StrengthAddicts.com

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Thank you so very much Christian Duque of StrengthAddicts.com for giving me the opportunity to share my story and some advice for competitors!! You can check out my interview here–> StrengthAddicts.com Blog

How Do You Choose a Trainer/Coach?

I get asked this question at least once a week. Finding the right trainer for YOU does require some trial and error, but there are some guidelines that will help narrow your search.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself when choosing a Trainer/Coach:

1. Do I want an Online Coach or an In-Person Trainer?
There are several things to consider in this choice. An online coach is oftentimes much more affordable than an in-person trainer. An online coach will design your training program for you and generally ask you to check in with progress photos on a certain schedule. Many are available via email, Skype and texting, BUT they will require YOU to push yourself in the gym. An in-person trainer will design your plan and guide you through your workouts. They will be a physical presence that holds you accountable when you have training sessions with them.

2. Does the Trainer/Coach specialize in the goal I am pursuing?
Many trainers are proficient in general weight-loss, but some coaches specialize in certain niches. There is no sense in training with a Coach that specializes in bodybuilding contest prep if you want to be a power lifter and vice versa etc etc.

3. Does the Trainer’s lifting style mesh well with the way you like to train?
Now read carefully! I am NOT saying find a Coach who doesn’t challenge you and train with them. I AM saying if you hate plyometrics, but love classic bodybuilding style training then it probably isn’t going to be very motivating training with a Coach who loves to put their clients through plyometric circuits daily. We ALL have to train in ways that we sometimes don’t completely enjoy, but do not sign yourself up for failure.

4. Does the Coach’s nutrition philosophy work with your own views?
There is no sense in having a Vegan Coach write your nutrition plans if you love to eat half of a farm daily. Nor does it serve your purpose to work with a Coach who utilizes flexible dieting/IIFYM if you are a junk food binge eater and cannot control your portions.

5. Do they produce quality athletes?
If you are looking for a Coach to help you achieve a specific athletic goal research their athletes and their own personal competitive success. I really appreciate that my own Coach is still a competitor. He has achieved professional status in bodybuilding and it allows me to really appreciate all that he teaches me because it comes from personal experience.

Remember, this is YOUR journey. Include those that will push you to be stronger and happier, make room for sources of positivity and cast out the negative.

Hold Strong: A Lesson in Fear

fireworksOK, so maybe the setting wasn’t exactly out of a movie. I wasn’t standing under the night sky with a backdrop of colorful fireworks exploding behind me in celebration of the Fourth of July. No, instead I was standing in Walmart in front of the sweet potato baby food crying in my boyfriend’s arms. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holiday’s and I had just sat through a picnic eating lukewarm egg-whites and beef that smelled like it was a little past due.

A few more days passed and I was still a roller-coaster of emotion. I simply could not get myself in a strong positive mindset for more than a moment before it was replaced with negativity. A few nights later I hit a low and it seemed my Pros and Cons for finishing this prep were perfectly balanced. My head was swimming and I just could not find the right answer, I always know the right answer in my heart, but I simply could not find it.

 I tend to shut down when I have a problem, literally I will go silent- hard to believe I know. In desperation I had finally messaged my Coach to tell him how I had been feeling, but as usual I had protected it with a certain level of toughness. I never want to be a burden and instead of telling my Coach when things started to get troublesome, I let them internalize and fester until I was a clouded mess sitting on my kitchen counter ready to quit.

I realized I needed to be completely honest with him that this wasn’t about the diet, the training, missing out on summer activities or that my body wasn’t physically feeling up to the challenge of eight more weeks of prep- instead I needed to tell him that this was about doubt and fear of failure. I had to let go of my pride.

The acknowledgement of what was really bothering me sent a wave of relief that washed away the clouded thoughts. My Coach spoke from his heart and personal experience in response, it was the honesty and guidance that I needed. My heart and mind were finally in sync and I knew the right decision. Doubt and fear of failure were my reasons for wanting to quit, but the only way I can fail is by not trying. Stay strong, persist until you achieve.

Hold Strong

Out of My Element : the Decision to Change

2 year progressionI knew I should have worn a cooler outfit, this one totally says “Hey I’m a Mom, I’m completely out of my element, yes I drive a minivan full of cheerios and half eaten french fries do you need a ride somewhere or perhaps we could make a macaroni necklace.” I stood outside the weight room of the YMCA nervously looking around. My trainer had already entered and stood there coaxing me in. She had told me to pick a goal and since I wasn’t going to be running any marathons, I had chosen what sounded like the lesser of two evils and very naively selected a bodybuilding competition.

The YMCA that I had been a member of was huge and consisted of a beautiful serene upstairs full of brand new machines and a dingy, dark dungeon downstairs where the free weights were located. Very few women ventured downstairs and even fewer members (3-4 men) were competitors. I was entering the great unknown, but I was determined to push myself beyond the comforts of my Rep Reebok Group Class.

With a deep breath and a feigned fearless look I walked into the weight room. A few minutes passed while Heather taught me how to properly dead-lift and to my surprise no one was surrounding me chanting out how silly I looked. After several successful movements it was finally time to use the barbell- this was it, my first real experience in bodybuilding. As soon as my hands gripped the bar and performed the first fluid motion I knew I had lit a fire. I felt empowered, alive and for the first time ever I felt strong.

That day in the weight room changed my life forever. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. I made a decision to change that day, I took a chance at looking stupid and it has paid off every day for almost three years now. Listen to that nagging little voice that whispers “Just try”.  Every single person who is now proficient in any field of choice was once a beginner that took the chance at looking silly. Don’t let your fear of looking stupid hold you from who you might be.