Competing 101: Choosing a Coach

Not sure how to choose a physique coach? Here are some important factors to consider to help you in choosing your coach.

February 17, 2013
Competing 101: Choosing a Coach

I often receive messages from potential competitors asking, “Which coach or team do I join?” The truth of the matter is, each athlete is really the only one who can answer this question. That said, there are some important factors to consider, and you’ll want to do your research and weigh the pros and cons of each so that you’ll be better equipped to make your decision.

The first thing to consider is, why you are competing in the first place. Are you competing just for the fun of it? Is it a dream or long-term goal to compete? How serious you are about competing will drive the value of your investment in a coach (trainer/nutritionist). No matter your goals, a healthier you will always be an amazing investment!

When it comes to competing in the bikini division, you’ll find competitors of all ages and from every walk of life. You must evaluate where you are in life, and be honest with yourself about the amount of time you have to invest. Competing can be very rewarding, but it’s also a very time consuming endeavor. There will be challenges and obstacles throughout your journey; it is up to you whether these become roadblocks. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is amazing how we push through and find time for the things we really want to do.

In an individual competitive sport, it will always be about you. Although there are "teams" out there directed by a coach or multiple coaches, each individual athlete needs to evaluate what they are looking for. Some will be highly competitive and push to be number one. Some will not. And not everyone is able to differentiate between "you against the judges’ views" and "you against him or her." Being a woman, you know there are women out there that can be catty and malicious. (Yes, I said it!) We all know that this is a human trait too many share. It must be the silly hormones. In the sport of bikini, a lot of the athletes are also young... maturity is still evolving. So set your feelings aside, and always pay close attention to your intuition.

Having a team to share your journey with, support, and network together at the shows is awesome. You will meet a number of competitors, and varying teams of competitors as well. How open you are to accepting friendships will influence your success in feeling apart of the bikini division as a whole. This will evolve with or without a “team.”

With all that in mind, you need to make your "team" decision about the actual coach and not the other women on the team. You want someone who is great at what they do, someone who is going to look at you and gear your nutrition and training specifically to you. You would not shortchange yourself anywhere else in life, so why do it here. Everyone’s body responds differently to training and foods. We can follow the exact same diet as someone else and get very different results. This is why it is important to have an experienced coach in the area that you are pursuing.

I never thought or expected there to be challenges to disrupt my healthy lifestyle. The normal challenges of having a family, home and profession began to impact my fitness routine and nutrition. I slowly found there to be little to no time left in a day to fit my workouts in. After two children and maturity, my physique really began to change and I quickly put on excess weight. I became very frustrated, and that’s when I started to look for someone with solid knowledge and experience in nutrition. But the key was to have someone to be accountable to. I found coach and nutritionist Kim Oddo in Temecula, California. When I first began working with Kim, I had no intentions to compete as a bikini competitor. Less than 12 weeks into my transformation however, we decided to try a competition to see how I liked it. I completely enjoyed the experience and the motivational push to keep getting better.

Ultimately, you should find someone knowledgeable that you mend well with. Find someone that you feel you can set goals with and reach them. Ideally, make sure this individual has experience in the areas you are pursuing when competing.

Although I do think it is helpful to evaluate a coach’s work by looking at the athletes they have worked, you should never base your decision on trying to be someone else. Also keep in mind that your coach will only be as good as you allow them to be. You have to be willing to break your comfort zone and put in the work. Never allow your age, whether you have had children, marital status, profession, nor experiences distract your potential.

Best of luck in your decision!

Amy Allen, IFBB Bikini Pro
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