For most small gyms and fitness studios, there are workouts programmed for each day or class. By planning ahead, the workouts for the week are balanced between different muscle groups and keep your clients from getting bored with their routine. Whether it’s yoga, CrossFit, spin, or anything in between, fitness classes rarely utilize the same routine day in and day out. Programming a variety of workouts for each week and month can end up taking away hours from the owner or head coach. 

So, should you outsource your gym programming? Like most fitness business questions, the answer is it depends. The three main factors that go into determining if you should outsource are:

  • Do you enjoy creating workouts?
  • How much would it cost to outsource?
  • What can you accomplish with the time you would spend programming?

For a gym owner who loves creating workouts and programming a balanced routine for his clients, outsourcing would take away a part of the job that he’s good at and enjoys doing. On the other hand, if your head coach is spending six hours a week coming up with workouts for the following week, outsourcing would free up his time to take on more clients. The decision will always be dependent on your gym and your needs. 

Benefits of Outsourcing Programming

Saving time is the obvious benefit of outsourcing your gym programming. It opens up the opportunity for you to complete other tasks. There are other benefits that make outsourcing a good choice for a gym.

By freeing up the time that you (or a coach) would spend preparing the workout schedule, you can focus on more important tasks. Oftentimes, this means putting your time towards income-generating activities like pursuing leads and working on marketing. However, that free time may also be better used outside of the gym. Running a business can keep you away from home for long stretches, so maybe those hours saved are best spent with friends and loved ones. 

Companies that sell gym programming offer well-balanced and thoughtfully compiled workouts. Some gyms sell their programming to other gyms and some programming businesses only sell workout schedules. Either way, these companies have employees whose main role is to program the workouts. There is a lot of thought put into the combination of movements, the goal of the workout, and especially the warm-ups and cooldowns. This level of detail may not be achieved if you create your own programming.

One reason you may not be creating your own programming is that you (or your coaches) do not feel like you are confident enough in creating the best workouts possible. By outsourcing your programming, you can learn from the other company. You will see new ideas for warm-ups, workouts, and cool downs – three vital parts of every good session. Picking up this subtle education can allow you to be capable of creating your own workouts in the future. 

Drawbacks of Outsourcing Programming

Outsourcing your programming will free up additional time and take a task off your list. That doesn’t mean that it is the best option for all fitness studios. 

Paying a fee for programming can be a drawback of outsourcing. You will be paying someone else to complete a task that you or a coach could be handling. For some businesses, the cost is worth it because they feel the time spent on other tasks is more valuable. Young businesses or brand new gyms are more likely to feel that the cost of outsourcing is not worth it. 

There are now so many programs of workouts and class schedules that there is a wide range of pricing options. Typically, you get what you pay for. A higher-cost program may be personalized to your gym, your equipment, and your space. On the other side, the more affordable options are not personalized. The company is just selling a set workout schedule for any gym to use. 

By outsourcing your programming, you are losing the ability to tailor workouts to your gym and your clients. You may not have the equipment, the space, or the weather for some of the workouts they schedule. If you have lots of members who need to do scaled or altered movements, you can end up spending more time tweaking your paid programming than just creating your own. 

What About All Those Free Workouts Online?

The internet is full of endless information. Included in all this is thousands, if not millions, of workouts. You may find them on social media, blogs, YouTube, and even legitimate fitness websites. These workouts are a great place to gather ideas for entire workouts or just specific portions. 

Thoughtful programming is more than just picking a few workouts or routines, it is about creating a schedule that is balanced and engaging for your clients. Copying and pasting workouts online can create an unbalanced and even boring routine. Additionally, you don’t always know the source of the workouts. It is best to only use workouts created by certified trainers and fitness professionals.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the decision to outsource your programming, it really is up to you. The biggest consideration is the cost of the programming vs. the time you save (and really the value of that time). Many gym owners feel like their time is better spent on other tasks and feel like outsourcing their programming is the best option for them. However, if you enjoy creating your workouts and don’t feel like the task takes too much time, there is no reason not to program your workouts in-house. 

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