The difference between coaching and programming.

Let’s get down to it… what is programming?

Programming in relation to fitness can be defined as the structuring and organisation of training stimulus. An athlete may hire a coach to take care of this aspect of their fitness in order to provide the best possible training for that athlete. This will include designing workouts to help towards achieving specific goals. Programming is a huge part of the process of improving your fitness as following a badly designed program can cause imbalances, insufficiencies, weaknesses and in some cases injury. However, following a perfectly designed program without any guidance or coaching can cause the same outcomes – the time and sometimes money that an athlete can spend tirelessly following a program without any guidance can often be huge. This brings us onto the subject of coaching and why coaching will reap more rewards than hopping from program to program searching for the magic pill to success.

Coaching is a widely-used term with various meanings, depending on the situation. The term coaching typically refers to methods of helping others to improve, develop, learn new skills, find personal success, achieve aims and to manage life change and personal challenges. It is safe to say that a hiring a coach whilst following a semi individualised group program is a mixture that will bring more rewards than just a program alone. Having a knowledgeable individual standing by whilst you perform workouts, movements, skills etc becomes an invaluable tool when still learning and when minor adjustments in technique have a major effect.

Utilising a coach also allows you to put into practice a theory called deliberate learning, this is a term coined by K. Anders Ericsson, also famed for coining the term, “The Ten Thousand Hour Rule,” which states that an expert will accumulate at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice by the time they achieve world class success and mastery. Deliberate practice is by definition hard. It is intensely tiring, but on the bright side it is intensely rewarding,

Deliberate practice is a highly structured activity engaged with the specific goal of improving performance. This has a direct impact on how we learn, a process called myelination (a topic for another blog), which is simply put in this context, the solidification of new skills in the brain and body. A good coach will understand this complex process and implement it into the training of his or her coaching. This being said this process although sounds like it can be boring can be programmed to be fun and enjoyable. This is also where the motivation and push of the community that a CrossFit box becomes invaluable.

This is a process that to achieve mastery of a skill in a shorter period of time, needs to be included into your training. In other words you can learn new skills quickly with a coach correcting you on the spot. This will lead to significant improvements and high levels of reward for your hard work.

So after that brief explanation it’s time to ask yourself the question, are you spending money and wasting time following a program that isn’t designed for you and bringing little change to your fitness,


Are you investing your time and money into coaching and programming that will produce large improvements in your fitness?

If you ever need to question what you’re doing or need to ask what will have the biggest impact on your training then all you need to do is refer to the picture for this blog. Good mechanics is the key and the base of all good movement. Going heavier and as fast as possible may bring you short term victory but not necessarily long term success.

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