Choosing a Contest Prep Coach

It's that time again and I am getting ready to compete. At first I decided that I knew my stuff and my body well enough to do my own diet. I did it myself last year and I placed rather well. However, my feelings about it is that I wasn't at my personal best. I set out a date and all, and thought I could just move forward and handle it but then I found myself slacking. I realized that I didn't have anyone to hold myself accountable to, other than myself. Not only that, but I felt alone in this whole process in an industry bombarded by teams (Team Bombshell, Oddo's Angels, and the like).
I have worked with my trainer and good friend Garrett Shepherd for years and without him I couldn't have learned half the things I know now. He's always been my go-to person and someone I could always count on. But life happens. 2011 was a difficult year for me and even though I set out to do my contest prep alone, the fact is that I could have used a little help.
Coaches choose to work with you as much as you choose them. I, myself, as a coach can testify to walking away from clients who could be a potential problem and not necessarily have the drive, determination and discipline it takes to follow through a the rigorous needs of the diet and training to get on a stage.
Here are some things I think about when choosing a coach:

  • Can you trust this person with your body? Let's face it, some of the things we do are a little crazy, especially that last week. There is a lot of manipulation with sodium, potassium, water, and the last thing anyone needs is to end up in a hospital from severe dehydration or something else.
  • Are you able to maintain a good, professional relationship? You need to be able to know when to contact your coach and when not. But you also need to feel confident enough that s/he could be reached and get back to you in a timely manner.
  • If you are a veteran in the competition field, does your coach value that? It's very frustrating when you know what works for your body but because your coach is set on his or her ways, doesn't want to listen or even consider what you have to say as an option. Sure some people don't mind just going with whatever is said but this is very important for those who have been competing for a while.
  • Is this person willing to positively encourage, develop and foster your individual qualities in the sport? I know some coaches go as far as promising fame and fortune, magazine deals, etc. Some are able to do that, while others can't and are just blowing smoke up your booty crack. In instances when a coach can do those things and has those connections, it really is up to him/her to decide how far he can push on our behalf. For this, he/she has to be able to see you for who you are and what you are able to able to give back to the sport, the industry, the organization, supplement companies, etc.r. When appropriate and depending who you work with, your coach should at the very least promote you and encourage you via social media  (FB, twitter, etc) and you should be able to do likewise. The relationship is a give and take, especially if it's a good one.
  • Would you feel welcomed, embraced and valued? There are many teams out there. I have been competing for a while now and can honestly say that I've always felt like an outsider. Even when I thought I was a part of something...I never really was. Your coach, if s/he has a team, should show great leadership skills. A leader is someone who brings people together and makes room for growth.
  • Is s/he setting realistic goals for you and your lifestyle?A coach, in my opinion, needs to be mindful of all the things going on in your life. Yes, drive, determination and discipline are important and those of us who want to win or do well will do whatever it takes, a good coach will also know when to hit the breaks or slow it down for you a bit.
  • And last but not least, are you able to share your not so okay parts of yourself? I trusted Garrett with all there was to me, including my flaws. It was important that he saw past that, and focus on the other positive things I had about my physique. I am not perfect. No one really is.
IFBB Pro and Contest Prep
Specialist Fakhri Mubarak
I am one of the most stubborn people you'll ever meet and I admit to having a very hard time listening to someone telling me what to do. Except when it comes to competing. I value whoever I am working with as much as that person will value what I can bring to his/her business or team.
For all the reasons above, this year I will FINALLY be working with IFBB Pro Fakhri Mubarak.  I will be embarking on a new journey that I know will take me beyond the stage.
I am also looking forward absorbing all that I know I will learn from Fakhri, just like I did from Garrett, and be able to share my knowledge with my own clients.
Stay tuned for more blog entries about my entire process (with pictures!). I can't wait to share with you guys what will develop in the next few months!

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