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Do You Need a Coach to Be Successful?

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The past decade or so has brought an incredible rise in the popularity of amateur physique and barbell sports. So many people are interested in transforming their body and pushing the limits of their physiology. Whatever kind of activity you enjoy most, there is a niche community out there in which you can display your talents. As such, the business of fitness has grown tremendously as well.

Perhaps the fastest growing part of this business is the “online coaching” side. Anyone and everyone with a bit of experience in fitness is selling their services as a coach who is ready to help you get in shape. But just how helpful is it to have a coach to guide you along? Better yet, how necessary is it to hire a coach as far as your success is concerned? The answers to these questions are a bit nuanced and deserve a bit of context. Qualifications, experience, and merit go a long way in the experience you might have with a coach. Likewise, your own personality and values might predispose you to being successful with or without a coach. However, getting the right combination in a coach or mentor can make a big impact not only in your fitness, but in all aspects of your life.


Not Everyone “Needs” a Coach

Let’s start off with the part that most coaches tend to keep quiet. You don’t need a coach in order to have some success. There are certainly some people who are able to analyze their actions objectively and make a plan without emotion. They may spend a great deal of time digesting and scrutinizing all there is to learn about diet and exercise. And while it takes a lot of dedication and effort, these people eventually do well in finding their own path and learning on their own.

Likewise, there are some people who also have a do-it-yourself attitude that makes it hard for them to relinquish control to another person. These people tend to second guess everything a coach tells them and often do what they think is best regardless. This creates negative emotions and doubt around their training and nutrition, which makes the process harder and less effective. In the end, they end up doing worse simply because they were unable to trust their coach and let the process unfold. For these people, it’s not that they don’t “need” a coach. Rather, these people won’t find success in hiring a coach until they are ready to let go of their own bias and trust the process.

Of course, anyone can have success to some extent without the help of a coach. Starting as a beginner, nearly any kind of exercise and diet change can have a meaningful impact. Even as you become more experienced, having success is possible in so far as you dedicate yourself to learning and progressing, but the process can be made easier and more fulfilling when you trust the right person.


Specialized Fitness Goals

The most common reason to have a coach is to reach some sort of niche fitness goal. This would include competing in bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, crossfit, or even obstacle course races. If the idea is to compete at a high level in these areas, having a coach is almost a necessity. There is just so much that goes into this kind of training that is pays to have someone there to guide you along.

When it comes to competing, the planning is extensive and complicated. Having someone else to carefully design your training program helps you to stay focused on the task and/or competition at hand. Additionally, you are bound to run into issues and road blocks along the way to your competition. A coach should have the education and experience necessary to deal with all of your questions and concerns. This keeps you sane and worry free so that you have the opportunity to train hard and progress as needed.

Lastly, a coach helps you with all the details that come along with competing. Need to know how to plan out your travel for your event? A coach will help you with that. Feeling anxious about meet day scheduling? Your coach will handle that for you. Have a question about what kind of foods or fluids you should be ingesting the day of your competition? Look no further than your coach to help you figure all of this out. These types of services are invaluable as far as doing your best and performing up to your full potential on competition day.


Amplifying Your Success

Competing at a high level isn’t the only reason to hire a coach. I mentioned before that it is possible to have success in your fitness journey without a coach. But just like anything in life, hiring a professional to help you usually leads to better results. You can buy books and watch videos on how to rebuild the engine in your car, and once you’re under the hood, you can spend the time figuring out the specific parts you need, and how much tension you need to tighten each bolt. However, most people would agree that it is better to pay a professional to get the job done for you. Not only will it save you time and headaches, but you can be sure that your engine will run safely and effectively when a mechanic does the job.

This analogy applies very well to hiring a fitness coach. It is an investment into yourself and your body so that you can keep yourself running at a high level. There is certainly a way to do it for yourself, but the results will likely never be as robust as those you would get from working with a professional. Of course, this predicates itself on finding a competent coach to handle this for you. And just like there are terrible mechanics, there are also some coaches that might leave you frustrated and unhappy. However, when you find a good coach and buy into the process, you will enjoy great results.

The major advantage here is having someone to help you avoid the mistakes that set you back and waste time. For example, most people diet too aggressively, or train too intensely for their own good. A coach will reign you in and create sustainable results while prioritizing your health. They’ll also help you out with the intangible things. Wisdom around lifestyle, stress, identifying priorities, goal setting, etc. is key in your fitness success. Learning these things through mentorship by your coach will save you a lot of time and effort compared to learning them through trial and error alone.



Just as with everything in life, hiring a professional coach will help you to enjoy more success in your fitness journey. And while hiring a coach doesn’t guarantee success, having one almost certainly has a higher success rate compared to going at it alone. With that being said, some people are not prepared to trust someone else to plan for them. Do-it-yourselfers often struggle with the control aspect of their training and nutrition. Second guessing and half-hearted dedication is a recipe for disaster when it comes to working with a coach.

However, when buy in and trust is present in the coach-client relationship, then results are amplified. You will avoid all of the silly mistakes that we all make when left to our own devices. In the end, your training is taken to new heights and your health, lifestyle, and knowledge base is improved as well!

About the author

About Andres Vargas
Andres Vargas

Andres is a strength and nutrition coach and the owner of The Strength Cave, an online fitness coaching company. He holds a Master's degree in Exercise Science and is currently studying for a PhD in Sport and Exercise Science. His goal is to blend science and real world application in order to provide the best...[Continue]

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