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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Here’s a breakdown of my training regimen for today. All on a bike:
1 hour sub-aerobic
3×10′ AnT less 10 BPM/ (10′ sub-aerobic)
30′ sub-aerobic

Now what’s all this lingo?

sub-aerobic:think of this as warm up or cool down… This is where the body combines the utilization of glycogen and oxygen to convert energy to fuel you.

Aerobic: this is where the body uses oxygen to convert nutrients to fuel. Remember the Krebs cycle? Yeah, that stuff takes place here… Most often the dominant energy system in long distance exercise. This is vital for my training to maintain a very good aerobic system.

Anaerobic: this is where energy gets converted when the oxygen supply is depleted. Lactate is produced to fuel the body. You know that complete soreness you feel? That’s the muscle shutting down due to too much lactic acid; byproduct of the lactate produced. Also a super important energy system for me to maintain and train in as the longer my body can last will equal more W’s in the race column.
Now to make it more confusing, the body doesn’t rely on one or the other at given times, they just bounce in and out in order of need.
Cool hey?
So with my recent stats from a 101% VO2 max test it explains a lot about my seemingly superhuman results. My heart pumps higher volumes of oxygenated blood to fuel my muscles. So even though my heart has to pull double duty, the quality of blood may be much higher than someone else’s “normal” cardiovascular system.
My heart rate numbers look like this for today’s workout:
60′ @ 120-130 BPM
10′ @ 165-170 BPM / 10′ @ 120-130 BPM
30′ less than 130 BPM

This style increases my threshold and tolerance to resist the lactic acid burn. As soon as we increase lactic acid production by putting our body into Anaerobic threshold training we increase the amount of work the body needs to do to clear up that lactic acid. Harder working body equals higher metabolism equals more burning of fat stores. So this type of training can be super good for both weight management and the cardiovascular capacity!
Hopefully this helps with some confusion towards energy systems and also shows how my circulatory system could be considered a physiological advantage.
Now I just have to learn to skate!