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10 Ways A Personal Trainer Can Help You

First of all, while a personal trainer or coach can definitely help with your health, fitness, and weight loss goals, you don’t necessarily need one. As in, it’s not a requirement and you can, without a doubt, succeed without one.

Now, having said that, the highest performers and most successful people in the world have at one point or the other used/hired/worked with a coach or mentor to help them level up.

Professional athletes work with coaches to help optimize their training, prep for events, and perform at the highest level.

Business owners and entrepreneurs work with mentors and coaches to help them avoid costly mistakes and accelerate growth. A lesson that took too long for me to learn. (smiley face). 

Even creatives and entertainers work with coaches to help improve/fine tune their skills and content. 

I think it’s funny and strange at the same time that – when we need our car fixed you get a mechanic, when our phone breaks down we take it to a specialist, and when we are having plumbing issues, you guessed it, we call a plumber. But, for some inexplicable reason, when it comes time for our fitness and body, we first turn to social media videos, youtube, influencers, and weight loss pills & detox tea vendors/merchants.

It’s even stranger that we do this with our health and body, which we can argue is definitely more important than our cars, phones, or other material stuff.

So, my goal with this article, is to show you how a personal coach can help you and then get you to consider hiring one – hopefully from our team (smiley face). 

Before we proceed, I think it’s impo]rtant we different between a personal trainer and a personal coach

Personal Coach Vs Personal Trainer?

Although these 2 terms are typically used interchangeably, I think there is a difference in what they provide and how they work. For instance, a personal trainer, also sometimes referred to as an instructor – pretty much ‘instructs’ and trains a client in a private or semi-private exercise session. A personal coach on the other hand, in conjunction with the client, designs and implements a customized and comprehensive nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle program to help the client reach and maintain their goals.

Side note: be wary of titles. Not everyone that bears the name coach can actually do any real coaching. 

Who needs (or could use) a personal coach?

In my opinion, anyone and everyone can benefit from working with a personal coach.

Over the years I have being blessed to coach 100s of clients including: overweight kids whose parents are concerned about their weight and health, new moms who want to lose some weight and get back in pre-pregnancy shape, older people who want to build strength and improve heart health, brides who want to look great on their special day, and busy professionals who just want to increase their energy level and get fitter.

Nobody hires a coach just for the sake of hiring a coach. You hire a coach to help you work towards and reach a goal. For most people, these goals include – improving health, getting fitter, improving strength and endurance, reducing and managing pain, reducing and managing disease risk, losing weight, improving physique, injury rehab, flattening belly, and many more. 

We know these are some of the more common goals and outcomes a personal coach can help you achieve but what are specific tasks and things we do to make this possible?

10 Ways A Personal Coach Can Help You: what the research says, case study, anecdote, how the stuff that the coach does can help them (so that), 

Before we get into the list, I feel its important to state that I (as a Coach) have learnt significantly more about life and success from my clients than they have learnt from me. It’s not even close. As I mentioned earlier, I have being opportuned to work with a diverse clientele base from high net worth individuals, industry leaders, business tycoons, high level politicians, professors and phds, entertainers, athletes, pastors, all the way to students and kids. In almost every case, the client had more experience and success than me in one or more areas of life. When you think about it, anybody who values their health and fitness enough to hire a personal coach and make the investment in coaching is not ‘average’. So while I may have more expertise in fitness, weight loss, and nutrition, I always learn a ton, directly and indirectly, from my clients. My point is – I share the following list sitting beside or across from and looking up at you. I know how easily some of this information can come across as authoritarian and soap box preachy. The intention is to articulate some of the potential benefits of hiring a personal coach. 

Also, I have included a few case studies with some of my clients to drive home the point. 

Whew! Now lets get to the list.  

1. Goal Setting – in studies goal setting has been shown to …. And yet you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how, or care, to set goals. Your coach can help you set goals – but not just any random goal like most people do. It’s not uncommon to see people, inspired by some other person’s achievement or something on social media and then proceed to set goals that are not only unrealistic and unattainable but also not relevant to them. 

Your coach can provide the right guidiance to help you set challenging but realistic goals based on a few unique factors including – your age, health & injury history, fitness & nutrition level, exercise history, lifestyle, medication, gender, values, timelines, personal preferences, and more. Next, we’ll break those bigger long-term goals to medium- and short-term goals to keep you motivated and making progress. 

If you don’t establish the destination at the outset of a journey you will most definitely arrive at a different location or, even worse, go around in circles and then maybe end up abandoning the trip. Proper goal setting is the important first step in your transformation and your coach can help guide you. It’s simple – no goal achievement without proper goal setting. You can’t hit a target you don’t have. Goal setting, done right, can help with motivation and create non-stop momentum leading to sustainable success. 

In our coaching programs we use a 3D model to help our clients set goals that are empowering and almost always guarantees success. 

Strongerbyscience goal setting blog post

2. Assessment & Data Collection – I am going to contradict myself here but stay with me. Yes, goal setting is the first step but to get it right we must first establish your current ‘status’. This is where assessment and data collection comes in. 

Your coach will start to build your ‘story’ by conducting relevant assessments that may include – anthropometric measurements, body fat assessment, BMI measurements, tests (fitness screening, movement screening), and 1-on-1 interviews. In this initial stage of the program your coach also gather more information by having you complete and submit a few forms and questionnaires including – physical activity readiness questionnaire, health-medication-injury history form, lifestyle and goals questionnaire, food log, and more. 

One of the biggest benefits of working with a personal coach is the personalization component and the only way we can truly do that is the collect the right initial data and then continually customize the program accordingly.

Ongoing assessment and data collection, no clarity – no change, you can’t change what you don’t measure. 

Precision nutrition book

3. Personalization & Customization – when you get a gym membership or join the typical group exercise program what you get is just access (to the facilities, equipment, and classes) and a generic program – that’s it. A personal coach, unlike the gyms, can create a program that is customized just for you based on your goals, health and injury history, fitness and skill level, schedule, lifestyle, and other preferences. 

How many times have you joined a group exercise class that didn’t cater to your fitness or skill level? How many one-size-fits-all meal plans and diet programs have you started that didn’t factor in your activity level, size, budget, and lifestyle? How many times have you found yourself confused in the gym because you were not quite sure if a machine or equipment is a good option for you, much less how to use it? 

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people quit their fitness program because it just didn’t ‘fit’ them personally. I have also found that most people, especially people new to exercising and nutrition modification, can benefit from some degree of customization at first.

 Like a bespoke/tailored outfit, customization will make your program more effective and success more likely. 

Case Study – I have worked with clients recovering from stroke, cancer treatment, and surgery. I have also worked with people who couldn’t use the typical gym equipment or perform even the basic exercises because of injury, pain, excess weight, or size. In all these cases, a generic program would not only have been ineffective but could have caused more damage. 

Precision nutrition book 

4. Accountability & Support – when I speak with people looking to start a fitness program one of the top 3 things they say they need is accountability and support. Although you can get just about anybody – your spouse, friend, colleague – to help with this, a personal coach is best equipped to provide the kind of accountability and support that bridges the gap between knowing what to do and doing it consistently. 

For instance, in addition to sending reminders, I expect (and require) my coaching clients to ‘check in’ when they complete an assigned task – whether that is a workout, meal prep, or 7 hours of sleep. The check-in process can be a simple ‘done’ sms, a ‘sweaty’ selfie (as evidence of completed workout), photo of meals, or a short voice note/video. People also need ongoing support to help them stay on track and be consistent, which a personal coach can provide by scheduling dedicated weekly or bi-weekly 1-on-1 sessions to review what’s working, what needs to change, plan for upcoming days/weeks, and determine next steps. 

Also, it’s a whole different level of accountability when you know you have a scheduled training or nutrition session with another person. You know your coach will be waiting for you (most times in your home so you have nowhere to run to or any excuses to make) and is expecting you to show up on time and be ready to go.  

Case Study: I typically ask clients to also recruit at least one more person who they respect – for accountability and support purposes. Even better if this person is on the same journey and is not afraid to call them out and dish out some tough love when they start slacking. 

What does the research say about accountability in fitness goal attainment?

5. The X Factors – these are the intangibles – adherence, compliance, and consistency. When researchers look at successful diets and exercise plans they found that they all have one thing in common – adherence. I share the same opinion – a program, no matter how awesome it is, is only as effective as the compliance to it. 

It’s like when your doctor prescribes a dosage of 3 times daily for 2 weeks but you only take the medicine twice daily for 9 days – I’ll leave you to guess what will happen. One of the ways a personal coach can help you with adherence and consistency, in addition to providing accountability and on-going support, is to continually modify your program to keep you engaged and meet you where you are. Your personal coach can also provide the motivation and inspiration you need to stay on track. 

Case Study: yes, consistency is the key – but you have to use it for the right lock. I worked with a client who was struggling to stay motivated and be consistent with her diet. After some digging, I discovered she was stuck in the start-stop-start yoyo dieting cycle. Thanks to the misinformation rampant online, she thought the only way she could make real progress was to follow a very low-calorie super restrictive diets. Needless to say, they worked for her because they was too restrictive and, like most people who adopt this kind of extreme approach, she couldn’t adhere to it. All it took was switching to a more flexible and customized approach and she found her groove back. Compliance and adherence went up resulting in sustainable progress. 

6. Nutrition Coaching – yes, you can read the latest diet book, buy a $10 meal plan, download a free recipe book online, or just use the same meal plan your best friend used. All of these options may work, up to a certain point, until they don’t anymore. Why? Lack of customization and context in some cases and misleading information in others. 

Check this out, in the last 2 decades, more than a thousand diet and nutrition books have been published. There are more diet ‘gurus’  and influencers now than any other time in human history. And yet, obesity, overweight, and disease risk is on the rise. It’s the information/knowledge-action gap – people are not necessarily taking action on the information they acquire. 

Talking about information, it seems to be getting more and more misleading, or at least incomplete, these days. Diet myths are still very common online and on mainstream media. On one hand we have people who swear that a certain way of eating/dieting (keto, intermittent fasting, carnivore, paleo, vegan, etc) is the most effective approach and on the other we have people who swear that pills, teas, portions, detoxes, and cleanses are the answer. 

The one thing all of these approaches, including the generic meal plans, don’t account for is YOU. Even in research, the published findings are usually/typically a reflection of the average – and there are almost always people who are on either side of this average. You may or may not respond like the average person. 

Your personal coach can help you design a unique nutrition system (not just a diet or meal plan) that accounts for your specific goals, needs, and preferences. Unlike a standard diet, your nutrition plan will be updated and modified as your goals, needs, and situation change. Nutrition coaching, done right, is beyond meal plans, recipes, and just information. Your nutrition plan, in addition to helping you reach your primary goal (weight loss, performance enhancement, etc) should also help address nutrient deficiencies, improve your overall health, while also helping you learn and improve good eating habits and develop a better relationship with food. Your nutrition plan should be for you and about you.       

Case Study: you’ve heard that weight loss is 70-80% nutrition. Even though I don’t really agree with the number, I think its 100% nutrition and 100% training (I explain another day) – I agree that nutrition probably has the highest leverage when it comes to health and body transformation. Talking about body transformation, a client was weeks away from a wedding and she wanted to look her best to ‘pepper’ some people. By first figuring out her Daily Calories Target (based on her target weight loss rate, etc) and adjusting her macros (specifically protein) she was able to hit her goal on time and steal the show.  

7. Training Program Design – like your nutrition plan, your training and workout program should at least be customized to your goals, exercise/health/injury history and fitness level.

What’s the difference between exercise, workouts, and training programs? 

A simple way to explain this is that – a training program is made up of workouts and workouts are made up of exercises. 

So it makes sense to have and use a training program, however, the average person just randomly picks from a selection of exercises they see other people doing in the gym or online and then string them together to make a workout. While this approach may be better than doing nothing, it is ineffective and can sometimes be harmful. No wonder, most gym goers and exercisers look the same and make no progress year after year. 

Think of your training program like a school curriculum – only it’s more adoptable, customized to you, progressive, and you have a private tutor. 

Your personal coach will help develop a comprehensive training program personalized for your goals, fitness level, time availaibility, injury history, weaknesses, and preferences. Generally, your training program will include strength training workouts, cardio workouts, and so much more. 

Just because that influencer swears by a workout or exercise doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you too. A coach-designed training plan will almost always guarantee the one outcome you desire the most – results and progress. 

8. Privacy – some people don’t want to, and some simply can’t, train in a commercial gym or public fitness center. If you are one of these people then you know what I mean. You place a high premium on privacy and working out in a public/commercial facility is just not realistic. I am not just talking about celebrities and high net worth individuals. Some clients are not comfortable in public gyms and others don’t like the ‘distractions’ that’s common place in some fitness centers. 

In this case, hiring a personal coach to work with you at you home, office, or any other private location may be the best option.

Case Study: a few years ago a client want reached out to me for personal training services. In her words – ‘I can’t use a public gym anymore. I switched training times and even changed gyms but it just seems like I spend the bulk of my workout time answering questions and taking pictures with people’. She was a very popular business coach and it would have being rude if 

Side note: if you have celebrities or popular people in gym you admire please consider giving

9. Workout Buddy – although not very common, some people just want someone to workout with. They don’t necessarily wan’t or need the expertise of a coach but the company and accountability that comes with it. I have been hired, more than once, to be a workout buddy for walking sessions, strength training sessions, and more. 

How do/can a workout buddie help?

10. Jumpstart – you know how a car sometimes just needs a jumpstart to get started? Okay, maybe you don’t – but think of a jumpstart as the initial ‘push’ to get you started. Maybe you are ready to start your fitness and weight loss journey but you are struggling with overcoming that initial resistance then a personal coach can probably help. Your Coach can provide the information, motivation, support, guidance, accountability, tools, clarity, and kick-in-the-ass to help you overcome resistance, get started, and build momentum to keep moving in the direction of your goals. 

In this case, for jump start purposes, you would work with the coach for a short period (a couple of months), dial in your routine, and then go off on your own. Of course, you’ll always have the option to reconnect with your coach if you ever need a boost. 

11. Life Coaching: I say this all the time – weight loss or fitness does not exist in a bubble. All the things we need to start or keep doing (like eating better, training) and stop doing or do less of (like smoking, etc) have to happen in the context of our day to day lives. 

Within the context of your life, everything affects everything and everything interacts with everything, at least to some degree. For instance, your mental state can affect your physical state and therefore your willingness or ability to workout or meal prep. Poor sleep and stress can negatively affect your hunger and appetite signals causing you to eat a little more than you planned to. Your ability to keep buying healthy foods and working with a personal coach is dependent on your financial situation and value. Your elationships and your job can take up so much of your time and energy living little very anything else. 

In my opinion, the most important skill anybody attempting to lose weight or get in shape can learn (and master) is the ability to ‘keep going’ in spite of resistance. We have to get good at managing all the

This one is tricky, but an experienced personal coach may be able to share tips and suggestions for how to navigate bla bla and manage all the bla bla – all or nothing vs next best thing, organizing & structuring your day/week, planning for and anticipating obstacles, At the very least, you can get another perspective 

An experienced coach can teach you how to ‘live’. 

What keeps people from starting a diet or workout program?    

Bonus

Clarity – No clarity, no change. Your personal coach can help you figure out and clarify the what, why, when, and how. Your coach can help you – set the right goals, get clear on why those goals are important to you, develop specific action steps, and then decide on what adjustments to make moving forwarrd. Getting clear also helps with compliance and consistency – both of which are important for continued progress and goal attainment. 

Status – while not very common, there are some people who want to hire a personal coach just to make a statement or score some status points. 

The first (and only) time this happened to me the client said – ‘all my friends have personal chefs and trainers, I know you are great at what you do but I just want to be able to say I have a trainer too’. I was confused at first but I quickly learned and accepted that if people can buy certain clothes, jewelry, cars, and do all sorts to appear to ‘belong’ or have a certain status then it’s okay to hire a personal coach for the same reasons too. Plus, we can argue that a personal coach is more valuable than a designer bag

By the way, I managed to get the client to make a commitment to their training and nutrition and we ended up making significant progress in the 2 years we worked together.   

Final thoughts: at the end of the day – you join a gym, start a diet, or begin a fitness program to reach a goal. Whatever that goal is, a personal coach can help you work towards that goal while saving time, energy, and money. 

My apologies on behalf of the industry

I know that sometimes personal trainers and coaches get a bad rep and – whether it’s deserved or unfair is not important. Yes, like most other professionals, we mess up and make mistakes too but …. So, on behalf of myself and the industry in general I would like to apologize if we didn’t serve you at the highest level and provide sufficient/enough value for your time, energy, and money investment. We are working hard on leveling up our game and ultimately providing the kind of body, health, and life-transforming service you deserve. Give us a second chance. We are ready and determined to earn your trust and respect. 

If you would like to work with a personal coach then please send an email to nana@coachnana.com and I’ll do my best to get you set up with a qualified coac

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