5 Reasons For Veterans To Spend Some One-On-One Time With Their Coach
Personal training is for newbies, right? For people who have never cleaned or snatched before, right? You don’t need personal training. You have been doing this stuff for three years now. Right?
Not so fast…
Personal training isn’t just for people going through fundamentals learning the movements for the first time. Even veterans can, and should, meet with their coach for one-on-one training once a month, every six weeks, or at the very least once every quarter.
Think about it this way: The absolute best athletes in the world in every sport all have coaches, (where as amateur athletes often don’t). So get it out of your mind that you have been here for three years and no longer need a coach.
Here at Jones N 4 Crossfit, one of the backbones of our business is the concept of having a coach for life! And we mean it! The intention was never to graduate you to group classes and never hang out again. The point is to keep the relationship going, for the sake of your ongoing, ever changing fitness.
Here are five reasons why you should keep working with your coach:
5. Are you plateau-ing?
When you first start training, improvements are fast and furious. Every single day is a new personal best. But after a certain amount of time—one year for some, three years for others—your improvements will start to slow down.
World-renowned coach, James FitzGerald of OPEX Fitness in Arizona explained this plateau-ing has to do with how your central nervous system develops.
“Once your central nervous system becomes more developed, it gets harder and harder for your body to adapt quickly,”FitzGerald said.
In other words, the more fit you become, the more developed your central nervous system will become, and when it does it gets harder to make strength gains, power gains, aerobic gains by following a general physical preparedness (GPP) program (as most gyms do).
Hope is not lost, though!
Gains CAN and will still happen for you. It’s just that eventually your training needs to become at least a little bit more specialized, FitzGerald explained. So if you’re plateau-ing, it’s time to include more specific pieces in your training to drive specific adaptions—be strength gains, power or conditioning. And most likely, this will involve focusing on your weaknesses.
Getting together with your coach will help him/her and you figure out what your next steps should be, and come up with a plan to ensure you continue to move forward with your fitness. It doesn’t mean you need to stop coming to group classes; you might just have a bit of extra work to squeeze in each week.
4. When it comes to technical movements, the better you get, the more coaching you need!
When you were first learning how to snatch, the cues you received were probably more ‘big-picture,’almost generic technical corrections. But the more technical you become, the more fine-tuning you will need from a coach—and it’s hard to get that in a group class of 20 people.
A coach telling the class to get full hip extension on a clean, or explaining what a muscle clean is, will eventually lose its effect on your technical development after two years. What you need instead is someone to work with you on the finer points of the movement—on perfecting your set-up, your angles, your second pull, the list goes on. You better believe the best weightlifter in the world has a coach.
3. Nagging Injuries
Veteran athletes are masters at working around an injury, instead of fixing the problem. Sometimes they get away with it (and it goes unnoticed) because they know their bodies, so they modify movements during workouts, and find ways to avoid feeling the nagging pain—and to avoid looking like they’re in pain.
Stop working around the injury; make an appointment with your coach to give your some tools to fix whatever’s going on. He can give you warm-up drills and accessory work to help you iron out any muscle imbalances going on that might be contributing to the problem.
Not only that, if there are certain movements you DO need to avoid, your coach can help provide you with the best movement alternatives, so you’re getting the most out of each session.
2. Keep you on track with your goals and hold you accountable
On top of diligently doing group classes 3 or 4 days a week, Sebastian from MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver is one veteran athlete who continues to work with his coach during personal training sessions every couple months.
He said the sessions have helped him work on specific things he wants to get better at, and gives him direction when it comes to his fitness goals.
“He helps me figure out where I need to improve most and gives those areas more attention, and then he gives me a plan in terms of what I should be doing for warm-ups and after class, too,”Sebastian said. Right now, his goal is to get a muscle-up, so his coach has given him some additional upper body strength work to do on his own.
“And he has worked with me on mobility. My knee was hurting for a while, and he helped me fix that,”he added.
Coach Tom from MadLab School of Fitness added: “My most dedicated clients are the ones who continue to meet with me once every six weeks.”
I'm sure this is true of most gyms. If you know you have an appointment with your coach every week or every month, you’re going to be more accountable to showing up three days a week and honoring the commitment you made to yourself and to your coach when you first started.
Pam from TracFit in San Jose can attest to this. She said she loves doing a blend of both group classes for the fun and personal training for the accountability.
“We don’t go through life as solo creatures, so the group is great. And when we meet for a personal session, we work on things that I struggle with,”she said.
1. To prepare you for what’s to come!
Working with your coach is the best way to figure out how you should be approaching what’s coming up in classes. For example, if the next focus is going to be a 6-week cycle squat cycle, your coach can give you some direction as to how to approach it.
Similarly, if a lot of overhead work is coming up in the next month of classes, and you struggle going overhead, your coach can provide you with some great preparation and accessory work, and possible substitutions if need be, for what’s coming up in classes.
What your coach does with you, of course, will change as you change.
Pam put it this way: “I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago. My needs change as I age, so why would I want to navigate that on my own? I wish more people would recognize the importance of having longterm fitness goals. It’s your whole body. You’re going to have it your whole life, so why would you not try to take care of it? And why would you try to do it on your own?”
Don’t try to do it on your own; that’s why you got a coach in the first place! Use him. Or her.