T Nation

Coaches and Their Own Training


I’ve noticed that a lot of people, some fairly prominent, often talk about their work with clients but then when you get around to discussing their own training, it has inevitably fallen behind because of long hours working with athletes/clients, being tied up with consulting or information product projects, and things along those lines. There’s also a tendency for them to speak of needing to “get back on track” and start working on areas that they let get away from them. As far as prominent coaches go, you and Eric Cressey spring to mind as two of the few who can design and implement phenomenal programs and then coach the heck out of anyone while still finding the time to take your own training to the highest levels. (granted plenty of coaches might be getting results for themselves and not speaking up about it, so I don’t want to unintentionally skewer anyone)

Basically I want to ask your thoughts on whether getting in training others is necessarily a natural fit for someone who has a personal passion for training. While maintaining your own training and habits can be done with a lot of effort, it seems like many people get so hung up on working with others that their own training and health start to slide to varying degrees/gets lost in the shuffle. And it even seems to sap some of the passion from their own training when they get loaded with fine tuning the programs of their clients.

Do you think that a lot of people underestimate the commitment level and time involved with training others when making the choice to break into the fitness industry? Have you personally come across any people who had a passion for their own training and then gave coaching a try only to find out that the passion just didn’t translate like they thought it would?

It really depends on how you organize your life and about the type of clients you get (high paying ones versus ‘cheaper’ clientele).

When I was in St-Louis I sometimes had to come in at 4:30 in the gym because on of our client wanted to be home when her children woke up! And since I pretty much ended my day at 7pm everyday, I would work something like 70 hours per week. During that time I barely trained at all. First of all because I was just tired as hell after work and second because I was sick of being in the gym!

This time sucked, not only physically but also psychologically. You see, I wasn’t per client not even per hour… I was paid a yearly salary. Which would have been decent had I worked normal hours. But all the clients wanted me as a trainer so I was booked 12-14 hours every day.

When I started my own office and hired staff (once I had enough clients) I was able to decrease my work hours down to around 20 hours per week and had time to train twice a day and actually made more money.

While I’m not money driven, your capacity to make more money by working less as a trainer will allow you to spend more time and energy on yourself.

Otherwise training seriously really do becomes a chore and this is why you see a lot of trainers who are out of shape.


Thank you for the glimpse inside what it can be like. It certainly sounds like dedication means one thing when training is your passion, release, and outlet in life but not your actual career and then what it means when you’re trying to fit your own training in when you have clients to work with and training a business to run.