We share our coaching lessons learned – professionalism over mastery, personability and personalization over optimal programming, flexibility over rigidity, long-term good over short-term gains, and more. Niki Sims and CJ Gotcher are joined by BLOC Staff Coaches Adam Skillin, Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy, Brittany Snyder, Mac McGregor, and Brooke Haubenstricker.

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Coaching Lessons Learned

If you’re not growing, not learning, not improving, then you’re getting worse – that’s the nature of this existence. Entropy comes with the deal.

That’s why, coming near the end of this year and during a time when we reflect on what we’ve learned, what we’d like to improve on going forward, and what we’re thankful for, some BLOC coaches share their coaching lessons learned.

Whether you’re a coach, lifter, or within earshot of this because your spouse or significant other plays their podcasts too loud, we hope you learn something from this.

Personalization over the “Perfect Program”

The perfect program, lost to moderns, either buried in the lost city of Atlantis or created by some super secret Soviet coach, still encoded and not translated into English, does not exist.

The principles of programming always matter, but they must be applied to the person who presents himself in real time in front of you – your client.

What are his circumstances, limitations, preferences, fears, goals? These matter more than perfect technique, 12 minute rest periods, or the DUP template you’ve improved for decades.

The programming has to work for your client, not, for the long-term.

Coaching Lessons Learned – Source of truth.

An easy example of this, especially early on, is the reality of biomechanically efficient form when it comes to the lifts. The truth of gravity tells you when you’re doing it wrong.

Personal records can be a source of truth, but look for other metrics as well. What is the client’s motivation? Is nagging pain not improving?

Seek ways to understand and track truth.

Outside the Gym & Technique

The biggest keys to success lie outside the gym. Niki and CJ share similar coaching lessons learned.

Sleep, getting to the gym early and staying late, preparation, food, socializing – these all affect your performance as a coach and lifter.

Relatedly, you have to be more than a form technician.

You have to have basic knowledge of nutrition and the basic situations that are likely to arise (back tweak, elbow tendinitis, get sick, etc.).

You will eventually encounter problems that lay outside the typical situations, and do your best to solve them, refer them out, or help find them a new coach.

Your Ideal Strength Client?

A decade ago, Niki & CJ would have likely said something like someone who is younger, eating tons of protein and calories, doesn’t have other conflicting physical activities outside the gym, and can rest long between work sets. But, they’ve come upon more coaching lessons learned, and changed their minds.

Who is this unicorn client? Like the perfect program, the perfect client doesn’t exist.

This ideal client makes things easier for you, the coach. Given them the program, if they don’t want to follow your guidelines, they’re not doing the program, and their failure is their fault.

This might be the case sometimes – people have to put in the work, and shouldn’t do whatever they want.

But if strength is important, it benefits everyone, especially those who participate in other physical pursuits outside the gym. Strength would help their health and hobbies.

CJ says it’s a red flag when people avoid social situations or physical activities because they’re afraid it will negatively affect recovery.

Most people don’t want to pay the price for continuous PRs – something matters to them more. That’s okay.

Content & Personability

It’s not 1983. We don’t look numbers up in the white or yellow pages. We typically find a business or person online, and that person’s content builds trust and credibility.

After some time, this may lead to purchasing that person’s or business’s products or services.

Create content, and keep it true to yourself. You’re not just a strength coach. You probably don’t only eat chicken breasts and broccoli. You probably don’t only read scientific studies. And if you do only coach, read scientific studies, and eat chicken breasts and broccoli, that’s probably what your social media should reflect.

After Niki & CJ share their top 3 lessons learned, other BLOC coaches share their coaching lessons learned. We hope you enjoy and learn from them!




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