How to Program for Your Client at Home During COVID-19

How to Program for Your Client at Home During COVID-19

At the beginning of the year you had a detailed plan to progress your client towards their goals in the gym. Then COVID-19 spread, and before you knew it the gym was closed and your client’s ability to train was limited. You were forced to adapt and now find yourself coaching your client through home workouts. While this may have forced you to abandon your original program, it does not mean all hope for progress is lost.

This is an opportunity to practice your coaching skills and create new goals with your client that are aligned with their current situation. This blog will highlight how OPEX Instructor Carl Hardwick did just that and transitioned his client, Emma’s, program during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Initial Training Plan:

The Initial Assessment Findings:

Before creating a training plan for Emma, Carl conducted an assessment of her capabilities. This included measuring physical abilities by assessing movement patterns and developing goals. 

(Coach’s Note: You can learn our method of assessment here.)

Movement patterns:

  • Scratch: She did not have the ability to get the humerus vertical. This highlighted that it was not possible to optimally perform vertical pressing exercises. 
  • Toe Touch: She did not have the ability to touch her toes without pain and stiffness and had a lack of coordination while attempting the bend pattern. 
  • Squat: She lacked the coordination to perform knee and hip flexion at the same time.
  • Active Straight Leg Raise: There was a bit of left to right imbalance, but range of motion was solid. This ruled out hamstring flexibility as the cause of the failed toe touch.

Emma’s Goals:

During the consultation Carl and Emma discussed her goals. She wanted to sure-up movement deficiencies and build competency in the six patterns of movement. She also wanted a structure in her training program that would leave her feeling good and create long-term consistency.

On the nutrition and lifestyle front, Emma had adequate daily rhythm, sleep timing, and stress management (foundations of the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines). The areas Carl would focus on improving included creating consistency around eating, water intake, and daily movement.

The Behavior and Nutrition Plan

The goal for the behavior and nutrition plan was to create consistency and noticing for Emma. The only active recommendations given to her were to take walks on rest days to increase sun exposure and blood flow and increase water intake from 35 to 50oz per day. On top of this, Carl planned weekly check-ins on:

  • Sleep Quality
  • Training Quality
  • Nutrition Quality
  • Energy
  • Goal Alignment

The Initial Exercise Plan

Based on the initial assessment Carl determined the following were priorities for the first training block:

  • Internal rotation of shoulder (left side specifically)
  • External rotation of both shoulders
  • Improve bending pattern (toe touch)
  • Improve squat pattern (hip/knee flexion coordination)

Emma’s Weekly Training Plan:

After a few training cycles Emma saw outstanding progress. She made improvements in her bend and squat patterns and shoulder internal/external rotation, and she started to gain muscle. However, at the end of the first few training cycles COVID-19 began to spread and the training plan had to change dramatically.

The COVID-19 Training Plan

Immediately Carl shifted gears in Emma’s program design. He went from relying on gym equipment to bodyweight training, including whatever exercise equipment Emma could get their hands on. Once Carl realized this wasn’t going to just be a week or two out of the gym, he completely pivoted the plan.

New Behavior/Nutrition plan:

The main goal for Emma’s behavior and nutrition plan was to build normalcy and keep consistency. Carl used this as an opportunity to increase daily blood flow by breaking up her work from home schedule while keeping training on the same days.

New Exercise plan:

Carl used this as an opportunity to create new goals that aligned with Emma’s new training environment, rather than sticking to the previous training goals. 

After the first week of training at home, Carl and Emma identified two new goals:

  1. Fall in love with running again. 
  2. Increase maximum push up set

The new plan is simple and focuses on increasing running volume at sustainable paces and includes two full-body resistance training sessions per week.

Emma’s new daily plan:

The Ability to Adapt

Just like the rest of the fitness industry, Carl was affected by COVID-19. His clients could no longer train in the gym and he was forced to adapt to a new situation. What separated him from other fitness coaches? He was prepared to adapt. His knowledge gave him the tools to coach clients towards their goals, no matter the medium of their fitness.

Get a free introduction to the same coaching tools Carl has helped develop and used with Emma in our free coaching course, The Professional Coaching Blueprint. Sign up today and learn how to adapt to any situation.


Fitness Assessments for New Clients