24 Oct Being A Strength Coach Is Not A Hobby. It’s A Profession.
This year, I spent $5,000 on continuing education.
This year, I told 100 people I don’t give free sessions.
This year, I lost 10 clients because I don’t offer discounts or package deals.
This year, I spent $10,000 on systems, products, eCommerce, and new equipment to ensure my clients were happy and valued.
This year, I expensed a $2,000 hospital bill due to two faint spells in less than 24 hours from overworking myself.
And this blog, I tell 10,000+ people that strength and conditioning is not a hobby. It’s a profession.
I’m a Strength and Conditioning Professional, fool.
Oh, hey! Nice to meet you. As I sit here in my Adidas joggers and hoodie after a sweaty day at work with barbells clanking as the backdrop, you’re probably wondering how I get paid to be in this chill environment?
“What you do is a passion! A hobby! It’s not a real person job!” they told me all these years.
Excuse my caustic tone, but who are you to tell me what I do doesn’t require as much professionalism as a dentist? A doctor? An investment banker?
Take it from a woman who spent thousands this year in mastering her craft – from exercise physiology courses, to coaching workshops, to periodization webinars, to speed training certifications, to systems consulting.
And I’m speaking on behalf of other strength and conditioning professionals who invested in their careers, and who have taken their jobs as seriously as a surgeon going into the operating room.
We are just as meticulous in our approach, just as thoughtful, just as detail oriented, and just as creative. Ultimately, we want to ensure our athletes are healthy, empowered, and prepared to play their sport at capacity.
Alas, people continue to low-ball strength coaches altogether, disrespect the profession, and claim it’s a hobby.
Just like any other industry, strength coaches must get a degree from a university, and more often than not, most continue on into graduate programs in exercise science, performance enhancement, or biomechanics.
Can we name the muscles of the rotator cuff?
Can we tweak lever arms to regress or progress movements in the gym?
Can we tap into the correct energy system if we want to train power?
Can we prescribe the proper work-to-rest ratios so our athletes thrive rather than fatigue?
Can we load monitor with painstaking detail during a two-game in-season template?
Can we design programs so athletes improve rate of force development?
Yes, strength and conditioning coaches who are true professionals can do all of these things blindfolded, in their sleep, or while listening to Selena Gomez on repeat.
These same coaches spend relentless hours practicing their crafts. For years.
For them, waking up at 6am to study and go through certifications they already have just to stay sharp, is normal.
For them, texting an athlete “good luck” before a championship game, is normal.
For them, creating content through blogs, podcasts and videos to help others, is normal.
For them, practicing what they preach and setting the example, is normal.
For them, connecting with people smarter than them, is normal.
For them, reading research studies on a Saturday night, is normal.
For them, training a group of clients on a Sunday morning, is normal.
For them, tweaking their programming based on athletes’ needs, is normal.
For them, analyzing data and trends of chronic load, is normal.
For them, doing all of the above is not only normal, it’s professional.
Truly, this is a profession, just as legitimate as the rest. I can never for the life of me understand why people devalue strength coaches so much with the amount of education, preparation and passion that goes into their livelihood. Put simply, we do just as much as professionals in other industries. Just as much studying. Just as much continuing education. Just as much preparation. Just as much critical thinking.
Would you ever ask your dentist for a holiday deal? Would you ever pay your barber a week late? Would you dare ask your accountant for a free meeting?
I think not.
While we’re on the topic of money, let’s trigger some folks.
“OMG, this person charges $100 an hour for training! How dare they!” – pissed off person who never had the courage to follow their passion and has a limited money mindset.
At this point, it’s not even about the hourly rate being charged by the strength coach.
It’s about the value. The culture. The service. The going above-and-beyond actions that empower clients.
The years of education, certifications, and conferences are a default, yet this person delivers way more than their brain.
Admittedly, I’d argue $100 an hour is cheap. Gone are the days when quality trainers who possess a triple threat of education, experience and personality charge a meager $60 an hour.
If you want that, go to Planet Fitness to do leg presses with a side of bagels and a coach who counts your reps like a mundane drone.
Money, to that end, does not have to be this icky, disgusting thing, unless you absolutely are NOT GETTING WHAT YOU PAID FOR.
But if your coach is awesome, supportive, and intelligent, they’re worth it. Mind you, their whacky love for Lord of the Rings, affinity for motivational memes, and punch of sarcastic jokes are added bonuses.
Oh! And they’re a true professional who takes their job seriously and values themselves.
Moreover, they’re confident in their approach to give you their best, and do more than what is expected.
I mean come on, don’t you think it sends an insecure and awkward message when a strength coach doesn’t value themselves?
As a collective industry, strength coaches need to raise the standard. Nowadays, there are price wars that cause an inevitable race to the bottom and a tremendous drop in training quality.
At the same time, young trainers realize that this has no longevity, and they can’t scale one-on-one sessions. Eventually, they have to swallow the bitter pill of raising their worth.
And the more strength coaches increase their value and walk-the-walk to deliver it, the more others benefit.
After all, strength coaches are professionals who are here to change lives and empower others.