bikini girl posing

Posted 2 years ago

I want to compete – when should I hire a coach?

So, you’re thinking of competing for the first time and you’re Instagram shopping for a prep coach, wondering when you should approach them to start your journey. After all, you don’t want to step on stage till the back end of 2021 so why bother starting now?


I’m here to tell you that if you know you want to compete, the sooner you start working with a coach the better, and here’s why:

Getting ready for stage takes time

And I don’t just mean time dieting. I mean time spent under the bar, time spent training, time spent developing your physique. I also mean time getting to know how your body responds to varying amounts of volume, varying amounts of food, and varying amounts of cardio/output. When you’re ready to start prep, you want the process to be as smooth as possible, and in order to do so, removing as much guesswork as possible is crucial.

Therefore, if you’ve been working with a coach for 12-20 weeks before you’ve even started dieting, you’ll both have a great understanding of what will be required, making the elite results certain.

A coach won’t lie to you

You might think that you’re jacked and ready to step on stage in less than a year. However, most beginners underestimate the muscle mass required to begin with, before they consider dieting. What I mean is that if you choose to start prep prematurely, you’ll get stage lean and realise you didn’t have enough tissue to begin with.

A good coach will be able to see that before you do, and they’ll be able to provide a more realistic timeframe for you stepping on stage. It may not be what you want to hear, but why would you spend 18weeks dieting to realise you could have looked better had you waited a little longer?

Prep requires trust, and trust is built with time

Don’t underestimate the importance of this last point. When you’re prepping for a show – especially for the first time – it’s likely you’ll have never taken your physique to that extreme level of leanness.

This means that you have absolutely no idea what’s coming your way: you don’t know what you’re supposed to look like at 10 weeks out, 8 weeks out, 3 weeks out. Your mind will play tricks on you, telling you that having a little bit of extra food won’t hurt, or skipping cardio won’t make a difference, or that disregarding posing is ok. Some days you’ll feel ready, other days you’ll feel like you need more time and completely panic. There’s also a why not everyone who starts a prep finishes it – it’s hard going.

So, you want to make sure that you have a good, trusting relationship with your coach because you will need to communicate these things to them. You need to feel comfortable telling them if you’ve fucked up. You need to be comfortable reaching out if you’re having an absolutely awful day. You need to trust that they have your best interest at heart, and that’s why making sure you have the right coach for you IS SO IMPORTANT. But how would you know this if you’ve just started working with them at 16 weeks out? I’m not saying that it won’t work – what I’m saying is that if you’ve never been through it before it is likely to work better and be more pleasant if you’ve spent time getting to know your coach and have given them a chance to get to know you too.

In summary, I strongly believe that you should hire a coach as soon as you know you want to compete. Trust your coach and the process, spend time building the relationship you have together, and appreciate that looking good on stage is more than nailing your diet. So of course, if you have been thinking about competing, what are you waiting for? Get in touch by clicking the button below today.

Clara Swedlund MSc MBPsS