The Value of Coaching For Nutrition and Fitness

I've been dealing with some family stuff lately and haven't been able to write a new post for this week, so I'm bringing another transfer post over to the new blog. It's good timing for this one however, as I have found the gym to become less busy over the last couple of weeks. All those people who started in the fall back to school rush are already gone faster than a one hit wonder. It's a cold and desolate place now, the gym. But what better time to start laying down some healthy foundations than the months before the Christmas season?!?! Instead of pounding back egg nog in a few weeks, you could be pounding back candy cane flavoured protein shakes! Almost as good, but oh so better for your waistline.

Let's be realistic for a second. Unless you grew up reading health and fitness magazines and developed a passion for training and eating right, you don't truly live the "gym rat lifestyle." Intentionally setting aside time each week for your workouts and cooking your meals isn't something everybody inherently loves to do. If you're happy with the way you do things, that's great! But if you think it might be time to get rid of that spare tire and don't already possess this discipline for slugging down watery protein shakes and training instead of grabbing a cheeseburger and going clubbing, you might need some help.

So with that being said, read through this popular post of mine on the value of personal training and nutrition coaching for reaching your goals.

I'm a little pissed off right now!

Personal training, nutritional coaching, or any kind of lifestyle coaching is a valuable asset to anyone who appreciates the value of it and takes it seriously. That being said, it is not for everyone. The vast majority of the work will be solely your responsibility and if you aren't ready to take responsibility for your own health, a coach will provide very little benefit for you. Coaches can provide you with workout programs, meal plans, health and fitness assessments and they can even guide you on what needs to be changed in your diet of your life. But if you aren't willing to act on their recommendations, or do it half-assed, then what's the point in hiring the coach in the first place? Just because you're working with a trainer, doesn't mean you'll automatically lose that weight, you still have to hustle day after day after day!

There are no magical fixes, it’s all up to you
— Bob Kelso, Scrubs

A valuable coach is one who is willing to and capable of adjusting his coaching style to fit your specific needs and wants, based on your personality. She will be the coach who will yell at you and kick your butt, or she will hold your hand and kindly guide you through what you need to be doing if you intimidate easily or don't want a rah rah personality. You can usually identify a high quality coach, because they live and love the lifestyle. These individuals have advanced degrees in fields related to health and fitness, they read everything they can get their hands on and they are always striving to learn more in order to be the very best they can be. It's a rare occurrence to see these people not carrying the current book they're reading or citing the latest research as they apply it to their practice. A good coach might proscribe a very simple change to what you're currently doing, but that's only because it will work and the complicated processes and programs are often complete hocus. The other downside is you don't know what worked and what didn't work when you change everything at once. Coaches will intuitively guide you through your plateaus, if you ever reach one while working with a coach, because that's one of the advantages to making small changes, rather than changing everything at once and having nothing left to work with.

So you think you're a viable candidate for hiring a coach to help you achieve the health goals you dream of?

Before you go ahead and drop a significant sum of money on a coaching package, think about how badly you really want it? What are you really willing to do? Check out Precision Nutrition for their Readiness for Change Questionnaire. I assess all potential clients on this to screen if they will actually value from my services and it does a pretty good job of weeding out the "can dos" from the people who are living a pipe dream. Do yourself a favour and ask yourself some of these serious questions and answer honestly.

Are you willing to wake up a bit earlier or sleep a bit later if that's what it will take to achieve your goals?

Are you willing to do at least 5 hours of exercise each week?

Would you talk to friends, family members, and coworkers about getting their support and having them contribute less of a negative influence on you? (ie. Not going out drinking, not bringing treats to work or home, not interfering with your exercise schedule, not making you feel guilty for making the healthy choice at the restaurant, etc.).

If you travel frequently, are you willing to pack your food and take it, or ask for very plain and boring items that aren't on the menu at the restaurant, like chicken breast and broccoli.

Are you willing to cut out the people in your life who are completely detrimental to your goals?

Would you throw out all your food and redo your kitchen stock if need be to reach your goals?

Would you listen to a professional and trust their advice or would you doubt them every step of the way?

If you can honestly say you would be willing to do a lot of the things on this list, then you would benefit from the value of a professional coach. By leaving the responsibility up to them to dictate what you should do to get results, you can put 100% of your effort into working towards those goals you have. It takes the guess work out of process. When you let your coach take the wheel you can blame him for why you have to order plain chicken breast again. "Because my coach said so!" You won't feel bad for making the healthy choices, because it's no longer your fault! When you reach a plateau your coach will guide you on what to do to bust through it. You should trust them! They've seen cases like yours before and know the process will work if you listen to the advice. I have almost forgotten how long it has taken me to acquire all my knowledge, because it comes so naturally now, but I have literally spent half my life figuring out what works and what doesn't work. Some lucky people might actually happen upon something valuable in their first month or year of training, but most will spend years chasing their tails in circles before they'll figure out something useful that will help them get results. This is what high quality coaches are for! They've been through it all already, they may even have resembled you or had the same goals as you at one point. You can go out and spend the next five years wasting money on systems and supplements that don't get you results, or you can invest in a personal trainer or coach today and start seeing results immediately that will last. Which scenario do you think saves you money?

When you spend every session with your coach second guessing them or being brain washed by the crap the supplement companies and mass media tell you, that's when you fail. When your coach tells you you need to change something and you don't that's when you fail. Instead of maintaining your holier than thou approach to your coaching sessions, have a little faith and let the process take care of itself. Just do what you have to do and you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Have you or would you ever work with a coach for either nutrition or training? Let's see some comments below and I'll get cracking on a new post for a change ;)

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