Coach – /kōCH/
Definition – An athletic instructor or trainer
Many of my clients come to me with stories of countless attempts at weight loss. These attempts vary from mild (to even extreme) starvation, portion reduction, no carbs, no fats, clean eating, fat burning pills, miracle shakes, cleanses, workout videos, various forms of exercise, etc – the list goes on and on and on. For the amount of people that start a program, there are very few that achieve their overall desired goals. Before I continue I have to point out that goals and results are 2 very different accomplishments.
Some make progress but it is usually the same story, “My program worked great because I lost ‘x’ amount of lbs the first month but then it stopped and I gained it all back” or “Everything was going so well and I lost so much weight in the beginning but then I stopped and I gained at all back plus more”.
** For the record, these aren’t GREAT programs if you gained back the weight you lost and you reverted back to old behaviours **
A person should certainly be commended for their dedication in attempting, and even sticking, to a program but I find that the aforementioned listed approaches are a blind attempt to really get to the nitty gritty of maintainable and sustainable fat loss…which is really what everyone’s goal truly is. Nobody wants temporary results and, to me, the work with a coach shouldn’t be just about receiving a plan.
This is where I believe true Coaching ranks superior to the majority of self directed attempts at any weight loss strategy. To me nothing beats the strategy of structured, detailed, scientifically backed fitness and nutrition program designed specifically for an individual.
Of course the program itself is only a part of the overall strategy because after the program is designed, the coaching really begins! Thorough coaching is having the ability of an expert to trouble shoot obstacles you may encounter through the journey in your program AND to teach you sensible and responsible habits that will manifest into lifelong habits when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and embracing these new behaviours as lifestyle. To me, that is win-win-win approach.
For a strategy-based approach on fat loss, everything begins with a program constructed by someone knowledgeable (with years of experience) in the field of Personal Training and Nutrition. This is the groundwork to get you started and on the way to your new body. Sadly there are some individuals that start and never make it past the very first couple of week being on a plan because they are unwilling to embrace change and let go of unhealthy habits. But for the ones that do, the results can be pretty outstanding especially within the first 4-6 weeks when the body reacts to regular activity, quality food choices, and portion control. Depending on how much bodyfat you hold or how inactive you were prior to starting your plan, I’ve had weight loss numbers as high as 20 lbs lost within the first month. But what happens after?
What I consider to be slightly more important than the actual plan/strategy, is where the actual work begins. This is where the “Trainer” and/or “Nutritionist” evolve from plan creator to coach. I call this area “troubleshooting”. For me, this is where the genuine interaction begins with my clients as we’ve taken our first steps together and I begin navigating them around obstacles that would normally prevent them from achieving their goals. These obstacles range anywhere from being attentive in listening to them explain their struggles, to being supportive about their frustrations, and to being compassionate when things don’t seem to be going right. The science also comes into play because the diet and training strategy needs to be safely and responsibly readjusted as the client progresses. Of course, being a coach also requires you to responsibly adjust your client’s program with their best intentions in mind.
It is this type of work that clearly guides a client through real world difficulties in achieving fat loss. It is clear direction. Can a general diet (i.e. cookie cutter) plan do this? Nope. Can a workout video offer this kind of direction? Definitely not. Can a simple reduction in food intake tell you what is working and what is not? Again the answer is no.
So before deciding to work with a Coach be open minded to change, welcome the opportunity for learning, and also think long term. Also be comforted in the fact that you have someone that has your best interests at heart 🙂