Well today was the big day. About once every 6 weeks I get to check in with my coach. Since he’s based outside of the city it’s always a bit of an adventure for me. This man is my rock. That’s the thing with a good coach. He’s my mentor, he sees what I cannot when my judgement is clouded, he guides me not only in my nutrition and training, but with my stress, my sleep my health. He’s also incredibly cool, covered in tattoos, and smoking hot, 6’4 ish, 250 lb. One hug from this giant and all my anxiety melts away. 6 weeks prior, at my previous check in coach gave the go ahead to up alI my calories, all my carbs, my fats, it was like Christmas come early, quite literally as it was just around the corner. Here I am now, 6 weeks later hoping that I hadn’t abused my dietary freedom, and wouldn’t have to deal with the repercussions. Turns out while my weight has steadily increased, my body fat had not, even dropped at some points. Sweet baby Jesus, gains! All the gains! Since my body has been responding so well I even go the go ahead to keep it! Yup that’s right, another 5 weeks of eating my face off and lifting heavy ass things. I was fully mentally prepared to go into diet mode, so once again coach had placed another gift in my lululemon clad lap. With my birthday approaching and an impending visit from my sister it was nice to know I had a few more cupcakes, burgers and maybe some Pinot in my future. Again, this is one of the reasons it’s so valuable to shop for a quality coach. While I felt fat and soft, turns out it was all in my head, I was right where I needed to be, and on track to reach my goal weight without excessive fat gains. But the reason I’m on track is thanks to my coach. Without him I’m the type to question whether I’m making the right choices, underrating for fear of blowing up, overeating for maximum gains. We tend to be poor judges of our own progress, especially since we see every inch of ourselves every single damn day. I also can’t begin to stress the importance of experience. I’m part of a team which includes 4 coaches in total. I had a very specific question for my coach today, and immediately he reached out to another head coach, since they share different expertise. For my first year of competing I did it on my own. I did well, but there are some things that research and knowledge can’t give you, and that’s decades of experience in the industry. On that note I’d also like to emphasize the importance for anyone shopping for a coach. Experience. Who have they worked with? What’s their success rate? Credentials? A lot of people do one show and consider themselves a prep coach, being an athlete does not make you an expert. My team has a wait list, and any good coach is worth the extra time ladies. Your body and your health are the most important things in your life, without them what else do you really have, so take care of them. Don’t trust just anyone with your health. I’ve seen some serious metabolic damage from excessive cardio, and starvation diets, which your body shuts down. This leads to a whole other slew of health concerns, and like yoyo dieting, each time the rebound will be worst and the weight loss will be harder. When done the right way prep doesn’t have to suck, I promise you this. The whole process is part of learning your body, loving your body, and respecting it. Find someone who respects it too.