Business GrowthCoaching and ServicesGrowth TacticsPersonal Training / Fitness Programming Pre-Formatted vs. Fully Customized: Choosing Between Program Types


Trainerize offers a wide range of features to create different types of training—for both pre-formatted programs and customized programs. Having the ability to create Master Programs will save time. Then you can tweak the training experience and deliver programs efficiently. Sometimes, though, people who have very specific goals need fully customized plans.

Remember: you understand your style of training, your market, and your business model. I know it can be a tough call to make if you had to choose one or the other, but you know your niche and audience. Plus, the amazing thing about Trainerize is that you can mix them up and have a combination of both types of programming in your business. Let’s dive in and look at the pros and cons of these two types of programs, how best to employ them in your business, and how to best market them to benefit your bottom line.

Pros & cons of pre-formatted and customized programs

Having pre-formatted programs is a great way to reach a lot of people with fairly little changes and modifications. However, with pre-formatted, planning the client experience can be a challenge.

Pre-formatted programs can be super effective to be mixed and matched within a client’s plan. Examples of these are prep weeks, trials, group challenges and skill-based programs. These can stand on their own or can be incorporated into a larger plan.

On the other hand, fully customized programs are tailored to an individual, but it takes more time and effort—especially as you scale. They can also be costly for some clients, and can be intimidating for many to commit to. Plus, if a client feels comfortable to independently execute on programming, then they may not want a hands-on, highly customized program.

The best of both training worlds

In my case at Train HRDR, we mainly market our customized programs but have options for pre-formatted programs too. We call them Fit Programs and we focus on designing them by taking into consideration our niche of calisthenics as much as possible. Our marketing is based on the fact that clients will have that special treatment, that 1-on-1 support and that coaching available. However, we also understand that some clients can be self-sufficient and motivate themselves—they simply need a plan and structure to follow.

Think of it this way: any smart cafe has a grab-n-go option. Some people just want a sandwich and don’t care how fresh and amazing your menu sandwiches are, and don’t want to wait and watch you make it. You can either wave goodbye to these customers, or offer them an option that is true to your brand and services, and offered in a format that meets their needs as well. If you provide the option, the grab-n-go sandwich guy will be back, he might even bring a friend, and if they really like your product, he might pay extra and get a menu selection next time.

Using master workouts and pre-formatted programs as templates

pre-fromatted programs TrainHRDR
Even if you don’t market pre-formatted programs, these are great to build. Why?  Because pre-formatted programs gives you a template to work off for your customized programs. You can take a pre-formatted program to start. Then, make modifications that fit a client with specific needs, and voila, you have a customized program!

The benefits of having a customized program are abundantly obvious, but for clarity, let’s dive in! Since it’s customized, it’ll be aligned exactly to their current goals. You’ll also target their current fitness level. Then, it will gradually increase in intensity and difficulty to move them towards to their stated goals.

Program modifications are also a major perk. Did he client bump their knee at work? Are they finding squats uncomfortable? No problem, I can adjust that exercise and give them a modification. That way, they can still get the workout but save the pain! So if someone is very keen on achieving very specific goals in the most efficient way possible, then the customized program is the best option for their needs.

At Train HRDR, we choose to market the customized programs because it gives us a lot more control over the client experience and their results. We believe that customized programs that help you create strong and intimate bonds with your clients, like you would with in-person training. For us, that’s the business model that is future-proof and sustainable long term. To sign up, we have leads fill out an application form.

⚡️TZ Tip: Plenty of businesses see success with pre-formatted programs as their top focus, too! This is especially useful for extremely niche businesses, such as pre-wedding bootcamps, new mom workout routines, or marathon cross training. In these types of niches, it’s likely that the entire group is working with the same or similar goals and challenges, so pre-formatted may be the most efficient way to reach these audiences. Use Trainerize groups to add a human element and build community engagement!

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Carlos Salas

Carlos Salas is a Venezuelan fitness trainer, calisthenics coach and entrepreneur based in Toronto. Carlos is the founder of Calisthenics Canada, the national federation that enables the growth of calisthenics across Canada. He runs his own online personal training business, Train HRDR, through which he helps people worldwide get in shape and reclaim their health.

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