Part 2: Finding your fitness coach and what to expect

After all the clipboards have been hung up, the log books filled out and the files returned to the filing cabinet, coaching is a profession. This goes for any of the other names that are grouped in with “coach”… trainer, instructor, fitness professional, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, etc. If you get paid or you pay someone to lead you, if it is something that takes up more than 25% of someone’s daily mental capacity and focus, it’s a profession and it should be treated as such.

Are you a client seeking a coach?

No matter your goal, be it weight loss, improved fitness, or athletic prowess to one day dominate the world in your sporting endeavours you will benefit greatly from a coach. The absolute best in the world have a coach, many have more than 3 at one time when all are accounted for. 

When you are seeking a coach you should ask 3 key things of them:

  1. What is your training philosophy?
  2. How do you deliver your coaching/training plans to your clients?
  3. What is the most important determining factor of success when discussing a client?

Of course, if you have more questions ask them and remember that these 3 are vital. Not all coaches are able to answer these, not all have a philosophy, not all work on continuing their education and it’s very true and obvious that many are unable to stay away from the shiny lights of “trendertainment”. That’s great and fine if that’s how you role but it’s not great for the long-term health and success of a client.

In the end, this is a profession not a 3 ring circus. 

The people leading you, guiding your physical decision making, tweaking your quality of movement and influencing your daily perspective on life are vital people and need to align with you. They do not need to align with your mom, your best friend and most certainly not what general public says is “cool”. They need to align with you and you need to know that you can trust them.

It’s all about trust.

Like any relationship, trust is one of the most important factors. With trust comes respect and when these two qualities are shared the success rate for both parties rises ten-fold. You are able to receive a training program or walk into a training session knowing that your coach has your long term best interest at heart and is always top of mind. They aren’t in it for their own personal gain nor for any benefit aside from the fuzzy feels they get seeing your face of pride when you know you have succeeded at a goal or improved a skill.

In return, your coach trusts that you will follow the program, be honest with them about the training (good or bad feedback) and that you will respect their education and countless hours spent away from you working on ensuring you are healthy and strong.

What to expect. 

Relationships and knowledge, that’s what this coaching gig is really about.

What you, the client, should expect from your coach is for them to be consistent on what their answers to the above 3 questions were and a respectful relationship. You should also expect that your coach has at least 3 modifications for almost every single movement they give you. 

They should be able to answer the Why and What immediately in regards to any exercise and frankly, should have the humility to answer “I don’t know, let me get back to you” should they in fact not have a clear answer. 

Coaches are human after all and sometimes, we miss new information, get sucked into the trap of mindless repetition, and, while it rarely happens, do get tricked by the “Ooo, that looks fun” trap of our ever so connected lives via the internet.

It happens. But guess what! As a client, you have the permission and honestly, the right, to keep your coach on track as well. If there is something you are not comfortable with, struggle with or it actually hurts you, tell them right away so that the coach can make an adjustment before compounding the issue. A great coach will NEVER sleep well at night knowing they hurt a client.

Develop a relationship that allows you to have an open conversation about your goals, programming and more. No doubt your goals will change over time. I’ve had some clients for over 7 years and their goals have certainly changed, many times. The beauty of this longevity in clientele is the fact that they felt secure enough to ask for a change, to trust my suggested alterations and to have faith in the entire process. That’s an incredible experience for both myself and the clients.

In the end, when you are seeking a coach, interview them, ask for a resume if you must, even references. Don’t just accept the coach your gym thrusts upon you, ask to chat with all of them. There’s value in this, just like not every coworker loves each other, nor will you love every coach that comes along. Find the one you trust and respect, and can have an educated, growth oriented experience all wrapped up with fun and enjoyment.

After-all,  physical movement is a form of self expression and you should ENJOY it.