Making a great exercise physiology program

A great exercise physiology program should match up and work for the person their designed for (that’s you!). The right exercise physiologist will use the information you provide during your first session to make this happen.

Your doctor might suggest exercise physiology to give you additional support in getting healthy and out of pain. Or, you might decide on your own that you’d like some expert guidance. No matter why you show up, when you do, you’ll probably be asked some key questions. I’d recommend you take some time to consider the following:

Where are your challenges?

To create an effective exercise physiology program, your EP will need to know what your health or injury is keeping you from doing. This might mean asking about what movements are painful, if you’re worried about exercise impacting your health, or what you want to do but can’t. Your answers help your EP plan which movement assessments or tests to include in your session.

Understanding your limits provides the foundation for a good exercise physiology program. My job as an exercise physiologist is to use exercise to help you get better, which means I also have to know where you “aren’t so good”.

What are your goals?

Your goal might be to be pain free, or to improve your general health. You might have a specific “life” goal, like to complete a certain event. Or you might want to get off a certain medication. All of these goals are great.

As an EP, understanding what you want will point me in a certain direction when designing your program. There are many ways to address physical and health limitations. I’m always looking for the exercises that can address both your physical needs and your goals at the same time.

Will this program work for you?

I can design a great exercise physiology program that will both address your limits and your goals. But if you don’t have time for it, it’s not a great program. If you don’t like it, it’s not a great program. And if you can’t do it where and when you want to, it’s not a great program.

For sustainable results, your program has to fit in with your lifestyle, or come close. If you want to make a lot of changes, or big changes, it’s important to create a program that supports this in gradual steps. This can definitely challenge your patience but in the long run makes you much more successful. Part of my role – or any good exercise physiologist – is to help you prioritise these changes and plan how you want to implement them in a way that you can truly see yourself doing.

And its the planning and implementation that ultimately makes or breaks a program. We can collaborate our way to a great list of ideas and steps, but when life gets busy and exhausting, a “what to do now” plan is what helps you stick with it. Small steps, taken often, are what lead to success.

What do you think?

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