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3 Things, with Bryan Barth

3 Things, with Bryan Barth

Every era, in every sport, is defined by its own set of unique characteristics – Bodybuilding is no different. From the 1970’s Golden Era that’s become synonymous with the Austrian Oak, when the sport reached its popularity apex with the mainstream, all the way through the 1990’s and early 2000’s eras that introduced the global brand of bodybuilding to Blood & Guts training, and the unprecedented dominance of King Ronnie, things follow a natural progressive order of change. And in the last decade, few things have done more to shape the way the sport is viewed by fans, and practiced by the growing record number of competitors than the popularization of the ‘contest prep coach’.

As the number of competitors has swelled to epic proportions with new divisions, so has the demand for coaches with it. We’ve seen an influx of under-qualified and over-publicized coaches capitalize on the rapidly expanding market by sucking in hungry, unwitting competitors-to-be with their superfluous claims of revolutionary diet and training strategies, that are typically little more than rehashed, and rebranded snake oil.

Which raises and important question: With so many choices, and so much to filter through, how do you select a knowledgable coach that’s going to be able to meet your needs in today’s day and age?

With over two decades of experience as a top-level National competitor and prep coach that’s worked with hundreds of athletes, there aren’t many people out there with a better resume than Bryan Barth – who sat down with me recently to discuss what to look for when selecting a coach in our latest ‘3 Things‘ installment.

  • Evaluate and Assess: What is your ultimate goal for entering a competition? Have you been training for a while, and want to try something extremely challenging? Is it your goal to take yourself to a higher level of mental and physical fitness, to see your body in tip top shape? Do you want to become a fitness or bodybuilding pro? These are all important questions to ask yourself. They will give you a better perspective for narrowing down the trainer to best suit your needs. Knowing what you want the outcome to be will help you decide the experience level, and justify the expense of hiring the trainer you need.
  • What Type of Person / Competitor are You? Are you the type that can take a program your trainer sends you and run with it? Taking the initiative to look up, and seek out answers to any questions you have concerning your program. Or are you more of a reassurance, constant contact, and feedback competitor that needs a trainer there more regularly? It’s very important to know these things about yourself when choosing a trainer that will fit both your personality and needs.
  • Coaches Must Love What They Do –This is the last one, and probably most important. Seek out a trainer that has a real passion and love for what they do. You can tell this about a trainer by looking at their clientele, and listening to the feedback from their competitors. Interview the trainer as you would a job applicant, find out their style and training philosophies. Ask for references, and then check them. Do your due diligence. A healthy trainer/client relationship is crucial to your success. Most importantly ask yourself after you have done your research, do they treat the competitor as if it was themselves they are putting on stage?


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