An Introduction to Online Coaching
Online Coaching seems quite a new thing. I started hearing about it a few months ago mainly through Personal Trainers that I follow online. I think that’s how I found Stoic Performance. I’ve been training with Sam for nearly five weeks now and have started to trust the process and feel confident enough to talk openly about my experience so far. So without hesitation below are few questions I put to Sam so we can all find out a little more about what online coaching is!
For people who don’t know can you give us a quick summary of what online coaching is?
Online coaching when done well should be the same service as in-person coaching except you can’t deliver the sessions. There are a lot of coaches who often leap on to online coaching seeing it as an easy way to make money however they make this leap without ever mastering theirs in-person coaching skills. When done well online coaching is fantastic, I believe it is the future of personal training! As a client, you can train when you want so you have that flexibility whereas if you used 1-1 coaching, you would have to find an hour in both yours and your coaches diary.
Personally, online coaching suits me because I have already built some confidence in the gym, I was enjoying building my strength but was still looking for a bit more guidance in the weights section and also wanted to hit a few goals for summer that I felt I needed support to reach. Does everyone need a target for online coaching or can it be more about education?
In my opinion, someone will always have a goal, whether that ’s to be healthier, lose weight or help rehabilitate an injury so that part is essential even if the goal you have set yourself is very vague.
That said I believe it’s both, as a coach I see my role as not only to achieve someone’s goals but also to educate them on how to keep them and keep progressing. If you think when we first started compared to now you’ve learned a lot but also improved towards achieving the goal we had set.
So yeah the short answer is both online we need goals, but there also needs to be an element of education to empower people without having them need to wear a lab coat if you catch my drift.
Do I need Experience?
If people are worrying they have no experience in the gym can they still do online coaching?
Absolutely but again I think this comes down to your selection of coach some would be more suitable for experienced gym goers but others can cater for the newcomers. Take our app which you’ve used; I still remember the first time you told me about it, it was something along the lines of “I was feeling nervous about using it, but it was really user-friendly”.
Pair something user-friendly with something of high quality such as our videos which show you the exercises and you have an excellent platform for the newcomer to learn from. Not to mention the check-ins, phone calls and other lines of communication which help bring the newcomer on board.
I think it’s fair to say I’m very proud of the system we have for online coaching!
How Personal is Online Coaching?
I find online coaching more personal than working with a PT. We know and share more on a day-to-day basis. Where a PT can push you within the one hour your together, having an online coach at the end of the phone, WhatsApp and tracking my data, keeps me much more focused with my diet and overall lifestyle. Do you agree?
I’m glad you have said you find it more personal as that was the aim of my online coaching programme. It was created to very much take every aspect of an individual without bias or opinion and show us what is happening and what we can do about it while taking the individual into account.
So I just mentioned tracking data. For people that don’t know I fill out a daily tracker that includes things like my weight, my macros, my steps from my Fitbit, how I’ve been sleeping etc. I’m naturally a bit OCD so personally love doing this, but it may feel quite intense for some people, but can you tell us why it’s vital for online coaching?
The data itself is needed because it allows us to see what’s working and what isn’t, to some it may seem overboard but the more information we have, the more we can understand how we’re going to achieve your goal.
Initially, it seems like a lot, but so far everyone after those first few calls has settled in well. There are modifications too which make things simpler; I always make it clear that the modified methods aren’t going to be as effective, but sometimes it suits people much better.
Tracking Your Period
You very naturally asked me where I was in my cycle. I wasn’t phased at all because I track my cycle with Clue, but I thought it might have been to do with my mood/tiredness/training. But in fact, it was actually about how to tweak my diet? Can you tell me a bit about that?
So I’m certainly not a know it all in this field. However, there are a few things I do know about the cycle and how that can affect women’s training and dietary responses.
Firstly there are two halves to your cycle the follicular which is your first 14 days beginning once your period finishes and then the Luteal which is the following 14 days.
I don’t want to go into this too much, but the follicular phase has a dominating estrogen hormone whereas the luteal has progesterone as the dominating hormone.
These two hormones change everything in their respective phases. Estrogen causing the body to have a higher insulin sensitivity meaning your body will be able to handle carbohydrates more efficiently making use of them, the luteal however lowers this sensitivity causing carbs to no longer be managed very well because of this we would look to decrease carbs and increase fats to account for these fluctuations.
The luteal phase also has an element of blood sugar deregulation which causes cravings for carbs, which explains why you crave chocolate when you approach your period.
Lastly, your natural calorie expenditure increases so if you were, in fact, able to resist the cravings then you would lose more weight throughout this phase however not many women manage not to increase food intake during this time.
This is just scratching the surface when it comes to the menstrual cycle, but yeah it’s another bit of data we can track which gains us a huge advantage if we can work with it.
Training with a Busy Lifestyle
One challenge we have had is that I’ve had a busy month full of birthdays, parties etc. But it was vital for me to be open and honest about this rather than hide that I would possibly overeat or drink. You worked with me to balance out with my weeks eating and training. Can you emphasise why it’s essential for your clients to be open and honest about their lifestyles and not hide anything they fear you would be judgemental of as a coach?
Honesty for me is a massive part of any coaching process and being honest allows me to do my job effectively.
Imagine me sat there with all the data gathered over the last week, but I can’t understand why you’ve not lost weight because I wasn’t aware of an event you attended or the quick McDonalds you had while in a rush to work. I wouldn’t know what to do.
Luckily I think I build a trusting relationship quickly for people. Whenever I slip up, I let them know as it’s normal you’re never going to have that perfect 12 week run of no holidays or work trips.
The good news is when we have clients who are completely honest, we can account for everything. If you over-consume, we can offset that in some way. With yourself, I looked at an average calorie target over the month so that come week four you would have lost weight and stayed on target.
Gym Selfies and Instagram
As a “blogger” or more correctly “obsessive Instagrammer” I have no worries about filming myself in the gym. You ask your clients to shoot specific movements for extra support. Can you let us know why it’s important to see how your clients move?
This comes down to that ‘personal’ element I mentioned earlier, one client can squat perfectly another squats, and their heels lift, they lean forward the squat is a mess which isn’t an issue with regards to their goal it just means we need a more suitable exercise for them.
Also for those that are pretty good with every exercise it allows me to offer some pointers on how to make things better, we never get things perfect even with myself.
WHO, WHAT & WHEN?
So lastly, who would you say online coaching most suits?
I think online coaching suits a whole range of people, from the beginners to the advanced gym goer. It allows you all flexibility you could want while giving you that direction and accountability you need. All in all, pretty much anyone who can turn on a laptop and use a phone to call is suitable for our online coaching.
Where can people find you and when can they get started?
You can find us on our social media channels, the Stoic Performance Website is our central hub, but we also have our private Instagram pages which are stoic sam and stoic mark. You can start whenever you like it usually takes a couple of days to get things set up so even if you have a holiday get in touch so we can get everything ready for when you’re back.
What time range would you say is best for online coaching?
This is very personal, but from experience, people will start with a goal and time-frame in mind let’s say eight weeks, and then they decide to stay with us anyway as they realise they can continuously progress while having all the support we offer at a very affordable price.
Thank you, Sam! We are now just over a month in with another month to go before my holiday, and I’m feeling more confident than ever and ready to jump in my bikinis! I can’t wait to see where we get in another four weeks!
I haven’t always been confident in the gym. Why not read more about how I officially got the bug and why I train in my blog post below..