Becoming a Contest Prep Coach

After many years of coaching athletes for physique shows I decided to create the Contest Prep Coaches Course to teach the principles of contest preparation to others who wanted to become coaches themselves. Lately I’ve been getting a lot more inquiries about the course and what it involves. This is understandable as there has never been more competitions, organizations, and competitors needing guidance than there is right now. There has also never been so many new trainers and coaches and the need for information at that level is vital.

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I have mixed feelings about all this. Coaching is not for everyone. It’s an activity that involves putting yourself in the role of supporter and advisor without the goal of being in the spotlight. At least, that’s the way I see it. Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to work with many special coaches, instructors, and mentors from a number of different sports. Being around amazing coaches gave me an insight into what coaching at a high level is all about.

Coaches who are good love two things, teaching and learning. Without those things as a focus you’ll never get there. Coaches also want to help people have an easier time achieving success than what was available to them. A good coach cares. A great coach cares and feels and always puts helping the client or team above themselves. There are some great coaches, but there are not enough of them.

When I developed this course I decided to launch it gradually. I wanted to field test the process in order to make sure it covered what it needed to. I didn’t want to be so overwhelmed with numbers that the quality got lost in the quantity. To date I’ve taken over 20 people (including one IFBB pro competitor, one WBFF pro, and an NPC judge) through the 6 lesson, one-to-one course which I teach online via Skype or FaceTime (I’ve taught a few in person as well and now there is a new, multi-media version. The feedback that I’ve gotten has been very positive and helpful and this teaching format allows me to insure that the course will always keep evolving.

It’s a comprehensive course that covers all aspects of contest preparation and coaching people from all the different divisions, organizations and levels. Doing it one-to-one allows me to customize it for each individual student in case they have a particular area of interest they want to focus on more. (The written course material gives them reference info for everything)

A big thing the course includes is ongoing support to assist new coaches once they start working with their own competition clients. To date I’ve taught this course to people in the UK, Australia, Canada and all across the U.S. There are some outstanding coaches who’ve taken this course that I feel honored to have worked with!

The Contest Prep Coaches Course is not for everyone. It is not a course designed to make you rich or famous or to help you build a super-team of competitors. Those things may happen, but that’s not the priorities I want the perspective coaches I work with to have. Those are not the reasons I went into coaching and training, and I’ve yet to see anyone who is actually an exceptional coach have those reasons be their main focus.

One of the reasons I don’t offer this as a “certification” course at this time is that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand and continue to do it as a one-to-one course. But the main reason is that my goal is to train and develop dedicated and competent coaches, not just teach people who are primarily interested in certification or CEU’s. I will establish it as a certification course/CEU course in the near future however, (not hard to do) and everyone who has previously completed it will receive that recognition at that time. I just don’t want that to be the primary reason why someone takes this course.

As a coach you have to be prepared to give of yourself. It’s not just your knowledge but your time, attention, and guidance that your athletes will require. You will need to be reassuring and constantly supportive of them all throughout the very personal process of peaking for a show. You need to establish a relationship of trust and support. It’s you and your athlete working together to do what’s best for them. It’s never about you.

It feels satisfying to help someone win a show or achieve a goal like getting their pro card, be invited to the Arnold Classic, or qualify for the Olympia or World Championships. It’s equally rewarding helping someone overcome a lack of confidence to get up onstage looking their best ever and feeling proud and accomplished. When a client’s husband says to you, “Wow, I never thought my wife could look like that!”, there is no trophy or title that can match this as a coach. When you see someone grow in confidence and overcome obstacles through the process of self-improvement with a purpose, it’s a privilege to be a part of. These things can easily be missed if the focus isn’t on being the right type of coach for your clients.

Some coaches will over-credit themselves for their athletes success just to get more clients. Some coaches screen potential clients and only take or associate with the more gifted ones. Some coaches will encourage or allow unhealthy prep practices or the use of chemicals so that their athletes will do better. Some coaches choose to prep athletes in a way to make themselves look good in the short term, even if it’s harmful to the athlete in the long term. If someone wants to be that type of coach, this course is not for them. A great coach would not do this.

Greatness is not self-anointed. It is not measured by money or fame. It is measured by quality and the desire to be exceptional. It is rare. The things that determine it are often done out of the spotlight. It comes from passion and caring. I’ve already seen it in some people I’ve worked with. I can’t wait to see it again.

A good coach is there to help his/her clients be the best they can possibly be. The Contest Prep Coaches Course is about turning out good coaches who can then go on and become great.

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Model-Saul Cervantes

Saul Cervantes



Chelsea Good

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