EVOQ Cycling response to "Sorry Coaches"

Nate’s statement was pretty bold, I think what it brings to the users of TR is a better tool, that also requires them to input the intangibles, such as stress levels, time constraints and other factors in order to benefit from a better list of options. These are of course the very things that coaching brings and AI does not, TR is on one hand asking its users to be better at self-coaching, while also saying you don’t need a coach. For those who choose not to hire a coach, it can be a better platform if used correctly. In no way does it replace, or substitute for good coaching in my opinion…

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The premise made in the video is disingenuous from the start. At 3min into the AT announcement Nate says “in 20 years, human coach for skills, yes. But for picking workouts highly doubts anyone will be doing that.”

The idea that you need a coach for accountability that is touted is silly and is the kind of excuse a child would make.

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That video is such a misrepresentation of what Nate said. He said he thinks AT will do better than human coaches at workout selection, then he said “sorry coaches - I still love you for skills, accountability, etc, etc”. In this video, it’s stated that Nate only said “sorry coaches” and then said the rest in a private message but not the original podcast. So wrong, such a misrepresentation, not worth watching.

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Meh, video was ok. Made some good arguments for coaches but I agree it’s an exaggeration of what Nate was saying regarding replacing coaches. @Nate_Pearson

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That’s what annoys me about this kind of tactic. He may well have good points about the place of coaches in a world where many people will use TR (and AT), and this would be interesting content. But instead, he approaches it with a lack of integrity, unable to present an argument without first leveraging somebody else’s profile to boost his own - creating controversy where none needs to exist. It’s everything that’s bad about a lot of internet discourse, so I stopped it and didn’t get to his arguments. Look at how TR present their content, their willingness to correct mistakes, their focus on the science - it’s chalk and cheese.

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Haven’t watch the video, but coaches using AI advances such as AT is absolutely going to be done. Just like coaches use WKO or other analytic packages, they will start using AI/ML tools as they become available, and it will make them better and more productive coaches. This same type of transformation is happening in many other job areas, where AI is driving productivity not necessarily by replacing people, but making those people more productive.
edit: That said, if all a coach is doing is simple harder/easier adjustments of workouts, and updating the plan for unexpected days off, then those types of coaches likely are at risk of being replaced. This is both going to raise the bar for what coaches need to do to be viable in the marketplace, and also make the ones that do that much more effective.

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I watched this video yesterday.

I like Brendan. I like this YouTube channel and I think Brendan shares a lot of good content. Last year (April) I reached out to Brendan for some advice. He took the time to review my progress to-date and aligned that to my 2020 season goals. Sounds stupid now, right? He didn’t use that opportunity to bash or knock my use of TR. He was complimentary of the TR platform.

Brendan gave me a handful of really useful tips and highlighted a couple of areas where improvements could be made. I took two of those areas and used 2020 to experiment. What-do-you-know? I made really tangible progress. As I have said several times before on this forum, if I had been in the financial position to hire Brendan, I would have. He really seemed to get me, my goals and his 23 minute video summary of my progress just oozed excitement and encouragement. I honestly came away feeling like I could anything. If a one-to-one coach can do this for their athletes, I can understand the attraction.

Whilst I will never claim to understand the science behind the training we/I undertake, I do believe that accountability is a huge component.

Take the TR Group Workouts. Lots of TR users have benefited from that addition. Add to that acknowledging and being accountable for your own actions. From what I can gather, you hire a coach, discuss your goals, your training history, your lifestyle, numerous other components and then the coach proposes the best way to get you to your goals. If you suddenly decide that you want to do a midweek ZWIFT race or hard weekend group ride, the coach is going to pull you up and question your motives.

Lets be honest, 20 years is a long time. Do many TR users have that long to wait? I know that’s the very extreme of what has been said but, do you? How long will you give ML/AI?

I’m trying to keep an open mind. I want TR ML/AI to work. I want it to be the best thing since sliced bread. That said, I’m not going to say coaches such as Brendan wouldn’t be able to shine a light on other things in the training puzzle.

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I watched the video and it is nice that Brendan is as passionate about great coaching and mentoring as Nate is about Trainerroad and the possibilities of AI & ML.

Apart from a slightly overplayed disappointment that Nate didn’t spend long extolling the benefits of personal coaching during the TR AI podcast I think that this response is fair enough.

If you want to understand the reasons some people benefit from having a coach the video is well worth a watch. I think it’s fair to say Brendan & Nate would agree that using a coach to provide a non adaptive training plan isn’t one of those reasons.

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I got the same experience with @brendanhousler he helps me a lot with making a plan for 2021 and thinking with me to reach my goals. But more importantly he has the skills to motivate me to nail the workouts. I dont think a program can do the same.

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The problem is coaches, and anyone really, can only talk for a perspective of experience.

They’ve not existed in a world for decades where AI can measure and learn about you, while working with a vast dataset that it can work from. It’s the same with any industry. The arguments are the same everywhere you go now, ‘AI can’t replace humans for X reasons’…

But guess what. ML is developing and it will be used to replace jobs, and that’s because ML/AI can replace the largest part of workloads and do it increasingly better, while remaining objective.

And that human part - the ‘growing’ and the shared experiences. We get all that online now for free. And crowd learning theories show that crowds are smarter and making better decisions that one leader in a range of situations.

We don’t live in bubble anymore - in fact we have people with coaches who’re disgruntled, guess what, they come on social media and field opinions.

It’s not really about coaches v ML/AI today. That doesn’t’ even exist yet. You can’t get an AI coach to replace a coach.

It’s about a future that’s being built and will have tools that aren’t merely complimentary to coaches - they actually replace the majority of a coach’s toolset and dollar value. The extraneous stuff may be found elsewhere for free through community leaders who’re much more clued in than any of us are now. In fact some of those leaders will be amongst you lot. Young and learning and developing with the next generation of technology and the knowledge it gives you.

You’ll be passing that on through social media as will your kids. Likely for free.

Ask yourself - how many people go to a coach purely for ‘motivation’ in any other aspect of their lives?

Some do - but most athletes seek the whole package and that’s what they’re paying for.

In the future you may not even trust a human coach because you’ll have grown up with AI tools since a kid. You’ll be on Zwift and similar on friendly looking AI chat coaches building your plans and talking to you, dispensing advice and rewarding you like an addictive RPG game.

It’s not even hard to visualise - in 2021, this stuff is moving fast, in all industries. I’ve heard all the compliance guys talk the sam stuff the EVOQ was, from their own POV. Investment accountants the same chat too.

It’s just fear. May as well embrace it and appreciate you have a value at this particular period in history. But to deny the future will look different is just self-serving. Loads of us, what we’re doing today - will be redundant and coaching etc will be democratised.

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I don’t think AI is there yet unless it can look back on the meso and mirco scales and adjust going forward. I think it will adjust per workout. I’m not sure how AI will factor in workouts that are just outside of normal for the athlete. A good coach will most likely always look back to look forward more than 1 workout.

Also, IME/O as a tool HR really should be monitored and used help refine the meso/micro scales. Sure power drives physiology but, physiology limits power.

Anyways, having been coached, it’s hard for me to see how the current “AI” will replace a good coach with respect to building and adjusting training. Clearly, no amount of AI can replace a coach for that 1 on 1 bouncing ideas, tactics etc…JMO

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@Landis - everything has to start somewhere, look at cars from just thirty years ago, the technologies are worlds apart. Until AI (in this case TR’s AT) is rolled out fully we won’t know how good or otherwise it is. Someone will come along and say “I can do better than that!”, if they can then we get a better system. Also with this type of system the more input parameters you can give it, the better the outcome is. Nate has spoken that he’d like HR data, things like HRV, and breathing rates to be added.

If coaches see AI as a tool rather than a competitor then they’ll stay in business. I’ve never had a coach but I assume that at the start of the relationship you give them access to your training history and then they say “Here’s a plan, we’ll adjust as we go along based on your feedback.” That isn’t too different from what AT appears to be, i.e. starts fairly generically then hones in on what’s needed for you. That’s then the foundation for the coach to monitor your progress and maybe introduce radical stimuli to nudge things along. (One of the potential pitfalls of AI is that it becomes “fixed” in its analysis so occasionally it needs a bit of a kick up the backside - see social media echo chambers as an example!)

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And it seems like this is happening a lot these days, not just with TR. This is sadly the world we’re living in. To get more views, people/companies are just attacking their competition rather than highlight their own benefits. They just feel like political smear campaigns.

With that said, I’d say it reflects well on TR that they’re doing a great job when everybody else (this video, DJ) have to post these criticizing or “gotcha” style videos just to get attention rather than a good product.

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The term is “the perpetually aggrieved”.

Seriously, I have zero idea why this is a “thing”. Nate made what was essentially a marketing claim “won’t need coaches in 20 years!” when TR launched a new, apparently innovative product.

20 years! Not now, not tomorrow…20 years from now. He even lauded what coaches do…but people are getting their noses out of shape?

The fact that some felt compelled to record a video in response, IMO, just highlights that they are insecure about what value they can provide to their athletes.

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Something else I was thinking about while doing today’s over under (you need think about something)…

See the attempt to belittle Nate about ‘not having used a coach himself’…

I genuinely could not give a monkeys.

All I care about is that he’s the guy who is leading this ML training ship. That’s all. I couldn’t care if he passionately loathes cycling and is only doing this to make bank. I care he leads this, and gets the technology out the door then keeps improving it.

That’s the whole sum of what I expect from Nate. Everything else, ie. being personable or having a background in whatever is window dressing. He’s the guy doing it. That’s it. Anything that’s needed, talent, experience etc - he hires.

Pathetic attempt at a put down now I think back over that EVOQ video. Quite a few hit jobs recently and more will come.

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I think this is a bit strong. People are entitled to their own opinions and this opinion wasn’t bashing Nate or TR. Brendan referenced how he’d reached out to Nate for mentoring and Nate said that he (TR) considered them (EVOQ) as competition. I’d say that at least one conversation has been had behind closed doors.

What we (TR users) need to remember is that ML/AI has yet to prove itself to a large proportion of TR users. Currently, we hope/believe that it will. What happens if/when it doesn’t.

How many people actually contacted Dylan to complain about the High Volume SSB plans? I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t thousands. I’m also willing to bet that TR ML/AI won’t work for everyone. Those people are just going to complain and we’re back where we started.

Be honest, if ML/AI works for your ride buddies but you’re getting shelled out the back on every ride, it’s going to take a huge amount of humility to say ‘Yeah, TR have a great product, it just doesn’t work for me.’

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if ultimately, they are proved wrong. You’ll never pleased everyone.

The next issue might be, TR has made every rider/racer 10% fitter and faster in my local area. I’ve lost all my KOMs, can’t win my group ZWIFT race and I’ll never get a Cat upgrade. You can bet that if it does work, everyone will be using it and the race will be on to stop yourself going backwards.

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It seems like there is a contingent within the TR community that sees any percieved criticism of TR as a personal insult. They will defend it fanatically while ignoring the actual arguments. This was a softball vid. To lump it in as an attack ad seems disengious at best

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There’s having an opinion.

And then there’s creating a video attacking and misrepresenting a competitor.

EVOQ video was clearly both. Worse still, the attempt to discredit Nate was blatantly obvious, which made it all the more desperate.

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Why? Being objective doesn’t need to be difficult…I am a TR subscriber and like their product. I don’t agree with all aspects of it and I have no problem highlighting / discussing the aspects that don’t work for me.

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