This article today is coming about as a result of a couple different things. One of which was our announcement that we had opened the I/C up to take on new Interns and actually had our first fresh recruit start last Friday. Now I’m also writing this because it seems I’ve received a lot more emails than usual from those out of state asking a large number of questions about getting started as a “Coach.”
You see that my friends is the new buzz word that people want to get on board with it seems, ”Coach.”
Now I’m not saying I have anything wrong with the term. Hell, I go by Coach to a lot of people. I respond to it walking to my car or when I read it in a text. I find nothing wrong with the word and honestly I’m proud to be a Coach, but I’m not just a Coach. I’m an athletics, personal and group trainer. I work in the Strength and Conditioning field and it’ not a hobby to me it’s a profession (some may say obsession).
Most people that know me or are familiar with my writing know I’m pretty passionate about all this. And while I used to receive questions about training methods and goal orienting a year ago, it seems the emails have tripled since I opened my own facility these last 4 months. Before opening up my own gym I had been a head trainer for about 3 and a half years. I had been a personal trainer for years before that and I was a wrestling coach before that as well. I’ve had quite a bit of time working with people. Athletes competing in sports, Moms looking to get back in shape after their second baby, people rehabbing from injuries or someone getting ready for a police, fire or military testing process. I can’t tell you how many actual training hours I have logged. I couldn’t honestly tell you how many I log a week.
That’s where questions like, “how many hours do you typically work,” crack me up. I’ve received this one a number of times, it makes me smile. The answer is always the same, “well how successful do you want to be?”
And that’s usually where I either no longer receive an email from said person or I actually find out what this person really wants out of it all. Do you want to just want to “coach” (So hot right now) people or do you actually want to be a Coach.
You see my old man coached my soccer team when I was a kid. Now my old man didn’t play soccer, he was a college linebacker, but hey he did coach the shit out of that soccer team. Now did my Pap think he was gonna move to England and become a pro coach (For the record my Dad would not have wanted to become a soccer coach of any kind)? I dont think so. But could he have worked his ass off and become a pretty good soccer coach (again I haven’t heard my Dad even ever mention the Sounders)? Yes without a doubt.
But it takes work.
Everything in life takes work. How hard your willing to work is really what it comes down to, even in “Coaching” (So hot right now). I’ve been very lucky through my time to have some great mentors. When I was a personal trainer I knew how to train people in a gym but I didnt really know how to interact with them. I had a manager really put effort into me and showing me the ropes. Some people who know me well would laugh if you were ever to hear us in the same room because we probably would still sound faintly similar when it comes to training someone. After her I have had a number of people really step out of their way to help me in a number of different areas throughout my career.
You always need help from someone to get better, I’ve had the fortune of some really awesome mentors.
And this is because I wanted to be recognized as a professional trainer or coach whatever you wanna call it (doesn’t sound as sexy when you say trainer, coach is where it’s at). I don’t have a fancy degree or anything like that, but I’ve been requested by those that do hold those for my help. I couldn’t really put a course description on the amount of man hours I put into all this, so I guess if “Coach” works for people in their description of what I do then that’s what they can call me.
The bigger CrossFit gets the more it opens doors for really talented individuals to shine. No I’m not talking about in competitions or in workouts or weight lifted but as Trainers. Be it gymnastic coaches or just the established strength and conditioning professional. There is now a market for people with skill sets to make a living. But if you truly want to make a living at this you have to apply yourself to your trade.
Go out and find someone to learn from. Find ways to better yourself. But most of all my biggest piece of advice is this.
CrossFit is great, I was one of those people it opened a door for years back. I found a style of training that helped direct me to what I do now. We may be a different off shoot of it all but my gym still carries the name Morgan Junction CrossFit. Some people were a bit shocked by that when I opened up, but why really? I liked Kettlebells, fuck I still love kettlebells. But I was first taught them by Jeff Martone, you know, the guy that runs the Crossfit Kettlebell Instructors course. I owe a lot to CrossFit.
Are we a fringe gym? Fuck yes we are and I’m very proud of that, it’s part of our style (some may say swagger). Coaching at our gym isn’t a buzz word, it’s something we take very seriously and expect a lot out of those that come want to train others at our facility. If you find yourself reading this and you want to be a coach I’d encourage it, but only if you are going to apply yourself to the role. If your reading this and you are thinking about starting your own untraditional facility I’d encourage it, but only if you are going to apply yourself to it. If your reading this and think you can help better people with what you have to offer be it as a coach or with your own style of gym I’d encourage you to do so. But again only if your gonna put those people as your priority.
I was having this same talk with a friend who dropped that line in the title on me, “to quote Cypress Hill Zach, It’s a fun Job, but it’s still a job.”
He was totally right. It’s all a job, but if you love it the job doesn’t seem like one.
I pride myself on being Unapologetically Original. Some people love it, some people really fucking hate it. But I’m the one at the end of the day that locks the door to my gym and opens it back up the next morning. If you’re really ready to work 7 days a week and never be able to count your hours I think your probably ready to be a trainer, not a buzz word “coach” (so hot right now). If you’re opening up something different get ready to dig in. It may not be the easy road but it’s totally worth it, the ups and the downs are all part of it. You’re gonna find yourself having to grind for something if you really want to be the best at what you do that’s part of the process.
There’s my advice, use open doors, give credit where credits do, but don’t settle to not be Original.
Like I said be Unapologetically Original and know that you did that part right no matter what anyone thinks.
Posted by: Z
Notes from the Editor – As I said the I/C is currently taking applicants for intern positions but there is a waiting list and steep learning curve. Anyone interested can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org