Why Bother With A Coach?
Human beings are the It’s Always Sunny of mammalian creatures.
We are at once capable of reaching the dizzying heights of Einstein, Tesla, or Descartes and hitting deep, unabashed lows of primitive stupidity.
I still find it amazing that, as a species, we can peer into the foray of scientific achievement, look it in the eye, and laugh as we tick off yet another box on our cosmological enquiry bucket list.
Some days, we can send an electric-powered car into Space.
Other days, we struggle to use a can opener for our sweetcorn.
These undulating (and unpredictable) highs and lows can transfer, unfortunately, into the things that matter – take motivation, for example. A primal energy famously sourced from the residue of brides-to-be or even occasionally, debt-burdened students, it is often depicted as the sole driving force in one’s life success. It’s also commonly attributed to fitness goals.
Motivation can set your soul alight for as little as thirty minutes before you find yourself feeling lost, confused, and wondering why you woke up surrounded next to three Krispy Kreme boxes and a tiger in your bathroom.
Motivation can act - although, it not always is - a band aid covering up your own issues with accountability and discipline. In other words – motivation is a momentary lapse into the assumption that we are not infallible, that is to say, not human. We undergo the assumption that we are untouchable from stress, disease, circumstance or other factors modern day life often throws at us. In the heat of motivation's blazing passion, we lose a calm sense of rationality which begets planning, goals, structure, and above all, a deeper, more profound need for self-improvement and upscaling oneself.
Motivation, or lack thereof, therefore actually becomes the reason why a lot of people hire coaches or trainers, (whichever word you so choose) as they are unable to articulate their failings objectively. Not directly of course - rather, it is in the fallout of your umpteenth power cut of motivational electricity surging through your veins that you think, 'actually, it might not be such a bad thing to have someone keep me accountable.' As I've said before, humans are weird. And find excuses - a lot.
Not losing weight? Just a slow metabolism/heightened cortisol levels.
Body fat percentage gone up? Nothing to do with intake or activity level; just a side effect of a stressful life. (Certainly true indirectly, of course.)
Losing fitness? Nothing to do with the fact that you go to the gym every other week either without a set program or killing yourself for no good reason – just ‘genetics’.
Humans, in the midst of their flaws, are innately vulnerable beings. It goes against our instincts of survival to feel exposed, frightened, or outcast from our theoretical ‘tribe’. Being an outcast essentially spelt doom for our ancestors, and it’s an instinct we have yet to shake off in our chain of evolutionary growth. Rejection, whether from somebody else’s standards or your own, sucks. We are not good at evaluating ourselves objectively, or admitting the ‘hard truth’, because this on some level to us means we are rejecting 'present us; in favour of a nobler image or vision to which we strive towards. Once we let go of the baggage of 'shame' or awkwardness surrounding being self-aware, we can truly better ourselves and reach our goals.
Which is where your coach, trainer, or mentor comes in.
In whatever form, they act as a not-so-douchey (at leats, hopefully) wake up call to when you need a better nudge in the right direction. Individuals, of course, require different approaches; some thrive off gentler words and the sweeter platitudes, whilst others revel in receiving the ‘tough love’ that they’ve craved for so long. Much like trying on the right pair of jeans, finding the right mentor, trainer, coach or even therapist can prove difficult, and even frustrating; some might fit snug at the butt, but leave a gaping hole by the waist. Others traipse the floor, whilst another pair ineffectually becomes cowboy cut-offs. Whatever, I took this jeans metaphor too far – but the general gist is that your reasons for needing to pay somebody money to tell you to squat, eat more greens, or evaluate your mental wellbeing is personal and bespoke to you and your life.
The reason for hiring any of the above persons, as mentioned, isn’t to stoke the fire of motivation; rather, it’s to keep that fire kindling gently on a nice, steady level of consistency in a way that engages and empathises beyond what we see with our eyes.
Anybody can Google how to lose weight; how to become more self-aware; what macronutrients to eat for better satiety; or how to improve deadlift form. That is the very physicalist take on approaching life improvement goals. The truth is, humans are complex beings – and as much as many just think us to be blobs of atoms that are a by product of evolutionary survival mechanisms, (kinda true, but missing a larger piece of the puzzle) they are missing a trick in seeing how we require a more holistic, heck, even spiritual approach in a world full of sterile, clinical, and cold suggestions to increasingly vexing personal problems. A kind, wise word, and having a calm pillar of knowledge can do you a world of wonders in your quest to self-awareness.