T Nation

Career Advice

Joe, I know from your interview that you majored in Ex Phys, that you read everything you could get your hands on and that you went to a lot of seminars.

My question is this: What advice do you have for someone who looks at you and says, “That’s what I want to do!” I’ve already graduated college so it’s too late to major in a performance related field, unless I went back for my masters. Do you have any specific books/seminars that you would recommend?

Right now I work in a commercial gym and I have a national certification but I’m smart enough to know that doesn’t mean sh-t; I read every T-mag and I’m workign my way through the back issues, and I’m reading the “Supertraining” I got off of Elite FTS. I was wondering, if you were to do it all over again, what would you do the same? What would you do differently? Thanks Joe

I second this…

good question


To add to this question, what do you think coaches are doing correctly when it comes to working with athletes? More importantly, what do you think they are doing wrong?

Thanks for your input,

Good question. I’d also like to know.


Here’s the deal. If I were you I would at least take an anatomy/physiology class. I realize going back to school and majoring in one of the exercise sciences isn’t practical. We all have bills to pay and you probably need to keep working. But, I would take a morning or night class in Anatomy & Physiology. Having a strong anatomy background helps you to much better UNDERSTAND many of the training methods that you read about.
In my opinion, the best strength coaches in the world have a combination of academic intelligence mixed with real world experience. If you have a solid understanding of how the human body functions and the “real world” experience of practicing what you preach, the sky is the limit.

Continue reading T-mag, anything written by Louie Simmons or Dave Tate and check out my website for updates every week. Also read any articles/books on speed training written by Charlie Francis. There are a lot of great books out there, but I recieved my most practical advice by attending seminars and reading articles by some of the world’s best coaches. For example, you should read, re-read and UNDERSTAND Dave Tate’s articles, "The Periodization Bible Parts I&II. Those 2 articles simplify the writing of countless books, translated Russian journals and years of experience. Dave has already done all of the work for you. Take advantage of that and never stop learning!!!

I could go on and on all day about this. I hope I helped a little. Read, read, read, ask questions, experiment on yourself and practice what you preach!
Best of luck to all of you guys!

Great advice, Joe!
Could you also discuss a little bit about the marketing aspect of being a performance consultant? Any books or courses that are worth while? I know marketing yourself is a huge part of the equation.


I second the marketing question. I am an Exercise Physiologist and have always been interested in working with high level athletes. But because of the high demand on the few positions with major athletic programs, the pay is usually garbage and has always kept me from pursuing such a position. But you have somehow gone a different route and the athletes come to you. How did you develop your career to this point?


TrenchDawg & Myosin,

I wish I could help you guys more with regards to marketing, but I don’t know shit on the subject! I’m not kidding. I haven’t done ANY advertising. I guess I’m the exception to the rule. Many local gyms and training centers continually advertise in the local papers and TV stations in my area. Yet, without sounding cocky, athletes are literally banging down my door to train. I trained athletes from 9am - 9:30pm today with barely enough time off to take a piss. What I’ve discovered is that RESULTS are what pays my bills. A cool ad or nice facility may get people in the door, but RESULTS sell. And believe me, the word will spread. I don’t sell myself, my athletes sell me.

This might not be what you guys wanted to hear, but it’s really all the advice I can give.
Best of luck.

Prior to having your facility, what was buisness like?


Thank you for the great information. This all ties into my question.

How did you find that first “Big” client that spread your name to athletes? I’ve been training folks, but I’m not sure of the best way to enter inTo the professional sports arena. If you didn’t advertise, I have to assume that you had a few clients that you had great results with and then they spread the word. Is this the case, or did you target young athletes first, then got the digs on the pros?


~ jack


Yes, I trained predominantly high school athletes when I first got started. It’s funny, over the past 2 years, THREE kids that I trained in high school are now in the NFL. Vinny Ciurciu and Augie Hoffmann both played on the same high school football team here in NJ. That’s when I first met them and started training them. 5 years later, Vinny just played in a superbowl with the Carolina Panthers and Augie just signed a free agent contract with the Saints. Another one of my high school clients, Jay Nerys, just signed with the Jets. There is nothing more rewarding than watching young high school kids transform into professional athletes right in front of your eyes.
The bottom line is that YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU’RE TRAINING! Today’s high school athletes are tomorrow’s pro’s. Obviously, these 3 athletes represent very rare cases, but the point is, you never know. Now, all of the high school and college kids at Vinny, Augie and Jay’s alma maters all want to train with me. Then, if these guys do well in their NFL camps, their new teammates will want to know what they’ve been doing. Do you see how things can just snowball?
If you truly care about your clients as PEOPLE as well as athletes AND you get results…they will come!!!

I also have a question requarding the fitness industry. I have been thinking about getting in to the fitness industry and was wondering about those personal training schools out there. One that I found was the Professional Fitness Institue. It seems to be decent. Just wanted to know if anyone has heard of this place.