Why We Are Moving Away From PDF Formats

Why We Are Moving Away From PDF Formats

If I could possibly pick a blander title I would, and yet it’s banality belies interesting philosophical viewpoints we espouse at Atomic Athlete. Stay with me for a minute.

PDFs are a popular means of online gyms, like ours, to get their programming in the hands of remote athletes. We’ve used them – and continue to – but are moving away in favor of an all-digital format.

PDFs simply don’t offer the same number of resources that a digital format does. You simply get the text of sessions, but nothing else. If you need to look up an exercise, you have to go to the site and look up the exercise. If you have a question about how a session flows, you can’t go to the coach’s notes or video for an explanation. You’re left to guess how it should work.

However, on our site, you can access exercise videos, coach’s notes, and video directly from the session page.

Additionally, there’s cost involved with making and tracking PDFs – costs that increase the price of programs.

Essentially, PDFs means you’re paying more for less. It just doesn’t make sense to us. We want to give you 1) the best programming we can 2) with the most resources to help you along 3) for the least amount possible. PDFs impede our efforts to deliver 2) and 3).

So, while training programs that already exist as PDFs will continue to, we won’t add any new programs as PDFs. Instead, they’ll be available online. Now, this fact poses an obvious problem. If you just want one program, not access to all programs, then why would you pay a subscription fee? Well, the answer comes in two parts. First, the price works out to be cheaper. Second, you can cancel as soon as you’ve completed the program you’re working through.

Yet this poses another question: after you cancel, do you have access to the program still? Right now, no. For us, this is an issue. As a stop-gap measure, you can use the “Print This Session” button to print out those sessions if you want to go through the program again. However, soon we will be introducing the ability to individually purchase programs and have permanent access to them.

So, for example with the future ability, let’s say you’re military and looking to prep for a selection, so you buy just the Ultimate Soldier Program. You’d pay a one-time upfront fee that gives you access to just the Ultimate Soldier program, and you’ll have access to it on the site indefinitely. Along with access to the videos and notes on each session page. As soon as this is available, we’ll let you know.

We believe these measures provide the best value for our premium programming. There’s a reason you come to us to attain real fitness rather than just relying on Men’s Health‘s latest ab workout to “get abs like [enter celebrity here].” Because that stuff isn’t real fitness. And we also believe if you’re going to trust us with your fitness, we better offer the best damn resources we can.

Our site isn’t perfect. We understand. It can be slow. We don’t have a high-speed superwhamadyne app. But we do have tested programs, reliable results, and committed coaches. It’s our ethos to continuously improve, to continually strive to rise above that competition, and to stay rooted to the fundamental principle to be the best at what we do.

If you have a question for us, email

-Jordan Smothermon

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