In this article, I’ll share 5 benefits of having a personal trainer and coach. Some of the benefits may be obvious so I’ll focus more on the subtle things a coach can bring to your training. When you hire a coach you can allow them to take care of all of the planning, focusing your efforts solely on taking action and doing what they tell you. Good coaches will educate you on the why behind what you do so that you can start to develop an understanding and your own framework for making decisions against. Intrinsically, when you make the decision to hire a coach, you have already increased your chances of succeeding because you have taken the first step towards achieving your goal. Each day this week I’ll share another benefit of hiring a coach and what they can bring to your training.
# 1 – Experience and Expertise
Over time, through both their own training and helping clients achieve their goals a coach can develop a vast array of experience. This means they are able to critically look at your overall health and fitness goals and identify the most efficient path to success. Whether it is through the study and application of different training methods or through working with unique clients with unique goals, they’ll likely have come across something that can be implanted into your plan.
This experience might allow them to devise a plan to bust through a strength plateau on a particular lift or even to spot the signs of excess stress and adjusting the training load for that day or week accordingly. They understand that although there are many different types of stress, they all have an impact and the exercise plan may have to take the hit at certain times to avoid over-training or under recovering. Often the best we can hope for is to stay still rather than trying to push forward, risking under-recovering and pushing us further back than had we done nothing at all!
# 2 – Accountability
Do you set plans for yourself only for you to change your mind at the last minute and do something else?
This is where a coach comes in to help with accountability. You will agree goals with your coach, they will let you know what daily actions and behaviours are required to keep moving towards them then they will hold you accountable. Simply having someone else who believes in you or who is relying on you can make a huge difference in determining whether you do what you say you will because you won’t want to let them down. A good coach is not cheap, when you make the decision to invest in yourself by hiring a coach to help you, not only will you get access to their expertise, you will automatically have greater buy-in yourself. When you put your hard earned cash on the line, you are more likely to do what your coach tells you and take those small daily actions that you have to in order to achieve your goal as you have now assigned value to their advice.
# 3 – Motivation
When you hire a coach, you are automatically more motivated as you have made a positive step towards your goals. You know that you will receive the right guidance and that you can focus your efforts in the right place. You can get rid of the stress of planning and researching your journey and focus solely on just doing what you coach tells you. An experienced coach will set you up for small wins every step of the way. We know that when you accomplish a task, no matter how small, your confidence automatically increases and you self-efficacy increases. This means that you get used to succeeding and start to get rid of those negative thoughts of failure, the more you succeed the harder you find it to imagine or accept failure. Once the ball is rolling, it gathers momentum and becomes harder to stop! Simple things like pitching the session at the appropriate activity and choosing appropriate exercises can help set you up for those small wins which soon add up!
# 4 – Technical coaching
Many of the most beneficial movements including free weights in the gym can be quite intimidating and require some practise to hone technique before it’s appropriate to load. An experienced trainer will have developed their ‘coaching eye’ over time allowing them to identify flaws or inefficiencies in your technique pretty quickly. They can also help you to figure out nuances with technique depending on your individual needs, taking into account things like limb lengths, levers and areas of strength. Everyone is unique in their capability to perform certain exercises. A good coach will be able to efficiently progress you towards the best movement for you allowing you to fast-track your progress. As your capability for movement progresses, you should notice that any athletic or leisure activities you pursue out with the gym become easier and more accessible. Within the gym, you will broaden your choice of exercises, training methods and activities that you have to work with in order to reach your goals.
# 5 – Periodisation and Programming
Periodisation is essentially the name for what most people consider programming. It involves structuring training in a way that is planned, progressive and relevant to the goals. A well periodisation plan is often arranged in a block manner with each block laying the foundations for the next and optimising the result you will get. Within this planning, a coach will consider what you need to work on most, prioritise it and make sure you get the highest return from the effort you invest. A coach’s ability to give you the right thing at the right time can go a long way to help you keep making progress, stay motivated and ultimately achieve your goals. Beginners can make progress doing pretty much anything but once you progress past the first few months of training, a well-planned approach can go a long way to make sure you stay injury free and make sustainable long term progress. Beware of coaches who give you cookie-cutter internet programs, these are designed to be fine for a large amount of people but a good coach will tailor and optimise your program for you.
Hopefully this article has provided some insight into the type of benefits you can reap from working with a coach. Here is a quick recap:
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Allan Young is a Personal Trainer and coach educator in Glasgow who operates Strength Coach Glasgow and is a 4x Scottish Champion Olympic Weightlifter.