“Beasting” vs Smart Coaching
Today I will touch on a topic which I believe makes the difference between leaving someone with the love for sport and exercise and making them hate it for the rest of their lives. Beasting or extreme coaching vs smart coaching or coaching with purpose and passion.
In 20 years of sport I’ve been coached by many coaches, each specializing in their own field, each pushing me to be better and better at what I was doing in that particular time.
Over the years I pushed physical and mental boundaries. And I learnt a lot. I never thought that coaching was the thing I was to become very good at, my talent as some say, my purpose.
Although I learnt many aspects of coaching over the years there is one thing that stands apart today and governs my style of coaching: beasting and pain are not always the solution to reach a goal. And a goal can be anything: weight loss, running, lifting, muscles building, competition etc.
Oh, beasting is what I (and others) call shouting when there’s not need for it, putting people down to make them feel worthless thinking that will motivate them, pushing without seeing the consequences, forcing when the time is not right.
This often leads to injuries and leaving people hating exercising.
Many of my clients had bad past experiences with Personal Trainers and almost all of them tell me they were left with a bitter taste regarding exercising.
But I am here to tell them and you that there is another way, which gives results and makes you love what you do. And, among many things, I should know the difference between beasting and smart coaching and what each of them brings.
Why I choose smart coaching
I began training in Karate at the age of 8. I was not pushed to do it, I was simply shown a class, I liked how it looked and 20 years later I compete for England.
In the first 10 years I used to train 6 days a week during school term and up to 12 times a week on school breaks.
Pushing hard is not even close to describing some of the training sessions, I would be underestimating them. But it was good, I progressed, I pushed boundaries. Even if no one noticed my potential until later in life.
I took on habits and traits others wish they had. Values that are now deeply embedded into my being: discipline, ambition, perseverance, inspiration, motivation, ability to push through anything and everything to get to where I want to get, and on a physical level: strength, flexibility, posture, body awareness and more. A lot of things. Oh and sense of humor, more like sarcasm.
So I know a thing of two about beasting, about motivation, about pain, about tears and pushing through everything to strive for perfection.
But I ask you now: at what cost? After 4 years of karate, at 12 years old, I damaged my knees. Then in 2013 I did an MRI and found out I had grade 3 meniscus damage on both knees, the most advanced form of knees meniscus damage, and 2 doctors recommended surgery… which I refused…
At 12 years old I could barely walk. I was moving my legs as if they were walking sticks. I could not bend them or put too much weight on them. Going up and down the stairs was unbearable. But I know how to push through pain, I learnt it from an early age.
Pushing mental boundaries is one thing, but when we talk about pushing physical boundaries we need to make sure our bodies understand they are capable of anything. To make sure they know they are limitless. Because they are, just they are not prepared for it… yet
We must make sure our bodies are prepared…
I am happy now that I went through 15 years of knee pain. I believe this turned me into a better coach today. Without this Alexandra would not be Alexandra.
So beasting, although in some cases works, it does not work in all cases. Then we turn to coaching with purpose or smart coaching as I call it.
Over the past few years I had the opportunity to be coached by coaches who did, and still do, push me to achieve greatness.
But there’s a difference: we push physical boundaries when the body is ready to withstand the pressure and only at the level just outside boundaries.
And once I saw the opposite of beasting I immediately understood that results (be it weight loss, running or competing) can be achieve through a different form of coaching other than beasting.
Furthermore, smart coaching bring results easier, faster and with less injuries and less painful moments. It also brings joy, really, joy. You really love it and look forward to your training session.
Smart coaching is focusing on technique foremost. Going deep into detail and repeat… and repeat… and repeat, until the body is strong enough to be taken to the next level.
Because no one’s body is perfect, we are not perfect and we do not function in a perfect way (whichever that may be) but we can optimize the way we function to get the results faster and with less pain.
And optimization is different for every single person. That is why a coach has to pay close attention to detail, see, change, experiment and analyse.
These are the elements of smart coaching, as I see it today:
– observe and analyse (that’s different from assessments)
– listen to and trust your intuition (I’ve put this the 2nd because I put a lot of emphasis not only on what my eyes see but what I feel as well, I think this is important and in my case works so well)
– experiment what works and what doesn’t for each individual (for some a strategy or technique works extremely well, for others not at all)
– attention to detail
– listen (by far the most important character trait of a coach)
– empathy (no one took me seriously when I told them my knees were hurting… until I could not walk anymore)
– motivation (pushing boundaries is important, that’s how we progress)
– choosing the right moment to push further
– calmness and patience (when teaching and when motivating, it’s all in the tone of voice where your students either feel empowered or just shouted at, where they look forward to your sessions or are eager to finish and never see you again)
– leading by example (be the change you want to see in the world)
There are probably more… and I am proud to say that I do my best to follow my own rules. I am not perfect, and will never be, but that does not mean I cannot strive for it 😉 we all should.
So if you are looking to get results in a way which is effective and also brings you that feeling of happiness on the day of your training session book a free call with me and let’s discuss what your options are and what path you should take.