The sport of bodybuilding is more than just lifting weights and eating food to bulk up. There is a science behind why, what, and when bodybuilders eat, train, and rest. As an aspiring bodybuilder, you might be wondering where you should start. You should start with a coach, whether it’s a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or both. These are the people who specialize in helping you achieve fitness goals that’s tailored to you. How do you find these people?
This is where interviewing comes into play, but you will also need to know your physique goals. For any division in which you’re looking to compete, I suggest identifying a couple of competitors and finding out who their coach is. Look for a coach that specializes in that division or has a good amount of knowledge in that division. Another option for finding a coach is through word of mouth, locally or online. Most coaches these days offer online training and nutrition, so you might never meet face to face. While this works for some, many others want a more personal relationship with their coach.
After you have a list of potential coaches, you can narrow down your choices through an interview process over email, phone, or in person. This is your opportunity to see if you click with them and decide if this partnership is something you want to pursue. To help you get started, here are a few general questions you may want to ask:
- What are your credentials/certifications?
- How long have you been doing this?
- How many clients do you have now?
- What is your training/nutrition philosophy?
- Do you have a nutrition approach? (IIFYM, Keto, carb cycling, etc.)
- How often do you check in on your clients?
- Do you offer in person/Skype sessions or is it only online?
- Does your training/nutrition change during prep? If so, how?
- What can I expect the first month or two?
- What do you look for in a client?
- What are your prices?
Although for most things in life “you get what you pay for,” hiring the most expensive coach won’t necessarily guarantee results nor is the cheapest one always the worst. I also recommend that you talk to your potential coach’s current clients about their experience. What do they like about their coach? If the coach you’re considering has prep clients, what do the majority of them look like? Every trainer can get lucky and have a shining star client, but it’s another thing when they have a consistent track record of several successful clients who do well at local, national, and pro shows.
Finally, go with your gut and do what you think feels right. Your coach is there to support you, but more importantly, push you. You will want a coach that keeps you accountable when the going gets tough. You don’t want a coach who only fluffs your feathers and tells you what you want to hear—you’re not hiring someone to be your cheerleader. Look for someone who encourages you while still pushing you just outside your comfort zone. Don’t forget to be honest with your coach during your interview process and once you hire them. If you’re not being transparent about what you want or need during your interview, your potential coach may not really be a fit for you. A good coach will be honest if their coaching style won’t work for your needs.
This is also true once you’ve hired your coach. If you’re not following the plan or slacking off here and there and not being bluntly honest about it, your coach’s guidance will be off since he’s giving you a plan based on the information you give him. Both sides have to have open communication. If you feel you can’t have this with your coach, then you either need to get comfortable speaking your mind or this person isn’t a good match.
I hope these pointers will help you when you’re hiring your first coach or if you’re looking to change up your current situation. Feel free to add to my list of questions—being thorough will save you a lot of trouble down the road. Who knows, you may even end up with your perfect coach.