With the New Year coming up, there will be an obvious influx of people making new resolutions to get healthier and feel better. With that, some will be seeking out the help of a professional and that term I use loosely because quite frankly, some coaches do the industry more harm than good for multiple reasons. What I’m here to do today is to arm you with some knowledge you can use yourself or pass on to loved ones and friends to find out if you’re walking into a trap of sorts. I’ll try to make these points those that can carry over whether it’s someone seeking a more “gen pop” type of fitness or someone seeking more athletic performance types.
Price- To some degree price is going to be a quick indicator of whether the person is worth your time (and money). The best answers usually lie somewhere in the middle of the price points, if you’re talking about someone charging $5 a session, you are going to get exactly what you paid for, cheap training. The most expensive is not necessarily the best either, I’ve seen people charging way too much money for what little production folks are getting and that’s just plain old robbery, not cool.
Background- This is less about how many letters are next to their name and more about how & why they got into it, for me. Is this someone that’s doing this full time or at least transitioning to doing training full time? If the answer is yes, then they’re probably worth a shot. If it’s someone doing this as a side gig or is more into making a name for themselves than caring about your goals, into the bin they go, next.
Experience- Again, this isn’t EVERYTHING, but having some sort of experience helps. Some coaches went to school for this stuff, so they’re not a completely fresh & green pro right out of the gate, that helps, but isn't a deal breaker or maker either. I’ve also seen the other side of this with some really ornery, stubborn old coaches, also not good either. If the person has more than 3 years, they’ve gotten beyond the time most burn out, so chances are they learned a thing or two.
Values & Style- Going along with a few things I've mentioned in some of the points above, what sort of values or mission does the person have? Are they more concerned with working with celebrities and being the next big thing or with working with good people like yourself? When you get into any sort of initial assessment or consultation, how do they communicate with you? Do they try to use big fancy words in order to impress you (which likely means they either lack confidence, are a little self absorbed or simply don’t understand how to communicate to their clients) or do they put it in as plain of English as they can? If you can understand what their goals are with you and what they are telling you, then they are off to a good start.
Not every one of these things needs to be ticked or perfect, but these are just some ideas to help sniff out the bad ones. Of course, if you have questions about someone or their programming, you can always ask a friend that might be a coach or have a clue (hi it’s me, I’m that person for you…you have my email already after all). As I said, I do hope this can help one person find their next coach or trainer, or at least avoid a bad one, that'll be a win for me. Thanks for reading everyone, enjoy the rest of your week and feel free to reply with questions, comments or general feedback.
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS