3 Reasons Why Individual Design Might Be For You

October 29, 2017

photocredit: Crossfit Bedford

When you think of a training and nutrition prescription customized solely for you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

“I’m not an elite athlete. Individual coaching would be too intense for me.”

“My schedule is too inconsistent for me to fully commit to it.”

Does any of this sound familiar? Unfortunately, there’s this misconception out there with individual coaching. That it’s only for really dedicated fitness junkies. Not true.

At Revival Strength, we stand by the mantra, “Individual design is the last program you’ll ever need.”

Let that sit for a second... Why in the world would that make any sense?

#1 Dose/Response

Let’s start with this idea of dose and response. If you have 100 people in a room, but only ONE prescription to elicit a certain response — the chances of you having all your needs met in the long run is very unlikely.

If you want to get better at pull-ups, but it only shows up once or twice a week — at some point you’re going to stop getting better at pull-ups. Why? The dosage of the work you’re doing relative to your goal is just not there. And when it IS there - it doesn’t take into account where you are at TODAY.

When writing a program that will be performed by a group of people - the individual prescribing the workout has to write with a certain avatar in mind. Or else it’s just random. A percentage of the people in this large group will receive the dosage they need. A percentage of people may receive too low of a dosage. And a percentage of people may receive too high of a dosage.

For those who are receiving a dosage that is too high relative to their current capabilities — you end up in this mode of testing, not training. Think about improving your Fran time. You go all out. Sprawl on your back. Staring at the ceiling. FEELING like you’re improving.

If you’re always hanging out in that zone of 0 or 100mph - physiologically, you will get capped out at some point. The dose was too high for the response you were trying to elicit. As a result, improvements are minimal or nonexistent and the rate of burnout or injury is very high.

#2 The Circle Of Coaching

This example brings up a question of:

why do we want to improve someone’s Fran time? Or their pull-ups? Does everyone need that?

Now a dialogue has to be had around what brings you into the gym everyday. If you say that you want to be able to stay active when you’re 70 years old - we have to look at what would align with that goal.

Certainly not doing something that is leaving you feeling beaten down or with nagging aches and pains. That would be out of alignment.

If you wanted to compete at a high level, we have to look at what aligns with this situation.

Stephen is an onsite client of mine who is in his late 50s. He LOVED playing tennis with his buddies. Never did he have to think twice about jumping into a game for the past 30 years. Then his knees started to hurt. His back started to ache.

Forget the thought of playing tennis - he could barely move side to side without feeling wiped out and afraid.

A coach is there to help Stephen reflect on what his priority is. Get pain free? Bridge back into training in a sustainable way? Start playing tennis again?

From that point, we put Stephen through assessments to get objective data that we can use to measure improvement. A Fran time wouldn’t make sense for him. Neither would a max set of pull-ups. For where he is at TODAY, our goal is to perform a Side Plank for 90 seconds unbroken on each side. That’s just one of many assessments we’re keeping tabs on. But you get the point.

Lastly, we use the consulting and the assessments as a way to mold Stephen’s prescription. What he needs is WILDLY different from mine. And it’s still different when we compare it to his tennis buddy, Chris.

Why? Because they are both unique individuals.


  • Consultation
  • Assessment
  • Prescription

These are the three things we keep circling back to as coaches to ensure progress is happening!

#3 A Program That Changes As You Do

Life happens. Anyone can maintain peak fitness when you have all the time in the world and less balls in the air to juggle. That’s why 30 day, 60 day, and even 90 day programs can be really appealing. In the grand scheme of your whole life - that’s a very short period of time.

So what happens when you now have to start traveling for work more often? Or your kids decide to play sports AND join the orchestra? OR when the excitement of your new program wears off?

You go from being able to workout for 60 minutes, 5x / week to being able to only pull off 45mins, 3x / week. And one of those days, you just can’t make it to the gym, so you need to be able to do something at home.

A coach is someone who’s there for you every step of the way. To mold your prescriptions in a manner that aligns with your goals, data from assessments, and your lifestyle. 

Not For Everyone

I know this is a bit paradoxical because in the beginning we talked about how individual coaching IS for everyone. I lied. Individual coaching is NOT for those who:

  • Want quick results
  • Will not show compliance within a training program
  • Can’t think about the long game of their fitness

If you take ONE thing away from this post, it would be about understanding your own needs. What do you really want? Sit down and give this some thought. Revisit this every 1-3 months. What is ONE thing you can do to get more aligned with what you’re looking to accomplish?

This fitness journey is YOURS. You get to choose how many days you want to train, how long you want to train, what you want to improve upon. Whether it’s body composition, performance, or balanced fitness — the experience is yours. Our job as coaches is to pave the path, so all you have to do is… walk. One foot in front of the other.

If you’re interested in learning more about what individual coaching would look like remotely, check out our overall process here at Revival Strength. We’re happy to do a quick consultation if this sits well with you. But more importantly, we’re just happy to share our message around the intricacies of individual design. 




This is a guest post from Misbah Haque, founder of theairbornemind.com. He is a coach that helps athletes of all levels find sustainable, fun and balanced training through individualized program design and group programs. His biggest passion lies in broadcasting conversations as the host of a podcast called The Airborne Mind Show. Follow his journey through iTunes, Instagram, and theairbornemind.com. For a free consultation and a 3 day sample program, shoot him a personal email: info@airbornemind.com





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