Tag Archives: online coaching

It’s Getting Real Now

41 days left as a public teacher.

Making progress through the checklist towards retirement…

  • Turned in my resignation letter.

  • Met with rep at Human Relations. (A lovely young woman named Caitlyn.  Grateful for the chance to meet her!)

  • Putting together the paperwork for the state retirement system.  (More complicated than it should be.)

  • Signed my school district’s Letter of Intent yesterday, but this time, for the first and only time, I had to choose the “I reject employment…” option.

That “I reject…” declaration threw me for a loop and triggered a little spike in cortisol that lasted for another 8 hours.


I’m excited and thrilled to take the risk to work for myself.  But I’m also nervous, praying, a little scared – all the feels.  This is a major life change.  


Our state striped away a lot of retirement benefits almost 10 years ago.  Even though I’m retiring early, I wouldn’t get much more if I stayed longer.  


So my last day with classes is June 11.  Teachers have an extra day on June 12.  My teaching contract is split over 12 months, so that is done at the end of July.


I’ve been working steadily since last fall to set up my online math tutoring business, www.OnlineGeometryTutor.com.  I’m not known online as a math teacher, so I knew creating content for that would take time.


Still working on the details of the online fitness service I want to offer. 


From my own experiences with this health transformation and talking to a lot of people about their struggles, frustrations, and *most importantly* the obstacles that prevent them from sticking with the plan, 
I know there is a need for something more than a plan on a spreadsheet.


There is a need for something more than just being told or shown what to do.  


Even me, working with one of the best bodybuilding coaches in the industry,  with his scary-smart programming, with my determination, work-ethic, and the experience of five competitions –
it’s still hard


Life happens for all of us, but life is also different for some of us. 


It’s a bit of a different challenge when you’re a middle-aged adult with adult responsibilities.


It’s a slightly different challenge when there are people counting on you who might not be able (or willing) to accept that your self-care is just as important as the role you play in their lives.


People assume that the thing they are missing is some character trait.  Maybe.  Maybe not. 
 What if it is something I can teach?  What if it’s something you know but just need support to bring it to the surface?


I’m in “plan mode” now until I’m done with the day job.  My first priority are the kiddos in my classes now.  And then I need to pack up my teacher life and turn in keys.


And then probably have a bit of a cry, take some time to decompress, and enjoy the backyard patio my husband is fixing up for “retirement” as I write this post.


If you’re on my
mailing list, I promise – you will be first to know when I have something to offer!

***

Training is progressing, but it makes for a boring blog post.  I think I’m max testing next week.  THAT should be interesting!  I’ve been growing.  🙂

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Filed under Life, Teaching

Online Coaching – How to Get the Most Out of Working with a Good Coach (And how to tell if you have a bad coach)

In response to questions from people on the Facebook page a little while ago, I asked Colin to write this blog about online coaching.  Online coaching is an affordable option to working with a trainer in person.  Personally, I’ve done both and think each has its place.  When I first started lifting, I was worried about getting hurt and was intimidated at the gym.  I felt I needed to work with someone in person to get started.  However, technology has advanced to a point that has allowed online coaching to become a good alternative if you have some experience and aren’t a complete fearful mess like I was back in the day.  Because my online coach (Alberto Nunez, 3DMuscleJourney) only works with competitive athletes,  I asked my friend Colin to write about this topic since he has more experience working with people who have general health and fitness goals.  

As someone who is not only an online coach but also has an online coach, I have perspective from both sides of the coin. A lot of people seem to have interest in getting help and taking the guess work out of training and/or nutrition and in fact many do hire themselves a coach, but how do you make sure you get the most out of your investment? That’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

As I mentioned I have my own coach despite being a coach myself and many of the greatest coaches in the world (no I’m not calling myself one of the top coaches by any stretch) have their own coach too. No matter how much knowledge you have on a topic for many people you are just too invested in your own results and you have a tendency to do things you know better than because it’s YOU. You are too emotionally invested in yourself, most people are, coach or not. However, this is not meant to be an article explaining many of the benefits a coach can bring but more a way to make sure you get everything you can from one if you do decide it’s for you.

Before I get into that, however, I do feel it’s my duty to make one thing very clear. No matter how good a coach is they can’t get you results via osmosis. You MUST be prepared to do the work. A good coach can certainly simplify the process and help you get the most out of your efforts but no matter what you have to do the work. If you’re looking for the next “thing” that will work for you so you don’t have to work hard, hiring a coach won’t get you anywhere. You’ll just be left frustrated, and so will your newly hired coach. I hate to say it (okay no I don’t) there are no magic pills. So if you’re not ready to dig deep and work on yourself, save yourself some time and money. Now with that said, let’s dig into what you can do to make sure you get the most “bang for your buck.”

  1. Communication, communication, communication

Yes, this is worth stating multiple times. Honestly I could easily have made this entire article about communication and it will be a huge portion of it. It’s without question the most important part of a client/coach relationship. This can be taken in many ways. First you have to be totally open and honest with your coach. Your coach (or at least a good coach) won’t berate or criticize you if you slip up, end up in a massive binge, miss workouts, whatever. But they do need to know exactly what’s going on to best be able to help you. Sure we want you to follow the plan and do well, but if you don’t it’s you that you ends up hurting, not your coach.

Make sure to send your check in on time. If you’re not doing the work and get in a bad place mentally, tell them. Good or bad your coach needs to know what’s going and NEVER assume they know what’s going on, they can’t read your mind. If you keep information from your coach he/she will be left blind and could possibly even make things worse. If you’re eating more calories than you say you are and you aren’t getting results, your coach may reduce calories and/or add in more work to compensate when unnecessary or even put you in a reverse diet when it’s completely unnecessary.

Along the same lines you should never feel like you are “bugging” your coach by asking them questions. You hired this person for a reason. You are PAYING them your hard earned money, use them! You should never feel bad for wanting your questions answered or even questioning why they do things the way they do. A good coach will explain why they do things the way they do anyway and if a coach ever says something along the lines of “Just do what I say” you need to fire them immediately.

Remember there is no such thing as TMI. We need to know everything INCLUDING outside factors. Yes, being extremely stressed out at work or depressed or other stressful things in life can and will absolutely make a difference in your programming as well as help explain things with your training that may otherwise not have made sense. This doesn’t mean you have to or even should explain every detail of your life and treat your coach like a counselor, but they do need to know if there’s something going on that could impact focus, hormone levels, recovery, etc.

  1. Take advantage of EVERYTHING they offer

A big mistake a lot of my clients make is not taking advantage of certain services that come with my coaching. The most common one being form critique. I set them all up on a training space with an app called Edufii where they can take video of their technique and send to me to take a look at. The biggest downside of an online coach over a live trainer is we can’t be there to see how things look and guide you on the spot. So not only is it in your best interest for your safety, but also to make sure you’re working as efficiently as possible too.

I know for a lot of people it’s uncomfortable taking video in a gym setting. And some clients can be uncomfortable sending progress pictures and things of that nature. These things are in place for a reason and as previously mentioned, a coach needs to know/see everything possible to make the best possible decisions for your program. If you’re working in an inefficient way or worse an unsafe way you may end up with a serious injury that could have been prevented. At the very least your coach won’t be able to get you as good of results as they could have.

  1. Trust the process

At the same time, however, don’t have blind faith. What I mean is your coach is doing things the way they do it for a reason. As I already mentioned they should be explaining why they do things already, but if you get a bad feeling about anything just ask them to explain. Ask them for reassurance. You’ll find out fast if they know what they’re doing or not. If they truly have your best interest in mind and are knowledgeable, you need to have faith everything is going to work out. Remember that progress is never linear and there are many stages to building a better body. But if you’re going to get there you need to be “all in” and to stick to the program to the best of your abilities. It will never be perfect, but you have to believe in what you’re doing.

It’s also best to ignore outside voices and opinions. EVERYONE will have an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t be doing. If you listen to everyone you’ll end up running around in circles and going mad. As I mentioned if you have questions or hear things you’re interested, bring it up to your coach. But it’s wise to try and block out as much as you can and get all your information from your coach because there is a lot of bad information out there.

 

So there you have it. The biggest thing is you have to LET your coach help you and not let yourself stop you. Never assume you know what your coach is thinking or how he/she will respond to what you have done or say. Most of the time you’re just basing it off your own feelings which most of the time we as humans let our own thoughts run us over. Thoughts that we’d never believe about anyone else. Let go of control and let them guide you to become the best you can be.

Now I’ve talked a lot about a “good coach” in this article, and that’s important because a BAD coach will not only make your experience miserable but they can do WAY more harm than good. You wouldn’t even believe some of the horror stories I’ve been told. A bad coach could mess with your metabolism and can even go as far as helping create an eating disorder for a client. So with that in mind, I thought I’d put together a little list of signs who you’re working with is a bad coach:

  1. They yell at, demean, scold or belittle you
  2. They recommend hours of cardio daily
  3. They force you to eat extremely low calories for your body (“low” calories means something different for everyone)
  4. They take any “extreme” approach on anything
  5. They never explain why they do anything
  6. They never ask you about your training/nutrition history before creating your plan
  7. They get mad when you ask questions
  8. They don’t return emails for days
  9. They tell you sugar makes you fat
  10. They ban certain foods (assuming no allergy/intolerance)
  11. They think certain exercises like the squat should look exactly the same for everyone
  12. They force you to do fasted cardio
  13. They recommend 2x-3x bodyweight in grams for daily protein
  14. They tell you carbs at night make you fat
  15. They recommend more ab work to burn belly fat faster
  16. They tell you they can speed up your metabolism while losing weight

 

If you ARE looking for a coach to help take the guess work out and hold you accountable I am accepting clients for training and/or nutrition help. Just head here and select the option you’d like.

If you’re looking for more information you can follow me on Facebook and you can also download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on my email newsletter where you’ll get daily emails for a little motivation, guidance and a kick in the rear from time to time. WARNING – I tell you what you NEED to hear and not what you WANT to hear. So if you’re sensitive and like to place blame instead of take action, you’ll definitely want to pass. But if you’re serious about taking responsibility and changing your life, you should love it.

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Show Pictures and Reflection: Subtracting Negatives is Addition

You have already seen some of the gorgeous pictures my husband took at my show.  (He did the ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots for our team and the really nice ones of me on stage.)  In this post, I want to share the pictures that were taken by the show’s photographer.   I’m using all the pictures to evaluate my performance, celebrate my progress, and identify things I want to improve so I can set new goals.

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to sort out the emotions and get some perspective.  Coach has had to work a bit to help me process some things.  It helps somewhat to learn that many competitors go through a similar mental process after a competition.  The farther I get away from it, that doesn’t surprise me.  We train hard, we diet hard, we invest so much in this ‘hobby’.  Perspective is easily lost.  Two weeks later, I’m starting to feel more like myself.  And for those who are thinking it – yes, it is worth it to me.  Competitive bodybuilding tests me physically, intellectually, and emotionally.   But it also provides a structure to my life that keeps me physically and emotionally healthy.  It’s a paradox.

My previous goals were to come to this show leaner and with more muscle than I had at my previous shows.  I accomplished both – not bad for a 50-something, post-menopausal, high school teacher who’s only been lifting for five years, huh?  And for that, I need to give credit to my coach, Alberto Nunez at 3D Muscle Journey.  Freaking brilliant programming and prep protocol.  Remember – we never went low-carb and I didn’t cut water.

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Coach Nunez and I finally met in person! Thank you, Berto!!

It’s important  to remind myself that I accomplished those goals on stage at a big show, in the open class of female bodybuilders with more competitors standing on that stage than I’ve ever had before.  People flew in from other states, other countries in order to participate in this show.   You will see the pictures below, my personal critique will follow, but it’s important to remember that I’m happy with the results and proud of what I’ve accomplished in a short amount of time.  The size of this show and the caliber of the other competitors were a bit intimidating, but as my coach said, I “looked like I belonged up there”.  After I saw the pictures my husband took, I thought “I look like a bodybuilder”.  When I got these pictures this week and I could see how I looked in the line, I think I looked OK considering the experience of the ladies up there with me. (The woman who won was a figure pro in a different federation.)

Here are slideshows documenting my inaugural appearance in the open class of female bodybuilding.

These are just me:

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These are Me vs. Me:

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These are the entire open class at pre-judging.  (The young lady in purple next to me was the only novice competitor.  She is 17.  So, the oldest, a high school teacher, and the youngest, a high school student, female competitors were lined up together – how cool is that?  Well, I thought it was, anyway. A nice memory for me.)

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Post Game Analysis – Time to “Subtract the Negatives”

I’ve spent too much time focused on the “negatives” of this experience.  I lived in that negative place for a few days.  One day this week, I remembered – removing negatives is the same thing as addition.  I can turn these negatives into something positive.  (I’m a math teacher – go with it.  Hahaha!)  When I reflected on the show and looked at these pictures, I identified the “negatives” that need to be removed in order to “add” to my progress as a bodybuilder:

  • Symmetry is a negative.   My pelvis is too wide.  My waist is too wide.   But I can’t change my skeleton.  Stalled?  No.  To remove this negative, I will need to create the appearance of a smaller midsection by increasing the size of myi delts, my upper back, and my legs.  I can address some of this with posing, too.
  • I screwed up the timing of my pre-stage feeding.  It’s a bit tricky to figure out when you’re going to be called to get on stage.  I got the first couple of meals that day in on time.  The last one was supposed to be a candy bar about an hour before stage.  The first part of pre-judging went by quite slowly.  I thought I had more time, but things sped up a bit and I ended up shoving that candy in while I was pumping up.  Big mistake.  Should have just skipped it at that point.  When the sugar hit, I was on the third quarter turn of the first symmetry round.  My blood pressure dropped, I had a dizzy spell, and I spent the rest of the pre-judging time trying to not faint.  I was trying to save energy by not smiling on every pose.  I’m sure that’s also why I forgot some of my posing ques.  I couldn’t hear my coach or my teammates in the audience because there were a lot of people in the front rows yelling.  The negative to remove is to do a better job of tracking the progression of the show and getting my food in me at the right time.  This was the first time I’ve had this pre-stage feeding protocol, so now that I’ve done it once, the next time should run a bit smoother.
  • Posing – I did not hit some important poses well.  I did better with posing during my practices, but forgot several ques when I was on stage.  Even had I been at my best posing, I don’t think I practiced posing in a way that would create the appearance of better symmetry.  That is something I will need to figure out and practice.
  • Body Composition – I still had fat on my lower abdomen and glutes.  Totally fine for life, so please don’t think I’m calling myself “fat”, but I wasn’t lean enough for stage.  To achieve stage-leanness for the competition,  I need to be able to maintain a lower body weight through the off-season so that when I start my next fat loss phase, whenever Coach decides that is going to be, the precious stored fat in those areas will slowly go away.  So far, I’ve only gained 3-4 pounds since the show.  I’m supposed to maintain this weight now.  When we started my cut back in Sept 2014, I was about 157 lbs.  The morning of the show, I weighed about 128.5.  Now the plan is to keep my scale weight between 130 and 135 lbs during the off-season.

What’s Next?

I do not plan to compete again until at least 2017.  I will be 55 that year.  I have a lot of work to do to subtract the negatives.  Life loses a bit of balance during prep, too.  That’s not fair to Hubby or my students.  But I’m a competitor.  I’m happiest when I’ve got a goal to work towards.  Now that I’ve been on the Mayhem stage, I have a vision of being on it again, but he next time, I will have fewer negatives.  I’m excited to get back to work.  If Berto’s programming can do what it did in the first 18 months of our collaboration, I’m 100% confident about what we can do now that we’ve developed a solid foundation for our athlete/coach relationship.  I’m enthusiastic about what my 55-year-old self will be able to accomplish.

It was a fun day overall.  I’ve had more fun on stage before – that is true.  The dizzy spell during pre-judging was a bit scary.  And the anxiety attack I had the day before was not fun for me – really not fun for my husband.  But Hubby did a good job to find humor in the situation and calmed me down.  On show day, there were 16 of my 3DMJ teammates competing that day, so the atmosphere backstage was like a reunion.  We all met up for dinner afterwards – I think there were 40+ people there?  Competitors, coaches, significant others, friends, and former competitors all together to eat too much, share stories, and laugh.  I had a great time, got to meet people I’ve only interacted with online, and made new friends with people I’d never meet in real life if not for this competition.  A special day with great memories.

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Oh – and I almost forgot – here is my night show routine.  The song is “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling.

Photo Credits: KodaMax Photography and Better Aesthetics Bodybuilding

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Nutrireligious Zealots are Boring

I started this blog post two months ago.  Never posted it.  Read Uber Beast Mode’s comment on Facebook this morning and decided to dust it off and finish it.

I read something a while ago about how many of us, especially us baby-boomer newbies in this clean eating and fitness game, get too passionate about it.  I sincerely apologize for being a complete pain-in-the-ass.  I’ve read a few articles like this one that equate nutrition and religion…

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/09/18/calling-for-an-end-to-nutrition-as-religion

I’ve started to avoid a lot of blogs and Facebook pages because the passion gets too negative.  It’s frustrating.  But mostly it’s boring.  I’d rather read about the cool things people are doing, not about their food.  That’s like having huge discussion about the gas you put in your car.

“To question their program or guru’s plans is akin to questioning their religious beliefs; and yet, unlike actual religious questioning (which would almost certainly lead to a thoughtful discussion), question dietary dogma online, and you can bet it will lead to a highly heated debate where anger and indignation can easily descend into name calling and personal attacks.”

I’ve been in a few debates, but my zeal has faded.  I honestly thought everyone was talking science – I’m a nerd.  It never occurred to me that nutrition wasn’t biology.  I didn’t realize that people held onto their beliefs like religious dogma – and I was doing it myself. OUCH!  I’m an idiot.  Then it was easy to spot in others.  People attack each other online and off-line.  Sometimes it’s polite, but many times it is not.  Karma came back and bitch-slapped me when I was attacked by the clean-eating police on my own page.

That’s when I decided that the focus of my Facebook page and this blog will be lifting.  Duh.  It is called Lifting My Spirits, right?  (And I just realized I have not written about lifting for a long time – sorry. I will soon.) I will still post recipes – my clients like that stuff.  I just won’t talk about macros, plant-based diets, clean-eating vs. IIFYM (Google it if you’re not familiar) because it doesn’t really matter.  No matter what your brain believes, your body needs what it needs and it adapts.  A good coach like me <insert shameless plug here> will help a client learn how to feed and care for their own body based on sound scientific principals.

Coach Jon at the Strength Guys said this…

“Metabolism is not static. Find an intelligent starting point and build from there. Sound nutrition-especially for the purposes of optimizing body comp, is largely reactionary. ” ~ Coach Jon

I studied and became a Fitness Nutrition Specialist because I’m fascinated by nutrition and how the body is fueled.  In some ways, it is a religious activity for me because I feel I honor my Creator by caring for His kid properly – how many times have I said eat food ‘grown by God’?  But it’s not really worth arguing about.  It’s just how I choose to eat most of the time because I like how I feel and perform when I’m fueled with foods grown by God.  However, this week, I enjoyed some lovely man-made low fat honey graham crackers as part of my carb refeed.  

People eat what they eat for many reasons.  And no two bodies are the same.  For the sake of transparency, I still get my undies bunched up by bad coaching because that’s malpractice.  But that’s another topic…

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Filed under Nutrition, Opinions, Venting, Ranting