Seeking for online fitness advice when you are a new lifter? Read this first

Posted: August 19, 2015 in From my vantage point
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When friends and strangers in the internet ask for fitness advice, the first thing that comes to mind is “Do no harm.”. To be effective, advice given should be understood by the recipient and used as intended by the “online coach”. Bear in mind that online advice can not take the place of actual supervised training. It is a very good supplement to actual training provided that the “trainee” understands what she or he is doing and knows how to relay useful information to the online coach so as to receive appropriate feedback. The danger in giving advice online is that it may be misunderstood. If this happens, it would not produce the intended results in the expected time and eventually the trainee will lose interest. Or worst, it may cause injuries or trigger a heart attack waiting to happen.online coaching

To make the most out of online “consultation” whether free or paid, do the following first:

  1. Level expectations

– Specify what is it that you seek for and ask the online coach if he/she can help you online. Expectations should be leveled and the coach will advise you on what is needed to be done first. You should provide honest information as to what you are willing to do outside your comfort zone. With this information, the coach will also know if you are really committed.

– A written “Training Program” will not magically transform your body nor improve your health. The magic starts with you doing what you need to do for yourself.

  1. Clarify your training goal

– Sometimes the terms you used may have different meaning to your “online coach”. The word “strength” means the amount of maximum force generated by muscular effort. A lot of people think strong means big bulging muscles. This creates situation wherein the training program is not designed for the goal and this is caused by a simple misuse of a word. Spending time clarifying training goals saves a lot of training hours by having a focused training program. Make sure that both you and the coach use simple words which mean the same thing to both of you.

–  Is it something that you need or something you want? You may want to have 6 pack abdominal muscles but the coach may be suggesting something that needs to be addressed first before what you want may be realized.

3.  Do not compare yourself to others

– In the poem Desiderata, there is a line that says “do not compare yourselves with others, as always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”. The best person to compare yourself to is to yourself. Were you a better person than last week? Are you stronger now than last month? 

  1. Research first

– I decided to write blogs because I get emails asking for free fitness and rehab advice. I used to answer the questions individually like a usual correspondence that goes back and forth. But a lot of those who ask for free online advice do not seem to value the time and effort used to answer their questions- they do not reply to questions about them related to the advice they seek.

– I realized that a lot of questions are quite general and coach “Google” is always ready to answer. Waiting for the feedback of strangers who ask for free advice can also be frustrating since I devote time and effort to share what I know but then sometimes I get no feedback about the outcome. I then realized that people are lazy and they just don’t do their part and if I oblige, I am just encouraging bad despicable attitude. So before asking for free online advice, it would be best to do some research first and apply what is learned, then if there is still a particular question, that is the time to ask for that specific question to the person who has the qualifications and experience to answer your query.  Some would charge for giving advice since it takes a lot of money to acquire the knowledge and experience needed to answer those questions.

  1. Write down your goal or question and read it. If you are able to write down your goal or question, it is clearer.
  1. Realize that you are ultimately responsible for your health and safety even if you asked for advice.

-Physical activities have their inherent risks and these are minimized with supervision and guidance. So practice a lot of caution when you train alone. Make sure you understand whatever advice you asked for and ask for options if there are.

So to my friends who I have not seen for years and who asked for a “Training Program”, you probably were disappointed when I did not send you one. The truth is, I value your health and I understand that even apparently healthy individuals suddenly collapse while doing a new physical activity. It would be irresponsible to just dish out a training regimen when I do not know what you are capable or incapable of now. It would be better to “teach you how to fish” rather than just giving you a “fish” which you do not know how to cook. This is a free piece of advice. And the best things in life are free. Use it to Train Better, Live Better!

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