When to Hire a Health + Fitness CoachI used to strongly poo poo the idea of hiring a coach — especially with things I “think” I SHOULD have figured out by now.

💭 A good writer SHOULD be able to write copy for her website.
💭 I’ve been running this business for 7 years so I SHOULD have figured out how to do it by now.
💭 I’m a running coach so I SHOULD be able to plan out all the workouts needed to train for my 50-miler.
💭 Strength training is my jam so I SHOULD be able to find the time to write my own strength programming.
💭 I’ve studied nutrition in depth so I SHOULD be able to see my own nutritional blind spots.
💭 I’m a mental durability expert and yoga teacher and therefore I SHOULD be able to manage my own mental health challenges.

I was also raised to be ridiculously frugal. “We don’t have the money for that” were the first words out of my parents’ mouth when I asked to do stuff – pretty sure it was part of their default programming, like a verbal auto-responder.

So it’s no wonder that my first thought about hiring coaches to support me was “I don’t have the money for that.”

In retrospect, this combination of shoulds and frugality had me doomed to FLAIL and doomed to FAIL for YEARS.

So there I was, limping along for years, never quite making the changes I really wanted to make and growing increasingly more frustrated with myself and my “lack of discipline”, my “lack of willpower”, and my “inability to change”. (I put those phrases in quotes because they were all bullshit stories I told myself about myself. None of them are/were actually true.)

And yet, I remember over the years many occasions where I was angrily venting my frustration with myself and those qualities that I thought I lacked and my loved ones would listen to my rant, tell me they think I’m amazing and doing a great job, and then they would ask … “Anything I can do to help?”

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am across-the-board TERR – I – BLE at answering this question with anything other than “No, I’ll be fine, thanks.” 👈🏼 That’s my auto-responder. But the reality is that I did need help. And even if I could have asked for it at the time, my loved ones weren’t really equipped to help with everything I truly needed support on.

For example, my husband is a really good dude who genuinely wants to support me, but he would be a lousy copywriter, an awful strength coach, and to this day he still thinks “Squirrel Pose” is a yoga pose so I can’t say I have any confidence in his yoga teaching either.

Then there’s my mom, a great lady with many diverse skills but she has no clue how to run an online health + fitness business, she’s never gone for a run unless she was being chased, and the extent of her nutrition knowledge is limited to “if it tastes good, eat it and if not, spit it out.”

Look, I could go on and on but the point is that our community isn’t always equipped to support us in the ways we really need. Yes, they can help take up the slack in some areas of our lives but they won’t always have the time, energy, or expertise to help us in the big areas where we need it the most.

And let’s say in my circle of friends I did have someone who was an expert in one of these areas and did it for a living — what kind of friend would I be if I were to repeatedly ask that person to help me out and essentially work for free?

It’s my belief we should all value and respect the time, energy, and financial investments other professionals make to gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have which make them experts. My hairdresser is my friend and I wouldn’t dream of asking her to cut my hair for free. My photographer is my friend and it would never cross my mind to ask her for a discount. If I’m to be a true friend, I believe I should respect the investment those I love have made in becoming an expert and pay them for their work. Being my friend shouldn’t require anyone to do their job for free. Another post for another day perhaps.

So I would just like us all to be open to the idea that the advice “ask for what you need” may require us to hire a professional to support us from time to time — whether that be a close friend in our circle or a relative stranger.

Let’s talk about when is a good time to hire someone to help you.

You should seriously consider hiring a coach when:

(1) The support you need is to learn new skills. You’ve spent your whole, entire life learning the skills you have now. Why would you think learning a new skill could be done quickly? For example, I’ve been teaching my dog to give his paw. And it’s not like I can say “paw” to him, show him what to do, and then he just does it perfectly from that point on. No, it takes many repetitions over a period of time to learn the skill and then to continue to reinforce it in more challenging circumstances, like when he’s distracted by something.

Acquiring new skills takes time and often we need someone to teach us who has developed a successful teaching system that has broken down that skill and/or has a curriculum in place to walk you through it step by step. Recently, after getting many lackluster results from paid copywriters in the past, I finally broke down and hired a copywriting coach to teach me how to write compelling copy for my business, and I cannot tell you how much better it feels to have acquired this skill and now (A) have the words used to talk about my business on the internet actually sound like me for a change, and (B) not to be dreading having to write new sales copy or revamp my website every time something needs to be created or changed. It’s empowering to feel like I have the skills I need to move forward.

(2) You’re having trouble making something important a priority in your life. I think we can all agree that health and wellness are important. After all, when you don’t have your health, what do you really have? Last year, I was dealing with some mental health challenges and the depression and anxiety symptoms I was having were making it REALLY hard for me to do the things I knew I needed to do to support my mental and physical health. I was struggling to get out for runs and I felt unmotivated to lift. If I did nothing, the depression and anxiety symptoms would very likely have continued to pull me into the darkness and swallowed me whole. At the time, my business was struggling, so I initially told myself that I didn’t have the money to hire a running coach to support me and I would just have to figure it out on my own. After all, I am a running coach so I knew what to do … but knowing what to do wasn’t the problem, doing it was the problem, with so many conflicting priorities coming at me from all directions, I just couldn’t make my health the priority I knew it needed to be. So I hired a running coach who ultimately supported me through that time — but the best part wasn’t the 50K race medal I earned, it was the fact that consistent running helped me stabilize my mental health and improve my physical sense of well-being.

Spending your hard-earned money isn’t fun when you don’t have extra to spend and you think you “should” be able to figure it out on your own. But the simple act of gathering your resources and diverting them away from less important things forces you to choose what to focus on and helps redirect your attention to what matters most.

(3) You’re serious about doing the work. Long before we reach our breaking point, there are usually signs that things need to change. But in those moments, if we get really honest with ourselves, we’re just not there yet, we’re not ready to upend our lives to make things change. Let’s face it, in modern times, only the biggest fires get the fire hose. But, inevitably, there comes a point when those little signals become infernos and we’re forced to do something. When you’re totally fed up and unwilling to tolerate things any longer, sifting through and piecing together free information that’s out there floating around will only get you so far.

As my business was struggling last year, I was also working harder than I ever had been — a double-edged sword. I felt like I was spinning my wheels but going nowhere and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to keep this up for much longer. This was my life’s work, my livelihood, my ability to support myself and my family — I had to find a way to make this work. So I spent $6,000 on a business coaching program for the year. I’m 2 months in and it’s already worth every penny. In fact, the advice and resources I now have access to have already allowed me to recoup a huge chunk of that investment I made and, for the first time in a very long time, I feel hopeful, supported, and like I can see that path ahead instead of just bumbling around in the dark wondering why nothing I do works. At a certain point, you need to invest in the things that are important to you. Money has been used for generations by humans to help themselves survive and thrive – don’t be afraid to use it that way where it matters most.

(4) You lack the knowledge to know what free information circulating out there applies to you and your goals. There is definitely no shortage of information, options, and opinions floating around the internet. But not all of it applies to you or will lead you in the direction of your goals. And you’ll waste a lot of time spinning your wheels and trying to do it all if you don’t have some expert help with figuring out what you should put into practice and what you should let go of. For example, I love strength training, I love to nerd out on all the new ways to move. If I tried to do all of the cool things I see on social media, I would need to set aside 2-3 hours PER DAY to strength train. I don’t have that kind of time. But more importantly, I don’t actually need to do all of the exercises recommended by the influencers on Instagram in order to get stronger and pursue my goals.

Shiny object syndrome is real and it’s so easy to get sucked in to this belief that we need to do it all. Having so many options is overwhelming and, for me, hiring a strength coach gave me access to a knowledgeable outside perspective that could cut through it all and keep me focused on using the time I have to lift each week wisely.

Where have you been losing all your time, energy, and mental bandwidth when it comes to your health + fitness? Perhaps a coach could help give you some back.

Reach out if you’d like to set up a time to chat about adding health + fitness coaching support to your life and reclaiming what matters most to you.