Finding the Right Training Program for Parents of Children with Additional Needs

Jul 11, 2023

Being a parent of a child with additional needs can be both rewarding and challenging. Amidst the responsibilities and demands, it's essential for us parents to take care of our own well-being, including our fitness. However, finding the right training program can be overwhelming.

First Steps: Understanding a Program of Training and its Outcomes:

Before diving into any training regimen, it's important to understand what a program of training is and what outcomes it aims to achieve. A training program is a structured approach designed to improve specific aspects of physical fitness, such as strength, endurance, flexibility, or overall health. By understanding the desired outcomes, you can align your goals and expectations accordingly.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Program Design:

To choose the right training program, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of program design. The following elements should be considered:

1. Assess: Begin by assessing your current fitness level, strengths, weaknesses, and any limitations or considerations due to your circumstances. Is the program do-able? Following a world class athletes program might be a nice idea, but are you capable of that level of work?

2. Priority: Determine the areas of fitness that are most important to you and align them with your goals. Commit to a program that aims to get you the result you want. If the program has no clear objective - avoid it. 

3. Plan: Create a well-structured plan that takes into account your available time, resources, and any additional needs you may have as a parent. See how you can structure or adapt any routines to your circumstances. 

4. Periodise: Break down your training into phases, allowing for proper progression and recovery. Consider the demands of your parenting responsibilities and adapt your program accordingly.

5. Volume: Determine the appropriate amount of training volume (sets, reps, duration) that suits your schedule and capabilities. This is determined by training time available, If you only have 20 minutes per day to dedicate to your training and a program requires 10 sets per exercise, it's important to acknowledge that the program may not be suitable for your time constraints.

6. Intensity: Adjust the intensity of your workouts according to your fitness level, taking care to avoid excessive strain or injury. Make sure the program is challenging but sustainable. Be brutally honest with yourself when deciding on a intensity level.

Relating to Your Circumstances:

When selecting a training program, it's crucial to consider how it relates to your unique circumstances as a parent of a child with additional needs. Factors such as time constraints, flexibility in training schedules, adaptability to unexpected situations, and the need for support or assistance should all be taken into account. Look for programs that offer flexibility and can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle.

Always Do a Pre Mortem:

Before committing to a training program, conduct a pre mortem analysis. Imagine yourself having completed the program and consider the potential challenges, obstacles, or shortcomings you might encounter. This exercise will help you anticipate and address any potential issues in advance, setting you up for success.

Sustainable Wins Over Everything:

Lastly, remember that sustainable wins over everything. It's important to choose a training program that you can realistically stick to in the long run. Consistency and adherence are key to achieving and maintaining fitness goals. Prioritise programs that are enjoyable, manageable, and fit seamlessly into your lifestyle, ensuring you can maintain your progress over time.


Deciding on the right training program as a parent of a child with additional needs can be a challenging task. By understanding the fundamentals of program design, considering your unique circumstances, conducting a pre mortem analysis, and prioritizing sustainability, you can find a training program that fits your needs and helps you achieve your fitness goals. Remember, taking care of your own well-being is essential to being the best parent you can be.