Several times throughout my previous posts, i have mentioned the importance of one thing….. Choosing the RIGHT coach for a competition prep. I have stressed the importance of this over and over because it is crucial to your success in this sport. So many girls (and guys) put their trust in “coaches” who do not have their best interest in mind. I was no different..
For my first prep, i found my “coach” on… Instagram (go figure). I chose this person because i a) liked her body and b) she offered online “coaching”. Great right? Not so much. The “coaching” was strictly online and i had check ins once a week. I would send progress pics and measurements to her in an email. She sent me a cookie cutter meal plan and provided me with a cookie cutter workout plan. Every week, she would change something on my meal plan…. and most weeks she would try to cut back on my calories by cutting out foods she had already cut out the week before. I would constantly have to tell her- “you already cut down the amount of rice i’m eating” or “you already added 15 minutes of cardio”. I would update her every Sunday and sometimes she did not even respond to my email until the end of the following week. This would leave me guessing what i was supposed to be doing diet and training wise for the week until she responded to my email. She clearly did not know who i was throughout the entire contest prep and come show day i only heard from her once. After that, i never heard from her again. While i did lose weight while on her plan i did not feel as though i looked the way a bikini competitor should (photos below). There were so many red flags throughout my experience with her and if this is happening with your coach- please, RUN and never look back.
After a very poor experience with my first “coach” i was determined to make prep #2 a much better experience. I emailed Layne Norton about coaches he recommended for contest preps. He emailed me back a list of names and i started emailing. I probably emailed about 15 coaches. One of those was Dynamic Duo Training. After sending them an initial email they offered to set up a telephone call, at a time that was convenient for me, to discuss any questions and concerns that i had. I asked them various questions about their methods, cost, and check in policies to name a few. After much thought and consideration, i chose Team DDT as my coaches. They sent me a questionnaire to fill out that asked questions such as food likes/dislikes, when i like to train, strong/weak body parts, etc. They also asked me to weigh myself and track my macros for 7 days in a row so they could get reliable information. I completed a 20 week prep with Coach Eric by my side 100% of the way. The entire process was online and using IIFYM. They gave me a macro plan and training plan that was custom to me and my specific needs. I checked in with them two times a week and i never once had to wait more than a few hours for a response. They not only had me answer specific questions every week but they also sent me personalized videos and emails throughout the entire process. Peak week with Team DDT was very detailed and they provided me with the information i needed for peak week AND show day several days in advance so i was able to prepare. I also had my coaches cell phone # so that i was able to text him if need be. Come show day, i talked to my coach several times before/during/after prejudging and again before finals. When it came time to step on stage i felt as though i looked the way a bikini competitor should look and i was proud of the physique that i brought to the stage (photos below). Following my show, a reverse diet was in place so that i had a plan ready to go post show. The coaching experience i received with Dynamic Duo Training was a complete 180 compared to my first “coach” and was an experience that everyone should have with their coach.
I am telling you my experiences in hopes that no one will have to go through a prep with an uneducated “coach” like i did. Your prep should be custom to you and your specific needs and not some cookie cutter plan from a “coach” who has 100’s of clients-cant remember your name- and only cares about making money.
Here are some of my pointers for selecting a coach:
- Do Your Homework. Don’t just go with the first coach you find. Look around. Ask around. Send out emails. Save yourself the trouble later and think things through. Be picky!
- Education. Crucial. This is so important. If someone is coaching you and giving you a training and macro plan- THEY NEED TO HAVE SOME SORT OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION IN NUTRITION AND TRAINING. Common sense right? Just because someone competed in an NPC show before does NOT mean they know what they are talking about and are qualified to give you that type of information. What college did they attend? What degrees/certificates do they have?
- Past/Current Clients. If you have the opportunity to talk to your potential coach’s client base- do it. Ask them about their experience and whether or not they were satisfied. Ask lots of questions. Some coaches even have client testimonials on their websites. Also, take the time to look at their past client’s before and after photos. Do they impress you or are they just like ehh? If they don’t impress you why would you want them to be your coach? Take this into consideration when deciding if you want that coach to coach you.
- Methods. So many different components can go into this point. Do you want a meal plan or macros? In person training or online? How long do they like to prep their clients for? What is their approach to training? Cardio? Ask them why they do what they do. If they tell you to do cardio 6x a week for an hour right off the bat, RUN! If they can’t tell you why you need to do that then that’s a definite red flag. Can they tell you why you’re doing what you’re doing?
- Responsiveness. Ask your potential coach what their check in policies are. Once a week? Twice? Strictly email? Do they do Skype sessions? Phone calls? How fast can you expect them to respond? You do need to be realistic with this last one. They are human and they do have separate lives as well. However, if they are taking multiple days to respond to your emails (cough cough my first “coach”) that’s a red flag.
- Cost. Cost is not necessarily one that is black and white. A coach that is cheap is not necessarily bad and a coach that is expensive is not necessarily good. My first “coach” was about $50 a month and she was AWFUL. My coaches now are not cheap but they are WELL WORTH the money. Talk to your potential coach and discuss price. Some coaches make you pay more upfront and that is an important thing to keep in mind. It is also important to consider that the cost of a coach is on top of all the other costly factors that prep entails (food, a competition suit, supplements, show fees, etc). You don’t want to pick a coach that is going to cost you an arm and a leg and that you will not be able to afford later on.
- Look at Their Experience. Have they competed in bodybuilding in the past? How long have they competed? Do they know what it is like to be a competitor? Some great coaches have never competed in a show before and thats okay- it is not a necessity. But it is important that they know the struggles that a competitor will go through during a competition prep.
- Personality. Very Important. You want to find a coach that you are comfortable talking to and will have a coach-client relationship with. You will be sending them half naked pictures (lol not really but kind of) and you may have to share with them other details that can be a little uncomfortable (i.e. lady business/digestive issues… lol guilty of this). You want coaches that are genuine,kind, and have your best interest at heart. You don’t want a coach who is short and indifferent. The guys at Team DDT are kind, funny, and genuinely care about their clients. Coach Eric is there to reassure me when i need it and tell me the truth (in a kind way) even if i don’t want to hear it. And that is something every coach should do.
A final point that i would like to get across is that YOUR coach needs to be the BEST CHOICE FOR YOU. You don’t have to go with the coach that everyone else is going with. Don’t go with a coach just because everyone else is – if “everyone” is getting coached by them think about the number of clients they could potentially have. You don’t want a coach with so many clients that they can’t give you that individual and personalized attention you deserve. Pick your coach based off your wants and needs and hopefully considering the above pointers as well.
A GOOD, QUALIFIED, EDUCATED COACH is worth everything in a prep and it’s not worth it to risk your health, metabolism, or mental sanity to choose someone who is unqualified or uneducated to coach you.
I hope this blog post is helpful in helping you determine who the best choice is to coach you on your competition prep journey. Please comment below and let me know if you have had any bad experiences with past coaches and/or any really good experiences. Please like and subscribe, if you haven’t already, and keep checking back for more on my Bikini Prep Series.