In the world of competitive bodybuilding – which for the sake of this discussion is the term we will use to also cover bikini, figure, and men’s & women’s physique – one thing is certain:  if you go it alone, the potential for things to suck goes way up.

Most people recognize the need for some sort of guidance to help them through the process.  Some realize the moment they decide to compete that they are in way over their heads and immediately begin searching for a qualified, steady hand to guide them.  Others figure it out after a few weeks.  Some actually compete – sometimes more than once! – before deciding that they could place better and enjoy the process a bit more with someone else calling the shots.

So once you’ve decided you are ready for help, who do you turn to?  If you ask Google for a bodybuilding trainer in your town, you’re going to get pages of results from people who have never competed because hey, we’re all trainers and we’re all in the business of building bodies, right?  Whoever you meet with, ask about their experience in the actual realm of competitive bodybuilding.

Unless you’re in a big city, your chances of finding a qualified trainer that is local to you, qualified, and available is sketchy at best.  If this is your situation – and you’re not alone – an online coach might be your best option.  Just as with an in-person trainer, finding a good online coach can be tricky – your best bet is to interview several and find one that you feel has the right level of experience and concern for your long-term health (this is important).

But what exactly are you getting into with an online coach?  Let’s break down some pros and cons:

Pros

  • Less expensive that in-person trainers.  This should be universal.  If not, you have either found the most expensive online coach or the cheapest in-person trainer possible.
  • As alluded to above, coaches are typically more experienced.  Being online allows them to have a nationwide pool of clients which lets them focus specifically on working with competitors.  Your local small town trainer just isn’t going to have the same kind of opportunities to work with as many athletes.
  • Having a thorough program spelled out for you.  A legitimate bodybuilding prep coach cannot skimp or be lacking detail when it comes to weight training, cardio, nutrition, or supplementation.

Cons

  • Sometimes the detail in the coach’s plan can be lacking or insufficient.
  • Some coaches overextend themselves with dozens and dozens of clients, and prioritize their attention to the ones they feel will be most successful.
  • Access to your coach may be restricted or limited to times that are less than optimal.
  • Instruction on how to do specific exercises may be minimal.  If you aren’t very well-versed in weight training, this can pose a significant challenge.
  • Many coaches don’t take the time to properly get to know each competitor before designing their program.  Often times these programs are very similar from one person to the next.
  • If your coach is in a different time zone, this can introduce some communication difficulties.

What I have done is examined that list of cons and done everything I possibly can to eliminate them.  I am all about the details.  The plans I provide to my team are as explicit as anything needs to be, and if certain questions keep coming up regularly, I modify the format of the plan to address that.

I keep my team small to ensure I can maintain a high level of contact and involvement with everyone.  I strive to be perpetually available via e-mail, text, and social media, and I do regularly scheduled weekly calls with my team as well.

Exercise instruction is provided for each workout via personalized video.  As I progress with each client and they learn exactly what I’m after, the videos certainly become shorter – but in the beginning the are detailed and I am very specific with the coaching points and emphasis I’m looking for on each move.

Every team member kicks off their time with me with a 1-hour Skype interview where I grill them on every little details I need to craft a truly personalized plan that fits their needs, schedule, and limitations.

The time zone thing, well…I think I’m pretty good, but I can’t change the fact that I’m on the East coast.  Though with text, e-mail, and social media I feel that it minimizes any potential issues.

If you’re looking for a coach and have been holding off on going the online route because you weren’t sure if it’s right for you, all I ask for is 5 minutes of your time for a quick conversation and you’ll see that I’m serious about providing quality planning, unparalleled support, and a winning mentality.

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