Planning and Layout

When beginning with a new client is is advised that a fitness professional first complete the following:

  1. Client Screening: Vital in order to determine whether it is safe for the client to begin an exercise program, as well as determine whether there are any components of fitness that need to be addressed first in a fitness program in order to ensure the safety of the client.
  2. Client Fitness evaluation: This is a key aspect of determining the ideal course of action for a clients journey. Without knowing the baseline fitness of a client the fitness professional is essentially guessing and will invariably implement a generic program for their client. This will certainly reduce the rate of adaptation of the client.


Step 1 – Needs and Goals

Start by listing the needs and goals of the client, which the fitness professional should already have acquired after the client screening and fitness evaluation. This will assist in creating the over-riding long term goals of the client.

Step 2 – Frequency

Determine how often the client is able to train. Based on scientific principles of adapatation, in order to achieve adpatation in a certain aspect of conditioning, a minimum of 3 sessions per week is required. Therefore there needs to be 3 cardiovascular sessions, 3 musclular endurance sessions, etc.

If the client can only commit to 3 sessions per week, most aspects of conditioning will need to be included in each session. If they can only commit to 2 sessions per week, then they will have to complete a 3rd session by themselves. The more often a client is able to train each week, the more flexible the program design becomes, allowing more focus on an aspect of conditioning each session, as well as more rest opportunities.

Step 3 – Periodisation

Persiodisation is a vital aspect of an effective exercise program and allows the fitness professional to focus on a specific aspect of conditioning without neglecting other aspects.

Create cycles of training, I.e.:

Phase 1 – Stabilisation

  • Improve cardiovascular conditioning
  • Improve flexibility
  • Improve posture
  • Introduce resistance training technique

Phase 2 – Cardiovascular Conditioning

  • Focus on increasing cardiovascular conditioning
  • Improve muscle conditioning
  • Maintain flexibility
  • Maintain posture

Phase 3 – Muscle Endurance

  • Focus on increasing muscle endurance
  • Maintain cardiovascular conditioning
  • Maintain flexibility
  • Maintain posture
  • Introduce resistance equipment

Phase 4 – Muscle Hypertrophy

  • Focus on increasing muscular strength/size
  • Maintain muscle endurance
  • Maintain cardiovascular conditioning
  • Maintain flexibility
  • Maintain posture

With the above example there is a clear focus in each stage, without neglecting other aspects of conditioning, which have already been addressed or which are being prepared to be addressed


With the exercise program planned and conceptualised, the fitness professional must now establish the layout of the program before structuring each session.

  1. Number of phases
  2. Number of weeks per individual phase
  3. Number of sessions per week in each phase
  4. Goals per session
Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3Phase 4
GoalStabilisationCV FitnessMuscle EnduranceMuscle Hypertrophy
No. of Weeks3546
Sessions per week2-33-43-43-4
CV Fitness
Exercise technique
31CV Fitness
Exercise technique