4 Ways to Become a Top-Flight Trainer or Coach

The Continuing Education Journey

Last week, I pissed some people off.

While it was my goal to be intentionally inflammatory to trainers/coaches who aren’t “cutting the mustard,” so to speak, it seems as though I also pissed off some of my core contingent as well.

People who are serious about training clients and athletes.  People who are serious about getting them results.

And most importantly, people who take their jobs, and this industry, seriously.

So if you’re a hard working trainer or coach, and I pissed you off, I apologize – that was not the goal.  I value what you do every day more than you know.

Today, my goal is simple – to help show you some steps you can take immediately to elevate your game and become a better trainer or coach.

To make things even easier, I’ve put them in a nice, flowing order – from the absolutely, 100% free, to the bigger ticket items.

Take a look, and I’ll be interested to hear what other sources I’ve forgotten about that you would add to the list.

1 – Blogs, articles, etc.

Other than costs associated with time, most blogs and online articles online are 100% free.

In the information age, it’s amazing how fast news and ideas can spread.  Obviously, this is a double-edged sword; if someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about but they have a loyal following/base, mis-information can spread just as quickly as the good stuff.

However, if you own an Internet connection and set aside some free time everyday, you can absolutely fast-track your skills as a trainer or coach.

Here are the blogs and sites that I check daily to grow my skills as a trainer and coach (these are in no particular order, simply how they are posted into my RSS reader):

Patrick Ward

Carson Boddicker

Charlie Weingroff

Alwyn Cosgrove

Joe Kenn

Dan John

Dos Remedios

Eric Cressey

Leigh Peele

Mark Young

Michael Boyle

Mike Reinold

Nate Green

The FitCast

Tony Gentilcore

Bill Hartman

As you can see, there are a wide variety of people here.

True strength coaches to therapists.

People who are more into “philosophy,” and others who are more focused on “results.”

Conservative coaches/trainers to those who are more aggressive.

I read both people who I agree with 100% time and again, as well as those who have a different perspective or viewpoint from myself.  It not only keeps me honest, but also helps me to reaffirm (or even re-evaluate) my thoughts and philosophies as a coach/trainer.

Beyond the blogs, I still also check out sites such as T-Muscle and Elite Fitness as well, as both have some great materials available for free.

2 – Newsletters

The next stop on the continuing education train is newsletters. Almost all of the people I’ve listed above who run blogs also have newsletters as well.

Now in most cases, newsletters are free. BUT, some will argue that since you’re trading your e-mail for subscription to a newsletter, it’s no longer free.

Whatever.

RTS newsleter

You can argue about this all you want, but in most cases, authors are going to give you better material in a newsletter than they will via their blog.

I know this is the case for me – after all, if you’re willing to receive e-mails and share some of your information with me, than I’m more than willing to give you some high-quality content in return.

And trust me, if you’re not signed up for my newsletter now, you need to do so ASAP.  I have some very cool stuff in the mix over the next couple of months, so you don’t want to miss out!

Shameless plus over 😉

3 – Products – DVD’s, books, etc.

By the time you’ve checked out most of the “free” stuff, you’re already ahead of 90% of the people who are training/coaching for a living.  Great work!

But, it’s also probably time to start paying for even better stuff. In this case, it could be DVD’s, books, webinars, magazine subscriptions, or just about any other low-cost continuing education product.

Single-Leg Training

The cool thing about this is when you purchase a DVD, a book, a manual, etc., you’re getting an authors entire viewpoint on a topic.

For instance, I’ve posted quite a few blogs regarding single-leg training, but it’s impossible to convey all that material online.  Instead, you create a DVD and/or a manual to show your entire thought process – why you do things the way you do, how it fits into your overall philosophy, etc.

As with most things in life, there’s a broad price range when you start looking at continuing education products.

If you want a basic book like you’d get at Barnes and Noble, you’re look at maybe 15-20 bucks.  For a decent DVD, you’re looking more in the $40-$50 range.

For a manual or series of DVD’s, it’s probably around $100.  And finally for a DVD series from a weekend seminar or something similar, you’re probably looking at anywhere from $200-$400 (depending on the scope of the seminar, the original seminar price, who the product is geared towards, etc.)

As you can see, this is a wide range of prices – really something to fit into everyone’s budget.  If you’re serious about stepping your game up, though, at some point you’re going to have to buy some materials to keep up with the Joneses’.

4 – Seminars

Seminars are the crème-de-la-crème of continuing education.  While pre-produced products are great, there are two drawbacks:

1 – The author’s viewpoints/methods could have changed since the release of the product.

2 – DVD’s/manuals/etc. are static.  You can’t ask them questions, or follow-up, or clarify specific points.  This is the best part about seminars – it’s a dynamic learning process.

However, dynamic learning does come at a price.

Obviously there’s the cost of the seminar itself, but then you also have to take into account the following:

–       Travel costs

–       Lodging costs

–       Food (a big one for meatheads like ourselves)

–       Time/revenue lost training clients

–       Etc.

As you can see, attending a seminar isn’t cheap.

Perform Better Summit

However, I can also say with 100% certainty that I’ve learned new and usable things are every seminar I’ve ever attended.   If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to attend a Perform Better summit and learn from the best.

Don’t think of it as a cost – think of it as an investment in yourself, and your future.

I want to leave you with a story today before I wrap up.

It was January of 2006, and I was hanging out at the DC Test Fest in Washington, DC.  Next thing I know, there’s this annoying kid standing next to me, and I could tell he wanted to chat.

“Hey Mike, my name is Nate Green.”

Yeah, that Nate Green.

He was either in his late teens or early twenties at the time, and he had used credit cards to pay for his attendance at the seminar.

Now I’m not saying this is right or wrong from a financial perspective – I don’t want you to spend money you don’t have, but this helps illustrate my point.

Nate understood early on that attending seminars was an investment in himself.

And I think he’s done all right for himself as a result 😉

Summary

So those are my primary sources of continuing education.  What else do you guys use?

Pubmed?

Membership sites?

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a superstar coach or trainer in our industry?

I’ll look forward to your comments and insights below!

Best

MR

2 Comments

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  1. Mike,
    I've been noticing the network of trainers you refer to and promote are all male. Are there any female trainers that you could add to your blog sites? Not just to add them, but those that you believe are as good as the 16 males listed on your RSS feed.
    Thanks

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