” If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
There is truth in both quotes. As a coach I like taking a longterm view of things, including the eventual time where my client or student is no longer with me. While the long view (and ultra long view) are great, one needs to plot the course to get there. This comes is smaller journeys which will be listed below.
In my previous blog on What is Exercise? What is Training? https://mytrainerchris.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/what-is-exercise-what-is-training/
I covered the difference between the two and that I primarily deal in the latter. This is not to say I discount the value in the former as the skill of being able to adapt to the unknown is essential. There is a huge difference between adapting to a situation and making stuff up as you go, and even then making stuff up as you go has value in some situations.
Some years ago I was assigned a client that on any given day presented some musculoskeletal issue that made designing, much less adhering to a consistent exercise program near impossible. Even today, with greater experience and tools at my disposal I would be challenged. I had no choice but to take the person at their word and that the complaints were real and not being over-exaggerated, even though I had my suspicions and occasional tests proved me correct.
My ability to adapt to an ever-changing situation was honed during my military career, so I had a leg up so to speak. Still, there was always the bomb squad thought going through my head, one miscalculation is all it would take to have a very bad day.
Those sorts of situations are a test of ones patience,knowledge,professionalism and creativity.
The textbook definitions of training periods. (Ben Franklin situation) Training Session: A duration of up to several hours. If there is a rest period of 30min or more it will be considered a multi-workout day. A training day can contain multiple sessions and is designed for the microcycle which it is contained.
Microcycle: Several days to 2 weeks, composed of several sessions. A Mesocycle is often 2-6 week blocks of linked microcycles. A Macrocycle is several months up to one year and some authors refer to it as an annual plan.
Annual Training Plan: Is one year and can contain a single or multiple macrocycles. Plans beyond one year are known as quadrennial plans.
When deviating from the plan is called for. (Mike Tyson situation) Often the Mike Tyson situation occurs within a training session, but in some cases it can affect annual training. Client/Student/Athlete shows up for training with an injury. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if its real or imagined. You have several options available depending on the severity and duration.
Cancel the session, refer out.
Work around the issue.
Alter the days the training session to accommodate what the person can do pain free.
Be realistic. If this isn’t a competitive athlete will the microcycle REALLY be affected?
The client is habitually late. I’m not a fan of tardiness but understand that sometimes things in life happen. I don’t mind if its very few and far between. Aside from being disrespectful,repeated tardiness is cumulative and doesn’t help the person reach their goal.
I first have “the talk.” Habitual tardiness in my opinion is indicative of a problem, one that likely got them to where they are now.
If the person is habitually late I subtract it from their time, not start the session counter when they decide to arrive. This is not well-liked by client.
If it becomes too cumulative I terminate the clients agreement with me. Further, I do not refer the client to any coaches within my local network. If they can’t appreciate my time then maybe they will appreciate my absence.
The Client is having a “rough day” Essentially the client showed up in less that optimal condition either psychologically,physically or physiologically. It depends on whom you’re dealing with and what level of experience they have.
On one hand you can dial back the session and address mobility needs and a refreshing tonic workout. Not enough food,air,sleep or water or clients that are depressed are good candidates for this. Controlling load, volume and rest periods are key. You may need to subtract/regress entire exercises, especially those with higher levels of technical sophistication even if the person is normally good at them.
On the other hand you can take advantage of the persons aggression and focus it on controlled lifts that the person is used to doing. Be mindful of breaks and training stress. If the person is used to 5 sets of 5 now is not the time to make them do 10 sets of 10. Personally this is where I like focusing on the isometric portion of lifts and the grip dependent techniques.