Why Gym Programs Have A Used By Date

A gym or exercise program is no different to food the food we eat!

I am going to show you two things in this blog:

  1. Why gym programs have a “used by” date
  2. Why they also need a “best before” date

But first, let’s gets some context as to why this problem is faced by many people. 

Many commercial gyms give new members a free program and instruct them for safety reasons. 

Other gyms use this as a way to generate work for their PT’s but the client doesn’t follow through. 

Some places don’t give out a program at all and just leave people to their own devices in the rugged wilderness of the gym. 

Other people go to the internet and download a program from google or worse, sign up for a free trial from some social media influencer with a booty or decent set of abs that they wish they could have too. 

Regardless of where you get it from the same issue occurs.

People start them with the right intentions but fail to update them. 

"A gym program is designed to end. PERIOD!"
Dean Phelps


Because programs are designed to challenge and stimulate the body to grow and adapt. 

To do this we need repetition, progressive over-load and variability.

Repetition comes from completing the program for a set number of weeks.

Progressive over-load comes from increasing weight over time.

Variability comes in changing up of exercises. Progressing to a harder, more challenging exercise from the one done previously. Or adding more sets, less or more reps or changes in rest periods. 

If these things do not happen the body will become stale, bored and WILL NOT ADAPT. 

Simply put, you are wasting your time in the gym by using the same program after a set period of time.

So, we must be aware that every gym program has a “used by date” if the person is compliant and consistent over the weeks it is designed for

NOW let's get to the "best before date" and why that is all important.

A great gym program (not a cookie cutter download from some subscription based influencer) is designed through thorough testing and measuring of a person, set to their their goals and their current level of physical function and/or health status.

But let’s be honest, most people are inconsistent, infrequent or just stop exercising after a period of time in the gym.

If this happens a phenomena occurs called reversibility.

Reversibility kicks in quickly.

It’s why it is twice as hard to gain as it is to lose in the gym. 

This phenomena will occur within two weeks.

After that, it’s a down hill slide to de-conditioning and you are back to square one or worse depending on how long your lay off is.

Now we have a clear change in a persons level of physical function and/or health status.

The program is now void if you pick it up and try again. You are not at the same level you were when it was written.

In fact it may now be dangerous and create a risk of injury to the person using it.

So, in summary

Every program has a “used by date” if used correctly for the appropriate amount of time. 

Every program has a “best before date” if exercise stops or training is infrequent!

This is why our exercise programs work in blocks, cycles or phases of rehab for anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks.

It is also why constant follow up and program review is a necessity!

We know what works and why!