NASM CNC Chapter 24: Programming – Putting it All Together
NASM CNC Chapter 24: Programming – Putting it All Together

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Chapter Goals:

  • Find the right nutritional recommendations that work for the client’s needs and goals.
  • Determine the expectations and goals with achievable results given the circumstances and their capacity.
  • Use individualized dietary recommendations regarding the personal preferences, tolerances, and demands from training.
  • Monitor and evaluate the diet approach and give strategies based on the outcomes.

Programming Introduction

Programming is the action or the process of scheduling. We use these seven integrated steps to achieve these principles of programming:

  • Set a goal
  • Find the total energy requirements that the client has
  • Set the target for protein
  • Set the target for fat
  • Set the target for carbs
  • Make these numbers apply to the person individually, this means their food and their habits
  • Monitor, evaluate, and adjust when needed

Set a Goal

This is the first step to programming for people. Goals can be many different types: these are weight loss, weight gain, or a combination of losing fat and gaining muscle. 

Weight Loss

The majority of people looking to change their diet has the main goal of losing weight in the form of fat. 

Just a loss of one kilogram of weight has been shown to reduce the risk of getting diabetes by 16%. 

Setting Deficits for Weight Loss

The two main things to consider: the amount of weight loss wanted, and the time frame they want it done in. 

The more weight loss wanted and the short frame of time, the larger the energy deficit will need to be. 

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Weight Gain

Many clients may also have the goal of increasing their muscle mass, and as a result also increasing their weight in general. The goal is also usually to manage the amount of fat gained.

Simultaneous Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

This is also known as body recomposition. It used to be thought to be impossible, but it is possible with some very specific things met. 

The requirements are generally seen as enough protein, some resistance training, and a slight deficit in calories. 

It will be a slower gain of muscle, but it can happen.

Improve Exercise performance

Some clients will not have goals that relate to their own weight on a scale or even increasing their muscle mass. This is more often seen in athletes.

You should have a firm understanding of the different performance goals an athlete can have. The programs need to be made so that they can increase their athletic potential and optimized for their energy expenditure.  

Determine Total Daily Energy Expenditure

The TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure is made up of three parts:

Basal metabolic rate – the rate that the body uses energy when at rest to keep the body going. This is like breathing and staying warm, for example. 

Thermic effect of activity – this is the energy expended during all forms of activity.

Thermic effect of food -this is the amount of energy that is expended for us to digest and metabolize food. 

There are various equations that we use for finding the basal metabolic rate, but it is impossible to find the exact rate. These are very close.

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When it comes to the thermic effect of activity, we use different numbers based on the level of activity.

Set the Protein Target

This is going to be based on everything we learned in the protein chapter. We use those protein targets based on the activity we partake in and the size of our bodies, and everything else discussed. 

Set the Fat Target

This is seen as 20 – 35% of the calories in an adults diet. This can vary depending the goals of the client or any diet they are doing.

Set the Carbohydrate target

The carbohydrate target is going to equal the total daily calorie goal subtracted by both the protein calories and the fat calories that we set in the previous two steps. 

The carbohydrate calories should be compared to any carb goals they have.

Translate the Numbers to Food and Habits

The step after we determine the macronutrients and calorie needs is going to be putting this into an individualized approach and finding the foods and habits we need to form. We evaluate the clients on a scale of quantitative and qualitative things. 

Monitor and Evaluate

This is the final step for programming. Monitoring is observing and checking the progress or the quality of a thing over some time. evaluating is done as an assessment of a planned and ongoing program covering its needs, design, implementation, impact, efficiency, and sustainability.

Monitoring and evaluating is done in these steps:

Do a baseline readiness assessment

All progress is relative to the starting point of the person. This form should be accompanied by the motivational interviewing and other forms of good coaching to help understand them more. 

Make a set of data to look at and the outcomes to look for

Making a list of goals and behaviors for tracking is what should be done. Things like eating slower, drinking certain amounts of water, or sleeping goals are good to have.

Set some guidelines for the collection and monitoring of the data

There should be clear instruction made for how everything is to be recorded.

Make intervals for those check ins

These should also be clearly set.

Gather the required data and look at the results found

These may be in the form of pictures, graphs, charts, or even written reviews. Keep everything simple and easy to understand.

Evaluate everything along with the client

We should use the teach-back method to really nail this part of the process. This measures the understanding of the clients by having them say it to you in their own words.

Work together then to make the next iteration of the evaluation and monitoring

This is a repeat of the process which will be better the next time and perhaps see more results. 

Case Studies

Make sure to look through the studies throughout the book and analyze them well.

NASM CNC Chapter 24: Programming – Putting it All Together 3
NASM CNC Chapter 24: Programming – Putting it All Together 4

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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