The above photo was taken in Osaka, two weeks after a photo shoot Rog hired me to help him prepare for. I first met Rog at an industry conference in the US last summer. It was good to meet people in the industry outside of Japan and confirm that, contrary to my suspicion, internet people are actually real. A likeable fella, I invited him over to Japan to stay if he ever had chance to visit, which he did just last week.
We had a good chat about the industry, our careers and where we thought things are headed. We both agreed the topic of why a coach would hire another coach was an interesting question, and so I thought I’d interview him so I could share his perspective on that, and a few other things.
How do people know you best?
I wear several different hats in the fitness industry. Those that frequent my site, Rog Law Fitness, know me as a man on a mission, the goal being to help as many people as I can, enhance their life through fitness, letting the empowerment they gain from that endeavor spread into every other aspect of their lives.
On other parts of the internet (mainly Facebook), I’m a big goof who loves to make people laugh while dropping an insightful piece of knowledge or two every now and then.
In the “real world” I’m a strength coach and personal trainer based out of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I also write for Men’s Health, LifeHacker and several other online publications.
Given what you do and the knowledge that you have, why did you feel the need to hire a coach?
Before I hired a coach, I put myself in the shoes of my own clients who specifically sought me out.
My clients come to me for a reason. They were able to connect with me through some form of content that I created, associated positive feelings with said content, and above all else they felt something unique about my approach and that I’d be able to help them achieve results that have until now eluded them.
Out of all the coaches out there, your approach spoke to me because of your experience with intermittent fasting. Since I’ve been implementing fasting as part of my lifestyle for over 2 years now I’m very comfortable with it, so it was important for me to work with someone who was familiar with it. If I had to implement an entirely new style of eating, that would only serve as another barrier between me and my goals.
I also know myself very well. I’ll easily let myself down, but when it comes to others I’d rather fight two bears with a butter knife than disappoint them. This double whammy of external accountability from a coach paired with the internal pressure of not wanting to let them down and lose face was perhaps the most important factor of all.
Note: You are an individual, your results will vary depending on genetics, adherence, and effort.
We managed to improve all lifts while dropping ~15lbs. (The tan is from two weeks in Australia.)
Specifically, how did you find having a coach helped you?
It helped me get out of my own head and be objective about the process.
I’ve had many successful bouts of dieting, but I’ve never been as lean as I wanted to for a variety of reasons, all of them being psychological. I deal very well with the physical side of dieting – the macros, the training, the planning – but eventually I always hit a point where I begin to sabotage myself. I try to implement some unnecessary protocol that sounds sexy in theory but when it comes down to application, everything falls apart. Constantly tweaking for no reason other than thinking I’ll find some kind of “magic bullet” by doing so.
I also tend to mentally look for ways to cut corners or give myself options. I’ll ease up on myself when I’m just about to break through to a new level of development when in reality I need to force myself through these uncomfortable periods.
Time after time I’ve failed to do this through my own efforts, so having a coach tell me how it was going to be and hold me accountable to the plan when I tried to find ways around doing the hard work necessary was the secret to my success.
I’ll be honest: I wanted to take myself out of the equation as much as possible. As a coach myself, I have all the knowledge necessary to get this done, but it’s in my nature to second guess myself, even when it comes to things I’m extremely confident about. Taking everything off of my plate and putting all the details onto a coach I trusted freed up all of my mental resources to simply execute the plan and reap the rewards.
I know there were some hiccups along the way. I think there are some lessons there, do you want to talk about that?
Like I mentioned earlier, the physical aspects of dieting are never a problem to me, but emotionally I’m susceptible to falling off the wagon in a big bad way when my mindset is compromised.
I ran into a major spike of depression due to a variety of issues that were going on in my life at the time and this caused my eating to spiral out of control for several weeks. After recovering from that, my relationship with my girlfriend of 6 years ended and that lead to another few weeks of decreased adherence and training setbacks.
In both scenarios, I was able to pull myself out of and slowly regain my footing, and this taught me a valuable lesson: the most important part of being successful in any endeavor is showing up. It would’ve been easily understandable if I used these setbacks as excuses to stay down, wallow, feed into my own demons and backslide completely.
At the end of the day, I knew that I committed myself to this and that even though it would be harder to do so in the face of these circumstances, I still had everything inside of me necessary to finish strong, so all that was left to do was to do it.
This reminds me of my favorite line from The Dark Knight where Bruce Wayne feels like a failure after Wayne Manor is burned down, and Alfred replies: “Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”
There’s always a lesson to be learned in defeat, and the glorious feeling one gets from rising above despite their precarious circumstances is indescribable and can be applied to every area of life.
I coached Rog on his cheesecake speed-eating form also. (Costumes were his idea. Yes, we were sober. No, we didn’t count the macros.)
We had a good chat over this last week. One of the things we talked about was always being on point physically yourself as a coach, do you want to share that?
I’ve been traveling through Australia and Japan over the last 3 weeks and I’ve used this as an opportunity to take a break completely from my nutrition.
Some days I eat 4 or 5 meals while others I only eat once. Some days I stick to mainly meat and other protein sources and on others I’m lucky if I get in even 70 grams of the stuff because I’m too busy hunting down delicious and delectable sweets to stuff into my face.
Does it worry me? Not in the least.
I workout when I can, but if I don’t make it to the gym I’m not concerned in the least. It’s stressful to try to be on top of your diet and training every moment of every day. The mental resources that constantly thinking about food and exercise hog up can only be truly understood once you sit back, take a deep breath and stop doing so.
It feels good to chill, reveling in the knowledge that your hard-earned results won’t be destroyed over the course of a few weeks of dietary relaxation. The stress of constantly worrying about this happening does far more harm to you than any caloric surplus ever could.
Strength and body composition isn’t transient. Once you get to where you want to be, maintaining it is far easier than getting there in the first place. In those instances where you stray from where your comfortable baseline, there is simply no better feeling than knowing that when you want to get back there again, you already have the knowledge and the past success to prove that you can do it. All you need to is snap back into that “locked in” mindset for a few weeks and you’re back to fighting form, no worse for wear.
I think it’s an exciting time in your life Rog. What are your plans over the coming year for your website and self as a fitness professional/coach?
I like it keep it as simple as possible, Andy. Over the next year I’m going lock down my time management skills, allowing me to take on more clients in order to show as many people as I can that looking and feeling great doesn’t have to be a complicated, full-time job.
Outside of that, I’m going to continue to develop my skills as a writer and podcaster, constantly playing with different methods of getting my message out to the world.
Thanks for your time Rog. I know you’re looking to get more into the online coaching and I’m sure I can speak on behalf of those reading also in wishing you the best of luck with this over the coming year.
If you’re interested in getting in touch with Rog, details can be found here. You can drop him a message in the comments below also.