Recently in Coaching Category

Think. Learn. Apply. Every single coach and teacher I have ever met who was worth their salt does this and does it on a near daily basis. To coach and teach effectively we must learn as much as we can, interpret what is learned as best we can, then present it to our trainees and students in the most approachable and practical format possible so they might use what we know to achieve their particular goals.

This is a tall order. In the course of our hugely complicated daily lives, the time to read and to just think and assimilate is rare. I think the public imagines that being a coach or trainer means working with a few clients, training yourself at your leisure, drinking bottled water while wolfing down supplements and natural foods, and then going home to go do outdoorsy things in your free time. They consider only the face time a trainer has with a client as "work"; the rest of the time is just hanging out at the gym putzing.

That vision is a far cry from the reality of o-dark-thirty (a.m. and p.m.) sessions in the same day, financial operations, PR duties, housekeeping, equipment maintenance, correspondence, continuing education, website maintenance and community participation, not to mention the record keeping, programming, and continual progress evaluations that must be done for each trainee. But there is still another type of work time that no one sees. It consists of labors that can be done anywhere, labors that involve the mind, books, words, and brainstorming.

Maybe you are considering possible solutions to a training problem, watching another trainer do something you hadn't thought of before, mentally organizing a novel training program for a specific client, discussing issues with colleagues; or maybe it's thinking about what you read in a book, journal article, or website on the science of training. It doesn't look like work, but it is. It isn't measurable, quantifiable, billable, or even visible. But this "invisible work time" is one of the most important parts of the job.

Coach Rut, owner of CrossFit Kansas City/Boot Camp Fitness and author of a number CFJ articles on dumbbell training and other topics, has been in the training business for a good long time now. In this question-and-answer forum, he addresses a bunch of our questions about his moving out of the big-gym employee environment to start up his own training business and finding both business success and sustainable work-life balance. His story is just one version of how these things can go, but it's an interesting and instructive one.

How long have you been training folks? In what kind of environment?

My fitness coaching career began at a fitness center in Lawrence, Kansas, in the early 1980s. The facility was a Nautilus-based center. For the era, this was a revolutionary machine based strength and conditioning facility. They had a variety of equipment and a training concept. The facility was largely machine-based, but it was a good launching pad regardless.

Due to an aggressive approach to my improving my own strength and fitness, I took mediocre talent and became a productive football safety at the small-college level. After college, I wanted to take this experience to aspiring athletes in other sports.

Over the next twenty-odd years I worked as a strength and conditioning coach at two universities, tinkered in therapy environments including cardiac rehab, ran commercial gyms, and managed a corporate fitness center. Eventually I moved back to the training floor and later started a private fitness practice of my own.


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