To be as direct and honest as possible:
YOU CAN NEVER START COACHING TOO EARLY.
We mean it.
That said, we realize that many athletes don’t fully understand how prep coaching works, how it works most effectively, and how we specifically recommend it at 3DMJ.
Hopefully we can clear that up for you here in the next few minutes.
A CASE FOR LONG-TERM COACHING
We cannot express how much of an advantage it is to work with your coach during the off-season before you diet.
If we had it our way, every athlete would give us at least one calendar year of learning their body and our coach/client relationship before their first contest season with us.
Because the likelihood of success, both internal and external is far greater this way.
And to be honest, about 30% of the time we are approached by new athletes who hope to start dieting right off the bat, we ask them not to. (Yet.)
You see, in the world of bodybuilding, where people are already hungry for success and maximizing results, they are likely to be in a poor starting position.
They are often training too much, eating too little, or doing too much cardio.
It’s like trying to climb up a hill while wearing a weighted vest, loose sandals, and a nose clip.
It’s still possible to start a dieting phase, but why do it in an already-compromised state?
A well-fed, well-rested, intelligently-trained athlete can start their contest prep in a much more advantageous position for a whole slew of physical, mental, and emotional reasons.
And working with your coach throughout your off-season (or “pre-season”) to guide you into this prime state is the best way we can ensure it.
HOW 3DMJ DOES YEAR-ROUND COACHING
With our goal of creating an ideal pre-season state for our athletes, we’ve had to evolve our coaching practice over the years.
We recommend all of our athletes contact us early enough to enter into our Video-Based Off-Season / Pre-Season Coaching Program.
Here, we can meet and speak to our athletes to understand their current situation, lifestyle, and goals.
Once the athlete and coach come up with a game plan, the coach will give the athlete a protocol to follow in accordance with their objectives.
They will have recurring calls every 8 to 12 weeks (or as often as they decide is needed) to maintain accountability and to tweak the plan as often as needed to keep inching into their prime pre-season striking shape.
Some athletes might need to gain fat, lose fat, or maintain bodyweight during this phase while they acclimate to their training protocol and build a relationship with their coach.
This time also allows the coach to take note of how the athlete ticks and how their body responds to certain stimuli.
Once the coach feels like it’s time to do so, the athlete will transition to a weekly Competition Coaching format.
This generally happens anywhere from 3 to 9 months before the athlete’s first show date.
We keep these weekly check-ins going throughout the entire competition season and into the Recovery Diet phase, which usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 months after the athlete’s final stage appearance of that year.
(NOTE: This section above reviews our usual and preferred methods. But less frequently, the coach and athlete will arrange to start weekly or biweekly coaching immediately following their initial video consult. It’s not common, but it’s always a possibility in certain contexts and we simply wanted to mention it here so there aren’t any surprises. Either way, an initial video call is always our recommended starting place so the coach can learn enough about the athlete to confidently make these calls.)
“AM I TOO LATE TO START?”
While this article highlights our ideal contest prep coaching scenario, we only have this luxury about half of the time.
Since it isn’t our industry’s common practice to create such long-term relationships with athletes, we often get applicants who are much closer to their show dates than we’d prefer.
Sometimes that works out just fine. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes we have to ask the athlete to pick a later show date or explain to them how much better off they’d be if they wait another year to hit the stage.
Either way, if you’re curious, here is an article discussing our minimum prep timelines for each competitive division.
“IS IT TOO EARLY TO START?”
No way! No such thing.
We have plenty of athletes who come to us saying, “I’d like to compete in the next 5 years, Coach. Please prepare me as best you see fit.”
We LOVE this opportunity.
Building athletic careers is our favorite thing.
We also have athletes who say, “I love training and I think I might want to compete sometime in the next few years, but I’m not sure. Can you just guide me to be the best I can be and see where it goes?”
We have helped people maximize their physique and strength for their own personal enjoyment many times before.
We believe non-competing bodybuilders deserve the same level of respect and care that any of our competing athletes receive.
For these athletes, we also recommend beginning in the Video-Based Off-Season / Pre-Season Program.
Once you’ve had a few programming calls under your belt, you and your coach will decide how often you should continue them and if/when you should ever jump onto the ongoing check-in roster for any amount of time. (This might happen during first time fat loss phases or mini-cuts.)
STILL GOT QUESTIONS?
We hope this page has helped you understand how 3DMJ Coaching can work to best serve you.
If ever in doubt, reach out!
Our athlete admin can be contacted here.
And if you’re ready to begin your coaching journey, a video consult is always a great place to start. CLICK HERE to sign yourself up today.