The Boss of Your Fitness

Since my first real job cleaning house boats on Shasta Lake, I’ve had a variety of bosses. Some who are never pleased with the work you do because they want to you “stay hungry” to get that damn carrot they wave around all the time. Whether it’s a raise, promotion, or just their approval, they think the illusive “carrot” is the key to your work performance. The other extreme wants to be your BFF. Super friendly, super sweet; they motivate you with kindness and encouragement and believe that you’re bound to work hard for them because you like them. Neither is super effective. The best bosses are probably somewhere in between. But that’s work. That’s your job. What about your fitness? Who’s the boss of your fitness?

Well, you might say “I am”, and ultimately, that’s kind of true. But today’s post is about the role of a coach. A coach is kind of like your fitness boss. They want to get you to perform at the best of your ability so you’ll see results and reach your goals.

Some coaches can be drill sergeants, using negative reinforcement. Maybe they use threats or ultimatums, or just constantly point out all of your faults, like an “Aha, I caught you!”


Others can be like Kindergarten teachers that are overly generous with their praise. They may applaud you for even moving at all, tell you you’re doing everything perfectly, and you don’t feel you need to try harder.


So…where’s the happy middle? A good coach is going to correct you if you’re doing something that isn’t safe, call you out if you’re getting lazy with your movements, and be able to push you to do better, work harder and improve. And, in the moment, you may want to damn them to hell. However, a good coach is also going to point out where you’re improving, mix a little fun into the hard work, and celebrate your successes with you. In the end, you really appreciate them and leave feeling better about yourself.

These past 5 months have been a crash course for me in learning to become a coach. I want to be a really good one. I want to be able to correct and challenge clients without making them feel like they suck at life. I want to make working out somewhat enjoyable without making it easy and ineffective.

Sound Off:

Who was your best coach (or boss)? Why?

Who was your worst? Why? (No need to name names and no “Because they stunk”. I honestly want to know what skills they lacked that contributed to such a negative experience.)


  1. says

    For me logic always works. If you explain to me what is happening and why I am going to take it and follow those instructions. If you make your directions so that I can’t deny them – then I will do it. My coaches who were like that were the best. It is hard though because I am sure there are a ton of people out there who don’t want to know the reasons – they just want to be told what to do – so that they can go out and do it. Good Luck!

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