Achieving any strength and fitness goal is hard, and we will all struggle and experience hurdles along the way. Understanding this from the start of our strength and fitness journeys and having a willingness to seek out, listen to and learn from those more experienced than ourselves (even when that means paying for it) will always increase our overall level of success, and save us from years of unproductive effort.
It is unfortunate, therefore, that most of us are not open to being coached. I know I haven’t always been and that is something I believe has held me back from realising my full physical potential; and something I believe still holds many others back from realising even a fraction of theirs.
It’s quite interesting then that the career I chose was to become a strength coach, and it’s a fair question to ask how I went from seeing no value in coaching, to being absolutely pro-coaching – and believe me, it is not for the money!
To really answer that question, I need to first explain why I didn’t value coaching because the reason I didn’t value coaching seems to be why a lot of other people out there don’t.
I didn’t see value in coaching because my first exposure to it came from observing inexperienced fitness instructors at my local gym working with their clients. From what I could see their job entailed simply making lists of exercises; counting reps; setting the pins on the machines; and being a personal cheerleader for their clients.
With no experience at that point in my life (16 years old), as to what good coaching looked like, and only a few brief observations of bad coaching, I came to the incorrect and breathtakingly broad conclusion that all coaching was crap and a waste of money and time… although to be fair to my 16-year-old self, hiring a person to cheer you on and count reps out loud like what so many of us have experienced in the gym, is a waste of time, and In fact is lightyears away from what actual coaching looks like.
Anyway; it wasn’t until many years later when I went to university at the ripe old age of 21 and joined the rowing team that I got my first exposure to professional coaching and what the role of a coach actually was.
What I learnt, and feel will be helpful to others reading this, is that a coach is an educator, and has three primary duties which are:
1. To show us the gaps in our knowledge that are holding us back and to then fill them; not to just make lists of exercises and tell you how many reps you have done.
2. To challenge the unhelpful mindsets we may hold towards certain situations and events and to bolster up and strengthen the helpful ones. In other words not just to cheer us on and make us feel good, but to challenge us and hold us accountable to sometimes uncomfortable truths about the behaviours and actions that hold us back.
3. To draw from their experiences and education in order to create processes and systems that can progress us forwards faster than we could ever do on our own.
Learning this, and experiencing first hand the value of having access to good coaching and how much it speeds up and improves the training process has certainly changed my attitude towards the importance of taking on a coach; to the extent that at 34 years old and 10 years into my career I still hire coaches, and see it as absolutely necessary to get where I want to be. I just wish I had been open to it earlier on in my training instead of being stubborn and spinning my proverbial wheels doing three sets of ten reps on everything (or whatever it was I did back then) and getting nowhere.
So the question isn’t “do you really need a coach?“, because the answer is no, you don’t. The question we should all ask ourselves is “will a coach help me get what I want, in the shortest possible time, in the safest way, and is that coach worth the price they’re asking?”
My client Rich is a great example of what many of us should do from the start of our strength and fitness journeys. He wanted to get stronger but was not getting anywhere on his own. So he asked himself the question above, looked around at the available coaches, took action, and hired the one that met the requirements he had at the time (check out his full testimonial by clicking the video link here).
Remember, it’s never too late to start working with a coach and to change the results you’re currently getting. All you have to do is make contact and book in your first session. Click here to pick one of my services and get started with me.