Alright, you've decided that hiring an online coach is the best option for you. Where do you go from here? How do you weed through the multitude of online coaches floating around on the Internet to find one that's a good fit for you?
First things first: I know you're probably very excited and eager to get started on your new fitness journey to become a better you, sexier version of yourself, etc. etc. But trust me when I say that it's worth investing a good bit of time and energy into finding someone who is not only qualified and credible but also has your best interests in mind. While there are a handful of good coaches out there, there are unfortunately far more who are only looking to take your money with complete disregard for your health and sanity.
If you have someone specific in mind, Google him/her.
Does she have a website? Twitter? Facebook page? Comb through her work to get an understanding of what her approach and philosophy toward training and nutrition are. Glean her personality through her writing. Scroll through her tweets. Is she receptive to other people's comments? Easily angered? Do you feel a connection to what she's saying?
Look for social proof.
What do others have to say about her? Who all is following her on Twitter? Who is she interacting with? Granted, you can't expect every single person to have raving comments about this particular coach, but what's the tendency? Do your homework before you reach out to her. If she's provided a plethora of free information on her website, do not reach out to her and ask her what her views on x, y, z are or ask her to convince you to hire her. The question, "Why should I hire you?" should be answered through her public work alone.
Don't be shy about contacting one of her current or former clients and asking for honest feedback. This is a great idea, actually, as this can probably tell you things that you normally wouldn't know about.
Don't hire a coach just because she looks great.
This can mean anything, and can especially mean that she didn't necessarily use the safest or most sustainable means to get to that point. Maybe she lives off of tilapia and broccoli six times a day. Maybe she looks like a hottie but is actually miserable because she does three hours of cardio a day to stay in that shape. Maybe she's a closet bulimic and nobody knows it. How's her quality of life? Likely that's a pretty good reflection of how yours will be if you hire her.
Don't hire a coach solely based on popularity.
Yes, having a lot of fans is a good thing, but it's not everything. There are plenty of coaches out there who are known for getting great results with their clients but use very unhealthy means to get them to that point. Conversely, there are a number of excellent coaches who maybe are not the best at marketing and are therefore relatively unknown. Is she making outrageous claims? Does she allow for balance in life, or does she believe that 2 hours of fasted cardio in the offseason is necessary to stay lean?
Don't join a team blindly in order to feel like you're a part of something.
Social support is one of the primary determinants of success in any endeavor. But are you merely joining a cult? Will you be brainwashed as a member of Team X and become one of her robots? Be very careful, as this cult mentality can lead you down a slippery slope.
Then reach out. Does she have a contact form? If so, use that. But be sure not to send over your entire life story because I guarantee you she is very busy and values her time, and the last thing she wants to read about is how your dog Pepe used to steal your chicken breasts you dropped onto the floor and haha it was so cute! and you were really upset by your recent breakup with your boyfriend because you were fighting over that girl who would write on his Facebook wall all the time and it bothered you but he insisted it was nothing but it really got on your nerves and because it was so stressful you didn't know what to do and you ended up eating an entire box of cereal one night. Oh and your training shoes are yellow - is that an okay color?
(Now how annoying was that above paragraph to read? Yeah, don't do that to your potential coach.)
You should hear back in a timely manner -
if not, that may be indicative of the way she treats her business in general. What is she saying to you? Is she sending over a generic sales script over to you, or does she make it clear that she's taken the time to actually read your e-mail? Is she aggressive about pushing her sales package onto you or does she first try to understand where you're coming from and what your fitness goals are? If your goals are completely unrealistic (eg. "I have 50lbs of fat to lose and I want to be ready in 6 weeks!") does she tell you so, or does she say that she will force the diet and training to get you to your goal within the short time frame?
Keep in mind that even though the two of you may have great rapport, you may not necessarily be a good match. Perhaps what you want to do is not something she specializes in. If that's the case, then a truly good coach will tell you so and refer you to someone else.
Are her prices reasonable? And if you can't afford her and you ask for recommendations for other coaches, does she oblige, or does she spit in your face or ignore you altogether?
[Tweet "There are many, many factors to take into consideration when finding an online coach for yourself. "]Please don't make the mistake of blindly hiring someone in your overeager state of mind and experience your quality of life deteriorate because you didn't do your homework.
Your health and safety are important and should take top priority above all else. A pretty physique isn't worth the potential damage.
Check back soon for a list of recommended online coaches….