Why I hired a coach

Here’s a secret for you – everyone can benefit from having a coach.

That’s right, everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re someone off the street with no experience, or an expert at a topic, you can gain something from having a coach.

For a novice, it can be huge to give them a head start on the right direction and skip out on making tons of mistakes that hold off progress.

For experienced people, a coach can keep you making progress when you’d otherwise stop.

No matter how good you are, you can always learn, you can always improve, you can always grow, and someone external can notice details you miss.

Those facts alone are good enough reason to have a coach, but then when you add on details of how a coach can make your life easier, more fluid & organized, it builds a case that cannot be ignored.

While I am a very strong advocate of people having a coach – I am a coach after all – I have never had a coach before. Well I HAD never had a coach.

Recently I took the step and hired my first official coach – and a second now – giving them control over my programming, my training, and my efforts.

Let me fill you in:

I’m a long term trainee (13 years of training consistently 3-6 days a week)

Relatively high level strength athlete (Snatch >300lbs and Squat >500lbs)

 

 

I’ve got my doctorate of physical therapy, have a CSCS (plus a bunch of other letters), and coached athletes for the Olympics, pro sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, Ballet, etc.), and athletes at international competitions in powerlifting, weightlifting and crossfit.

When it comes to getting people stronger, moving better, and more resilient, I am extremely knowledgeable.

It’s common for me to be brought on as a consultant in a range of different situations and sports to help figure out strategies to get people to a higher level of performance.

Every day, all day, I am constantly thinking about how to get people better – it’s my life’s passion.


This might come as a surprise to many people then – why would I need a coach? Aren’t I a coach? Am I not an expert on training & performance?

For the first 13 years of my training experience, I never had a coach. I’d always just used myself as a means to experiment, to learn, and to push to higher levels of performance.

It went great, I learnt a great deal through being a passionate trainee and testing frequently on myself to see how different methods, protocols, and programs would impact my results.

Where a coach would of come in, I had books, videos, friends, and mentors to bounce ideas off of – but never a dedicated coach.

This approach took me pretty far, I learnt a lot through the journey and I wouldn’t change it.

Then life happened – I was overwhelmed with work, struggled with sleep, began missing training in favor of work or family time, and sustained a handful of injuries.

I’m a doctor of physical therapy, a coach, and someone who is supposed to know how to limit that from happening – so how did it?

I’m always focused on other people’s goals – not mine. My coaching business, my clinic time, my family time, all of it was devoted to caring for others.

This left me in a challenging position where I had begun to neglect my own training, resent my programming, and go through the motions.

I got to a point where I wasn’t making progress, having anxiety about training, and not committing to training like I used to.

Eventually I was undertrained, underprepared, and just unclear what to do.

I acknowledged I was in a rut and needed a change.

 


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I’m very fortunate to have a great network of people I trust and reached out to them in a request to help me figure out what to do.

It was very clear – I need to let someone else take the reigns.

As a coach, I understand how hard it is for people to recognize issues. I understand what it takes for an athlete to reach their best, the demands on their mental focus, their effort to the program, and the lifestyle factors that need to be aligned.

Yet, I struggled in recognizing it for myself – I thought I was immune to it. While I am pretty good at recognizing things, I definitely missed some important things.


Now that I have a coach, things have changed.

I’m back feeling energized, having a lot of fun at the gym, and excited to go and train.

The simple fact that I can now go to the gym and not need to think about what to do, but just follow the program is a huge relief.

Before I was anxious and stressed with deciding my programming, arguing with myself on when to do what.

My time training is my zen, it’s my time to relax and be free. I had lost that and it is amazing to have it back.

My consistency is back up, now I find myself finding time to get in my training – ensuring I get in what’s programmed.

The last few months before hiring a coach, I was finding excuses to let myself off the hook, whereas now I was figuring out strategies – with my coaches help – to get in what I needed to.

The accountability of knowing that I’m reporting to them how my sessions went, putting in my weights, and detailing what I got done, pushes me just that bit more.

For a lot of people, this is a common reason to get a coach. It’s one I hadn’t really understood before since I enjoy training so much, but after dealing with some consistency issues I can relate.

 


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People ask me – who’s your coach though?

I’m a coach, I own a coaching company, I coach other coaches, who can coach me?

When I was ready to hire a coach, I knew I needed people that could understand my situation.

After some hard reflection, I reached out to my network and picked two people to start with: Citizen Athletics Co-founder Dr. Teddy Willsey and Citizen Athletics Coach Dr. Marc Surdyka.

Teddy and I have a very similar background and I was confident if there was someone who would get me just as absolutely strong as possible, it was him.

He knows how to program for creating a monster, he’s an experienced lifter and can relate to my goals, and he will hold me accountable as he understands my lifestyle.

Marc brings a different but similar experience in training to the table, knows how to maximally develop capacity and build a huge engine, and he understands my time demands.

Hiring a coach was the best decision I’ve made for my own training in a long time.

It’s brought back passion to training, gotten me back getting more results, and pushed me in new and fun ways.

If you’re looking for a coach or programming to help you, I’d encourage you to try out Citizen Athletics programming or hire an individualized Citizen Athletics coach.

Obviously I’m a huge fan, but with testimonials like these it’s hard to argue:

“Hey guys, just wanted to let you know how I’ve been feeling about the program. So far everything is great. I have a pretty extensive injury history and my job is very physically demanding. For a while I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue my line of work due to my health and lack of ability to train. Your programming has been one of the first times in 2 years where I have been able to train consistently and stay in overall good health. Thanks for what you do and I’m looking forward to training with you all for a long time.” – Sustainable strength member

“As a physical therapist myself, the overall layout and design of programming is phenomenal. Everything is very well thought out and structured along with the gradual progressions from week to week and training block to training block.” – Sustainable strength member

Even if it’s not with Citizen Athletics, we encourage people to find someone to help manage their program and coach them – it can make a huge difference.

Sam

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