Behind every great performer, there are great coaches. There is no Jordan without Jackson, no Brady without Belichick, no Tennessee without Summit, and no UCLA basketball without Wooden. Great athletes require direction and a supporting cast. Pieces, ultimately provided by the coach.
Although we’d be wrong to compare ourselves to top-level athletes, we still deserve the same support systems. We have a multitude of coaches that we see daily but don’t realize it. We see Physicians, Chiropractors, Dentists, and other professionals who are part of our team. We pay them to solve problems and keep us healthy for the long haul. So when it comes to personal fitness, shouldn’t we demand the same? The reluctance to hire a coach (e.g., personal trainer, strength coach) is usually monetary. I understand the sentiment. However, considering the cost of our long-term health, is that a risk we can afford to take? I think you already know the answer.
Put the monetary concerns aside for now. We’ll get to that later. It’s time to hire a qualified coach to help you meet your goals. And, thanks to the current fitness landscape, most options won’t cost you thousands of dollars unless you want them to.
A Common Misconception
Many novices think that fitness is simple and they can do it without help. There is a low barrier to entry and plenty of free information on the internet. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. With my experience training novices, they’ll freely admit that fact. Yet, they often feel overwhelmed by the volume of information. To their credit, there is no concrete, catch-all answers in fitness. Many things work, while other things are rubbish. The information overload problem in fitness causes people to quit well before they develop any skin in the game. I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where you’ve had too many options and decided to do nothing instead. It reminds me of my weekly trip to the supermarket.
It’s not a motivation problem, either. It’s the understanding of what to do and how to do it. In a word, it’s the task you want to accomplish (e.g., lose 10lbs, gain muscle) and the process of getting to that goal. Your coach provides the how (organization of practice, strategy, programming, and above all else, leadership). The average person doesn’t know how to link the process with the outcome. That’s where your coach can demonstrate their value. They will provide you with the systems that lead to success. That originates from the years of knowledge they’ve accumulated to crystallize an approach that works for you. That is what you’re paying them for: the effort of sifting through the bullshit to deliver the best practices, saving you a lot of time and headaches.
When Should You Seek Professional Help with Your Training?
You’re a Beginner – You’d think wetting your feet first is the better idea. I agree with you. Exposure is a solid first step. But somebody qualified to expose you to the environment is better: even if it’s only a few sessions worth. Sure, you could fix that leak in your sink by watching a couple of Youtube videos, but why not save time and call a plumber instead?
You Hit a Plateau – Training plateaus can happen from overtraining, undertraining, poor nutrition, faulty program design, and a partridge in a pear tree. It happens to even the most advanced lifters. Hiring a coach to overhaul your program is a smart move. They’ll give you an unbiased perspective to bolster areas of improvement. We tend to gravitate towards the enjoyable parts of training. Your coach won’t let you off that easy, adding an extra layer of accountability.
Technique Adjustments – Some folks already have their training dialed in and only need a few form tweaks. Experienced coaches will have heaps of hands-on client experience. That means they’ll act as another set of eyes to monitor your form or suggest another lift suited to your structure and body mechanics.
A Personal Guide – Perhaps you want the complete experience. You have the discretionary funds to hire somebody and the advanced goals that require full-time coaching. Although this is a luxury for most people, this is one of the best investments you can make. Most people take this route to train for a specific event or wish to offload their training to a licensed professional.
To Diffuse Responsibility – Many people, my clients included, see the value of keeping a coach on their staff. Although they might have specific goals, the structure and accountability supersede everything. Instead of doing the groundwork, they outsource everything but the physical work itself. It provides them with an action plan and resource that becomes a friend and confidant. With their health accounted for, it frees up their time for more demanding issues.
I said I’d return to the monetary concerns. Here it is: coaching is expensive. I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. However, I can promise you that if you make a personal investment now, you won’t be exposed to risk as you age. Just as you might contribute to your investment portfolio: follow the rules of compound interest. You will add significant value to your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Over the long term, the residual investment will save you thousands in future medical costs.