It's amazing how fast the online coaching industry has grown over the past few years.  While it's great to see so many people trying to make careers in fitness, many are just out to make a quick buck and are in no position to be coaching others towards health related goals.  Combined thousands of unqualified coaches with millions of overweight Americans desperate and willing to try anything to get in shape and you have a recipe for disaster.  

While these coaches may look great in their shirtless selfies or have recently won a bodybuilding show, there is so much more to the equation.  Just because something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.  For example, that person may happen to be blessed with great genetics, lucked their way into looking like a Greek god, or have some "chemical assistance" at play.

Think of it this way- would you rather hire the Kentucky Derby winning thoroughbred horse (who is clearly a genetic out-lier) or the trainers behind the scene who have a proven track record of coaching and prepping hundreds of other horses to success?

That being said, here are 5 red flags to look out for when considering an online coach.

1.  Speaks in absolutes.
As in their way is the only way.  A good coach realizes that each person requires their own customized plan of action.  A qualified professional values learning new things and is not afraid to admit when their ideology is wrong or outdated based on new research.  I think this can be extracted for all areas of life, not just fitness.
Example- "this is the ONLY way to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time!" 

2.  Promotes dramatic, quick results.
This may be the worst of them all because this is what most people are looking for- the fastest results in the quickest amount of time with the least amount of effort.  I see this frequently- people coming to me saying "I need to be in a bathing suit in a month or have to get shredded for my wedding in 6 weeks what should I do?" What you have to realize is that there are no shortcuts to completely changing your body composition.  If you are 50 pounds overweight and have been eating like shit and not exercising for 6 years do you really think 4 weeks of dieting is going to undo that?  The answer is hell to the no but there will be an online coach out there telling you it can be done.
Example- "lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks on my secret shredding program!"

3.  Little to no education/certifications.
I'm not saying you need to hire someone with a PhD in nutrition, but competing in a non drug tested NPC bodybuilding show does not automatically qualify you to work with the masses.  A minimum level of personal trainer certifications and nutrition courses should be a prerequisite.  That at least shows they are serious about the field and have put in some effort.  Here are a few questions to ask- what is your nutrition/fitness philosophy?  What do you base those philosophies on?  How long have you been in the field?  How do you keep up with current research?  

4.  Doesn't provide valuable free content.
A good coach constantly puts out authentically generated educational and relevant information (whether that is through videos, articles, or other mediums).  If someone does not have an archive of content speaking to their philosophies, RUN.  Putting out free content also shows that the coach is passionate about what they do and not just interested in making money.
Example of what is not valuable content- "video showing you how to squat with a fat burner supplement bottle on the ground next to them"

5.  Doesn't even look like they lift, bro.
Some people will argue that you don't have to be in good shape to know how to get others in good shape.  Well, I disagree.  If you can't demonstrate that your processes and principals work on you, how the hell can you be trusted that it will work on others?  I'm in no way saying your coach needs to be shredded but some level of noticeable fitness should be required.  There is the opposite end of this spectrum that you need to watch out for too.  Instagram is littered with obvious steroid using online coaches (how can you tell? Look for cartoonish like bodies and out of whack proportions).  There is nothing inherently wrong with someone making a personal choice to use steroids but there is a problem with using what works for them on non using populations.  Night and day with what works.

Applying some critical thinking and good old fashioned common sense when searching out an online coach can go a long way.  If you need some help finding qualified coaches, let me know!


Chris Wirth
The Shredded Salesman
@theshreddedsalesman (Instagram)



03/27/2016 11:40pm

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I don't trust them at all. What about you?


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