Programs Vs. People


Programs Vs. People

Brandon Chien


Why most exercise programs suck.

Because people change from day to day, and their needs will vary all the time. We are not robot automatons, even though sometimes we try to treat ourselves like machines.

Our brains crave certainty, and decide that having an “exercise routine” is the best way to get from point A to point B. But our bodies and our energy fluctuate.

We can’t get what we want by conforming to a strict program that was devised theoretically. We have to listen to our bodies and determine what kind of movement it needs based on that day and how much energy we have.


How do you know your energy needs? There are three factors that will determine how much you can actually spend on exercise.

1. Fatigue
2. Motivation
3. Emotional level

Fatigue is how tired are you, right now. Something my clients discover in classes with me is that sometimes their brain is tired, but their body isn’t. If this is happening for you, just do exercises you are familiar with. Don’t try to learn anything new or challenging on that day.

Motivation is how easy it feels to get started. I often help clients with this right at the beginning of a session because it can turn like a knob if you just get a couple easy wins in the first few moments of a workout. This is another reason set routines aren’t the best because they allow your brain to turn off and you’re not paying attention any longer, and can lose motivation.

Emotional levels will affect both your fatigue and motivation. So if you’re feeling sad, you’re not going to be as motivated. But you can still do something, and just reduce the difficulty of an exercise you already can do. However if you’re feeling happy, you might have extra bandwidth to try something challenging, and not feel as fatigued by it.

Rather than expecting yourself to conform to some idea of a program, you’re going to get better results to paying attention to where you’re at each day. And offering yourself an appropriate level of movement that matches what you need. Sometimes that even looks like resting.

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