Woman trainer spotting a male gym member doing a push up at a gymWhy Having a Coach Matters

by Mitch Davis

When we decide that enough is enough and it is time to start exercising, one of the biggest questions we ask ourselves is “do I need a coach“. For some, this comes down to financial issues and for the sake of this post, we won’t be including that factor. But, for others, it comes down to our beliefs regarding the efficacy of hiring a professional. Is it really that necessary to hire a coach? Will I actually be better off with someone instructing me on what to do? 

The short answer is it depends. But, for many of us, the answer is a resounding yes. I have been a coach for almost 14 years and I have had my own coach for 8 years! Having a coach has a tremendous impact on our performance and is an added tool in our tool belt for reaching our goals. But why is having a coach such a benefit? The answers are many, and I won’t attempt to cover them all in this post. In fact, I’ll stick to just one. 
Many of us know that we need change. We know that certain things need to change if we want to stick around for awhile or if we want to meet a certain goal. This goal can be performance related (run a 5k) or health related (lower blood pressure). It can be objective in nature (I want to sleep 8-hours a night) or subjective in nature (I want to feel more rested upon waking up). Where many of us go wrong is that we are not specific with our goals and we do not have the best course of action(s) to meet this goal. 
If I am heading out the door to go train one of my high school teams, I could, in theory, randomly select which way I was to turn. Each passing road, I could decide if I were to turn left or right. Eventually I will make it to the weight room. However, is this the most efficient way of getting to the weight room? Absolutely not. Instead, I followed the directions that get me to the weight room as efficiently (the shortest distance and/or quickest time) as possible. That is where the power of having a coach comes in. We have a professional who is showing us the fastest possible routes to our goals, allowing us to get there as efficiently as possible. 
Unlike a GPS, we, or our coach, might make a few errors along the way, but having a professional allows for quicker and smoother adjustments. When left to our own decision-making, we can spend a great deal of time traveling in the wrong direction, wonder why our goal seems to be getting further away. Hiring a professional to work with you is one of the greatest cheat-codes you can have when attempting to meet a goal. 
However, this doesn’t mean that we can or should just blindly hire someone who carries the title of coach. As the consumer, it is our responsibility to determine the validity in what the professional is saying. When shopping around for a coach, it is important that you ask as many questions as possible, be very specific in your questions, and make sure you are asking follow up questions for anything you are uncertain about. I’ll give you a very easy way of determining the legitimacy of a coach. During your initial consultation, conversation, or free trial, ask yourself if they bothered to ask you about your goals. Ask yourself if they listened to your questions, comments, and/or concerns, or if they were simply telling you why you must hire them. 
At the end of the day, this is your journey. They are here to help. Never assume that simply because of their title, that they have more say than you do about your health and your performance
In summary, we must have specific goals in an attempt to make our fitness journey as smooth as possible. This can be accomplished on your own, but chances are, having a coach in your corner is going to help dramatically. That is, so long as they are a competent and caring coach! 


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Mitchell Davis is the Director of Remote Coaching at Power Train Sports & Fitness.  He is a PhD candidate at Liberty University where he is pursuing his doctorate in Health & Exercise Science.  He has been a coach and educator for 13 years, serving in roles such as collegiate strength and conditioning coach, high school strength and conditioning coach, adjunct professor, personal trainer, and fitness consultant.  

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