There are so many health and fitness coaches out there now a days, and choosing the right one FOR YOU is important for your success as a client. Whether you have goals of competing, or just living a healthier lifestyle, there are important factors you should consider when researching coaches.
Coaching/ Team Philosophy and Culture
With so many options out there for coaching, and competition and fitness teams becoming more prevalent in the industry, it’s important to choose a coach and/or a team that has a culture and philosophy that aligns with yours. At Team Fitbody Fusion we ensure that our culture is one cultivated through positivity, combining the knowledge and experience of coaches from many different backgrounds with empathy, commitment, compassion, and reliability. We empower our coaches to lead by example so that all clients, competition or lifestyle, feel seen and heard wherever they are in their fitness journey. When choosing a coach or a team to join, take a look at their culture and reputation with current members, as well as within the industry to see if they are respected and reputable. A red flag when choosing a coach or team to be a part of is if they are spoken poorly about in the community or have a reputation of not caring about athletes or members.
Professionalism & Commitment
The term “Coach” comes with more expectations than just being a Trainer who you see once a week. The biggest difference being the relationship and communication required between the two individuals. This level of communication requires full trust in your Coach to be able to express personal details of your life so they can better guide you to your fitness goals. It can be easy to blur lines between that relationship because of how open and trusting that communication needs to be, so it’s important to uphold a level of professionalism on both ends throughout the coaching-client relationship. A red flag in any Coaching-Client relationship might look like lack of commitment due to a “friendship” forming within that relationship, or sexual advances made by your Coach in response to your weekly progress update or via messaging outside of that forum.
When choosing a coach it’s important to look at their background. Looking at past clients successes is a sure-fire way to see if that coach can deliver a plan aligned with the results you are looking to get. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to their clients or past clients to get honest feedback about their coaching protocol and style. If you are looking to compete in a specific division it’s crucial to find a coach who is knowledgeable not only about the physical requirements for programming, but also has insight into what the judges are looking for and the regulations and requirements for that federation. A red flag in a potential Coach would be having high turnover in Athletes or not having any guidance for how the rules and regulations work within the organization you are trying to compete in.
Communication is key in any Coaching-Client relationship and it most definitely is a two way street. The Client has to communicate their needs, and it is the Coaches responsibility to answer any questions the Client has with clarity. Explaining “why” protocol is a certain way is helpful for the client to understand and learn how it’s benefitting them. A red flag in a Coaching relationship is if a Coach doesn’t answer any questions and just tells you to “trust the process” and just “do what you’re told”. A good coach will be sure to explain in depth the prescribed protocol so the client understands the importance of adhering to it. If a Client is wanting a change in protocol or has a suggestions or preferences, a good Coach listens and adjusts or compromises to make sure the client feels like they have a part in creating their program so it’s enjoyable for them.
Trust, Respect, and Encouragement
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team defines the first critical piece for any relationship is trust. Without trust the entire pyramid crumbles. Having that trusting relationship between you and your Coach is key; that trust is built on a mutual respect as well as positive encouragement. A red flag in a Coaching relationship is if your Coach has nothing but negative feedback, with no positive reinforcement. Being direct is important, however, making sure to positively influence a client by encouraging what they are doing RIGHT instead of always pointing out what they are doing WRONG is a key component in building that trust between a Coach and Client.
Some other things to consider when choosing a Competition Coach:
1. They don’t just dive into a prep. A good coach should get to know how your body works first by assessing your metabolic function and hormonal health through a reverse diet approach.
2. A good Coach looks at all the factors that contribute to your overall health to asses your progress. Body stats are necessary, but the other physiological, emotional and mental factors that affect those stats are inclusive of sleep, hunger cues, stress levels, hormone regulation, digestion, energy levels, and strength. These are all crucial elements to pay attention to, especially when fat loss is the goal. They should take into account specific biofeedback every week, while in offseason and contest prep, to assess your current physical and mental state and progress. A good coach also has knowledge on the variety of negative hormonal effects from competing or under eating in order to asses your current state and create a plan that is in alignment with optimizing your health.
3. A good coach won’t break you to make a show date; they know the stage will always be there and they will put your health first before over-training or over-dieting you to get you on stage at a specific time. A good coach knows it’s OK to adjust the plan to align with the athlete. A good coach also knows when to push an athlete and supports them in achieving their goals by creating the best, and most realistic plan for them to do so.
4. A good coach is present on show day. If they can’t be there in person, they are constantly checking in with you on protocol via texting or Face Time and making sure you are taken care of and bringing your BEST to the stage. They should be checking in with you DAILY leading into a show date, as well as multiple times a day on Show Day.
5. A good coach doesn’t care about a trophy or placing. Although a huge accomplishment that might be, a trophy or placing doesn’t define how hard you worked or how much effort you put in, how much you transformed physically, and emotionally, and how much you’ve learned about the process. A good coach celebrates your accomplishment no matter what.
6. A good coach gives you a POST SHOW PLAN immediately! Having discussions immediately following a show about expectations for post show meals, intuitive eating days, any vacations that might be planned etc. Whether that plan is to move forward with prep and continue into another competition, or giving you a clear reverse diet plan heading into an off-season, this is communicated clearly and quickly to the client so they have some kind of structure when they get off stage. A good coach will also touch base with you a few times after your show to make sure you’re physically and mentally in a good spot.
7. A good coach pushes you to enjoy balance and have a life OUTSIDE of competing. They support you in every part of your journey, not just as an active competitor, to help you find physical, mental, and emotional balance and health year round that is sustainable.
There are so many coaches to choose from and it’s important to pick one that is best for YOU! There is no one-size-fits all approach, and different clients need different things within that coaching relationship. I hope these tips are helpful in finding a good Coach that aligns with your values and whom you are able to trust and openly communicate with that will help you achieve your fitness goals.