Body re-composition can be a complex, layered process. Some people respond easily and others don’t, and this is simply unavoidable. Genetics, your athletic background and your emotional/mental state play a HUGE part in this.
I find men often respond easier than women, which comes down to hormones, as well as attitude. Women have been prayed on and taught to hate their bodies for years, and I hear it ALL the time, women saying ‘nothing works for me’, but 9/10 of those women are following generic nutrition and training plans. With the right support and programming/nutrition, transformation is definitely not impossible. The same applies to men when it comes to achieving optimal strength/nutrition
What needs to be considered though is that EVERYONE is different, and I can tell you from personal experience that if I didn’t personalize my clients meal/training programs, AT LEAST 80% of them wouldn’t have gotten any tangible results.
So, why does your programming need to be individualized?
Because you have you own experience level, weak points, strong points, levers, limb lengths, schedules, lifestyles, preferences, etc. Programming should become more difficult over time if you wish to get stronger over time. Likewise, if you follow the same program or intensity of training forever, your results will eventually halt.
I find the worst examples of ‘halt’ programs are the very generic ones such as body-pump and circuit training. You will get results at first, but after a few months you will just get/stay ‘fit’. This is fine, however if it is body re-composition, or strength development you are after you need to lift weights, and push yourself progressively harder in weight/volume/intensity in order to keep getting results. And this needs to be teed up with a good nutritional plan. The human body is like an adaptation machine.
I follow a basic template with my girls as most will have similar weaknesses (eg hips and upper back), but I then adapt this template to suit individual requirements. NONE of them are exactly the same, unless one client has the exact same circumstances as another.
Why does your food plan need to be individualised?
Because no one is the same hormonally, metabolically, physiologically, psychologically, and no one has the same history. Many fitness/nutrition businesses these days work on the following model – make three templates, hand out the closest one to the client, cross fingers, hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, scrap that person and highlight the person that it does work for. It’s more of a business model rather than a service model, but the fitness industry is a big-money business now.
Take for example the following women (and for this example, lets just assume that they are all aiming to increase muscle and decrease body-fat so they can feel good in a bikini in summer);
Client 1: Weighs 90kgs, used to suffer from bulimia, has just introduced some light training, has been predominantly inactive throughout her life, and has little or no education about the fundamentals of nutrition
Client 2: Is tall, thin and underweight, and really wants to build muscle. She has tried to in the past but just doesn’t see results, which effects her motivation
Client 3: Suffers depression, allergies and fatigue, walks 3-4 days per week, works and studies full-time, and has two children
Client 4: Is active, has always been active, had a six-pack since childhood and can eat whatever she wants, and generally remains pretty lean
There are some massive differences there, but this kind of variety is NORMAL. All of these women want to change their body composition but each require a totally different approach to their nutrition
So lets assume I give them all the same 1800-calorie meal plan, and the same program with 5 days of weights and two cardio sessions per week. Here is an example of the potential outcome for each of those clients;
Client 1: Could become overwhelmed and drop off very quickly, returning to old habits
Client 2: Will probably get through the training okay but will struggle to stick to that many calories as she will churn through them once she adds the exercise
Client 3: May struggle to find the time and energy to complete all the workouts, which will leave her feeling doubtful and defeated. The training may also add to her fatigue
Client 4: Most likely, she will breeze through, probably even go off the plan here and there because she’s looking good and feeling confident. This is what you call a high-responding client.
So as you can see in that situation, one of these clients has succeeded and the rest aren’t too happy. Which is why they need to be taken care of individually, which takes effort on the part of your coach, but you shouldn’t be expecting anything less.
If you are just aiming to improve your health and overall wellbeing, then a generalized plan will most often suit. These plans are often much cheaper and also serve as a good starting/introductory point.
However, if you have specific goals and you feel like there are a few ‘layers’ that you will need to work through, then you may need support and no matter who you hire for the job, make sure what they write up for you is ESPECIALLY FOR YOU – an individualised plan with a long-term goal in mind