Does your coach have a six pack? Is he shredded, swole, and fucking huge all year long? Does he or she seem to effortlessly maintain a low body fat percentage all year long? Do they over simplify all of your problems? You only need to do this one thing…. Well, it is time to raise you bullshit flag!
If you coach is good shape, awesome. I do agree it does not make sense to learn how to be fit from a fat person. I am not trying to shame fat people. Although I do believe there will be some fat people that do know some valuable information about exercise, when it comes to application, we need to seek help from people who are adept at applying the information every day. However, if they are staying lean all year long, I would be a little skeptical. Being a little skeptical does not mean you interrogate them. First seek to understand. Do your best to objectively assess what steps this individual takes to stay healthy. In addition to this, male coaches maintaining a single digit body fat percentage all year long is incredibly difficult to do without some sort of performance enhancing substance. Bear in mind that I am not accusing anyone of using anything. To give you some perspective here, Steve Reeves was a big name in body building. It is generally accepted that he did not use any performance enhancers. He maintained a body fat percentage between 10-12 percent and would cut down to roughly 9 percent. Also, the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, maintained around 10-11% and would cut to 9%. Expanding this to other body builders, they maintain low digit body fat percentage for an incredibly short amount of time. Other than that, celebrities get a whole team behind and dedicate a significant amount of time, money, and other experts to get in amazing shape. So forgive yourself right now for not looking like whatever godly looking celebrity you want to look like. You are awesome just the way you are, but that does not mean we can not work hard to be better.
Questionable coaches might tell you some special secret. They might even convince you to pay for some super duper secret, tip, program, or supplement. THERE IS NO SECRET! Read the previous sentence again. Ok just kidding. The secret is to consistently work hard! That is it. Whatever else is said has a context and is simply a tool that can help depending on the circumstances one faces.
Some coaches endorse just one fad diet. If your amazing coach believes everyone needs to do the same diet, well there is a problem. Although there are concrete principles to how our biology works, there are also differences. We all need a source of amino acids in order for our body to function properly. Some of us might have different issues or gut flora and hydrochloric acid production, which would result in different choices regarding the source of amino acids. Inevitably what each individual needs to do will be a little different. There are lots of people that do well with gluten and are in great shape and health. Personally, I feel a lot better not having gluten most of the time. I will not tell everyone they should not have gluten. I will share my experience and articulate how I feel better avoiding it, but that does not mean other people should.
Many people can follow a program that is similar and is almost the same. However, if we all do the exact same program, it might not be optimal. Due to our unique differences and goals, it would make sense for our programs to be different. This does not necessarily mean it will be radically different, but there would undoubtedly be some small differences. I will use similar exercises with different clients but I will modify it according to what they need and how they move. We all have a different kinesthetic intelligence as well as bone structure, so I do my best to modify the exercises so it fits them well.
Does your coach tell you that you will be in amazing shape in 30-60 days? I have touched on this before, so I do not want to dwell on this. It is true. Anyone can get in amazing shape in 30-60 days, but can you maintain it for the rest of your life? That is the ultimate goal: to establish a lifestyle growing strong mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually throughout your entire life. Regarding the physical dimension, expressing this through strength, flexibility, endurance, and hand eye coordination, will develop a well rounded physique.
At the end of the day, my general rule is to trust my gut. If your gut is giving you a funny feeling, you need to trust your it. This does not necessarily mean your coach is terrible, it just means that it might or might not be a good fit. Trust your gut, and let it guide you to gather credible information, deeply reflect, and look at your situation objectively. At the end of the day, I do believe every coach will be a good fit for someone. Give it a try and if it is not working, do not be afraid to find someone else. But, if you have tried a dozen coaches and they all apparently do not fit, I suspect the coaches are not the problem. Before even seeking a coach or trainer, you need to be brutally honest with yourself! You need to be ready to change!