It took goldilocks three tries to get her life together – don’t be discouraged if it takes you more than three tries to find the perfect fitness coach.
When I was training for my first half marathon in 2010, I thought I’d get a trainer to help me with some cross-training. His workouts were fine at first and I didn’t have anything against him, but he never really took the time to understand my goals as a whole. I did not think that was a problem at the time – my only goal was to cross the finish line.
Sure I was training for a half marathon, but I wasn’t trying to WIN the half. I was 232lbs at the time and not blind to the fact that I was not really in the best shape. But I had been training for so long and I felt ready.
A few weeks before the half, the trainer put me on the treadmill. He had me running a nine minute mile – way too fast for me to keep up with at the time. I ran at that pace for as long as I could before I started telling him that I couldn’t keep pace. He wouldn’t listen to me, just told me to do it and I felt pressured to just keep running.
After another minute or so I pushed the stop button – I had to – and went into what felt like cardiac arrest. I sobbed. I couldn’t control my breathing and tears raced down my face. I felt so out of control, and I felt like I failed. I was defeated, depressed, and upset. I went from being pretty confident about this race to having absolutely no confidence.
“How are you going to run this race if you can’t even run at this pace for ten minutes?” He asked. Truly spoken like a person who knew nothing about running.
I quit for the day and swore off “trainers” for a long time.
Now I realize it was not me who failed that day: it was him who failed me.
Here are five tips to finding YOUR perfect coach:
1. You need a coach you can relate to. Someone who is real, who pushes you, but someone who still inspires you and empowers you. You need someone who takes the time to understand your goals and what motivates you.
And this person doesn’t have to be a traditional personal trainer. They can be an independent online fitness coach, like me, who can motivate you while you workout at home and offer you online support; a friend; or another kind of role model in your life. Only you know what will be the best fit for you. Don’t stop until you find it.
2. Your coach shouldn’t just be there for the pay check. If you get the feeling your coach is really phoning it in, they probably are. You need a genuine connection to this person because let’s face it, they are helping you with issues related to your body, and there is nothing more intimate than that.
3. Don’t be afraid to do some dating. If you aren’t satisfied with your coach after a few training sessions or you just aren’t developing a good relationship, pull the plug. Save yourself some money and frustration by continuing to look for someone who better fit your needs. Do not apologize to the coach or feel bad about this – you need to find someone who is a good fit for your personality and your needs.
You owe it to yourself to find who and what works best for you.