Before you embark on a training regimen, there are five important questions to ask yourself first. These are things you must consider before joining a gym, starting a personal training regimen, hiring a coach or trainer, or paying a personalized programmer. Answering these questions will prepare you not only to get started, but to continue in your training and to give it your all.
#1: Can You Afford the Service in Question?
Before you read any further, you must ask yourself if you can afford the personal training, programming, coaching, or whatever service it is. Factor in any additional or existing gym fees you have or might need, the cost of any changes to your diet and nutrition, and travel (if required). Check with your potential new coach to see if he or she requires any additional equipment, gym access, or training facilities. Remember that these are additional costs on top of the coach’s fees. If you cannot afford the basic requirements, then you probably cannot properly and fully complete the training.
More importantly, understand what you are paying for. You are hiring someone in order to gain an edge you did not have or could not have without his or her expertise. For most people, hiring a personal trainer, coach, or remote programmer is considered a luxury. And just like anyone you hire for any service, a coach’s work comes with a cost. Keep in mind that any good and effective program takes time, so coaches and programmers will have long-term goals and plans for you. So make sure you have the ability to invest not just in one month of training, but for several months before you even get started.
#2: Are You Willing to Make Social and Schedule Sacrifices?
Understand that not everyone around you might have the same goals as you. By going a different route, you might find yourself on an island (or in an empty gym after hours). You have to be okay with that. By entering into a program or hiring an outside coach, you are telling yourself, your gym, and your current training partners that you are going to be doing things a little bit differently. If you are a gym owner yourself, you might not have the time or energy to work out with your clients or training partners as much as you once did, and they need to be onboard to help you and to support you. If they are not supportive, then you may need to consider why you are taking this new route in the first place. Are your goals about you? Are you willing to go it on your own? This kind of training is not for everyone.
Personalized programming and training will also require sacrifices in your schedule, as the new training may take more time. If your current schedule is already full, you might not be able to do or add more. Remember, you need time for recovery, dietary needs, sleep, regular life, and training sessions. A good program requires all of these. The program should also be adaptable, but there will always be the basics you must be willing to make time for.
#3: Do You Have Realistic Expectations?
Before you even think about starting on a training regimen, make sure it is one you can actually execute. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of competitions, but check the real numbers of your current fitness and performance and make sure that your goals are reasonable. Be honest about where you are, where you want to be, and how much time and effort you are willing to put in to get there. Be honest first with yourself, and then with your coach or programmer before you start. Be prepared to be transparent.
#4: Are You Willing to Make a Commitment?
What coaches and personal programmers hear when you sign a contract is, “I trust you and I am committing myself fully to your experience, advice, and the program you create for me.” By taking you on as a client, what they tell you in return is that they are privileged and excited to work with you. Coaches feel this way about you for a reason: because you are all-in and due to this, they know they can help and get you where you want to go. A good programmer or coach has long-term goals, particular steps to follow, and a science they know works as a basis for your training. And they expect that you will follow the program. Be prepared to be committed.
Understand that success is a process. It takes time and patience, so if you are a quick-fix person, this kind of commitment and time is not for you. You cannot just jump into a program for a month – every program has a process. Plan ahead and make sure you can give a program at least three to six months, fully and without interruption. You can say whether a coach or program did or did not work for you only after giving it true time.
#5: Are You Coachable?
Once you start a program, you must be open to being critiqued. Be coachable and willing to listen to all coaching suggestions and feedback. If you have trusted the program and coach enough to sign up for it, you have to trust that the coach knows a little something about what he or she is doing. Just as you trust the routine and program, you have to trust that the coach is trying to help. You must be open not only to hearing honest critique, but also to applying it. To ask for help, but not put the advice into action is not going to help you, and it certainly won’t help your coach help you.
If, of course, you have questions about the program or coaching, then you need to ask those questions. A good coach should be able to answer. If something doesn’t feel right, you need to communicate that. But go to your coach or programmer with your questions first. There is a reason you chose to trust him or her, so trust that instinct, too.
So, have you made your choice now? Are you hiring a coach? If so, go out there and find the coach and program that best suits you and your goals, stick to the programming, give it time, and give it everything you have!
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