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Finding a coach who is right for you

Written by Sarah on

As the start of the academic year has rolled around again it’s got me thinking about the teachers and instructors I have encountered over the years and the impact they have made (both good and bad). When you’re hoping to acquire a new skill or exercise habit, finding the right guide can make all the difference.

Whether it’s a personal trainer, an aerobics instructor at your local leisure centre or a yoga teacher whose videos you watch on youtube, finding the right teacher for you can make a huge difference between whether you will stick to a new exercise regime or not.

Your instructor or coach needs to make sessions enjoyable, be clear in their instructions, push you just the right amount and give you options for making the exercise harder or easier based on your abilities. You need to believe that they know what they are talking about and trust them enough to feel safe to undertake what they are asking you to do.

I’ve been in too many situations over the years where I’ve seen PTs, fitness instructors or yoga teachers either not engaging clients, putting them off a type of exercise by not making adjustments for people’s abilities or in the worst cases putting people at risk of injury to more than just their ego.

It’s really important to find instructors and gyms/classes/videos which work for your personality, body and abilities. Some people only feel motivated by hardcore coaches who scream abuse at them and push them to their absolute limits, others need a much more gentle and supportive approach and there is a whole spectrum in between. There is absolutely a place for both styles of coaching and you might find that you need pushing hard in one type of activity but prefer a more nurturing approach in another. What matters is finding what works for you as an individual.

If you try a new exercise class for the first time and don’t like it have a think about whether it was the activity you didn’t like or the way it was being taught. It’s always worth trying a few different places/classes/videos before giving up on something. Also, there can be lots of different styles of some exercise eg with yoga there are fast paced, high energy classes or slow, relaxing restorative classes and a lot in between. Just because one style wasn’t right for you doesn’t mean another one won’t be. It’s a bit like therapy or comedy – there is something out there for everyone and it’s definitely not the case that one type suits all people!

Think about what it is that you need to get out of your exercise and how you can make it a sustainable habit. Do you need the sociability and connection of a class or would you benefit from working one to one with someone to really hone your technique and build your confidence? Do you require the flexibility of being able to fit your exercise in to your life as and when you can around work and family commitments where a home workout might be preferable or access to a 24 hour gym?

You need to make your exercise routine work for you and how your life currently is rather than waiting for the perfect time to start the perfect regime. You also need to find people who will inspire and motivate you rather than leave you feeling inadequate and unfulfilled.

Don’t give up on finding an activity that can become a consistent, positive and enjoyable part of your life. It’s out there, sometimes you just need to find the right mentor to help you get started.

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