A regular debate among people is the difference between deciding to get a coach or deciding to fly solo and train by yourself. Now, I won’t give a biased opinion based on the fact that I am a coach, so I will aim to look from both sides as both options could be suitable depending on the individual.
Getting a coach will remove the barrier that almost all beginners have, which is fear. Beginners will feel intimidated in going to the gym, they lack confidence in knowing what to do and worry if they are doing it right. Having a coach to guide them can help them learn, and in time can help them to become self sufficient. They don’t have to worry about incorrect technique as they are coached about it, and will have a set structure put out for them in the gym which helps limit the intimidation aspect. So if this is you, coaching is a good bet. On the other hand if you have confidence, you’ve learned to lift in the past and you understand execution, tempo, rest periods, sets, reps and are comfortable adding load to your bar than maybe getting a program and going solo could work for you. However what I would say is no matter who you are, one thing nobody should do is enter the gym without a plan of what they are going to do.
Regardless of wether you feel you know what you are doing or you are a complete beginner, getting nutritional guidance off of someone qualified, educated and reliable is key. From experience a large amount of people who feel they know what they are doing, DON’T when things are broken down for them. Nutrition information can be very confusing for people, and people within the fitness industry who don’t have the knowledge base to give advice but still do so don’t help the situation at times. Having someone to hold you accountable to your plans is also massive. Nutrition should be based around calorie intake, protein and nutrient requirements, and foods you like. If this isn’t the case then your plan could possibly be better. If someone tries to get you to becomes biased toward one type of approach (low carb, keto, paleo) because they themselves are biased toward it, then seek other advice.
This is simply something having a coach offers greatly, and something that you miss out on when you don’t have a coach. This is also the main reason why people “fall off the wagon”. When things get hard or you lose motivation, this is usually when you will let nutrition slip and start to miss a few sessions. This can then become a poor habit, and can stall your progress. When having a coach, that accountability factor can keep things moving forward even when you are finding things hard. It’s when people are left in charge of their own decisions, that they make poor choices when tired or emotional. Think of that “mental battle” you have after a long day where you are debating back and forth if you will train or not and sometimes you also try justify not training to yourself.. sound familiar?
4. Educated Programming & Planning
If you are going to the gym and looking after your nutrition then its safe to assume you probably have a goal. A goal will need a plan. Planning and programming needs far more thought then something you can pull out of a muscle magazine. You need to think about what training level someone is, past injuries, muscle imbalances, biomechanics, a persons goal, what they enjoy and the list goes on. Its much more than just a “4×8 Back Squat” written on a piece of paper. You also need a plan based on the time frame for your goal. You need to have the next 1-2 steps thought of in advance to prevent any chance of stalls in progress. The better the plan, the better the execution, the better your result
Having a coach or not is purely an individual decision, but even coaches will have coaches. There is no doubt that results are better when you have a coach and when you have someone to answer to. Yes you can get results flying solo, but they could also be better and achieved quicker with better planning and education.