How to Determine Your Client’s Training Age

How to Determine Your Client’s Training Age

James FitzGerald on Determining Your Client’s Training Age

In this month’s Knowledge Series webinar James FitzGerald discusses the concept of training age, how you can determine your client’s training age, and how it will affect your programs. 

At OPEX Fitness our mission is to educate coaches. This monthly knowledge series is part of that mission and is just a sample of the support we offer OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) Coaches during and after our program. Take the first step to joining our community with this course.

What is Training Age?

James begins this Knowledge Series by providing a definition of training age “Training age is all of the contractions a client has accumulated over time relative to their maximal physical potential (MPP).” In other words, training age is a client’s current capabilities relative to their maximum capabilities.

Why is Training Age Important

Understanding training age is important because it tells you what a client will be capable of actually performing and expressing in a training plan. This will influence your program design and help you predict their long-term potential.

How Do You Determine Training Age?

Determining training age is done through multiple avenues and can include, but is not limited to, a physical assessment and a consultation. Learn our method of assessing and consulting clients here. James recommends that before trying to determine a client’s training age you should first create your own definition of what maximal physical potential should be (MPP). Once you have a definition for yourself you can begin answering the following three questions.

Three Questions to Help You Determine Training Age:

  1. What is their biological and chronological age?
    • Chronological age is how many years that person has been alive.
    • Biological age refers to cell aging and may not equal chronological age. 
  2. What is their prior experience with exercise?
    • Ask about the type of exercise, the intensity, the duration, their experience with it, etc. Collect as much information as you can from these questions. Learn how we assess a client’s prior experience in this course.
  3. What is their speed of adaptation?
    • If you don’t know their capabilities, start training. Put it on a graph and see how they progress over 0 to 2 months to 4 months. If from 0 to 4 months they’re making unbelievable progress, they still have lots of room for potential and likely have a low training age. 

How Training Age Influences Your Program

Your client’s training age will directly influence their program. If your client is a beginner their program will look a lot different than if they were more advanced. To provide an example, the beginner would spend more time developing motor control where the advanced client might spend more time on maximal contractions and strength endurance, relative to their function. See how training age determines where a client sits on the Muscle Endurance Tree in this free download. It is important to determine your client’s training age prior to writing their program so that they get the correct dose-response from resistance training and energy systems training.

The Whole System

Understanding training age is an essential part of writing an individualized program for a client. However, the program is just one part. As part of our coaching education, we teach coaches the best business practices, assessment and consultation skills, individualized programming knowledge, and holistic nourishment.

Our education not only bridges the gap between the classroom and the gym floor, but also gives you the opportunity to develop your own coaching flair under the mentorship of James himself. 

Take your coaching skills to the next level and sign up for our free coaching course, the Professional Coaching Blueprint.


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