Lessons From Having A Coach

Do you have a coach?

Do you need a coach?

A coach for what?

Aren’t you a coach?

Then why do you have/need a coach?


These are some questions that I have been asked.


I am going to answer them for you guys. As well as share with you the lessons I have learned from the coaches I have had.




Yes, I do have a coach. I have had several coaches throughout my journey as an athlete.


When I decided I wanted to give bodybuilding a try I hired this girl Jessica Graham. She was a coworker of mine at the time. She was a high level figure competitor, who became pro and competed on the Olympia stage her rookie year.


I did stop working with Jessica about 6 weeks out from my first show. So my uncle, Damon Aviles, helped me the rest of the way. He is a competitive bodybuilder! He also owns a gym in Bakersfield, CA.


Then I started working with Ariel (Team Cutz). He prepped me for my second and third shows. I enjoyed working with him. He saw the potential in me; and helped me see it in myself.


I also worked with his wife, Linda. She prepped me for the 2015 USA’s. She pushed me hard! Definitely the most difficult prep! But I did earn my Ifbb Pro Card at that show! So it was worth it!

Later that year, I started working with Jason Theobald (Scooby Prep). I did not do a contest prep with him. I worked with him in my off-season. This was my first time working with a coach in my off-season. It was really nice to have guidance and structure outside of prep. I worked with him for about a year.


Then I took what I learned and did my own diet for a little while.


After I coached myself for a little while, I started working with Justin Harris (Troponin Nutrition). He prepped me for my first two pro shows. And I am still working with him now. Justin has helped me get the leanest I have EVER BEEN! Hence, why he is still my coach! Plus, he gives me weekly refeeds, which I love!


Last, but not least, I have had one training coach… And that is Tony Montgomery. If you are reading this… Then you probably already know who he is, and what he does!

So, DO I HAVE A COACH! Yes, currently I have two coaches. Justin Harris and Tony Montgomery. One does my nutrition, supplementation, and cardio. The other does my training.




NEED… Is a strong word. Having a coach is definitely a privilege (I might even say a blessing).

Having a coach is a want. You can definitely survive without a coach.


But if you want to be the best, then I would say YES! YOU NEED A COACH!


When it comes to coaches… It is their job to coach (whatever they specialize in). I’m pretty sure YOU are not an expert in that same thing. So there is no way you would be able to bring yourself to the full potential that a coach could do.




I kind of mentioned this when I talked about the coaches I have worked with.

There are coaches for just about everything. The trick is to find good coaches that genuinely want the best for you, and will take care of you.


Side note: Do you research. Contact the coach you want to work with. If they don’t respond in a timely manner… Then don’t expect them to ever respond in a timely manner. Reach out to a few of that coaches clients and get some reviews or testimonials.


Some things you can have a coach for:

  1. Training (bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, etc)
  2. Nutrition
  3. Posing (for bodybuilding)

*There are lots more things… But these are the ones Team Phoenix Performance specialize in.



I am a coach. And I coach the same things that I get coaching for.

Everyone can use some help. Everyone can learn more.


*I will explain more in the next section….




I have coaches because I want to be my best!

Take that back… I WANT TO BE THE BEST!

And I know I won’t be able to do that without outside assistance.

Sure I can do my own diet, sure I can write my own training… I’ve done it in the past. And I’m sure I’ll do it in the future. But at this specific time in my journey as an athlete… I need my coaches.


  1. I am still learning. I’m learning the science behind things… & more optimal ways to program.
  2. It takes the stress out of my hands (to an extent). And that means I can focus more on my clients programming.
  3. I want to be THE best! My goal is to place top 5 at The Olympia. If you aren’t familiar with bodybuilding… It is the biggest show in the industry.


So that is why I have coaches. 🙂




Jessica Graham:

She taught me that the same diet or program or protocol doesn’t work for everyone.

She also taught me how to pose for the figure class.

Jessica also opened my eyes to how extreme competing can be… She told me that it didn’t matter if I was puking… I need to take a bucket with me and get on the stairmill!

She was a great athlete, but not the coach for me.


Damon Aviles:

I didn’t work with my uncle for too long. But I did get some nuggets of wisdom from him…

He told me that pickles were zero calories! Woo! I ate a lot of pickles (& drank the juice too) while I was prepping for the USA’s.

He also showed me that it helps a ton to surround yourself with supportive people (that goes for anything in life, I think).

Ariel and Linda (Team Cutz/LindaFit):

I worked with Ariel for two shows. One WPD and one figure. Then I worked with Linda for the USA’s. This was when I got really into the sport. This is when I started to take things really serious.

Ariel broke my little fat-kid heart… When he told me I’m not allowed to eat raisins or almonds for an extra snack if I’m hungry. Hahaha.

He was also the first one to tell me that when you are hungry, your body is burning fat.


Up until this point… I never really asked my coaches any questions. I just did what I was told. I still learned some things from each coach… But definitely not as much as I could have if I asked about the rhymes and reasons behind everything. Especially because I’m a coach/trainer myself… I should have known better!


So if you are a coach, who has a coach… ASK QUESTIONS! Even if you aren’t a coach, you should still want to know why your coach is having you do this and that.


Jason Theobald:

As I mentioned above, I worked with Jason in my off-season. About 4-5 months after I earned my pro card. This is when I really learned how to follow a macro-based plan. Before this, I was always given a meal plan (when the coach tells you exactly what and when to eat).

I really like macros, and will never go back to meals plans again (even for my clients)! I call it structured freedom! You are able to, pretty much eat what you want (within reason), as long as it fits your macros for that meal or that day.

Jason also taught me how to take better care of my body! He had me take certain supplements to bring my hormones back to a healthy level.

He also showed me the power of “free” veggies!!!! This helped a ton with dieting.

Working with Jason was amazing, and I will probably work with him again in the future!

It was at this point in time, that I saw the value in having a coach and structure in my off-season. Especially if you want to be the best!


Justin Harris:

I have worked with Justin a little over a year. He prepped me for my first two pro shows and my off-season. And he is currently prepping me for my third and fourth pro shows.

Justin has taught me a ton (mainly because I make sure to ask him questions)!

I have learned quite a lot about different supplements. Like how caffeine aids in performance and fat loss.

I have learned how to test my blood glucose levels during peak week… And that your body doesn’t always need more carbs to fill out for the stage.

Justin has taught me how to manipulate food/calories to continue to lose weight. For instance, simply changing you carb source to veggies (like carrots or mixed veggies). You are technically still getting in carbs for fewer calories, & staying relatively satiated.

I have also learned that if you are in shape for a show, you don’t have to cut out sodium… Actually, the less you manipulate during peak week, the better. Justin likes to keep a lot of things pretty much the same because that’s what has been working for my body.

And like Jason, Justin has taught me the importance of taking care of my insides as well. A lot of times coaches and athletes only care about how they look on the outside, and then their body is screwed up for the rest of their life (or a really long time).

Tony Montgomery:

We can start off saying that Tony has taught me so much (about life, training, nutrition, business, work ethic, etc)! But for this article… I will stick with training.

He has taught me how to focus on performance more often. If you are training hard (and smart) then most likely, the physique results will come.

He has taught me how to properly squat, bench and deadlift. And why you need to do certain things to lift optimally and safely.

I have also learned how to train with RPE(rate of perceived exertion). It is truly amazing!!!

He has taught me how to actually program training, and not just go in the gym and do whatever and max out all the time.

Last, but not least, Tony has taught me that having a bad training session doesn’t equate to a bad day, week, or life! It’s not the end of the world. Training is training. There is so much more to life. Don’t get me wrong, bodybuilding/lifting is a HUGE part of my life. But it isn’t my whole life. And it shouldn’t be yours either.


I could go on and on about things I have learned… But I think I will end it here.

Thank you for reading! & I hope this helped you see the value in having a coach 🙂


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