I attended a national level contest this past weekend and it was a good show and saw a lot of friends in the crowd and on stage. But unfortunately I heard some behind the scenes stories of the same old guru voodoo-itis that is so common in the industry and competitors fall prey to. I have coached hundreds of competitors and with the females I rarely do anything different with them during what they call “peak week”, especially bikini & figure.

I had a figure competitor at one week out and she was anxious to get her last week’s preparation guidelines. She took out her pen and I told her NO changes. But this is the last week! What about carb depleting? What about fat loading? What about water pills or cutting water? What about… the fact that she couldn’t look any better, Period!! How could some last minute Guru-Voodoo make what is best, better? It can’t. I know how competitors get before a show. Doing nothing seems somehow counter-intuitive. But I learned a long time ago from my mentor that “coaching” and “leadership” are different things. There is an old saying that the sign of a good leader is someone “who can keep his head about him while everyone around him is losing theirs.”

That certainly describes the last week before a contest for thousands and thousands of competitors (and their coaches as well). But we had Trust in our coaching relationship. Trust is different than blind faith. The latter is so often the norm in this industry, and is used to take advantage of so many people. Real coaching has become rare. So my client enters the show, with the same meal to meal diet, the same training the week before, the same water intake, everything same and she wins.

On the other side here is an email I have received from other competitors. One girl is so confused because she has no idea why her body is acting out on her. She sent me all her pre-contest info from her trainer. It was “the kitchen sink approach.” This useless coach was throwing everything at this poor girl. She was carb-cycling. She was sodium loading and depleting, she was aerobic cycling. She was water loading. She was taking water pills, etc… Her coach was attempting to employ any and all tactics she had ever heard of. Really!?

But the one strategy this coach did not have was an understanding of “biofeedback.” Tactics come after strategy, not in lieu of it. As a result this girl’s physique was a mess. As mu mentor says “Coax the body and it responds, force the body and it reacts.” And that is what this coach did: reaction instead of response.

And here is my clients same water intake, same diet, etc... We coaxed her body to look the best it ever had. No magic last minute tricks. Sometimes the most brilliant change of all, is NO change at all! But you can’t teach this kind of expertise. Knowing and understanding human biofeedback takes time and experience.