As the Canadian Music Week approaches this spring, I’ve been fielding a few common questions about how to go about getting into fitness. So we are going to get into the most important part: finding professional help. Get a coach. Seriously. I’ve worked with dozens over the years and I’m a fully certified coach myself. I want to be the best at what I do and I want to get results. Coaches do that!

But, not all coaches are equal. Here are 3 pointers to help you make a quality decision:

1. Look for your Specialist

Be leery of any trainers or coaches that cite that they can train anyone for anything with excellence. Here’s a thought. If it takes 10,000 hours to excel at one thing, and let’s pretend said coach has three years of experience and two strength training certifications (actually a pretty good resume on the outside…), how on earth can said coach be an expert with weight loss, bodybuilding, figure, sports performance and rehabilitation? The numbers just don’t add up.

To paraphrase the legend, Paul Chek  – if you want to climb a mountain and you hire someone who has only made it half way up, once you get past halfway, you’re now paying someone to get lost with you. 

Whatever your goals, whatever your timeline, whatever your obstacles and challenges, the right coach will have the right team behind them to help you where they fall short on expertise. Keep that in mind when you’re interviewing your candidates (yes, I would recommend meeting a few different professionals to get the vibe and the right fit). Ask around in your personal network to see if they have any recommendations. They know you will advise you better than Kijiji or Craigslist (hopefully!) and they will shortlist the potential winners down for you. Think about it. It’s a huge investment. You want the best of the best, right?

A few signs that you’re with the right coach will stem right from the get go, even before you meet the coach. Watch for the following:

  • comprehensive interview process for new clients focused on YOU, not them
  • intake forms, waivers, etc… you know, the boring, but important stuff typically in a file folder system (you’re basically looking for an air tight administrative process)
  • client testimonials and social proof
  • documentation of all certifications, trade name and insurance when applicable

2. Look beyond the credentials. Who are you working with and what are their motives the motives to get up each day?

In my experience, people new to or returning to fitness, wellness and a healthy lifestyle  are generally pumped on getting back at it. Until they’re not. It’s at that pivotal time that I’ve found the true value in keeping movement and the exercise programming fun and encouraging and, as weird as it sounds, not like working out. One question you could pose to your prospective coach would be “what will you do when I just don’t want to be here?” Depending on how they respond, you’ll know if that is a fit for your personality and the reasons you want to get into a healthy lifestyle. Remember, it’s about you, not the coaches ego.

We as coaches are here to help you get to your goals. Which brings me to another good point – the most successful coaches are those that are flexible in modality and teaching, open to new approaches and practices and not too proud to admit when they may be ill-prepared for a situation or inexperienced with what you are throwing at them. It’s simple. If you are engaging in business with a professional, you have to trust that they are serving your best interests. So keep that in mind when you are speaking with them. Again, a few keys that’ll give you a lot of insight to how that person operates:

3. Invest in the phrase, “you get what you pay for”

You better believe it. Take a peek on average rates for coaches and trainers and health pros. Here is my personal take, and I say this to anyone I’m sitting down with right off the get go, “It’s my belief that they’re two types of coaches. One, the most affordable and two, the best. I’m here to tell you that I’m not the most affordable.

Seriously though, It kiiiiiilllllls me to have a conversation with someone new to me and the first question that comes up is something like “how much do you cost per hour?” Like, I get it… money is an important byproduct of hard work. I want you to make a good decision with your coin. But for those that are serious – the folks I want to work with – prepare to pay for the life that they want to lead.

Working with the right coach is much more than the hour you spend per day you’re with them. Countless hours go into my athletes exercise programming, follow up, planning, reacting and the tap into the knowledge of over 12 years of practical experience and exercise theory education. It’s a premium service. It’s a valuable service. That comes at a cost. But the amount you get out of it is priceless.

Check the reviews – or see what some are saying here… Schwartzy’s Success Stories – Matt Murphy

To close, if you want to fix your cars engine, tune up or fluid change, you take it to a shop, right? If you want to keep yourself well-maintained, a coach is the right way to go. Find the professional that has their ducks in a row, some one you can vibe with to keep motivated through the tough days, and expect to pay for the best. Don’t discount yourself, it’s your health.

You’re the only one that has to live with yourself your entire life.


That’s it, that’s all. You know where to find me – shoot me an email or comment below if you think we’d be a good fit. 😉

Namaste sweet, y’all!

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Tonight marks a huge personal accomplishment for me in my skating. I was able to complete 4 sets of 8 laps in just under one hour. For those like me and can’t math – that’s just shy of 13km. Having just come off a fairly lengthy and super frustrating injury to my ITB almost all of the month of October, I’m very happy to have been able to finish the 4th set as strong as the 1st tonight.

It’s not always about the grand scale of things. Let’s be honest. I’m not anywhere close to national form. I will be. But not overnight. Not in a year. Sometimes the satisfaction of getting over the little hurdles on the way are just the kick you need to remember why you are doing what you are. Physically and arguably even more importantly psychologically I am back in the right place to keep on keeping on. And I gotta tell ya – that feels fricken’ awesome.
Now to roll out and spin flush….

Work on your glute med recruitment the next time you’re on the slide board. Push. Single leg squat. Then fall through the push back with your hips. Spend time on each leg. Get comfy in the straights on one foot before you push back. Don’t short change the recovery foot. Don’t rush. Stop thinking. Just skate.
Things I’ll take home from tonight, coach.
Thank you.

Today’s world can get sticky. Lots of things to do. Not enough time to do it all. Or so we lead ourselves to believe.
If you’ve ever read any of my past writings you’ll start to see I shape a lot of my thoughts over mindset and attitude. We are half the battle, and how we approach situations is the variable for a large part of the outcome. So let’s talk about three ways we can all try to stabilize our lives so as to not fall victim to the big, bad world and it’s cruel intentions.
First, accept failing.
I am still learning this. Today my ice session was terrible. I was tired, I was cranky I couldn’t seem to get anything. I’m stubborn though, and got through the technical cable corner work. But I tell you, my body was tired! Muscle cramps, poor balance and focus… You name it. That was me today. But I got through. Not a shining moment in my skating career. But you have those, where the ice wins. Accept it. Learn. Grow. I have a new ice session on Wednesday to prepare for. It doesn’t have to be a physical stumble, it can be any obstacle that can and will beat you. You will make mistakes. We are not perfect.
As Rafiki would say in regards to today – “it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.”

Secondly, get back at it as soon as you can. Utilize and channel that energy, that frustration for the better. I went for a really good flush ride after my skating session today. I spent some personal time alone with my Mother Mother albums rockin’ my mind and just soaking up the magnificent backyard we have in the NW river valley between the Oval and Tuscany on my Trek 7.1. It was freeing.
I hit the river down by Bowmont park, dipped in for a river ice bath to cleanse my legs and low back of the terrible lactic build up I’ve accumulated over the past week… Refocused, rejuvenated and biked back up towards Tuscany. I thought today was the day I’d take on my cycling nemesis. Tuscany Hill. You know the one. Home Depot is at the bottom of this mammoth of an incline, and I’ve consistently put it off for fear of what it’s affect on my legs, lungs and mental conditioning. But today was the day. AFTER my poor performance on ice. AFTER. A grind of a week in regards to sheer volume of training. AFTER seemingly endless excuses… I cowboyed the eff up, cranked Hayloftand made Tuscany Hill look like “bling-blang, ain’t no thang!”

Lastly, find peace points and rest. Stretch, meditate, journal, read, spend quality time with loved ones, make yourself available for good deeds, smile, sleep… The list goes on. I did all of this today. Basically, to balance that wheel you need clarity. To get that, you need mindfulness. When we are so cloudy and stressed and go go go… We tend to lose focus on what matters. My next ice session will not be any better than today if I do not get quality peace points each day leading up to it. I don’t get to rest from weights tomorrow, aerobic training Tuesday… No way, Jose. I need to make time for me. And I’d encourage you to make time for you, as well.

That’s it. 3 key ingredients to a recipe for balance – be in performance or in general life. Accept failure, get over it quick and find ways to recharge the batteries of your soul. Bomfalleralla!