I am a trainer, although I do it on a part-time basis. I came from the coaching ranks (College and HS FB, College and HS VB, and College LaCrosse). Seemed like a natural extension for me since having a great high school strength coach made me a good athlete, literally. I was coordinated, but he helped develop the power and muscle gain.
One of the biggest obstacles I face (and many trainers face)is the fact that I have the ability to make a very nice wage outside of training, and, in Indianapolis, finding a facility that isn’t worthless has been rough. There are some places with potential, but they are mostly designed for training the secretaries. Although body composition changes are fun to administer, they are not at all challenging. Athletic training, especially for power based sports, I find much more engaging.
There is a great market for true athletic training in Indianapolis and most places in the US, but no one here has correctly addressed the issue. The only solid indoor facilities here are contractually bound by St. Vincent’s hospital, who neither meets the desire of the market here, nor provides even a lick of decent guidance for performance optimization. My wife could have designed programs done by St. Vincent’s and she doesn’t even fancy herself as a trainer. (Former DI V-ball player and college coach, and around a total training nerd 15 hours per day, but not a trainer.)
There are a few places here that tout themselves to be training facilities, but I have yet to see a GHR, or a reverse hyper, let alone chains, bands, weight releasers, plyo area (Indy has tough weather), etc.
So, if I want to become a trainer at one of theses places (NIFS, Better Bodies, etc), I could go through a local place’s 6-month trainer shadowing program, so I will be better educated, in order to prescribe a place’s cookie-cutter programs (isn’t this exactly contrary to ‘personal training’?).
I am sure I would learn quite a bit from the trainers at most places, considering I have yet to find someone who even has heard of, let alone understands the application of accomodating resistance, reactive training methods, conjugate periodization, accentuated eccentric training, hypergravity for priming, appropriateness of plyometric exercises for different sports, CNS versus musculoskeletal fatigue, etc.
I just get blank stares, and they reply that their program has been designed to enhance an athlete’s readiness for competition… hehe… I find it amusing…but terribly not amusing. People actually shell out huge money for the shit that is peddled around here. Sickening.
Plus, I have been doing this for a number of years, and I produce results in performace, not just body fat levels.
So, I generally train someone once per month, doing testing, and familiarizing them with the exercises. Then, I give them a guided program, with exercise pics, and descriptions, plus nutritional guidelines. This way, I can keep costs down for the clients who don’t have huge money. I would love to train in a bigger gym, with more racks and a nicer facility to join (the place I train at now has the essentials, plus all of my personal “goodies”), but I will not work the floor for $10 per hour, and give the gym 50% of the training money I generate from clients who they are getting monthly dues from, and came to the gym solely because I trained there… that is bullshit. No way. They can have half of the money from clients given to me, but when I get people to join in order for me to be able to train them and have to give away 50%… sorry, not appropriate. Plus, half the stuff I use to train athletes I own and bring in with me. Finally, try to bring a set of chains into Lifetime Fitness soemtime… it is almost funny.
So for now, I train at a place where I pay a monthly fee to be allowed to train there, and it isn’t in the best of locations. The fee allows me to keep all of my training money as long as the client joins the gym. It is a bit of a drive, and attracting higher end clients is tough due to the location. It isn’t seedy, but it isn’t in richy-rich land, and the facility is limited (no fancy saunas, etc). There isn’t an area for plyometric and indoor sprint/agility work, so it is limited in terms of athletic training also.
The market would be wide open here if the situation was just slightly different, but as of yet, there isn’t a truly great facility for strength and athlete training… (nothing big and fancy,… but appropriate.)
Therefore, I just save a little every month to open my own place. I cannot wait. I am fairly close to this goal, as I have friend who is also here because his wife works at the NCAA, and he is also a former S&C coach. We are just a little capital $ away from opening a functional facility.
Right now I work 40 hours as a business analyst, train 10-15 hours per week, and take 3 MBA classes. Soemtimes I get to see my wife, too.
If I were single and younger, I would have roomies, and live poorly until my breakthrough. Having a wife who is on the fast track in Athletic Administration has caused 3 moves in 3 years. So, my client base has been destroyed every year. But, the field has so many rewards, that I cannot stop starting over. It would be too easy to just be a suit.
Lil’ Coach H
The point of this whole pile of bunk is this:
If you are young and not making 50k plus, then go beg CT or JoeyD or IanK or Martin Rooney, or Charles P, or any of the others who contribute here often for an internship. Spend every second that you aren’t on the field or in the gym reading your ass off, and asking questions. Ask coaches to come watch training sessions… learn. Develop expertise. Then go get a job where you can train athletes correctly.
Then, help out as many people as you can to get known. I have trained many people for free, but only if they would tell others about the results. Word of mouth advertising is the best and quickest way to build up clients. Then align your prices and programs with the appropriate market and socioeconomic sector you are serving. You can train 10 fat-assed doctor’s wives for $75 bucks an hour and go home to shoot your brains out with a shotgun, or you can train groups of young athletes and serious people for slightly less and be happy.
I do a handful of free seminars on force training for HS athletes every year for school systems that are poor. My wife also talks about NCAA requirements at them. The feedback is so amazing, and you earn a reputation for being a square shooter. Plus, you may have just helped thousands of young athletes indeirectly, along with coaches who struggle with a lack of education and budget dollars. These seminars mean more to me than almost everything else put together.
Give to receive. Guys like CT, Louie, Dave Tate, Martin Rooney, Ian King, and the rest have given you gems of information for free. When I see dumb-assed S&C coaches talk poorly about any one of these men, I unleash the fury. Just PE coaches who are scared because they are unable to crtically evaluate the information we have gathered from the East and West. Hell, if you were to hard-bind all of the training articles from here, elitefts, and west-sidebarbell.com, you would have more training knowledge than the NSCA requires for certification…ten times over!!! And, it is all free!!!
I had to actually unlearn a ton to pass the CSCS test. But, I have to have the certification for a soccer mom to trust me with her college bound son’s training… the irony of the business.
Finally, if this thread was pretty long for you, then you are a long way off from being able to develop expertise through education. Guys that write articles here almost know texts like Supertraining, Science and Practice, etc, BY HEART. If you don’t like education, learn to like it… your athletes will thank you. I know too man coaches whose only learning comes from CEU’s for their certification. Not at all fair to the athletes… period.
I hope this has been a fair extension to this week’s editorial article.