Is your coach in your corner?
I’ve been wanting to write this brief blog post now since last week, but there was always something else I had to do first. Finally, I have a few moments to share some thoughts on this subject. Every time I train with Shane I leave feeling inspired, hopeful, and so excited about my passion…lifting and building my physique. I am so thankful for his expertise. He truly is one in a million, and while some might not agree with his methods there are 10x that many who do. I am one.
Last week I had the chance to train with Shane again. We’ve been trying to set aside some time every few weeks for training. Though he’s given me workout programs in the past, it’s a completely different experience training together in person. I am able to understand from his perspective how he wants me to do things. He controls my pace, my form, and the order in which I do everything. I control my rests in between sets and the amount of “load” I am able to lift.
During our visits I listen. I am such a sponge when I’m with Shane. I ask him questions, and he candidly answers. We talk about lifting. We talk about competing. We talk about goals, and we talk about what needs to happen between now and then to bring out my best. We talk about my future, my potential and how to improve my weaknesses (of which there are many).
It’s an invaluable experience.
I have so much respect for Shane and Tiffany (Shane’s wife). I really do.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have worked with other coaches. For one reason or another it’s never worked out. From disagreements on the use of foul language, to how we approached my training and nutrition, to not feeling welcome to ask questions or build a personal connection, to questionable personal issues…there’s always been something that’s made me think twice.
Not the case with Shane. I’ve been working with him now since 2013. Instead of reverse dieting, he helped me initially reverse-think my way to a safer headspace. In 2013 I was not in a good place mentally at all. He helped me find sanity again. He helped me with my off-season diet initially, and as the months passed, my trust and appreciation for him grew. I lost the urge to binge. I started to eat more of the right foods again. I was open to trying new foods. I was appreciative for accountability. I valued his opinion, and his direction. I grew to like him as a friend and trusted him as a trainer and coach.
That’s when he helped prep me secretly for Boise in 2014. I didn’t tell a soul. I wanted to redeem myself, and I needed to do it on my own. Shane knew. My mom knew. And Greg knew. That was it. It wasn’t until I was within a few weeks I started “not denying” it when asked. And I didn’t make a public statement until I arrived in Boise for the show.
That too was a deal-breaker with Shane. He honored my wishes. He knew why I wanted to Boise, and he supported me. He even drove up for the show.
Since Boise I’ve continued to work with Shane – but never as closely as we are now. I am checking in with him nearly every week. And though we are not within the window of competing, I am checking in with him in person at least once a month.
We are pushing the envelope when it comes to my meal plan too. I am eating by macros – which allows me the freedom to change things up if I want to. But we are also slowly increasing the numbers to see what my body can handle before having to diet back down for a show. More of the right kinds of food allows for the potential for more muscle.
Shane’s in my corner. I believe that beyond a doubt. He has my back. He has my best interest at heart. He still asks how I’m feeling. He wants to make sure I’m not falling back in to that crazy loco headspace I was a couple of years ago.
Shane has come a long way too since we first started training together. He now has more than 20 IFBB pros with the Team Heugly name. Yet he still finds time for me – a 44 year old adoptive mom of 2 who loves to lift and compete. By any standard, I am a no one with Team Heugly, but he treats me as if I am the only one. I mean that.
And he reminds me to live my life. To enjoy it. And he doesn’t rip me to pieces when I slide in a half marathon every now and again. Or when I overdo it on my macros. He knows I’m human. And that life happens, and that there is more to life than lifting and a 100% regimented diet.
With so many questionable trainers out there who will put you through the ringer trying to get you ready for the stage, I hope you ask yourself if the person you’re working with has YOUR back. There is a difference between the trainer and coach who will slowly bring you in for a show or slowly help you to put on size safely and the coach who will sacrifice everything – including your health – to make you temporarily look good for the stage. Looking good does not equate to safe health.
Make sure your coach has your back. Make sure he or she is in your corner. Make sure he or she is vested, cares, and wants the best for you.
Your health is of primary concern. No show is worth you throwing your good health away. Remember that.
You know more than you probably think you do. If something doesn’t feel right with your current coach, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut. We women are smart beings. Even when it comes to something like this. We don’t have to be experts in the field of fitness to know when something’s “off”. You shouldn’t feel neglected, taken advantage of, like you are wasting his/her time, exhausted and completely beat up, or malnourished. You want someone in your corner you know you can trust – whether it be Shane or someone else. I’m not writing this to sell Shane. I’m writing this because there is a difference in having someone you know you can trust and someone who’s more interested in short-term results at any cost.
Be smart. Take care of you. Trust your intuition, and make sure whoever you choose to work with is truly vested and in your corner.