5 Warning Signs You Need To Fire Your Contest Prep Coach

So you decided to embark on the amazing and inspiring journey of competing – and thus begin a contest prep. You’ve dreamed about stepping on a bodybuilding stage for SO long. Showcasing your best look ever, and celebrating a major triumph with your closest family and friends, rooting for you in the audience.

There’s SO MUCH to learn when it comes to getting ready for a show.

From how to train, to how to eat. Let alone posing, suit design and selection, tanning, which federation to choose, and of course… Which division is right for you!

When you dreamed about getting on stage, you probably didn’t realize that there would be so many moving parts. Whether you want to compete in bikini, figure, fitness, wellness, women’s physique, or bodybuilding, one of the biggest (and most expensive) assets you MUST have in your corner is an experienced contest prep coach.

Competing In Bodybuilding Is A Different Game Today

(Me drinking in every moment at the 2014 IFBB Emerald Cup Championships where I took 2nd Place in Women’s Physique.)

The sport of bodybuilding has grown exponentially over the last few years.

Gone are the days when it was pretty easy to know which coach to hire. There was a small handful of top coaches who were experts nearly all competitors flocked to. And you can trust that they were top of the line.

Now even with them, there were MANY questionable practices. But for the most part, they were the few that understood how to get the job done when it comes to getting competitors on stage.

What Competing Is Like Today

Fast forward to our current day, there are hundreds of thousands of folks out there calling themselves “bodybuilding coaches.” This would be GREAT if many of them were not necessarily experts in the field, but simply educated and experienced as coaches. Sadly, with these mind-boggling numbers of pop-up coaches, many are not!

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten on a call with a woman nearly in tears because her coach is killing her.

From dealing with extreme diet protocols of eating only tilapia and asparagus to doing 3-4 hours of cardio EVERY SINGLE DAY. The horror stories I’ve heard are heartbreaking. But here’s the thing… They’re all too common!

In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for irresponsible coaching. Not with all the advancements in nutrition and training science we have at our fingertips as fitness professionals.

You’re paying a TON of money to work with a coach. So as a competitor, you MUST do your due diligence in making sure who you hire has your best interest at heart.

So here are a few red flags you MUST watch out for. If you see any of these in your contest prep coach – fire them and run! Your health can be destroyed by their hands.

Your Coach Has You On An Extremely Restrictive Diet

Before we get into the meat of this conversation, let’s get one thing straight. Make no mistake that bodybuilding isn’t a healthy sport.

It is a sport of extremes.

This is baked in the cake (pun intended) when it comes to our approach to EVERYTHING in the sport. From our dieting to our training, and our drive to beat our best – and to win. You have to be someone who sort of likes punishment to do well in the sport.

All of that being said, our diets tend to be very hard and push the boundaries of caloric deficits. But there is a line that must never be crossed when it comes to how coaches program diets for contest prep.

Food is the backbone of our results, and ability to train hard to get them. You must be in a caloric deficit to get lean. But if you are consistently eating a diet below 1200 calories for weeks on end, you need to start to question your coach.

Even further, if your diet is anything below 1000 calories per day – fire your coach immediately and seek the assistance of a prep coach who knows what they are doing.

Starving yourself on low-calorie diets is the quickest way to lose muscle, slow your metabolism down to a crawl, and set you up for a rebound that will see you gaining weight extremely quickly after your show.

Beware of Eliminating Entire Food Groups

This is one I want EVERY competitor to be mindful of.

If your coach completely eliminates complete food groups from your entire plan, question their reasoning. I have seen diets written up where clients were not allowed to eat carbs of any kind which are essential to metabolism and energy for training.

Their coaches eliminate oats, grains, rice, and potatoes and do all of this without replacing the lost carbs with fats. This substitution is a crucial component in making sure the client has the energy she needs to properly train for the show.

Understand These Nutrition Basics For Contest Prep

Carbs and fats have an inverse relationship in the body. As one goes down, the other MUST come up. How much you adjust for that is an individual thing. But eliminating both can lead to hormonal issues for women that are really hard to recover from in the post-show aftermath.

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Additionally, if your coach only has you eating white fish and asparagus (or any leafy/green veggies only) this is highly problematic.

There is nothing wrong with including other meats. Yes, they may choose lean cuts over the others depending on what your specific needs are. But eating fish alone has NO magic properties whatsoever. It doesn’t make the skin thinner, nor does it make you any leaner than eating other sources of protein for variety.

You Are Forced To Train 7-Days A Week

This next bit leads us into the murky waters of the extremes of bodybuilding.

Here’s the truth… In order to get ready for a show, you absolutely MUST put in more work than you would to simply maintain your physique or be healthy.

Bodybuilding IS the sport of extremes! And it’s very common to be doing double duty at the gym, particularly when you are in-season.

However, there is a point of diminishing returns.

Sometimes, more isn’t better – it’s simply more. In that respect I mean, you can’t really think that pushing your body to the limits day in and day out (without rest) can have a positive outcome by the end of your prep.

You simply won’t make it to the end! Overtraining is a real thing and can be quite detrimental when it comes to results.

How Much Rest SHOULD You Take During Contest Prep?

It is CRUCIAL to allow for at least 1 day of rest when you are following a contest prep program. Your body needs the recovery to balance your hormones (as best as it could), repair muscle, and restore the energy you’re going to need to go beast mode in your next workout.

All of the dieting and training you’re doing for your prep is extremely taxing. Even more, it is taxing on your adrenals! Not allowing your adrenals to recover can send your body into cortisol overdrive, setting you up for burnout and adrenal fatigue. Especially if you plan on doing more than one show.

They Give You Too Much Cardio

In the same spirit of what I mentioned above, too much of a good thing is just that… Too much!

Cardio is always one of those things that contest prep coaches LOVE to push. Particularly pairing it with extremely low carbohydrate and low-calorie diets.

This spells a recipe for pure and utter disaster for the female competitor, particularly.

Say it after me, “Cardio is a TOOL in the toolbox! Not the basis upon which our entire contest prep protocol is built.”

Cardio is an essential part of any contest prep program, but its role is more like that of “icing on a cake.” The main driving factor behind fat loss is your diet. Cardio only acts as a synergist to this foundation.

Too many coaches RELY on cardio as a means to get clients leaner. Sure! It’s easy to starve a competitor to death, make her eat only white fish, and then give her hours of cardio and get a result.

It’s far harder to do things the sane and healthy way and get the same OR EVEN BETTER results.

How much cardio should you be doing?

Well, as always, the answer to that is an annoyingly, “it depends.” Your body type will dictate that (i.e. endomorphs need more than ecto- or mesomorphs). How many weeks are left until your show? How is your diet set up?

These are all questions that need to be considered when it comes to cardio design protocols. One thing I will tell you that if you are doing 2-3 sessions of 90 minutes or more of cardio each day (totaling more than 2 hours every single day) – fire your coach.

They Push Supplements And Steriods Over Diet and Training

It often baffles folks to hear that I have successfully helped ALL NATURAL clients not only win their shows but to turn pro without having to resort to using a single ounce of steroids.

Being successful as a natural competitor is possible, regardless of division. Do supplements play a role in the world of bodybuilding and contest prep, you betcha! They absolutely do. However, prescribing supplements should not be the first call to action when getting ready for a show.

Even worse, coaches who push anabolic steroids on female competitors are playing Russian roulette with her health and femininity. Many women get into this sport because they feel that having muscle and being athletic is beautiful. That it’s feminine, and it embodies what they would define as a strong woman.

Very few get into the sport realizing that many of their favorite top athletes have dabbled in steroids. Some of them got pushed onto these drugs by coaches early on in their contest prep journeys.

A Warning To ALL Female Competitors…

Ladies, it is EXTREMELY important that you do ALL of your research before agreeing to take supplements of any kind. Whether legal or not.

Even when it comes to fat burners! I am very reluctant to allow my clients to begin on a thermogenic until we are deep into a contest prep, and the extra boost for the metabolism is necessary to reach extreme levels of leanness.

For many of my clients, this might begin about 8 weeks out, sometimes 6 weeks out depending on the client.

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What’s driving fat loss? Their diet!

As for building muscle, of course, this is something many women struggle with. It takes a ton of work and effort to build it, and even more to keep as much of it as possible while in the face of fat loss.

I’m not going to lie and say that for some women steroids, research peptides, prohormones, and testosterone-boosting supplements don’t have their place.

They do. But during a contest prep for a first-time athlete – absolutely not!

Your Contest Prep Coach Doesn’t Support You As A Client

This is the final mic drop I’m going to leave with you today.

For some of you who’ve been down this road, this might feel like the ultimate gut punch.

Here’s a fact, competing in bodybuilding costs money. Being a woman in the sport is even MORE expensive. It doesn’t matter if you compete in figure, fitness, wellness, bikini, women’s physique, fit body, or bodybuilding.

The cost for being a woman in the sport is a lot. And coaching is a major part of that investment.

So then why do you continue to pay for a coach who doesn’t SERVE YOU?

Who doesn’t support you.

Who treats you like an infant, and shows no true concern, gratitude, or care toward you. Not just as a paying customer, but simply as another human being who has dignity.

If your coach doesn’t listen to you, belittles you, makes you feel stupid for asking questions, refuses to answer questions, doesn’t check in on you… Or generally treats you like you don’t exist, or you’re the least important of their “roster” of clients…

You guessed it! FIRE YOUR COACH.

It’s not that your coach needs to baby or coddle you. You’re a grown woman, so woman up and get the work done! But, your coach should at least be a listening ear for your concerns. Be ready to make the necessary adjustments so you BOTH can be successful when you step on that stage. And should treat you like a person, not just another number and automatic payment in their business.

So You Need To Fire Your Coach: What’s Next?

If after reading this article you’re having a major epiphany, and you think you may need to fire your coach… I want you to stop.

Take a step back and breathe. Before deciding if it’s worth it to scrap your coach, I want you to go over each of the criteria I laid out above once again.

If your coach meets 3 or more of these, then absolutely consider moving on.

If your coach is doing 1 or 2 of these things, and it isn’t egregious, then my advice is to actually have a conversation with them.

Even if you find they are doing 3 or more, have that conversation and get a GOOD reason as to why they are doing what they are. And once you get that answer, do your own research.

Take A Self-Inventory of What’s REALLY Going On

Ask yourself, does this make sense? Is what they’re saying supported by any kind of science? And more importantly, if their approach doesn’t feel right for me are they willing to try what does? Or at least tweak things until we both are comfortable with the contest prep protocol?

If your coach is open to this and willing to hear your concerns, FANTASTIC. Give them a chance.

However, if the attempt to converse and compromise goes south, you know what you need to do next…

Find someone else who understands your needs, and will do right by you.

The Smarter Approach to Your Prep Always Wins in the End - Download My FREE Contest Prep Crash Course

 

Look, the one thing I want you to learn from everything I share is that you can indeed have a SMART prep, and look amazing in the end. You CAN do things the right way, and WIN on stage.

All it takes is working with the right advice and tips to help you to get there, and to truly develop into the amazing athlete that you already are.

I pride myself on developing my competitors. To TRULY guide them, hands on, to their best. To be there for them for that motivation, mental support, honest feedback, and attention to detail that will get them to their winning physique.

Let Me Unlock The SECRET To Contest Prep The SMART & Healthy Way

I created this amazing eBook to help you to start to take a smarter approach to your prep – all while looking your ABSOLUTE BEST on stage!

In this eBook I’m breaking down everything you need to consider when it comes to cardio and weight training for prep, dieting for your show, posing and presentation tips, and so much more!

Plus, I’ve got some really great bonus videos that will help you to master the game, and figure out exactly what you need to do to ensure that you look like a star up on that stage.

You Deserve to Win!

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