Gym Programming – Why & When To Consider Outsourcing Your Program

Programming is a complicated process, and more complicated when you’re working with a group. You’re trying to get to a bell curve distribution of all the things, for this group of people… and meeting all individual needs.

– Max El Hag, Training Think Tank

Most fitness owners will agree that running a gym or personal training business, isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The fitness business is hard work, with huge time demands on the business owner. On any given day, you might be coaching classes, processing payroll and rosters, cleaning the toilets, ordering and replacing equipment, running PT sessions, or creating social media and marketing content. All of this before you consider the foundation of the cornerstone product of your gym – the programming. With the finite number of hours in a day, it’s a no brainer for many gym owners to turn to subscription programming services, that automate the process and allow them to focus on delivery side of the training.

Why should you consider outsourcing your programming?

Programming is the basis of any fitness business’ product – a well structured, scaleable, progression-based program will directly impact your clients’ progress and results.

Renowned programming group Training Think Tank recently discussed on the Corpus Animus podcast #74 as Travis Mayer, owner of CrossFit UNTD spoke to why he decided to outsource programming as a gym owner-

It was an immediate relief… (previously) sitting at home, writing it all out, planning all the progressions – it’s just easier (to have someone else program) when I have 12 other things that I can focus on.

Programming for UNTD is now lead by MIke McGoldrick who adds,

When you (UNTD) guys handed over the programming to me, you bumped up your Onramp process, put more time into that, also started doing more weightlifting and gymnastics clinics… (when) you’ve only got an hour a day to spend with a member, having someone assist in the programming structure is huge in organizing your time as a gym owner.

If you as a gym owner, are struggling to find the time to launch your new lead strategy, plan an in-house event or even to just get through your everyday job list – it could be time to think about whether a programming service is right for you.

What to consider in selecting a programming service?

1. What kind of training stimulus or bias you want to achieve

What is your individual gym culture and what’s important to your client community? If you have multiple athletes who are looking to be competitive in sports such as Crossfit, you may consider a program that has built in extras or skills-based work, to ensure they’re able to achieve adequate volume. Alternatively, if your clients are more community based, a broad GPP program may be a better fit. Always do your research, and more importantly, test to find the best fit for your community and business. Matt Gilpin of Evolved speaks about his programming philsophy for the Affialiate Track product;

(At Evolved) We believe in taking a smart and progressive approach to CrossFit programming, building athletes up from a strong foundation with structured training designed to leave them feeling fit, strong and ready for life.

2.      Skills, cycles and phasing

Certain programs are designed to enhance or improve set stimuli, such as aerobic capacity or pure strength building. Programming across an entire gym community should always seek to balance the priorities of training across their client base and training time – this also ensures a great experience for the member across a variety of training modalities and skills.

Using with a program that aligns with competition seasons and schedules (such as the Crossfit Open) may be important for Crossfit affiliates, or even for other gyms who run test-retest cycles or other competitions.

3.      What equipment you have in your gym

Not every gym will have the luxury of a full suite of machines, barbells, plates and squat racks for every client, every session. Many programs will offer alternatives within the set workouts for substitutes on equipment (eg. Dumbbell weights in place of barbells) which will ensure a complete training stimulus without a huge outlay for new gear.

What brands and platforms are out there?

At fitbox, we’re proud to partner with some of the best in the business when it comes to programming for your gym. There are literally hundreds of options on the market for programming with varied training philosophies, but we’d recommend starting with some of our valued Ecosystem partners below:

·        Unifyd – brain-child of Australian CrossFit stalwart Rob Forte, Unifyd boasts unrivalled experience in the competitive sport of Crossfit.

·        Evolved – previously SwanStrong, Evolved has been programming for gyms since 2019. Programmed by Matt Gilpin, perennial top 10 finisher at Sanctional/Semi-Final events and highly accomplished Coach.

·        CrossFit Affiliate Programming (CAP)- CrossFit’s own affiliate programming, with the strongest links to the training methodology, the newest addition to the programming market will see gyms all around the world being able to direct contrast their performance with other athletes on an identical program.

Programming is the centrepiece of any fitness business to deliver results to your clients – it pays to get it right!

About Fitbox
Fitbox is the technology arm of Again Faster Asia Pacific. They are an Australian based and owned company with more than 10 years of experience in technology and the business of fitness.

For more information on the fitbox platformm, reach out to us at: