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Fitness Journal #2: Why I hired a coach

4 min read
Fitness Journal #2: Why I hired a coach
Photo by Victor Freitas / Unsplash

This is the second post in the Fitness Journal series. All posts are listed here.

I first heard about Fittr in September 2019 while vacationing with friends in the beautiful town of Kaza. One of them, who weighed 130kg+ at the time, was part of Fittr's Facebook group, a community that helps members access reliable information on exercise and nutrition to achieve their fitness goals. He eventually hired a certified Fittr coach to guide him through his fat loss journey, and only had good things to say about this five-year old Pune-based company.

Here is the gist of what he told me: most people in the world of fitness want to sell you stuff that may or not be useful to you. They make you anxious, they trigger FOMO. They claim to access secretive knowledge for body transformation, but it is available only if you pay a hefty fee. Take it and change your life; ignore it and regret forever.

Fittr is different, he said. The "Get Shredded" guide published by the company's co-founder Jitendra Chouksey lists down almost everything one needs to get started on a fitness journey. Their coaches freely share their knowledge and answer queries on their Facebook group and in-app community. They want to educate and empower users. Only if you need professional guidance, hire their experts for a fee. This company has grown on trust, not manipulation.

His pitch was convincing, but I didn't do anything immediate with that information. Ten months later, when I got serious about fat-loss, I thoroughly read Chouksey's guide and religiously followed the principles to successfully achieve my goal. I did not feel the need for a personal coach. Three weeks in, when technical doubts surfaced, I contacted Fittr coaches on Instagram. One spoke with me on the phone and patiently answered my questions.

Shoot to the present. My current fitness goal is body recomposition: loose fat and gain muscle at the same time (wrote about that in the first post of this series). I tried it on my own, failed and quickly figured that gaining muscle is significantly harder than losing fat. I could still read and figure out strategies to experiment, but I have other things to do, and decided to outsource my thinking to a professional.

Going to Fittr was a no-brainer. I spoke to three coaches and enrolled with the one I was most comfortable with. (This is virtual coaching, where trainer curates a customised nutrition and exercise plan for my goals. Not the one to stand with me in the gym.) His service costs Rs 9,000 for 12-weeks, a price I can comfortably afford.

Guidance was not the only reason. Having another person monitor my progress adds a layer of external accountability. The process enforces discipline. Look, life happens. Random plans misaligned with fitness goals come out of nowhere. Diet falls apart for a weekend. You miss workouts. Complacency enters the scene. This is normal human behaviour. That's when I want my mind to scream: "Don't fuck around. You are training under a coach. Get back!"

At least that is what I expect. My program began on Monday and I will know how my expectations align with reality in the weeks to come.

Here is what my coach has done so far:

1. Diet: He has set me on a 2150 calorie diet (which should include at least 100gms of protein) and suggested a templated eating plan (along with a long list of replacements) that fit the numbers.

Thanks to seven months of constant measuring and food tracking during fat loss, quantified nutrition comes naturally. I enjoy cooking for myself, and hitting the right numbers every day while accounting for taste and optimising for time is thrilling.

This is what we are beginning with. We will modify based on measurements after a week or two. The idea is simple: we are following the science of energy balance, and body recomposition needs a slight caloric deficit. But the math gives us estimates. It is not perfect. Consider a scenario where my body weight drops more than it needs to. That will indicate I am burning more calories than the math suggests, and diet needs to bump up. There could be other reasons that may initiate a change.

That is the job of my coach. I don't have to think about it. (I do want to learn how he makes the decisions for my own understanding.)

2. Training: He has created a six-day gym workout plan. That is so liberating. Thinking of what exercises to do, in what order, the number of sets and reps, has always confused me. Not anymore. I just go the gym and follow the routine. The workout plan will possibly remain the same. We will focus on my lifting progress and performance. In a shared Google sheet, I track every workout, allowing my coach to monitor what I am doing.

3. Tracking: Measurements are big in Fittr's philosophy. Every week, I am supposed to share progress pictures (front, back and side pose) and body measurements (size of my waist, quads, chest, arms, and hips; body weight, body fat percentage and muscle mass). All of this is tracked on Fittr's app. Separately, in the shared Google sheet I mentioned above, I log more details, including daily calorie intake and macronutrient breakup, step count, sleep hours, weight lifted, and more. (I will share the sheet template at some point for reference.)

I will post updates on coaching and how it helps me in future posts. More soon.

Fitness Journal