I’ve been working on my own workout programming for as long as I’ve been lifting. Even when I was running other programs, I was always working on design. The early programs were simple, literally back and white, non-formatted cells. My first attempt was to make two columns, both stacked vertically in the same column, with the dates running horizontally. It was a simple A-B schedule. Except I worked out three days a week, so the data entry looked hilariously staggered. Oh, the two days were color coded – teal and bright yellow. I was an aesthetic genius.
My next program was a bit more expansive, days stacked vertically and… colors everywhere. I think the program had something along the lines of six separate colors. Pink/purple, bright green, yellow, burnt orange, teal, you get the picture. It was pretty bad. It likely took me around 4-5 hours to make too.
Another year or so went by and I got into programming AMRAP’s as a means of measuring progress. Similarly, I was also using my maxes to determine my working weights as well as projected improvements. This required me to learn how to make the different cells function based off other information. This was the first time I started employing formulas in my workout programs. They were all pretty straightforward, and the complexity was in the equations themselves (calculating 1RM off of multi-rep lifts) rather than the coding of the equations being difficult in themselves. Overall, it was pretty successful! The biggest issue was that is wasn’t very malleable. If I wanted to change an exercise, I had to also go and change the corresponding formulas. There was no easy way to adjust reps, sets, or projected weights. It was aesthetically more pleasing, and functionally miles ahead of the other programs I’d made. It probably took me upwards of 30-40 hours to put together.
My most recent and most expansive project has taken upwards of 100+ hours so far and is still being fine-tuned. The coding is ridiculously complex and long, but the functionality is the best I’ve done bar-none. It’s been the most grueling project I’ve ever worked on. It’s entirely malleable from sets, to reps, to substituting any exercise at any point. The weights are determined by the block goals and they take fatigue ratings into consideration. It addresses weak points, preferences, and progressive overload. It cost me hours of spare time, and likely a whole bottle of Ibuprofen and multiple beers (not simultaneously). It helped me even do better at work with multiple projects! It was grueling, frustrating, and wonderfully satisfying.
The most recent challenge I’ve met is: how the hell do I sell anything? I’ve sold personalized programs before, but they were all via word of mouth and, frankly, they were sold to friends. If you haven’t had the pleasure of YouTube’ing help in the sales department, it’s a treat. An old, ant-covered, stale, never-ending, candy bar with several thousand different wrappers while all have the exact same ingredients. I don’t think I’ve ever been so overwhelmed with “information” that even Brian Tracy would call excessively hopeful. Funnels, easy schemes for landing clients, etc. The most interesting fact is that these videos never really consider the quality of the product, just clever ways to let your clients convince themselves into buying whatever you’re selling (which was increasingly funny when what you were selling was… how to sell things to people via instructional guides). The levels of inception in these videos were impressive if nothing else.
All that being said, I’m going to chronicle my attempt to market my hard work. I believe what I sell is quality (I use it and people who I don’t think have any problem hurting my feelings have told me it’s pretty good too). But quality is not marketing in and of itself. So, I’ll share with everyone my attempt to use Facebook, Instagram, word of mouth, and who knows what else. I was somewhat entrepreneurial as a child. I tried to resell pokemon cards, old video games, services to neighbors for movie night money. However, I’m fairly shy in the real world and have always had issues putting myself out there. What better age than 27 to start working through that! Thanks for reading, and hopefully this is a learning experience for us all.