From, “If he dies, he dies” to “Only 302 spots left. Sign up fermuh booty program, yo!”
From the basics of chalk and a bar to, “Who the fuck is Ed Coan?”
Sorry, Ed. Shit is real… and ugly.
Coaches aren’t anything new. Their reach towards wider audiences, however, is…and it’s growing worse. The advent of social media has extended their capabilities to dupe, deplete and disillusion otherwise healthy candidates for lifting programs across the board. In many respects, they’re no different than the salesman of the past. They get your attention (Bro’s, your heart emojis aren’t winning you their number or snap or however retards communicate now), convince you of an ailment (which you were previously unaware of because it didn’t exist until you were told it did), and then sell you their “cure”.
I’m all for people making a living. But while some are in the business of exploitation (the majority of online coaches), others are in the business of outing them, their plastic weights and physiques and showing people a different and possibly more productive way to obtaining the highly coveted “I’d fuck myself” mentality. Not to mention, cheaper. The option, not you.
Before you can walk, you must first learn to crawl. Chances are, you’ve forgotten how many times you failed at what has hopefully turned into basic instinct. One foot in front of the other. Not caring about how poorly you did at the start because you were just a stupid fucking baby without any clue about things like taxes, divorces, vaccines, etc. and all you cared about was locomotion.
Outside of that, your biggest concern was, “Did I just shit myself?” and even that was self-conscious. Again, HOPEFULLY.
Your parents probably tried coaching you by giving you cues and holding your hands. But you were just a stupid fucking baby without any clue as to what they were saying. They also probably made funny faces to encourage your progress. But they never demanded money. That came 18 years down the road after all the free shit they gave you.
Similarly, before hiring or even following a single soul with regards to the art of strength training (this isn’t “science”), you should first possess some mass and “know how”. Ideally, you should acquire these through the battle tested method of trial and error. IE trying to walk and falling, again and again and again. The catch is learning how to manifest the ignorance of infanthood into your adult years and not giving a fuck about failing. The only requirement is that you don’t stay failed.
This means picking a program, whatever it is and sticking with it like a good soldier, unlike those saps who were hanged in the justice days for abandoning their posts in favor of greener pastures. Now they get CNN broadcasts and invited to speak at colleges for “bravery”, but that’s a different matter.
This means monotony. This means challenging yourself by staying true to your choice and allowing it to run its course.
Bro split? Cool.
Bulgarian? Very cool.
German volume? Heil.
Some copy and paste article from M&F? If you must.
Spend a minimum of 6-8 weeks (3 months is best) banging the piss out of it and giving it your toes, traps and tits and then make a decision; Do I ditch the program or put a ring on it?
The body is loyal. Stick with it and it will stick with you. Fuck it over or abandon it in the various ways you’ve been trained to handle other adversities and it’ll pay you back in its own way. Traditionally, the body’s revenge comes in the form of making you a skinny fat (or very fat) piece of soft ass shit with little to contribute towards anything worth a damn. And if all that’s required of us in order to increase our worth is casting ourselves into the hobby of hoisting…what’s the problem?
What was once “Fuck it, Press, squat, push the prowler until you puke!” has now morphed into “Fuck it, just hire someone and kneel to their ‘knowledge’ without ever questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing.” These “coaches” have never seen you lift, they don’t care how you lift and they don’t care if you improve. They care about you paying on time. This can be circumvented by training alone or with a group for a few years before branching off to someone else for aid.
A healthy, mobile person doesn’t sit in a wheelchair willingly.
Your coach could be (and in many cases is) a fucking idiot. Most modern coaches are simple exploiters who were savvy enough to prey upon those willing to give them a modicum of attention who then view them as a number and nothing more.
Do you plan on competing? If so, does your coach have any competitive history under their belt? Do you want to lose 20 lbs or gain 20 lbs? Has your coach done the same? Do they have visible testimonials? Have they ever been hurt, fucked up, broke, sick, struggling? Have they ever held a real job? How old are they?
There are infinite variables to this concoction and it’s best for the uninitiated to slave away in the trenches, hacking and firing away until their beaten before calling in an airstrike. Find what you like, plateau once, twice, thrice, hammer through those obstacles and maybe then think about hiring someone for continued progress.
How will you ever develop your ability to sense bullshit unless you’ve tried everything in your arsenal before giving up the reins? And with the expanse of the internet, your arsenal should be vast.
The art of lifting is an ugly one. Most successful practitioners aren’t particularly happy. Nor do they cloak themselves with that vomit inducing “#positivevibesonly” garb. They tend to house an enormous amount of discontent for the world at large.
“More on the bar than last time? I’m stronger.”
Moving weight through space and time is as pragmatic as it gets and this reality is reflected in its participants.
Being regular people with irregular drives awards them the ability to mentally and physically “correct the balance” of the shit on the loose which is beyond their control.
Why is this important? Because many new trainees are sold cyanide soap by those all too willing to take advantage of people they view as victims. Lesser thans. Marks. Bitches. Pay stubs.
Does your coach reflect this attitude or is he/she just using you to increase their artificial following in order to stave off their internalized ugliness? Be objective about it before shelling out any money and ask yourself, “Am I capable of simple experimentation?” If you’re able to read, then yeah, you’re plenty capable.
All of that being said, coaches are a useful tool; when hired and applied correctly. If you have 12 inch arms and are more than a year removed from High School, you don’t need a coach. You need some milk, a barbell and some patience. Not a fucking Insta coach.
Why are you doing this? What’s the purpose? Is it to acquire approval from others? Is it to simply feel better about yourself? Is it to amass a following of your own? What is your personality like? Does your coach mirror yours or did you just pick out the first person that fell across your IG feed?
Choosing a coach is no different than choosing when and where to compete.
Are you comfortable/confident enough to step onto the stage/platform and show your worth? Or will you ultimately end up regretting the choice to do so ahead of schedule? Have you reviewed their resume and spoken with them about their own goals?
Premature ejaculation doesn’t just apply to the sexual realm…it’s also present in the competitive one.
Will choosing to hire someone/compete before your dues are paid prove to be problematic and therefore demoralizing in the long run? If you’re taken for a ride, swindled, embarrassed, will that negative experience demoralize you and turn you off to something that could’ve benefited you?
And before anyone throws a flag onto the field, would you step in the ring with Tyson before even talking/training with one of his sparring partners (BTW, they all died) because your coach said, “Yeah, go for it, champ”? Chances are, unlike Mikes neck, very slim.
An alternative to a coach for newbies would be going up to the biggest guy/girl on your block or in your gym and asking them some questions. Trust me, you can do it.
Louie Simmons is known for never shutting the fuck up when he’s around those he finds interesting (or in general. Sorry, Lou). That assertiveness is what’s needed in an age where people just assume the shit out of whatever topic is in vogue. Ask questions. Be persistent. That’ll help you with something as cruel as obtaining strength can be.
Those who’ve climbed to the heights of peak performance are traditionally eager to aid others in their ascent. The biggest hurtle to overcome is a smidge of insecurity and some fucking balls once given the route.
From there? Go forth. Make it happen.
And try not to shit yourself.