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The Fitness Zone

Determining Training Frequency
August 7, 2014

One of the most important decisions a fitness professional can make is how often to train, says Brad McGregor, Master Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness QLD.

Most Personal Trainers would love to train their clients more regularly in order to increase the yield per client, but there are two key considerations that should be taken into account before making this decision.

1. Is this frequency in the best interests of the client?
2. Will it help them to progress towards their goal?

In order to make an informed decision about training frequency we need to have a good understanding of when the client is recovered (both physiologically and psychologically) from the previous session. To that end we need to consider the fatigue curve (see below) and determine when the client has ‘super-compensated’ and is ‘ready to go again.’

There are two aspects that should be considered here:

1. Subjective assessment of recoverability
2. Objective assessment of recoverability.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

1. Subjective Assessment of Recoverability

This involves asking the client to rate themselves across a number of markers including:

Quality and quantity of sleep
Quality of nutrition
Attitude to training
Attitude to work
Energy levels

A simple 1-10 likert scale can be used here where 1 = terrible and 10 = fantastic. The above points are just some examples and you may wish to expand on these.

2. Objective Assessment of Recoverability

This involves measuring some key markers that might include:

Resting heart rate
Heart rate variability
Hydration status (i.e. colour and frequency of urine).

You could even use markers such as repeated single-leg hops for distance to determine nervous system recovery.

Overall a combination of the subjective and objective markers should allow you to make an informed decision about training frequency or whether to go to a ‘plan B’ and deliver a modified program to enhance recoverability.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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