I’ve decided to take a quick one article break from the powerlifting programming series to write about online powerlifting coaching for three reasons:
1) I just need a break from the rather arduous and tedious review process
2) I’ve recently hired Mike Tuchscherer as my online powerlifting coach
3) I’ve been receiving a number of inquiries regarding my availability for personalize, custom training.
To put first things first, yes, we do offer personalized coaching and training services including programming, technique analysis, and nutritional guidance. For more information, please email me at email@example.com. However, in the rest of this article, I’d like to outline what I believe you should be looking for in a coach in order to get your money’s worth.
Including Mike Tuchscherer, I’ve thus far hired three powerlifting coaches. My tenure under Tuchscherer hasn’t been long enough to draw many important conclusions, but I would like to share what I’ve learned thus far about whether or not online powerlifting coaching is “worth it” so to speak.
If you’d rather watch than read:
My First Online Powerlifting Coach
I won’t name names here, but the first powerlifting coach I ever had was a relative big shot in the industry. I was excited and giddy to begin my training under this particular coach. That said, it quickly became clear that this coach was dealing with a massive client base and that I was just another cog in the wheel. He did not perform an extensive background check, athlete evaluation, and the questionnaire I received did not require me to go into any particular detail.
He did not mandate information about my training history nor did he collect any information about it at all. He did not mandate videos for technical analysis. He did not ask for objective body fat measures such as pictures, waist measurements, caliper readings, etc.
Every part of his process was designed to most expediently deliver unto me my Google doc workout with as little hassle to him as possible. Needless to say, I felt trivialized and I quit using his services within less than a month.
My First Real Powerlifting Coach
Now, I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor, for free, under an accomplished raw lifter with a 2000lbs+ total at 275lbs. Unlike my previous experience, I was part of a small team that trained using the Westside methodology. My input was valued and I felt as if I was an important part of the team. I became good friends with everyone in the group and we all legitimately cared about each other’s progress. And it showed. EVERYONE in the group made great gains.
Now, I realize this all sounds very sappy, but it is incredibly important to at least feel like you have a personal relationship of sorts with your coach. It might not develop immediately, but it needs to develop. If you don’t feel you have a personal connection with your coach, you’ll constantly feel as if they just “don’t get you”. This is going to make it nearly impossible for you to buy-in to their ideas and programming. If you can’t buy-in, you won’t believe in what you’re doing. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, you won’t give it your all. If you don’t give it your all, your gains will suck.
It really is that simple.
I’m not saying you need to be buddy, buddy with your coach. They’re your freaking coach for a reason. Many times, it is their job you straight with objectivity. To be honest, this one of the main benefits of a coach. That in mind, in my opinion and experience, if you can’t relate to your coach as a person, you simply will not be able to get the most out of your relationship.
My Second Online Powerlifting Coach
The second time I hired a coach I made sure to go with someone who I was far more familiar with. This time, I wasn’t seeking out programming help but rather nutritional consultation. Because the person I sought out had been following my training for a year or so, they even offered to help for free! I elected to pay them regardless, but it couldn’t have been more clear from our conversation on the phone that he was completely invested in getting me optimal results. Do you think this had a huge impact on my buy-in?
Well, of course it did. I went from doing the See-Food diet, eating 40 chicken McNuggets for dinner while downing a gallon of whole milk, to meticulously counting my macronutrients every single day, without fail, for more than six straight months. I got stronger while losing weight (at least initially).
This NEVER would have happened if I hadn’t experienced that transference of excitement and belief in the initial phone conversation. If I wasn’t working with someone who I truly considered “on my side”, I wouldn’t have been able to buy-in so heavily that I literally changed virtually EVERYTHING about my nutritional habits.
My Third Online Powerlifting Coach
As I’ve talked about already, I recently hired Mike Tuchscherer to do my programming. In my opinion, the single most important factor that you need to consider when selecting a coach is buy-in. Do you truly believe this person is going to provide you with an optimal program? If you don’t feel like they have the credentials and the ability to deliver a program that blows away anything you could personally come up with, why would you ever hire that person? It doesn’t make sense. You’ll do a disservice to both yourself and them. You won’t buy-in, you won’t give max effort, and you’ll get shitty results which will reflect poorly on both parties.
I chose Mike Tuchscherer as my coach because I believe his system is currently the best in the game.
I believe in mentoring. If you’ve ever read Mastery by Robert Greene, you know that every great success first learned their craft from a mentor before they individualized and perfected their skill set.
I look at training under Mike as an opportunity to study the methods of one of the best lifters on the planet up close and personal. This is a learning opportunity for me. I truly believe that Mike is a better, more capable programmer than myself when it comes to late stage intermediate and advanced athletes. I personally believe his system is the best available. As such, I have no problem paying $150/month for his services and putting my heart and soul into every workout. Why? Because I already buy-in to the idea that it will be worth it.
Should you get a powerlifting coach?
So, let’s ask the million dollar question: should you get an online powerlifting coach? 90% of the time, I don’t think you should. Unless the fit is right, unless you’re sure you’re capable of full buy-in, I don’t believe you’ll get your money’s worth. Yes, you need to find someone that you feel is capable of providing you optimal programming, but you also need to find someone who you feel actually cares about YOUR personal progress as well. Unless both factors are in place, you’re going to feel trivialized and buy-in won’t be achieved.
I know for a fact that my mom loves me and wants to see me succeed no matter what. I’m not going to hire her as a coach, though. She doesn’t have the programmatic background. And, as with my first coach, who is one of the most qualified guys in the game, I’m not going to deal with anyone who treats me as just another anonymous cog. I’ll feel like I’m being given a cookie cutter program that doesn’t address my individual needs. I won’t buy-in. I won’t get optimal results.
Unless you find the perfect storm of someone who you truly believe has both the knowledge and the personality that is a good match for you, don’t get a powerlifting coach. That is my opinion. That has been my experience.
Online Powerlifting Coaching from PowerliftingToWin
A lot of you who have been following along with the programming series have asked for individual program evaluations. You’ve been wondering how you can customize the different templates and ideas that I’ve talked about to include a mix of hypertrophy and strength. Some of you guys simply want a personalized intermediate program.
Here’s the good news: PowerliftingToWin DOES offer customized and personalized training for all goal sets. Here’s the bad news: I do NOT accept all clients who express interest. I refuse to put my name behind any product or service that I feel does not provide MORE value than it costs. If I can sense from the get-go that you are a person who will not mesh well with me or if you are a person with goals that I am not well equipped to help you achieve, I will be forced to decline. I can only help those who I truly believe I can design an optimal program for and who I believe I will truly care about as more than just another client. My personal ethics do not allow me to take on anyone as a client for whom I do not feel truly COMPELLED to deliver optimal results for.
With all this in mind, understanding you might be declined if we can both sense it isn’t a good fit, you can reach me for more information about my coaching services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a certified Starting Strength coach, keep in mind that I do specialize in addressing novice and intermediate programming, technique, and nutritional needs. I believe in a holistic approach to improving performance. I believe in synergy between programming, technique, and nutrition and I believe in leaving no stone unturned. If you’re interested in either a consultation or a more comprehensive relationship, I look forward to hearing from you.
If you ever do decide to hire a powerlifting coach, please make sure the fit is right both on the professional and personal level. If it isn’t, you WILL regret your decision. Good luck.
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