Seven things to look for when hiring a Fitness Coach
Gone are the days when we would consider a good coach one who would cross their arms and scream at you “drop down and give me 20, you little maggot! NOWWWW!”
It is no longer enough to just whoop people’s asses and then have them drag themselves out of the gym on their hands and knees.
Good coaches want to make you better. They want to help you move with ease, they want you to be fit and strong enough to play with your kids, they want you to have energy to crush your days and they want you to be productive at work.
Here’s the truth – The Fitness Coaching industry is one that is currently not regulated. The profession also has a low barrier to entry in that almost anyone can become a coach. These are people that you are putting your trust in with your body, your injuries and your lifestyle. Obviously, the repercussions of this may include poor results, wasted money, frustration, excess fatigue and exhaustion, worsening of injuries, new injuries, fainting, dizziness and sometimes worse.
Your body is your business card to the world and you want it to function, look and perform as you wish. You want it to act as a vehicle to get you the good life…not a broken life. A good coach can help you with that, but a poor choice of coach may leave you unable to take back control of your body and your life.
A good coach will not only have the ability to get you the body you want but they will also help you discover a new sense of self, belonging and possibly a new identity. One in which you become a fit dad, a productivity machine at work and a hot hubby to your wife.
How about a double take from your wife as you walk by her in the kitchen?
How about enjoying more active time with your kids?
How about your kids growing up to fit, healthy, productive adults because of your influence?
How about not only making it to the day when you can walk your daughter down the aisle but you can enjoy the day with energy, vigour and enthusiasm.
A healthy and fit lifestyle can get you there, and a good coach can guide you along the way.
So, how do you go about finding a good coach?
What to look for when hiring a Fitness Coach
Do they use training and nutrition to get results?
How easy is eat to eat a chocolate bar? Pretty easy. In fact, I am sure you could do it in less than a minute. Conversely, to burn the amount of energy contained in a chocolate bar during a workout, you would need to do 20 minutes of running, about 60 minutes of weight training or 2 hours of yoga. Pretty hard to outwork a shitty diet. Nonetheless, a good coach knows the value of good nutritional habits in getting you the body you want. And not only that, a good coach will be able to teach you those habits, principles and strategies so that you can keep your new, fit, lean body for life. Not just for 3 weeks.
Do they practice what they preach?
Does the coach look like you want to look? Are they able to demonstrate exercise with rock-star technique, do they eat well (not necessarily perfect, but well). If they ask you to do something, can they do it themselves? Not only does it allow the coach to understand your situation but they will also have real-life strategies to help you break through the issue if you are having problems.
Do they write structured programs or one-time workouts?
Ah man, I could go on for days about this one.
Here’s the difference: A one-time workout is just that – what you do at one session with your coach. A program is a series of workouts that you would do with your coach over a week, month, quarter or year. When writing one-time workouts, it may be difficult for your coach to factor in long-term desired results as they are scrambling to write shit down before your session. This is in contrast to a program that is well thought-out and structured, factoring in research-based practices intended to get a desired result that is consistent with getting you a lean, fit and athletic body.
So, do you want a coach that writes you a program – a well-though out collection of exercises, sets, reps, tempo and structure that is designed to get a particular result? If so, this will give you the greatest chance to succeed at living the life of a rock-star business leader and a knock-out father.
Does the coach work with busy professionals like you?
Different groups of people have a different challenges they will face. Busy professionals have work stress to deal with, have kids to run around for sports, have aging parents to look after, have old injuries that could be made worse by exercise and have habitual tendencies that need to be accounted for. A good coach that works with people like you knows strategies to combat your barriers and will help you get results regardless.
Does the coach communicate effectively?
In my youth, when new clients would come to meet with me I would try to impress them with all sorts of scientific jargon and use terms like undulating periodization, electron transport chain and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. I now realize something – trainers like training, you may not. All you as the client need to know is what to do next, how it fits in your life and how we will make it happen. Man, I would just talk circles around my poor clients and for what? They may have been impressed…maybe….but it wasn’t really helping them. A good coach listens more then they talk. A good coach asks more questions than they do lecture. A good coach knows how to break down complex topics into understandable pieces of information that you can act on.
Does the coach like their job?
See if you can check out your coach in action – are they smiling? Are they communicating with the client? Are they moving around and checking out form? Are they giving out high fives? Can you feel the passion when you see them coach? Is the coach the type of person you want to be around?
Do they assess, monitor and measure?
A good coach is always assessing. From the moment you walk in for your training session, a good coach will be checking you out, seeing if you look tired, asking how busy your day was, asking if you feel stressed about a busy week coming up and how much sleep you got. This all has an effect on your ability to perform in the session and consequently on your ability to recover. We don’t want to dig you into a deeper hole than the one you may have dug yourself into already.
Also, it is pretty difficult to track and measure progress without some sort of formal testing procedures. Measures to look for include strength, movement, habit success, blood pressure, heart rate and even nutrition knowledge and skill.
These are just some things to think about when making the decision to take back control of your life.
Pack a checklist of these points when meeting with a coach – see if they meet your criteria. You’ll be glad you did!
Interested in learning more?
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