4 Reasons Why You Need a Coach

At TrueFN, we coach people how to lift weights.  Everyone with muscles and bones needs to resistance train, and yet most of us are never taught by anyone qualified.  We are coaches for this very reason.  It’s a necessary skill and teaching people how to improve their bodies is a ton of fun too.  Most of our clients recognize that they need someone knowledgeable to navigate all of the misinformation in fitness.  We all have a friend or colleague, however, who thinks they’ve got it all figured out.  They think they know all there is, and don’t need anyone’s help with their fitness.  That’s who we’re talking to today, the person who DOESN’T think they need a coach.  Here are my arguments for that person why having a coach isn’t just one way to succeed, it’s the only way. 

1. Fitness is awash in BS

In most disciplines, there are equal amounts of good information and bad information.  If you decided to learn more about meteorology, you’d find about equal numbers of good books and bad books.  There would be the occasional crackpot, but likely these voices would be drowned out by reasonable science.  In fitness this isn’t true.  The crackpots run rampant.  Most information is not just bad but counterproductive.  Even in the good information you’ll occasionally find someone only sharing this info to separate you from your wallet.  There’s a strange mix of bad intentions (getting into your pocketbook) and bad information (no progression).  It’s not all bad of course, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.  Here is a rundown of how some bigger names fall into these categories:

Comparison of Awesome and Awful

Good Info

Bad Info

Good Intentions

SSPT - the gold standard to good info and great character. These people want to help you and it shows

TrueFN - obviously

ACSM - an entire book on fitness that never delves deeper than the most basic of beginner programs

NASM - a misunderstanding of how force is produced, and how more force is a good thing

Suspicious Intentions

Tim Ferris - presents some good info, but he seems to have a lot of add-on sales that are suspicious at best

Some Crossfit - putting a barbell in people’s hands is good, not teaching them how to use it is bad

Beachbody - they want your $ and they don’t care how they get it

P90X - no progression at all. People need to train their whole lives, not just 90 days

Infomercial products - invented recently? Not used by currently fit people. Logic.

A good coach takes information from all these sources and determines what is worth paying attention to and what is worth ignoring.  Pay attention to getting stronger, training with barbells, and eating vegetables.  Ignore ‘moves', how sweaty you get, and cleanses.  There will always be a new study or article, having a good coach makes sure you stay on the path and don’t get distracted.

2. We’re biased to do what we like

It’s easy to think that we are the best ones to make decisions that concern us.  Who better to act in your own best interest than yourself, right?  Based on a number of inherent biases, this may not necessarily be true.  We’ve evolved over 4 billion years to seek out the things we like, and avoid the things we don’t.  There is a strong impulse to spend time with loved ones in warm places, eat delicious food, and avoid vigorous exercise.  All the willpower in the world can’t counteract these second to second impulses from our brains.  We like and do the things we’re good at, and avoid what we aren’t.  The exact opposite is often what we need in training.  Spending time on the things we aren’t good at is what eliminates weaknesses and improves performance.  An objective coach is the one to tell you to do the things you don’t want to do.  We can all predict the duration of a teenage relationship, to a far more accurate degree than the teens can.  Why?  We are objective and they are not.  An objective coach removes our own biases from choices.  A lawyer who represents himself has an idiot for a client.


3. Coaches have likely coached a lot of people

If someone decides to go it alone, and program and coach themselves they will gain a lot of experience in what works and what doesn’t.  Let’s say this person trains for 1 hour 3X week.  That is 12 hours a month, and 144 in a year.  A good coach is likely coaching many athletes and trainees, and has likely done so for years (that might even be why they are good).  If this same coach works with 20 people for 5 years, a normal coaching amount, this coach will have 100X the experience as the person going it alone!  That is not a small number, and that amount of experience is a difference maker.  We do not let the kids drive cars or operate machinery because they don’t have the experience yet to make good decisions.  Call in a parent, I mean coach, to share their experience and good decisions.

4. The best use a coach

All the best athletes in all disciplines use a coach.  Michael Phelps has won 23 gold medals.  Michael Jordan won 6 NBA Titles.  Tom Brady has 4 Super Bowls.  All these athletes have coaches.  And not just any coaches.  They are all famous for reaching higher levels of success due to having a sometimes equally legendary coach.  They have had the best coaches at their backs from their development in the sport to the very pinnacle of performance.  Even after they were more successful than any other athletes in their sport, they still got better.  Coaching works, and the best always know this.

Going it alone with exercise means coming up with a program for progression over time, selecting the proper exercises, performing them all with proper technique, navigating injuries and pain, creating a system to eat by all the time, avoiding distraction, sticking to the plan, and avoiding all of your own biases influencing your choices along the way.  It’s a tall order and it can be done.  Or you can hire a coach who does these things for a living and knows the answers to questions before you even ask.