months, not for those who SHOW UP.

In-PERSON classes:

If you live in Los Angeles or San Diego, we have a 2-month personal training internship which includes daily classes with hands on learning, advanced programming, how to assess clients, and how to get hired at gyms like Equinox. Upon completion, you will test for your SUF-CPT. We have had interns SHOW UP from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Email if you want to become a personal trainer

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