So, You Don’t Think You Need a Coach?

By Paul Oneid

I will be the first to tell you that for a long time, I didn’t think I needed a coach.  I have 2 Master’s degrees, 6 years of collegiate strength and conditioning experience, 5 years of competitive powerlifting experience and a 528 Wilks.  I thought I was doing everything the right way and for a long time I was.  Being your own coach has a lot of benefits.  You learn what works for you and what doesn’t.  You develop a sense of accountability and ownership because you are dependent on yourself for your own success. Finally, you hone your skills as an analyst of technique, positions and execution because you have to self-evaluate.  I truly believe that these 3 factors have made me the type of lifter I am today.  But, you know what? I still sought out a coach.  Here’s why:


Unbiased perspective

When you coach yourself, eventually you allow the little things to slide by.  You still perform the work you’re required to do, but the quality severely drops.  This can mean that you program weights that you feel you should be able to lift, and sacrifice technique, positions and safety in order to do so when they don’t feel the way they should.  It can also mean that you get lazy in your execution of weights that aren’t as challenging.  Personally, this was most evident on the bench press and the deadlift, which consequently are my two lagging lifts.  I wouldn’t pause or fully lock out my bench presses and I would touch and go all my deadlifts and use straps.  One thing this taught me was that I could rationalize anything.  I had never missed a bench at lockout, or a deadlift because of positioning off the floor.  Well, in my last training cycle all my bench misses were at lockout and I had to switch my pulling style because my position off the floor ended up being unstable and inconsistent to the point of near injury.   Everything works until it doesn’t and when you get strong to the point that those little things count, you have no person to blame but yourself.  A good coach will not let that BS slide and will always tell you when you suck and when you’re doing well.


They will make you do what you suck at

This is an important principle of 10/20/Life, and any training program worth its salt.  You do what you are not proficient at in order to address weaknesses.  When you coach yourself, this responsibility falls solely on your shoulders.  Will you walk into the gym knowing that you have to train movements that you loathe and that you perform poorly in?  For those that reach high levels of success, this is easy, but many would prefer to just do what they were great at.  For me, I didn’t really have an issue with this, but I did fall in love with certain movements to the point that I had forgotten other ones.  Hiring a coach allows you to be exposed to movements you’ve neglected, movements you may never have done and in some cases a whole new philosophy of addressing weaknesses.

They will teach you

If you’re like me, you’re a tad selfish.  Hell, if you want to be a champion at anything, you NEED to be selfish at times.  I want to learn as much as possible about training, programming, philosophies etc. that I can in order to help my clients and myself.  The more I know, the more valuable I am!  One of my biggest reasons for hiring a coach was so that he could teach me how he goes about improving someone’s lifts.  What is his process?  I want to steal from him!  No, I do not want to steal his program or steal his work, because that is both unethical and unprofessional (not to mention illegal), but I do want to steal ideas from him.  I want to steal his knowledge.  One of my former mentors once told me that the training programs he designs were simply an amalgamation of ideas that he had stolen from other people.  Now, this doesn’t mean he plagiarized others, it means that he learned different elements from different people, assimilated them into his philosophy and applied what he thought would be applicable.  The more people we “steal” from, the more full our “toolbox” becomes.  A coach will teach you and will show you how and why they do the things they do.  The more you open your mind to it, the more benefits it will have to your training now and in the future.


You get to be an Athlete

No thinking, just lifting.  Turn off your brain and go on autopilot.  A good coach will devise a plan that you can trust and you can follow without a second thought.  There comes a time where being your own coach can be stressful and mentally or emotionally draining.  By having someone to guide you and hold you accountable, it can reduce stress and allow you to find enjoyment in training again.  At the end of the day you are the athlete.  All champions have great coaching, no matter what the sport.


These are the reasons that I chose to seek out coaching and I cannot be happier with my decision.  I get unbiased feedback on my performance, I am working my ass off, I am learning and I have zero stress about my training.  I walk in the gym, I work and I get out and live my life knowing that I made myself better.  And hey, if I don’t get better, it’s all Byrd’s fault.

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Paul Oneid

Paul is an elite level raw Powerlifter with personal bests of an 805lbs squat, 440lbs bench, 725lbs deadlift and a 1960lbs total in the 242lbs class, as well as an 800lbs squat, 430lbs bench, 700lbs deadlift and 1930lbs total in the 220lbs class. Paul brings a deep educational background to the team as he has earned Master’s degrees in both Sports Management and Exercise Science. He is a former D1 Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach, who now works as a Functional Rehabilitation Specialist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Paul provides coaching services in the areas of training and nutrition through his company Master Athletic Performance and is also the co-founder of a technology company, 1-Life Inc. Stay tuned for more information on that in the future!
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