Monday, October 12, 2015

The Partial Rep Prep Coach

by Kris Pitcher

All of a sudden, everyone is a contest prep coach? Now, I'll make things real clear - I'm not a prep coach. My husband is a prep coach. He's a really good one. And I help him with his business. But I have a very full time job. Very.

I spent a lot of years working full time in the health and fitness industry but no longer do. My background is exercise science, and psychology...a nice mix for working with competitors. I am myself a national level competitor. I know a thing or two.

It's interesting, people will come to work with my husband to learn posing. Their "prep coach" sends them? Wait? I thought you had a coach? But your coach doesn't teach posing. Hmm, I see.

Others will come for nutrition. Their "prep coach" will send them? Again, confused here...I thought you had a prep coach. Oh, but your coach doesn't do nutrition. I get it. Then it turns out their coach doesn't know the first thing about bringing someone in for a show, much less the details of competing.

So, really? Aren't they a personal trainer? There's nothing wrong with being a great personal trainer. But all of a sudden, every one's a prep coach. Too bad really, because there's a lot of competitors out there getting bad advice, or no advice.

They go to a show, completely lost. No clue about what to expect, what they should have, how they should be prepared, where to get a tan even! For me, I want people to have a great experience and love the sport.

That takes knowledge and education. There's nothing wrong with working with a team to get you ready, but why wouldn't you work with one person who can guide your workouts, your nutrition, teach you to pose (no matter which division you are in), and give you every bit of information from suit selection to how to pee with competition color on.

Why wouldn't you want an expert to guide you in this process? I feel like we've had this conversation before...but then I go to a show and a competitor who's done maybe one show is now running a team. Honestly, it's a situation of the blind leading the blind here.

Then the aftermath of complaints about judging comes. Well, you get a bunch of competitors on stage led by "prep coaches" who have no idea what they are doing and you get what you get up there. A bunch of people who look ready to start their prep. Try to judge that mess.

Seriously, I don't cut my own hair, or clean my own teeth. I don't massage myself, or do my own taxes. I even walk by the self-check line at the grocery store - that won't save me any time. I need a professional. And so do people who want to compete.

If you're a great personal trainer, stick within your scope of practice. If you've done one show and you're all excited - great! Go recruit other fit people to work with your prep coach, but be realistic about the skill set required to take on this role.

Ask your potential prep coach lots of questions, ask around town, check with promoters, and do your research. You don't want to hire someone who's only capable of doing partial reps on this one.


  1. Ugh, this happened to a friend of mine. He charged her hundreds of dollars to really only do her workouts and nutrition. Which, he told her to boil.. Ugh, I wanna throw up saying it out loud... boil all her food.


  2. I'm a personal trainer and I would like to just defend the personal trainers out there, because absolutely ZERO of physique body competitions is taught through a personal trainers course it's extremely frustrating in such a booming industry that NO certification exists for this. I wrote this email to NASM( who my certification is through).. Maybe something will change soon.

    Dear NASM,

    So, 2 years ago I complained that you guys had NO group personal training certification, then you came together with a pretty good GPT course. Now I must complain again on a industry that is exploding in my gym, but because of the lack of "education" on the subject, I'm helpless to educate or train/coach my clients- which in turn is causing me to lose business or seem "behind" on the times to my clients. Now, I know NASM is supposed to be cutting edge, on top of the new stuff, but I have to say I'm very disappointed in the fact that their exists NO certification on physique competition training- this industry is huge! Especially, with my female clients, all of them want to get into physique body competitions(the next level) - after you have hit all your gym goals what's left? You want to compete, you want to show off the awesome body that you worked so hard to get. The lack of available resources on this topic is disheartening and it leaves trainers like myself looking stupid and unqualified. I believe that NASM doesn't want to be stuck in the past, that you strive to be cutting edge, so please listen to my plea!
    Get physique body competition certification!!!

    What do I think the course should cover?
    1.) Absolutely, and maybe the MOST important is the time layout for your diet and when you should cut back on muscle building and focus in on fat loss as far as diet is concerned, I mean really cut back for show day. This seems to be one of the most challenging topics for me to find info on, people want to know what to eat, how much of it they should be eating and when to start what I like to call the "extreme" dieting for show day. But, this requires at least a 3-5 month commitment to eating foods that help you to gain muscle and a workout plan that helps you to burn fat, while still gaining muscle. * This is the key course material to help your client look amazing for show day*

    2.) Posing, it's all about the pose.. How you parade around on the floor is key to how the judges score your muscles. This also can be very intimidating for your female client who usually is entering this type of competition for self esteem issues. It's imperative that you coach your client ahead of time, that they can feel confident on the floor posing and walking in heels( if female).

    3.) How to determine which class your client qualifies for, usually there are at least four different types of weight classes or physique body type classes. Determining which one best suits your client is so important, because on competition day, you don't want your client looking at you and wondering why she built all this muscle up and she signed up for the bikini body class and not the muscle class! Determining which class your client is best suited for is sooo important.

    4.) After you've determine which class your client is going to compete in- Now you have to build a strength training program that directly applies to the muscles that will be critiqued by the judges. Building the proper program that addresses the right muscles for the right poses and weight classes is the difference between a client that comes home with a trophy to bring back to the gym or a client that comes back to you angry because the judge said they had small glutes.

    5.) Tanning, what day does your client need to get darker than the midnight sky?

    6.) What does your client wear(clothes and shoes on show day? )What are their best choices? How often should they be practicing in their competition attire?

    I'm sure a lot more goes into it, but these are my main questions and concerns for the course.