Michelle Johnson is an alumni of the International Sports Science Association. The Association this year has recognized her as a “mover and shaker” within the Fitness Industry. This Ad sharing Michelle’s testimonial to the certifications she received with this association, will be featured worldwide. The first two ads came out for the Month of November in both Muscle & Fitness and Muscle and Fitness Hers! She will be recognized in upcoming spotlights, as well.
BeautyFit has approached Michelle Johnson with an official sponsorship, which was announced on Oct. 21, 2013. BeautyFit’s full product line covers all aspects of women’s weight loss, health, beauty, energy, muscle tone and whole-body vitality. BeautyFit’s most popular scientifically formulated products include: BeautyBum – the anti-cellulite lotion. BeautyFuel – the fat-loss catalyst. BeautyStrong – the pre-workout matrix. BeautyRecover – the post-workout refuel. These revolutionary products will now be available and many more through Europa Sports Products for the first time and are available at www.beautyfit.com. Jimmy Mentis is a former Bodybuilder with the IFBB. He has graced the cover of many fitness magazines and is now a recognized leader in the supplementation business specializing in women’s needs. Athletes such as IFBB Bikini Olympian Jennifer Andrews, Figure Pro Stephanie Billingsly, IFBB Pro Natalie Pennington and IFBB Figure Olympian Ann Titone are all on the BeautyFit Team. To find out more information on Michelle Johnson and her BeautyFit Team Profile, titles & BeautyFit regime, go to:
When I began competing in Figure and Fitness, my first coach never praised me. In fact, if anything he called me out in an unfamiliar group of other athletes in boot camp. His words were embarrassing at times, but it was this very feeling that had me actually training harder. I wanted to measure up and be the best. I certainly did not want to be embarrassed again so I did all I could to not set myself up for it and give him a reason.
The time I spent training with him changed my relationship with my body and the sport. He made comments like, “No more taking the easy way out Michelle!” I would work through his tough words and sit and brew on what he said in an array of emotion about it. I could not help but question my own integrity. “Is this what I have been doing? Maybe he is right?” I would ask myself.
In the moment, I felt he was being mean to me, but what he was doing was digging into weaker parts of my psyche and bringing them to the surface so he could build me up as a mentally strong athlete. The main thing I learned from him is what it is to be coached in this arena. Few coaches sugarcoat their words or tip-toe around athletes who are dropping the ball or phasing out of a set. He would constantly remind me that “someone else on the same stage is not cheating or missing a workout”. This, even now, is a statement I remind myself and my own team members.
The thought that someone else is training harder than I am is a reality. The next coach I had was softer and more professional perhaps. He handled his athletes differently, but again was straight and to the point. If I wasn’t ready for a show, he did not tell me what I wanted to hear, he told me “You are not ready and you should not do the show.” I hated hearing it, of course. I realized I was not mad at him, but at myself or, at times, my situation that prevented me from reaching my goal.
Had I not had the first coaching experience I would not understand my role as the student with this coach. I would think I should do a show ready or not and hope to be noticed!
High level coaches rather you not step on stage wearing their brand and out of respect and your own well-being, you don’t. I had learned not to question, just follow directions and trust the information. Of course, behind their backs I was upset and ranting about what they said or did, but I knew in the long run it was my best interest they had at heart.
The burden overall is on me, I can’t blame my coach. I either do the work or I don’t show. There was a point with my most recent coach, where I realized I might not be ready for a show. I was still holding a lot of water weight. I asked him, “Should I skip this show and do something at a later date?” His answer was, “Don’t give yourself an out.” He was absolutely right. I did that show, I was ready and thank God I did not delay and give myself an out. I stayed focused and finished strong.
That show I placed second in my class, shy of a pro card. The next year, I remembered those words while in doubt about doing another show. I almost did not do the show. In this situation those words worked like a champ! I won that show and received my pro card. Ironically, I was my own coach for that show.
Being a student seems like a no-brainer when it comes to a coach and client relationship, but it can get very complex. Being a good student requires the skill of listening, leaving your ego at the door and letting go of your trust issues and allowing someone else to steer the wheel. Your outcome depends entirely on your ability to receive information and follow through with the instructions.
You also must be willing to let go of mental blocks. This is when sports psychology comes in and requires you to develop mental muscle. Some clients welcome this aspect of coaching, while others rebel against it. It makes no sense to power struggle with your coach. However, today we are programmed to feel we have a right to be spoken to a certain way, understand our bodies and know what’s better or right for use.
Can you imagine how football would change if all coaches tippy-toed around their players’ emotions? Forming an attitude and taking things personally is not productive. You must be willing to play the game, especially if you want to be competitive. Sometimes what clients expect of coaches is more of the role of a supercoach. Expectations can be unrealistic.
In the coach-client relationship the ball is basically in the client’s court overall, but no one can coach or teach you if you are not willing to be the student. When a student is open and receptive to a coach amazing things can happen. There is chemistry between them that makes it a team effort. When a coach and client are in sync the most ideal relationships are formed. It’s an attitude that “we are in this together”.
As a society, we have had a fundamental shift in the way we view authority. Giving away your power to a coach is very difficult for some and classically, since the beginning; this is what you had to do in order to receive the teachings of great masters. When you hire a coach they should become your new guru. They know what needs to be done and how to help you evolve to be your best. They hold the secret and this is why you hired them. When you hire them you are saying you trust them and coaches assume you have done your research and are making an educated decision by picking them.
In the competition arena it is wise to give your new coach at least six months to show you what they can do for you. Unfortunately, too many competitors expect first show miracles overnight or to receive a pro card immediately. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all able to receive such instant gratification?
Many coaches in the industry of bodybuilding (especially mega coaches) are seen as “rock stars”. Many competitors are now uncomfortable unless groups of people are following a specific team. Some believe that if they join that team it is a guaranteed Pro card. However, to play team politics will not guarantee anything. What athletes need to understand is they need to be the best. It’s important they are eating and exercising in a way that is getting them results; even then this does not guarantee a pro card. This may guarantee higher placements, but overall the judges decide who they want placing higher by what they see.
It’s all more about who shows up each show. Some want to believe a team coach can politically place them at the top, but mega teams have a lot of athletes. How can they coach that many people and guarantee a top spot to all? Be careful what you buy into and understand marketing schemes. If a coach is manipulating the system this is poison for an athlete’s reputation and the athlete may not even be ready for the next level.
This is a lot of work for a coach to manage. The important thing is to not rely on cheating to get to the top, but actually being ready for the top! Your coach is there to give you a diet, workout plan, and some will teach you how to pose for your sport. Their role should not be to control your shows, but to give you guidance on what shows are ideal for you. Their job is not to guarantee your placements. You secure your placement by how well you do your homework and your own performance on stage.
Treating a coach on the same level you treat your peers puts a twist on the coaching relationship. How do you tell a client they are not your buddy, but your client without insulting them and creating bad feelings? This role the client puts a coach in can make the relationship dysfunctional and complex. It’s the same as a client having romantic feelings for a coach. A coach also should not act in sexually suggestive ways with their clients. This is only going to lead to someone being disgruntled in the long run.
It is natural that coaches and clients may bond, but the focus must be on the main objective and that is coaching. This means that a level of respect needs to remain for the coach’s teachings, methods, operations and philosophies. Not complying with this can put the relationship in jeopardy. Although the needs of a client should matter, the coach ultimately is the person making decisions and is offering a specific service you can count on. Expecting things outside of that is not always appropriate or necessary.
The student has to feel some form of respect for the coach. Although a coach may be highly qualified, even a master at what they do, the chemistry may be off. There has to be a feeling of trust between you both. The coach has to be able to work their magic and you must be able to receive it. If for some reason you just can’t take your control hat off and accept this role with a particular coach, it is best you find someone who you are willing listen to and cooperate with.
Coaches cannot get along with all clients nor are all clients a fit for what a coach offers. You have to feel committed to learning from a teacher and not feeling you know what is best because of your expertise. When you commit to a coach, they will hold you accountable. Your commitment to them is saying you will respect their direction and what they have to say about the way you are approaching their directions. The less your coach feels challenged by you and the more your coach senses your enthusiasm the less mental coaching will be needed and the more you can stick to focusing on the exercise, diet and posing homework!
Once you begin to get the results you desire, your trust in your coach should be there. This is why you have to allow them to continue to do their work to get you to the next level. It is a process and takes time when it comes to your body and placements. Expecting to know everything, win shows and have the best physique in 12-24 weeks is expecting a lot and really is not fair to you or your coach to expect. Many do succeed quickly, but with the sport of bodybuilding it’s a continuous process and with each level it gets harder to shape and show!
When the student is ready, the right teacher appears. There is great truth to this statement. Most students say they are ready or want to do something, but in truth they have no idea what they are signing up for. They have not done their research they are simply following others or seeing pictures that inspire them. Anyone in this sport understands how tough it is. The greatest component of a winning athlete is a champion’s attitude. Coaches want to work with people who resonate great attitudes and understand that it’s hard work and dedication that will get them where they want to go.
The more of a priority you make your own success, the more open you will be to the information you are receiving. You must rely on yourself first and foremost to do whatever it will take to align yourself with your coach. If that relationship ends, you will learn important lessons for the future. Never burn bridges or behave like a bad sport. Be thankful and understand coaching aspiring athletes is time consuming and tough. We feel the weight of your success and always want the best for our athletes. Those who are in question or doubt usually lack follow-through on some level and transfer their own behaviors onto the coach. There is no one harder for a coach to work with than the perfect student who says they are following everything, but for some reason the results are not there. There is only so much a coach can control.
Be honest with yourself. Are you coachable? Are you transferring your emotions onto a coach and expecting them to cater to insatiable demands or needs? Do you feel a need to posture with your coach as if you are the expert? The most amazing part of being coached is the insight that it can bring you about your own ways. These insights can remove obstacles and open you up to enormous growth. If you have an inner rebel, no matter what your coach says or does you will find a way to resist. If you are deeply insecure, no matter what your coach says that’s positive you will focus on the negative because you are an approval junkie. No coach is there to be your “hotline”. Are you reaching out to your coach at inappropriate times?
Your coach is not superhuman. All coaches have their quirks, vulnerabilities, personal pain, other relationships and clients to attend to. They even come with their own personal dysfunction. This does not make them a bad coach, they are human. These issues should never get in the way of your personal relationship with a coach, but if your coach tells you something about your personality that is getting in your way, you should listen.
When a true teacher is in her/his seat and able to wear their coaching cap, the coach is able to be their highest, wisest and most conscious coaching self! This is when you can learn a lot and understand the capacity a coach may have that you may not. By not putting your coach on a pedestal and seeing them more as your teacher, you will eliminate personality conflicts or expectations that may not be a part of the program. You will never entirely find the “secret” to their success. Each coach has their own mastery over what they do and how they became where they are today. If you are looking to learn all they do consider getting your own coaching certification and a few years under your belt first working with mainstream clients and then doing the most advanced form of coaching – coaching athletes.
Coaches aren’t made overnight. You earn your right to coach through your own successes. Many years of experience cannot be found in a book or received in an email or phone call.
Your conversations should focus on learning and processing. As a client, you don’t want your coaching to be therapy. Avoid complaining or sharing your personal problems with your coach unless it affects the diet and exercise. When you find yourself airing grievances to others, putting your coach down, feeling emotional about everything your coach says and does, critiquing the coaching style and procedures, you are in a danger zone.
You never want to burn bridges with anyone, especially not your own coach. Try to control your feelings. Those feelings hold deeper issues that stem from unresolved psychological issues that are inappropriate to transfer onto a coach.
Of course there are going to be times you question the integrity of a coach and their practices. No one is saying to dismiss your doubts, but first ask yourself, where is this discomfort coming from? Do you walk away when you feel anxious about something rather than explore the issue further? Is there something about what your coach is doing or saying that takes you out of your comfort zone? Are you being impatient and expecting to advance in an unrealistic timeframe? Are you blaming the coach entirely for why you are not advancing when there may be reasons beyond the coach’s control? Did you really meet the expectations? Were you honest about follow through?
Any true teaching situations will confront you with your own personal issues like jealousy, resentments and judgment. There will be people you feel competitive with, possibly even your own coach. Some coaches still compete. Many became coaches through their recognition and success as an athlete. This should only be an issue if they are more focused on their own show and are dropping the ball on giving you the information you need for your show.
You may get annoyed with your coach’s style on some level or you may find your friends are with another coach. You may want to switch coaches because you believe you can make more progress with another coach. In the coaching world it’s hard to retain athletes. The loyalty factor is slim and many athletes move around. For some this is in their best interest and with others not at all. It’s hard for some to work through their periods of restlessness to place well or confusion as to why they are not. A coach needs time to full develop and shape your body.
It’s normal to want to teach what you are learning yourself. But when you begin to be the coach prematurely you lose the opportunity to understand what you may think you know that you really don’t know about the human body. You risk putting your clients at risk. It’s naive to take on clients after shows. You’re not seasoned enough to prescribe things for a client, especially if you are not even certified. Many are using their coach’s programs to succeed. It’s a dangerous game to play due to liability and ethical issues involved. Clients are getting programs that are only half-baked.
Not all coaching relationships are going to last. There may come a time where you plateau with a teacher and feel you have learned all there is to learn and it’s simply time to move on. You may feel your coach has let you down or that the community they offer such as a team may not be a fit for you. Sometimes a coach will give referrals to other coaches they feel are a better fit for your personality and needs. Even if the parting is painful or there is a falling out, it is important to honor all that you have learned and discovered. Parting with people is a part of growing up. Often clients reflect back and later realize how much they have learned from a coach.
A truly good student is appreciative, knowing that every stage is a process of learning. The struggles offer the greatest amount of growth and opportunity. This is the time for self-reflection and how coaching offers the trigger that ignites the athlete. Honor all aspects of your coaching, including new beginnings, endings, triumphs, false steps and everything in between and you will eventually find success was always yours and was there to begin and end with!