Is Online Coaching Legit?

By June 13, 2016Live

Thinking of taking your fitness to the next level? You may want to consider online coaching.

We’re very fortunate to live in an age of technology, where the whole world can be more interconnected than ever before. Thanks to the internet, communication has never been easier.  We can submit our papers online, chat with old friends from high school, and even keep up with the play-by-play of the latest football game.  

In the world of fitness, the internet has brought us a new service: online coaching.  

Like in-person coaching, through online coaching you are provided with a coach to give you workouts and record your progress — except he or she doesn’t have to actually be with you while you workout. This seems like a great option for those who find in-person coaching to be inflexible (or even too expensive)…but is an online coach still worth it?

My coach, Cody Haun

My coach, Cody Haun

In order to make progress towards achieving your fitness goals, you need a plan. There’s no question about that. But for many of us, it’s hard to know where to start.  In my case, I had trouble trusting my own programming and nutrition.  Sure, I was making progress in the gym, but I knew I could be doing even better with some professional advice.  A non-varsity college student living in a small town, I didn’t have many options for in-person coaching.  After doing some browsing online, I came across my current coach, Cody Haun, on strengtheory.com and hired him earlier this year.  

Although Cody is my first online coach (and first coach at all, for that matter), I’ve learned a lot about online coaching, and my experience with him has been a good one.  

If you’re looking for a coach:

First off, when searching for an online coach, make sure you search for a coach with a particular goal in mind.  It would make no sense for you to hire a coach that specializes in powerlifting if you’re looking to lean out instead of bulk up.  You can find coaches that specialize in anything from bodybuilding, to powerlifting, fat loss, marathon running, triathlons….pretty much anything. 

Sonline coachingecondly, once you find a potential coach, check his/her bio. Then check it again.  Is (s)he well educated? How much experience does (s)he have coaching people? What are his/her credentials?
Can you get in contact with previous clients? And most importantly, does (s)he produce results? If you can check off all of these boxes with ease, and you feel (s)he is a good candidate, contact him/her.  

The most important aspect about online coaching is your relationship with your coach, which forms during the first few months of working together.  If you two are a match and work well with one another, it’s a positive sign to continue working him/her.  However, if it’s the opposite and it doesn’t seem to be working out, you should begin searching for another coach.  Your coach is there to motivate you to push yourself harder, not only to tell you what to do. Even if your coach has a 100% success rate with other clients, if you don’t have full buy-in or you don’t feel like (s)he cares about your personal progress, you won’t get the most out of your coaching experience.  If you two are a good match, you should feel free to ask your coach questions about the program, or even question it.  A good coach will explain your program professionally, drawing out the reasoning behind it. A good coach will not say “just do it because I said you should.”  The relationship between a coach and a client goes a long way. Over time you will should results and hopefully, be satisfied with the service.  

An important note on online coaching, particularly for fat loss & bodybuilding. There are a lot - and I mean a lot - of bad coaches out there. Just because someone has competed in one bodybuilding competition and is a Certified Personal Trainer does not make them qualified to coach others. Just as a good coach can affect you in a positive way, a bad coach can affect you in a negative way. It's extremely important to do you research when choosing an online coach and be able to pull out of the relationship if you feel it is not a healthy one.

So the final question…is it worth it?

If you aren’t feeling confident in your own programming and nutrition, and if you can afford it, YES it is!  An online coach can help break through your plateaus and reach your goals quicker through optimum programming and nutrition.  

On the other hand, if what you are doing on your own is working and you are satisfied with your progress thus far, then I would say no, it’s not worth it.  There are plenty of people out there that have reached their goals without the need of a coach.  If you aren’t trending in the direction you want to however, then a coach may be what you need to get back on track. 

Before I finish, let me briefly discuss the issue of money.  

It may seem daunting at first, especially as a college student, to pay your coach each month.  When I first began working with Cody, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to afford it for an extended period of time, either.  After working with him and seeing the results I’d been wanting, I prioritized my expenses and worked some extra hours to make sure I would be able to pay my coach at the end of the month.  I was putting my body and my goals first, and this worked for me. I’m not saying this will be the case for everyone, or that everyone would find getting a coach to be a priority, but for many: yes, it is possible to make it work.  

So there you have it. This is my opinion on online coaching, based on my personal experience. I hope this article has been helpful to you and will aid you in your decisions.  If you have any questions or want to know more about my experience, feel free to contact me at fitness4nonners@gmail.com.  Stay strong!

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Author Victor Armenta-Valdes

Victor Armenta-Valdes is currently studying at Davidson College. For most of his life, he played baseball and golf competitively. As a non-athlete in college, he has taken up powerlifting and looks to compete sometime in his college years.

More posts by Victor Armenta-Valdes

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