Online Coaching FAQ
This FAQ is for people that have read the coaching page but would still like to know more.
• How much does coaching cost?
• Why do I need to have weight training experience?
• Why do you refuse e-mail correspondence from smartphones?
• Why can’t you work with people with a lot of life stress?
• Do you sell separate diet & training plans?
• Why do you only work with men?
• Why do I need experience counting macros?
• Why do you need me to cook?
• Is this one of those typical chicken/broccoli diet things?
• How often do you make adjustments for clients?
How much does coaching cost?
My monthly fee is around the cost of an average new car payment.
Pricing is the same for all, however before I discuss specifics I would like to have a conversation and make a suggestion and prediction for you. This helps out in a few of ways:
- We get to see if we are compatible and will get along.
- It helps me to weed out the types of people that try to simply throw money at their problems, instead of work at them. Such people won’t be successful long term, and I’d prefer spend my time helping people that are genuinely seeking to learn. My business works through word of mouth, not advertising.
- I aim to be world class at what I do, and you’re not going to understand quite how thorough I am unless we have a conversation first about how I can help you (and of course whether I can or not).
There’s no obligation to work with me after applying, this is just the way I like/need to work to vet clients.
Why do I need to have weight training experience?
I train people online, and though it works very well in most situations it has it’s limitations for beginners. For me to be able to get you the results that you want, I need you to be comfortable with the main compound lifts (Squats, Deadlifts, etc.) so that you will be able to properly perform the training plan that I will give you. This means spending some time under the bar and getting your form right.
Very few people you’re likely to contact for coaching are going to tell you that though, because they’ll be too busy trying to make a sale. I’m in this for the long term. I put good results and reputation over short-term profits. If you’re new to training, you can read more on what I suggest you do and why before applying in a special section here.
Why do you refuse e-mail correspondence from smartphones?
In short, the coaching process is too detailed to be done effectively via smartphone e-mailing. Specific reasons are covered in the requirements section of the coaching page. It isn’t a negotiable point.
Why can’t you work with people with a lot of life stress?
All forms of stress in your life dip into the same pool of what we will call (for simplicity’s sake) “adaptive reserves.” Essentially, your body has both a specific response to each specific stressor it encounters (for example, if you stress your muscles with weight training, they get bigger and stronger), and a general response to EVERY stressor it encounters. This general stress response is met by your immune system and nervous system ramping up their activity to protect you from the stress you’re under.
Unfortunately, your nervous system and immune system, just like your muscles, can give out if you place demands on them for too prolonged a period of time (chronic stress), or if you place too high of demands on them all at once (a very large acute stressor).
Since all stressors dip into the same pool of adaptive reserves, everything (both physical and psychological stress) contributes, based on how large each stressor is. And thats why its important to not undertake a demanding training program and diet when life stress is high.
If you’re already pushing your immune and nervous systems to the brink, adding the stress of harder training and a calorie deficit makes you more likely to “tip over the edge” and overwhelm those systems. This is especially true the leaner you get (in fact, even otherwise healthy bodybuilders often have to pull out of shows because they get sick close to a contest, simply because of how stressful it is to be that lean).
And when those systems are overwhelmed, thats when bad stuff can start to happen. Muscle and tendon recovery rates slow down, meaning you’re more likely to get injured. Even worse, as those systems become overwhelmed and immune function drops, you become substantially more likely to get sick, as pathogens of all sorts have an easier time overwhelming your body’s depleted defences.
Oh yeah, and it simply makes it harder to gain muscle and/or lose fat (which, relative to the rest of the potential consequences, should be the least of your concerns).
For those basic reasons, I don’t take on clients who are under high amounts of day to day life stress. Its impossible for me to know just how close you are to overwhelming those systems, and so if theres any significant chance that you could become ill or get injured from taking my training and diet advice, it would simply not be ethical for me to work with you when I’m fully aware of what could happen.
So, it’s an honours system. If you rated your stress on a scale of 1-10, if it’s a 7 or above, let’s come back to this at another time. Please apply then.
Do you sell separate diet & training plans?
No. Both diet and training need to be in synergy to get results. You can’t effectively break them into their separate parts and I need to be able to control both.
Why do you only work with men?
The narrower the area I focus, the better I can become. I have decided to focus to male strength trainees, because as one myself, that is who I connect and work best with. I’ve given a much fuller answer and listed some coaching recommendations for women here.
Why do you need me to have experience counting macros?
My coaching style relies heavily on consistency, and for that to work effectively you’ll need to be able to get reasonably close to the macro targets that I give you. I will give you guidelines for how you can hit your macros within a rule framework that follows the principles discussed in the article, How to Count Macros – A Flexible Approach, but if you are completely new to counting then it would be a good idea to give yourself time to practice first, as otherwise trying to implement a new training plan as well as diet strategy at the same time as learning to count will overwhelming.
Why do you need me to cook?
If you have been struggling to get lean but you eat out a lot, then cooking more is likely the answer. The problem with eating out is that it can be very difficult, impossible sometimes, to know the macros in the food. You can do your best to eyeball your food in restaurants, but you don’t know if the 8oz steak you ordered has had two spoons of butter added to it in the kitchen. – Chefs don’t care about your macros, they care about making tasty food that keeps you coming back.
The key to success is consistency, but if you eat out a lot consistency will suffer. Home cooking allows for consistency and accuracy in what you are eating. Experience tells me that if you can get to within 10% of your macro targets, >80% of the time, then as long as the other 20% of the times aren’t binge eating then you will be successful.
We all want to eat out with our friends on times, however effort and diligence does need to be applied when in a dieting phase. You can read more about this style in my guide, How to Count Macros – A Flexible Approach.
Is this one of those typical chicken/broccoli diet things?
Definitely not. I cringe at how many coaches get away with this. Any successful diet needs to be comprised of your favourite foods. I’ll guide you on how you can hit your macros, you choose what foods you use to reach those targets. Within reason of course. More on this here.
How often do you make adjustments for clients?
The best situation is where everything proceeds as planned and we don’t have to make any diet changes for as long as possible. We certainly don’t want to wish for complication and adjust things unnecessarily.
In around 25% of cases where the focus is on fat loss I won’t need to make any dietary adjustments during a full 12 week period. For most people it’s normal to need to make a change at some point. As I’m fairly good at guessing initial calorie intakes and suitable macro settings, I’d say that the majority of the adjustments that do take place come in the 8th week or onwards, but obviously it varies depending on the individual circumstances.
What kinds of clients have you worked with?
Recreational physique-focussed trainees make up the majority of clients, but I have experience working with a very wide range of people.
Serious amateurs or professionals need more consideration than the physique-only focussed recreational trainee without a time crunch, however the nutrition strategies required are typically a lot less complicated than most people have been lead to believe. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down it’s not actually that hard to adjust for the additional considerations regarding nutrient timing and energy expenditure.
Here are the kinds of people I’ve worked with:
- Military (50+ people). Many countries, all branches, many on active duty. One SF instructor/contractor, a few guys that claimed to be. Military personnel are clear communicators, self-motivated, dedicated, and always a pleasure to work with.
- MMA / BJJ / other martial arts practitioners (~30 people). I’ve helped take two people to medals helping them cut to their respective weight classes.
- Powerlifters cutting for their weight class for competition.
- I’ve helped a few people qualify for the military, emergency services, and two for the US coastguard.
- Several actors (none hollywood, one Norwegian film actor) getting them in shape for their roles.
- Physique models for a photoshoot (~10 people). None mega-famous, Mens Fitness magazine model kind of stuff.
- Stage competitors. Three that I can currently recall and name, but I know there are more.
- Coaches and personal trainers. This is the largest category outside of the recreational trainees. I find it especially rewarding and fulfilling work knowing the impact is multiplied.
I can’t/don’t claim to have made any of these people successful. They were hard working, dedicated, and in some cases simply brilliant from the start. I just helped guide them.
Do you have any terms and conditions?
Sure, you can see those here.