There are literally thousands “coaches” out there that “specialize” in contest prep; whether it be bodybuilding, figure, bikini, or physique.
Truth be told, helping someone go from obese to thin or average to pretty good is a totally different ballgame from putting an individual on stage with paper thin skin, striated glutes and hamstrings, and abs so seperated that you’d have to clean them with a q-tip or dental floss. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the intricacies of competing.
Also, everyone that has ever competed (no matter what division it was in) thinks they’re ready to coach others. This leads to the passing on of myths that will not die – many, so ridiculous, that a child couldn’t come up with anything more incorrect (don’t drink from a straw, the excess air will stretch your stomach and make you lose definition in your abs). I’m serious, I’ve heard that and if you found that string on Google and are worried, it’s absolutely, effin’ asinine!
I’ve been in this game for a long time and have been extremely successful as a coach, helping several individuals obtain their Pro Cards in many different organizations, and an even more impressive run helping individuals win their class and overall at their shows (currently have a 10 show winning streak for figure competitors) and am working with 9 individuals who will be competing in the upcoming weeks/months.
I’m purposely leaving off some common sense things: regular assessments (body fat/circumference meeasurements and the appropriate updates to your nutrition/training based on that progress – this is something most coaches should obviously be doing but an alarming number of them do not.
If you’re wondering if you have chosen or did choose (for those who have already competed before) the right coach, let this be your guide. Don’t get “guru’d” (coach-speak for someone who practices the ridiculous vodoo, black magic, and “Bro-science” that most of these morons perpetuate).
1. You looked better the week before or the day after than you actually did on stage. This comes from a bogus “peak week”, and is caused by a moronic depletion, not understanding how delicate electrolyte balance is, over depleting sodium, or thinking that they are smarter than the body and throwing absolutely everything out of whack. Most people that don’t do as well as they’d like fall into this category and actually do look better after reloading on sodium, carbohydrates and other nutrients they were lacking on stage.
2. Your coach has you doing some vodoo-like depletion/loacing of sodium, water, carbs, protein, fat, or whatever else that they can come with absolutely no backing of science other than what they’re buddy who once competed came up with reading Flex in the 80s. That crap didn’t work then and doesn’t work now.
3. He has you eating something along the lines of tillapia and asparagus for a full week (chicken and broccoli is also a popular dinner of “gurus” everywhere).
4. Marathon, slow-go cardio. This is the biggest indicator that your coach is full of shit. Look at marathon runners and other endurance athletes: they are not “LEAN”. They are SKINNY. There is a huge difference. HIIT style cardio and sprints: I’ve written about it in this blog hundreds of time. Search it, read it, learn it, and use it.
5. Starvation. Mixed with #4, most competitors decimate their physique and lose entirely too much lean body mass during prep. The body needs the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to not only operate optimally, but to fuel the athlete to continually train with intensity while allowing the body to burn fat and add/preserve muscle.
6. Excess cardio: Nutrition and training are key for a lean physique. Excess cardio (I’ve seen people doing 12-14 sessions per week in prep) will make you look like a very ill individual. Not a championship competitor.
7. Your coach is competing with you. Speak to anyone of my competitors and they’ll tell you I am at their service on comp day to make sure they have everything they need: food, support, tanning touch up, water, food, food, food – whatever it may be. As a competitor, I know that I could not possibly give each client 100% attention if I were backstage getting ready to compete.
8. Cookie cutter diets. Currently, I am training 9 competitors for shows and their diets are distinctly different based on their current physiques, needs, and their body types. I could type up a general diet for 10 different people and they’d lose fat and look “better” with it. There’s no one size fits all for competitors that are being judged next to other well-conditioned athletes.
9. Your coach has not prepared you for the importance of posing. I’ve seen great physiques look like total hell on stage due to presentation. Stage presence, presentation, confidence, smiling: these are things that judges ARE looking at.
10. Your coach isn’t accessible. Competing, in itself, is quite an overwhelming ordeal, especially for the first timer. Aside from having my clients ready, I also want them to enjoy themselves, have fun and be as calm as they can all the way through show day.
11. You aren’t prepared on stage. I don’t mean you are concerned or scared: I mean your on a stage you do not belong on. I take great pride in my own reputation, and I’d never let anyone embarrass me, let alone themselves, by getting on stage when they were NOT ready to win their class.
12. Your coach doesn’t have an “after-show plan”. Helping a client properly rebound from the rigors of competing and, if necessary, setting them up for the most success possible in their next show is paramount in the competitor’s future successes.
There are plenty of horror stories many competitors have shared with me over the years, and I’m hoping that a few will chime in on the comments section below.
If your coach falls into one or more of these categories, I’d kindly recommend that you send him somewhere else to practice his witchcraft: save your money, your health and your competition experience and check out my competition comsulting Facebook page: Elite Fitness Consultants.Boyd Myers
Personal Trainer San Antonio, Figure Contest Prep Coach
Owner, San Antonio's Top Personal Training Studio
16613 Huebner Rd (corner of Huebner and Bitters)