I just answered this question several times as people inquired about my services, so I thought I’d make it an article to which I can direct curious potential trainees. If you read this and have more questions, or you’re interested in training, feel free to contact me!
“So, do you just, like, write a program for people?”
This is the number one question I tell people I train people online (number two: “what . . . do you do?”). The short answer is, “no.” I do understand the question, though; online training is a new idea, and it makes sense that someone might be confused as to how it works. So, here are some services I provide as an online trainer that might make your life easier. If you think this is something that might benefit you (even I, a mythical “fit pro” hire someone to train me because I think everyone can benefit from an objective support for their training), read on. If you already know it’s for you, feel free to go ahead and apply for training.
- Safe, effective programming – there is something to the I “write a program” idea, but that’s not the end of it. I write a program for you. Just started working out, and you’re super busy? Let’s keep things simple to start: I’ll schedule three, 30-40 minute workouts that will not only burn calories, but (more importantly) prepare you for harder, even more taxing workouts later down the road. I’ll meet you where you are, and I’ll help you plot a course for where you want to go.
- Specificity to your life – you’ve been working out for a while, but you always get sidetracked by some business meeting that has you away for a week. How can we make your fitness routine work within this context? There are a lot of ways! One of my favorites (this works best for my more experienced lifters): I’ll program in such a way that you are functionally overreaching (intentionally doing more than your body can recover from) the week before you leave so that you can do little-to-no exercise the following week, and still improve your overall fitness via a mechanism called supercompensation. This is a strategy I use with many of my clients, as they usually have busy work lives that lead to weeks where they can’t exercise. Other methods we might use: autoregulation (giving you the ability to control how hard you go in the gym based on how fresh and recovered you are), undulating intensity (different intensities for different days, implemented in a way that fits your life), adding a hotel workout based on the equipment available in your hotel gym (I have done this for about 50% of my clients), and many others. There is no “one size fits all;” I’m here to help you figure out what works best for you and your life.
- Specific dietary coaching – for most people, developing the body you want is going to come down to your diet. Getting “toned” = having muscle and having little enough fat to see that muscle (check out my guide on how to get toned!). How do I help people lose fat? That also largely depends. If you’re willing and able, counting calories (and macronutrients, particularly protein) is the quickest, most effective way to get the job done. If, however, you’re not quite ready to commit to something like calorie counting (counting calories can be a huge bummer, and I don’t recommend ANYONE do it forever), I like to coach clients via a habit-based curriculum I use, powered by the world-renowned innovators at Precision Nutrition. This is a set curriculum, but its goal is to find ways for you to improve upon your habits based on your lifestyle and goals. The curriculum helps to open up a dialogue between client and coach (you and me, in this case) so I can dig a bit deeper and find any limiting factors. With this information, you and I can formulate a strategy that fits your lifestyle, as well as your readiness, willingness, and ability to change. The basics of losing fat (eat fewer calories and work out reasonably well) are so incredibly simple; the execution, however, is much more complicated.
- Someone to revent you from majoring in the minors – you’re thinking of “going keto,” or you’ve heard that there’s a magic, golden macronutrient ratio that will burn fat and build muscle regardless of calories (there’s not). I’ll help you focus on what YOU need to focus on. What you need will depend on where you are in your fitness endeavors, as well as how far you’re looking to go. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” plan that works for everyone, but if you’re looking to lose weight and have no idea how many calories you’re consuming or how to tell if you’re hungry or not, and yet you know which supplement stack gives you the sweetest buzz before your workout, you should probably redirect your focus.
- Someone for fact checking – Maybe you saw “What The Health,” and have decided you’re worried that chicken breast is going to give you diabetes (it won’t). Or maybe you heard that there are certain “unclean” foods that will halt fat loss (here’s a comprehensive list of unclean foods: unwashed produce, foods from the dumpster, and food your little sister ate before your family said grace. These foods probably won’t halt fat loss, but they could lead to illness and/or eternal damnation).
- Someone to make you do stuff you don’t like in the gym – I like deadlifting. I like squatting. I like doing flat bench. I like 3-8 reps of things. My coach (yes, I have a coach, and my coach also has a coach; we can all benefit from an objective point of view – see the next bullet for more info on this) has me constantly working with different angles, doing supersets and high rep sets to failure. It sucks, but it’s effective because I hadn’t been doing it up until now. He still has me squat and deadlift and do press variations because those are staples of any good program, but he makes me work outside my comfort zone, and I’m grateful for that.
- Objectivity – this is, for me, the greatest benefit of having a coach. I know what to do; I help clients do the right things all the time. It’s easier, though, to preach patience and suggest taking the long view when it’s not your own body; having someone to remind me of things I already know has proved invaluable. A common confession I hear from new clients is that they’re embarrassed to be seeking help because they already know about fitness and nutrition. I believe that they do know those things, and I also believe they are wise to seek help; knowing what to do in theory is very different than applying that theory to your own life. It’s made harder by emotions (body issues, peer pressure, paralysis by analysis, and – worst of all – BOREDOM). Hiring a coach gives you someone objective who can say, “this is working, and that clearly isn’t. What else can we try?”
- Accountability – everyone talks about “accountability” when having a coach, and I think they’re talking about someone who will reprimand you for doing something “wrong.” That’s not, in my opinion, what a good coach does; it’s certainly not what I do. To me, accountability is helping you be accountable to yourself. How is that done? Well, we establish what you want, and we figure out behaviors that will lead you toward that goal. We figure out what you can and can’t do, and we figure out what you are willing to trade in order to reach your goals (you never get something for nothing; you’ll have to give a little to get a little). Once you know what you want, why you want it, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to get there, accountability becomes its own, self-sustaining thing; no one needs to play “drill sergeant” for you to do what you need to do.
- Help developing an exit strategy – what happens once you’ve lost the fat? What happens if you gained tons of sweet, sweet gainz, but you also put on a bit more fat than you’re comfortable with? What comes next? Mike Israetel of Renaissance Periodization recently reminded me of the fact that “within three years of finishing a diet, 95 percent of people regain all or more of the weight they’ve lost.” I believe a large part of that is mindlessly following an overly-restrictive diet plan, as opposed to one that teaches people the fundamentals of healthy living (energy balance; mostly whole foods; the 80/20, 85/15, or 90/10 rule, depending on personality type; how to adjust when you’re traveling; how to progress workouts; managing stress; valuing sleep quantity AND quality; etc.)
- Inspiration to go further – sometimes, we want to reach an extreme goal, but then we decide we’re happy short of that goal. For example, I wanted to get exceptionally lean, but then I was happy enough when I had a mediocre set of abs, and went back to maintenance. Since hiring a coach, I’ve felt inspired to take advantage of the opportunity to shoot for new levels of leanness, and I’m more grateful to have done that than I’d thought I would be. I was content, but I wasn’t satisfied; having someone else ask me what I wanted and if I wanted to get there helped me realize that. Having someone to inspire me to go all the way helps me at times when I’m feeling less than motivated.
- Someone on your team – weight loss is hard. Muscle gain is harder. Friends and family can try to be supportive, but are often your worst enemies in these endeavors (e.g. “Come on, just one cookie won’t ruin your diet!” “You’re too skinny!” “Don’t get too bulky” “It’s important to have balance – why not come out for a few drinks tonight?” “Would you please just forget about your diet for one night?” “I’m tired – I don’t want to go to the gym. Can we go tomorrow instead?” etc.). You hire a coach to help you reach your goal. Ideally, your coach also recognizes that you have a life, and will take into account your values and limiting factors when strategizing with you on how to get to your goal. Once a strategy has been made, your coach’s job is to help you stick to it and/or tweak as necessary. Your coach won’t sabotage your progress with toxic behavior, and sometimes, he/she might feel like the only person who also values your goal. I wish this weren’t the case, but it often is.
This list is far from comprehensive. I’m very proud of the relationships I’ve built with my long-term clients, and I’m equally proud of the knowledge and tools I’ve given former clients to continue chasing their goals (or to chase newer, bolder goals) after their work with me has concluded.
If you’d like to work with a coach, I hope you’ll consider applying to train with me . If you want to see what people have to say about me, you can check out my testimonials page (at the time of my publishing this article, my testimonials are due for ~5 new picture uploads, but you’ll get the idea from what’s already there).
If you’re thinking, “a coach sounds great, but Daniel just doesn’t seem like the guy for me,” that also OK!! Message me on my Facebook page and tell me a bit more about yourself and your goals, and I’ll see if I can find a good fit for you. It really doesn’t hurt my feelings if I’m not a good fit for someone; I’d rather work with people whom I can help, and I’d rather someone I can’t find someone who speaks their language.