Andrew Coates: Industry Integrity & Success
Guest: Steve Washuta
Podcast Release Date: 2/11/2021
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the show effect podcast. I’m your host, Steven Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s podcast, I have the pleasure of speaking with Andrew’s Coates, Andrew and I mainly speak about success. What is a success as a personal trainer, we do delve into some other areas surrounding the personal training industry.
Andrew is as plugged into the Personal Training and Fitness industry as anybody that you could imagine. He is the ultimate autodidact. And that’s the reason why he has ingested and digested and listened and learned and read everything imaginable, surrounding the personal training industry, from marketing to anatomical things to be just a better personal trainer on the floor.
He is interconnected in that community, from speaking at particular events to just going to a lot of these events and meeting and greeting people and really just as longevity in the career and caring about his clients and, and his mindset becoming better and learning more every day.
Andrew is a contributing writer for tea nation testosterone nation, which if you’re not familiar with that is one of the most reputable and long-standing online outlets that have content surrounding everything, from weightlifting to bodybuilding, to overall health and wellness. He runs lift-free and diehard. That’s his podcast, he works out of evolved strength.
He is, of course, a personal trainer. And I can’t stress enough how it’s important that we have people on this podcast who have integrity in the industry. We’ve had some big names on here, like Nicky Bergen or the bell method and Ty Evans and you know, even Danny Lennon sigma nutrition and some other ones. All of these people, although they are their names are known throughout the fitness world, the fitness community, their high character, people who are clients first.
Andrew also fits into that mold and that model and Andrew were a little bit hesitant coming on the podcast right away. And I found that admirable because he didn’t know exactly what we’re about. And he didn’t ask how many viewers there are, what am I getting out of this? he simply said, you know, what are you about because I don’t want to hitch my wagons to things that are quacky in the industry, right? I want to make sure that My name is only associated with things that I find appropriate. And I again, I find that admirable.
It was a great conversation I hope to speak with Andrew down the road concerning other health and fitness things I felt like I tried not to talk as much I always want these to be more interview esque and have my guests talk more sometimes I do talk a little bit too much on there, I felt as if Andrew and I could have had a beer and solved all the world’s problems and fitness and health. Please follow Andrew at Andrew coats fitness that co ATS Fitness on Instagram, he will give great recommendations so that you don’t have to spend all of your time, you’ve got a limited time that you have potentially reading books, or digesting information that wasn’t helpful.
He is your filter, so to speak, for lack of a better term, he ingests all this information and then tells you what it’s going to be best for you to read it that’s just outside content on top of the content that he’s going to give you directly from him, which is also fantastic. So with no further ado, here’s Andrew, thanks for joining the Trulyfit podcast Why don’t give the listeners a bio of who you are your career, how it is you got into what you do right now in the industry.
Andrew Coates: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. Been a personal trainer for it’s creeping up on 11 years six in a commercial gym. And going on five as an independent contractor owning my own business out of a gym, I guess, a company called evolve strength based out of Edmonton, Alberta. That’s where I am it evolves growing, but my brand is an independent brand. I just contract with them. They’re friends. Within that, somewhere along the lines, I started going to fitness conferences.
Andrew Coates: I went from just being that trainer on the floor to having a podcast on my own. It was originally the fitness level guest with a good friend of mine, Guido, but then took it over me, and he and his wife had a baby.
It’s called the lift freedom diet, our podcast that’s been fun talking to the industry’s who’s who every week.
Andrew Coates: Then I got into fitness writing. So that turned into writing for tea nation almost three years ago. And that’s led to things like the personal trainer Development Center and generation higher and whatnot with hopefully more to come. So it’s been a weird ride. It’s led to more social media growth. And as a time of writing, I’m getting ready to go and speak at a conference in Spokane, Washington, a small fitness conference there, and actually co-own an MC a conference here that we have to evolve myself in Somerset, the owner of a wolf john Chung. So it’s fun to have your hands on a lot of these different things. But I fell into training people have this idea that this whole follow your passion advice.
Andrew Coates: I’m 43 I started a career in this 32 my background On Metro commerce degree, and I’ve been workout with booziest. Since my early 20s, I’ve loved it. And I just was not really fulfilled with the things I was doing before.
And the trainers at a gym that I used to work out here, basically turned around and kept bugging me to come work for them. Hey, would you be a good trainer? I kept saying no.
And finally, I said, Okay, fine, fuck it, let’s do it. It kind of grew into something that I became very passionate about and enjoyed. It’s fulfilling. And it’s, it’s something with a lot of traders, I know that they tried to get off the gym floor and just kind of online scale, actually love the coach experience. It’s never something I want to give up. That’s kind of the rundown.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I think with COVID, I call it being out of the lab, not being able to be in the gyms, I missed it not only from a training perspective but from the trainers. And we’ll talk about this in a minute, I’m sure. But I’ve learned so much from other trainers. And I continue to do that when I’m on the floor watching other trainers who are great at what they do, or just different at what they do. I can learn I can grow.
And that’s a part of the reason why I try to help mentor trainers, and I know you do as well. And I came across your podcast and saw that there was a lot of crossover between what you and I did that the live free and Die Hard podcast, and I want to go directly to asking you the very vague but important question in the industry. What is missing from our certifications?
What is missing from the industry that young trainers should know or that you believe should be integrated into these certifications?
Andrew Coates: Well, as you and I were talking off-air, this is something that I and my friend Chris hitch co-talked about in my last podcast. I think the trainers who care about learning are generally pretty good at nutrition. They’re pretty damn good with movement mechanics, you know, teaching people that, you know, maybe they’re good, or maybe they struggle a little bit with the client experience, and you know, the habit building. But I think one of the things that most trainers kinda need is more of the business skill, the marketing skill, the branding skill.
Andrew Coates: And while it probably isn’t something that you’ll see most certifications ever really embraced, but I don’t think those certifications teach trainers, how to be successful within the business of training. I think a lot of certifications just give people you know, sort of the entry-level tools to say, Hey, I’m a trainer. And my attitude towards this is, you know, I think we have to commit ourselves to lifelong learning and always being better. So I’m not really sure we’ll ever see a certification that will truly prepare trainers, right out the gates to have a career of success.
Andrew Coates: That’s why, you know, people like us certainly are out there. And a lot of the other fitness industry leaders to fill in those gaps with, you know, educational stuff, be it you know, my friends at Renaissance periodization with all their educational materials, or, you know, Jonathan Gibbons, the personal trainer Development Center, or the online trainer Academy, or any number of other people I can list off who are creating educational resources to make trainers more successful.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and I think you hit the nail on the head with the marketing strategy. I think part of the problem is, though, it’s so nuanced, it’s, you know if you’re working at a corporate gym, as opposed to me starting my own business, if I’m a group fitness instructor, as opposed to a weightlifting coach, I guess those business tactics could be slightly different. And maybe that’s why there’s not really a wholesale approach to doing it.
But with that being said, that doesn’t mean somebody shouldn’t try or at least give you a baseline understanding of how to market yourself and market your business, and not just kind of throw you to the walls and hope it works out. Because more often than not, if you look at the numbers, people try to be full-time personal trainers and don’t end up doing it, they end up being part-time personal trainers.
And then that typically leads to them just stopping training. They tell people they try and they hope that somebody reaches out to them, but they really don’t have any clients. Do you have a particular certification? And do you? Are you thinking in the future about teaching certification or starting your own certification?
Andrew Coates: So I grabbed a very basic certification when I entered the industry, and I maintain it to have the right to call myself a trainer. I don’t have the time bandwidth to turn around and try to teach anybody else’s certification.
It’s not something I’m interested in or certainly develops my own, I would more I will be far more inclined to be aligned with other people that I trust, who are in the educational space and, you know, share and support their work.
Andrew Coates: I do plan on when I create the time in the bandwidth because there’s always a lot going on. I actually want to go and grab the nsca is because I want to dive into I don’t necessarily want to work deeper into strength and conditioning because I do work with some young athletes but my primary clientele is the general population.
But I still am interested in going into a bit of a deeper dive into some of the technical work there. I read books on that stuff, too. It’s something I’m passionate about.
Steve Washuta: How do you define success in the industry for a personal trainer or anybody in the health and fitness industry. What is there a general definition? or What advice would you give to a young trainer who’s looking to be, quote-unquote successful?
Andrew Coates: successful success is gonna be a very nebulous term, it’s gonna be very hard to define. But I think there are a few dimensions to it. One is actually being quite successful in creating a lifestyle, change, sustainable lifestyle, change with your clients, whether it’s getting them stronger, teaching them the skills, to work out and stay active long term to keep them safe, to help people learn too, you know, manage their nutrition, lose weight if that’s the goal, stay lean. So that’s one aspect of it. Certainly, earning a sustainable and comfortable livelihood is it is a part of the success that we can’t escape.
Andrew Coates: I think a lot of trainers, the old mantra, well, I just want to help people, and they’re a little uncomfortable with asking for the value of their time. Well, that’s bullshit. No matter how much people say, I’m in this to, you know, help people.
Yeah, sure, we’re motivated by that. But we’re also in this to earn a livelihood, and there’s no dishonor in being paid for your expertise and your time and earning a comfortable living.
Andrew Coates: If you’re earning a comfortable living. It allows you to scale and help more people in various ways. You know, something I’m big on is just creating long-form content, writing articles, if you want to go and publish a book or anything, that’s social media, anything that’s getting more information out there to help more people. And that in turn, turns around and brings more people to your doorstep and will help you be more successful a third dimension, that not every coach values, I think it’s valuable, is to achieve more. I don’t like using the term status, certainly, but noteworthiness respect to reputation and professional reputation as an industry leader, someone that people other coaches will look up to and point to your work and say,
Andrew Coates: This is someone who I see as a role model. And I think there’s a long list of people in the industry who are very successful in that realm, are great role models, great educators, great leaders, that I would consider to be very successful. And you know, a person like Martin Rooney is a good example that comes to mind. But he’s one of many,
Steve Washuta: For those who are looking for mentors understand that personal trainers such as yourself, Andrew, and we dedicate our lives to helping other people. So if a younger trainer reaches out to you and needs help, we are almost always going to say yes, provided, you know that the timetable works out and that our clients allow the shadowing process and things of that nature. So don’t hesitate to reach out to personal trainers, whether there’s someone in your gym or someone in your hometown, or even somebody online, and say, Hey, listen, I like what you do. I think you have this charisma, the knowledge, you know, how can I learn from you? And there, they’re more than willing to help out young personal trainers?
Andrew Coates: Absolutely. I make a point, you know, despite the number of messages I’ll get on, say, Instagram is the best hub. You know, I always respond to stuff to people. And, you know, half my following are probably enthusiasts who are learning about general, you know, training and nutrition. The other half are probably coaches who are looking to be more successful coaches. So, you know, I’ll certainly always respond to inquiries there.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and that’s a, I think an issue of going back real quick to the problems with certifications is that there’s not always typically there’s not a shadowing process. This is really just education in general, right, you can go to college and graduate and have a business major communications major, you’re not necessarily you know, tied into having any sort of formal internship.
And if you don’t do that, you can learn all you want the books, but when you get thrown to the wolves, it’s a different story. And I think that’s a problem, the personal training industry. You can do these certifications in a weekend, and then you get thrown to the gym, and you’re expected to start making money.
But I think if shadowing was the standard process for the first few months shadow underneath really good trainers, then things would be would come along faster, in a sense that you would not feel like you’re so overwhelmed by not making money, you would understand that it’s going to take time, it’s going to take a year or two maybe to build yourself up and build your clientele.
Andrew Coates: Yeah, if you have the opportunity to go and intern with obviously one of the premium examples is a cressy sports performance and they get a lot of applications. Jordan cites a good example of someone who did go and in turn, they’re so he Lee interned at CSP.
And there’s a number of other pretty noteworthy people that have gone through that process. And it’s been a valuable experience for them. Peter, please a friend and a really smart guy in the way that they run that program. But there’s no reason why you can’t reach out to these different people.
Andrew Coates: Now, you know, I get requests for students sometimes and I’ve done in the past. I just, I just don’t have the capacity. I can help People in far different realms by taking less of my time to do it. But like I said, I still always respond to questions, inquiries, but a lot of facilities you know, if you say listen, like all comments all internal work for free, I want to learn from you.
You’ll that could create opportunities if you’re willing to go move somewhere and bite the bullet on that and soak up every little aspect of it. It’s gonna put you lightyears ahead of someone. Yeah, who’s just coming out with a basic certification. I think we know that.
Andrew Coates: Basic certifications don’t prepare trainers very well. That being said, I’m quite, quite aggressive in this particular thought process. I know people differ. I always see this low-hanging fruit discussion about, oh, you know, we should have a higher standard or certifications should be tougher, there should be more barriers to entry, the industry. And I think that’s bullshit, I think.
I don’t want to say this, I think we should create grand incentives for coaches to continuously educate themselves and to aspire to a higher standard of knowledge and care.
Andrew Coates: But I think when people are saying, Oh, we should have, oh, there’s, the barrier of entry is too low, what they’re really whining about, and I promise you, it’s whining. And this may ruffle some feathers if they’re complaining about what they think are the clients who are in the hands of the instance, who they think, well, if we can only just get a higher standard of certification, we can make those people go away. newsflash, those people don’t have certifications, they don’t care.
They’re not going to get kicked off platforms like Instagram, or other social media, or YouTube.
Andrew Coates: So and they’re going to appeal to a larger array of clients because they’re very good marketers with very good messages. And when I think what I think happens is people feel like, well, I’m a skilled trainer, you know, I have my this degree, or I have this certification, I deserve those clients as Instagram influencers Don’t bullshit, you’ve done nothing to go out and actually become a better marketer and develop a brand to attract those people, you’re not entitled to anything.
And I think it has to start with getting rid of this sense of entitlement. Clients won’t just show up at your door, you have to develop a brand and a reputation for great work and take care of the client in front of you so that we are generating for our business, and then learn the media side of stuff.
Andrew Coates: All the while being you know, having a better standard of work than a lot of what’s out there. And that doesn’t come overnight, it doesn’t come easy. So I still think at the end of the day, we really do have to take personal ownership and accountability for learning our own skills and developing our own career. But if we can find better resources, or if we can create, as educators better resources for those coaches, and have them find us, we’re going to have a positive net effect on the industry. Because, again, like I said, the influencers are not going away. So we got to get better at reaching the eyes and ears of the people we’re trying to help.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, the industry really is a free-market approach. And I, you know, the way to solve any issues that come about in a free market is not to put more restrictions on or to handcuff anybody, it’s to, you know, work harder, and understand that it’s going to take more time. And I think there is, again, a small misconception.
The irony here is NASA doesn’t teach marketing, but they’re so good at it. And they mark it to tell trainers basically, and a lot of the other certifications that you’re going to make money right away. And that’s just not the case for most people, right? There’s the cream rises to the top. It’s easy to get into the industry, but it’s not necessarily easy to make money and do well in the industry. And I think that’s something that needs to be sort of, you know, hammered down.
But not just from people like you and me that need to be hammered down in the industry from the certifications. And I think they’re hesitant to do that because they don’t want to scare people away. But it’s the honest truth. I agree. Nothing to add to that. What is the evolution in being successful in the industry?
Obviously, we have this online component coming now that kind of got kick-started not just with COVID but obviously COVID you’re sort of expedited it if you weren’t if you didn’t have a foot in the online game, you will now or you do now is is that just the next step? Or is there something that you think trainers should be prepared for coming down the pipe,
Andrew Coates: you’ll never replace the quality of what I want to experience with a client. There will be people at least certainly for a generation of our generation who will still seek in-person coaching. I think great online coaching can suit people who experience the stronger on time that can be a wonderful option for people it’s becoming more popular to always just be kind of around a lot of the bodybuilding coaches did this stuff anyway.
Andrew Coates: Did to varying degrees of quality. I don’t I think that when someone says Oh, in-person personal training is dead, they’re full of shit and forgive my bluntness and be they’re selling something. They’re selling something online. I’m very careful about who I endorse who teaches people how to work online. I’ve said, Jonathan Goodman. Personal Trainer Development Center online trainer Academy. And I’ve said Jordan site as mentorship on that, too.
Andrew Coates: Yeah, I know them both. They’re both friends of mine. And I trust their integrity, and neither is turning around saying that personal training is dead. They both will help educate personal trainers to do well in person. I think the future is kind of a hybrid. I also noticed that you know, you get gatekeepers in our industry who will make bold statements like you must train, you know, at least hope three years or five years or eight years on the gym floor before you have the right to train a person.
Andrew Coates: That’s also nonsense. Because COVID changed the game on that. Does the trainer who’s got a year working with their clients? Are they not allowed or don’t have the right to do online stuff while the gyms are down?
When do they have a good relationship? They know the clients know now, do I believe that you’re going to be a better online coach if you have a lot of in-person experience. Of course, that’s absolutely true.
Andrew Coates: But you’re also gonna be better in person, coach, if you have more in-person coaching experience, we all start somewhere. And I think if people are going to make these arbitrary statements, they’re doing a disservice to the coaches who potentially could look up to them, who could be part of the solution in creating better educational platforms to help trainers learn how to run really good online training business and be effective. Online trainers offer really good quality service to our clientele, I think we are probably going to need to embrace this as a dual option.
Andrew Coates: And I think there may even come a point where really good certifications will have components of both. So it’s that online, it’s not going away, but neither is in-person training. I also think that if you really want to go in one direction or the other, you can niche in that direction and do extraordinarily well. I don’t love the idea of doing online coaching without ever having any in-person experience and never gaining it and being exclusively online from day one.
Andrew Coates: We are seeing that with a lot of quotes again fitness influencer types who don’t coach people, but because they have the reach on social media, they got here, I’m offering this program they sell it. Usually, there’s a lot of integrity there.
My hope is that the consumers figure it out quickly and don’t get ripped off. But again, you know, we have to compete to get the clients, we’re just not going to make those people go away.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I think you know, the pushback I have about this starting. It’s just starting online training before doing any on-site training. And the only reason I say that is because all it’s kind of twofold.
One is there is a sort of like an integrity thing when you’re on the floor and you’re working assuming that there are other trainers around you. You understand that not only you’re not only being judged by the person who doesn’t know anything your client but by the other trainers.
And I think that’s important when you’re first learning that you have other people around you who are I don’t want to say semi holding you accountable. But there, you’re at least, you’re least worried in a good way in a positive way that other people who actually know what the hell they’re talking about, are working with you. Because otherwise, if you just start online, nobody is there to ever check your bullshit, because it’s just you and the client who may not know anything.
Andrew Coates: And you don’t have a lot of a feedback loop to get better in that environment. You’re absolutely right. I also think that you know, kind of I alluded to this, the type of people who go exclusively online without any in-person experience or any intention of ever working in person. Again, we’ve said it, they lack integrity, they’re just doing it to cash in and make money off of their personal brand or their influence that are following. And those people exist. But I don’t think anybody who cares with integrity is going to choose that route. So anybody who’s listening to this is not the type of person who’s like no, I don’t want to trade to people in person. I just want to make the money online. Nobody here is doing that.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, exactly. And it’s it is sometimes just a scalability push I understand. Now, again, like we talked about, it is good to have that two-prong approach. But if that is your is beginning and end goal, and to never step in a gym, I think that is a mistake, not that it can’t be done.
But I think that’s a mistake. And it’s, it’s, it’s bad for you because you won’t learn at the rate that another trainer will but it’s also you know, bad for your client because you’re not able to give your client all of these other things that are important to like stealing exercises, how many of my exercises that I don’t know subconsciously that I get from watching other trainers train their clients, right? They hopped on a different piece of equipment that I’ve never used. They did a bunch of exercises, and then I was able to retain that information and go Oh, you know what, that’s a that’s an interesting way to challenge somebody stabilization I never thought of before and you don’t get that if you’ve trapped in a small basement training a client on your laptop.
Andrew Coates: I remember when I worked at the commercial gym, I would start to do things like firmers carriers or sled pushes with my clientele are very Other things. And pretty quickly, I would notice that this happened all the time, the other trainers in that gym would start picking up a copy and things are doing, which I’m glad I had that influence on that because, you know, it led to a lot of them in the right direction.
And, you know, some of them, the good ones with integrity followed me out of the old organization to start their own businesses. So I was always really happy to see them thrive.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I think you get a sense of the niches that you if you’re a new trainer, eventually, you most likely you will Nish out for lack of a better term. And sometimes I find the path is that people as they get older, like myself and like yourself, go back to the general population, right? We get we go into the nice game, then we get out of the nice game.
But in order to get into the nice game, sometimes you need to know what is there what exists. Of course, you can see things online but you know, working in the gym saying, Oh, I can just train through a TPR right and just work with golfers or I can just do weightlifting specific things and having the, you know, the abundance of understanding what the other concepts are, I think is important. And, you know, I think I’m beating this to death here. And I know you agree completely but I do. You know, I always want to emphasize that.
Online personal training is important. It’s an entity, we should all be involved in it because it’s not going away. But to learn. There isn’t get a good, concise, proven way to learn unless, like you said, Andrew, you’re just one of those people who have integrity, who’s going to pick up that extra book, who’s going to seek out that information.
Andrew Coates: You know, there’s a couple thought on niching I think are really worth saying for anybody who’s listening. You’ll hear again, marketing gurus or, you know, business gurus, Jordan site always goes business guru makes us funny boys. They’ll tell people, they have to niche down pretty hard. I am sort of having a niche for your marketing for being more prominently online, is more important than for in-person.
Andrew Coates: I love general population training, I also love working with Gen pop plants and I have some older adults who are pretty Gen pop. As far as I’m concerned, people of all ages, I have some young athletes, they’re great. I don’t work with competitive bodybuilders I put a couple up on stage is not my favorite thing. Not interested, I’ve never competed, I don’t coach competitive powerlifters and prep them for their meats. I work with the General Powerlifters. As I don’t really want to be in those spaces.
Andrew Coates: I think there’s too much of a push to Nish. When I think that the gym public, you said is the most lucrative space to be in. But if you are able to establish somewhat of a niche and a reputation in that niche, well, people will trust you to be a great generalist.
Andrew Coates: Anyway, I know p2p has talked about this example, I like it with cressy sports performance, would you trust cressy sports performance to do a really good job with your dad? Because you know that they work? You know, with the health and the joints and the safety and performance of you know, young and professional athletes? Hell yeah, you know, I would let them train my dad a lot quicker than most current general commercial gym trainers. Because I know the reputation if you can develop a really, really strong niche and reputation in that niche. Most people are going to trust you as a generalist as well.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And you know, as far as niches are concerned, just to add to that, Andrew, I think it’s important you know, yourself as a trainer before you pick a niche, and why I say that is there are different training styles, there are people who are more, you know, affable and they create what I call like a high-value experience, you can watch the strainer, they’re good with doesn’t matter what age what population, they’re very friendly. And they put on a good show, but maybe they’re not anatomically the best, right? They’re not as nuanced and all of the musculatures, they’re not going to tell you exactly what to do if you have knee valgus in your front squatting.
Then you have trainers who are more what I call direct, and they’re a little bit more scientific and robotic, and they can look at the body as a machine and say, Oh, you know, your, your shoulders are slashing forward, we have to fix A, B, and C, and D. And if that doesn’t work, then we’ll try, you know, X, Y, and Z. And this is the process we’re going to go through and maybe they’re not as friendly.
But understanding your skill set will allow you to Nish in either direction, maybe you’re better in group fitness because of your dynamic personality. Or maybe you’re better in working in some sort of environment where you can do, you know, analysis of your client, send them a workout, and then you know, let them come back every three or four weeks. So you don’t have to spend all that time one on one with them.
Andrew Coates: Totally, yeah. You have to play to your strengths and hopefully shore up enough of the weaknesses that you know, you don’t end up in any trouble.
Steve Washuta: Do you have any personal sort of anecdotal stories of decisions that you made along your journey which you’re glad that you made or the opposite, that you’re that you could have done and would have done differently?
Andrew Coates: I’ve been lucky. You know, I think early on in my career, I focused on head down take care of the client in front of me. I was very fortunate that early on I Developing a referral business was definitely on the strength of a relationship.
Andrew Coates: My clients figured out early that being engaged with and enjoying the experience. But that also comes naturally to me because I don’t want to do hour after hour, something I don’t enjoy. If I’m going to get to spend time with people I’m going to find common ground and interesting things to talk about.
Andrew Coates: I have a whole bunch of clients in the tech world during gaming I used to play World of Warcraft before I was a trader I loved it. You know, I love the Witcher I grew up on fantasy fiction RPGs all this sort of stuff, right for the big like you know, bodybuilder looking dude kind of surprises people. And I’ve got clients who are playing the new classic World of Warcraft reboot.
Andrew Coates: So we talk about that. And that keeps them excited to want to show up. So that was always kind of how I went about things that just kept me really busy over the years, which gave me a ton of time to gain experience. And then along the way, I tried to learn and read and research and fill in gaps and take continuing education courses. And you know, I was very lucky in that I work for the same company is like Dean Somerset, for anybody who’s familiar with Dean, you know, he’s a World-class trainer, educator.
Andrew Coates: So I learned a lot of stuff from him along the way. And that just kept growing and growing and mushrooming up you know, in terms of pivotal inflection points, there was a couple. One is eventually, really realizing I needed to leave that commercial gym, and I was more than ready to go out on my own. I was hesitant, the owner of the evolve, had been courting me and trying to get me to come over.
Andrew Coates: But, you know, I was hesitant just I guess the leave the security of what I had. And I really got a big push don’t get to specifics, but unfortunate that organizational culture became really problematic to where I’m just like, I can’t stay with this anymore. So I chose to leave. scary but the best move I’ve ever made in my career. Then that led to, you know, meeting and interacting with my friend Dean Guido who was my original podcast partner before, you know, he had to give it up and hand it over to me solo, which led to other opportunities led which led to connecting with more people from the fitness industry as guests.
Andrew Coates: And then I started traveling, I decided to go to the Kansas City Fitness summit back in 2017. And I met a big chunk of who’s who the injury I met. So, Healy, I met Spencer didn’t ski, I met Lou Schuler and Alan Aragon and deed Somerset was there as a speaker. So obviously a new dean. The next year, I met Mark Fisher, I could go on.
Andrew Coates: But there’s quite a lot of connections where I could have these people’s podcast guests, which branched out to where all of a sudden, I started interacting with more of the tea nation writers. And then I got to connect with one of the editors at Danny sugar had her on the podcast. And she turned around she like, hey, she’s all worried that I would say no, she’s like, would you consider contributing to us? I’m like, that’d be a dream come true, of course.
Andrew Coates: All right, for tea nation. So it was just when these opportunities arose, it just kind of jumping at them. Instead of saying to my friend, Nah, man, I’m not an interesting podcast, I couldn’t do that. I said, shit, alright, let’s go. And it took off.
Or being asked to write for a publication, I certainly looked up to for a long time, instead of going, Oh, no, I couldn’t do that. Like, alright, let’s, let’s do it. Let’s figure it out. I put a lot of effort into the first article went well, and they publish everything I send them. And that’s led to other things.
Andrew Coates: So part of it’s just embracing opportunity. But I’m really glad that I definitely said, okay, it’s finally time to leave the commercial gym. If you love it, you love security, I get it. But if you’re ambitious about something greater look for the opportunity to certainly have a backup plan if you are ever forced to leave.
But I think it’s one of the most important career stepping stones you can make. I think some trainers are looking to do it too early. But it’s definitely a big part of being able to do this long term and have such a secure financial livelihood, that you can do it for a lifetime.
Steve Washuta: I think that’s great information. And obviously, the vast majority of us are coming from other industries. We’re not majoring in personal training and college, right. So we go into something that we don’t like, and we’re either personal training on the side, or it’s something we’ve always wanted to do. And then we step out, and we take the risk, and we jump into it. But it’s good to know, for those who are just taking that risk or, or have thought about it, that if you’re leaving in the nine to five life, because you don’t like bosses, and you don’t want these restrictions and overhead and you’re going to go to a gym that’s going to have those same things, you’re probably going to have those same problems.
So, understand that you do have other options, whether it is working for yourself, obviously, right starting your own or working in more of an independent sense where you can work for a gym, but you are contracted out you know, in insofar as tax code-wise, I don’t know what how it works in Canada, but in America, you are an independent contractor.
So maybe you have some sort of deal where you pay $1,000 a month, and you’re sort of renting space and you get to work with your clients. Or maybe you or maybe there is in a percentage What you’re going to give away, but you don’t necessarily have oversight over what you’re doing now, I’m not telling everyone that is what you should do.
But just understand that there there are, there are multiple options like Andrew just said, and you have to know what is for you, whether it is the big gym, or whether it is the small gym, or maybe a mixture of both. And that’s why shadowing is great writing if you shadow at all three different or four different avenues, then you’ll know which one’s best for you. there are pros and cons to everything.
Now, obviously, the podcast to listen to. We’ve already named it here. We know it Live Free or Die Hard. But are there secondary or tertiary podcasts that you would recommend in the fitness industry for the listeners and also, I know you’re an avid reader of books or authors that you’d recommend?
Andrew Coates: Okay, we could spend an hour on books pro to the podcast first. So my first exposure to fitness podcasting. I really like Layne Norton and his work. I heard his old physique science radio now that’s long-defunct, but he did it with his then assistant and friends so he Lee who I found out about and then later met so he’s become a good friend and she’s a powerhouse in our industry.
And then that led me to some Jeff nipper stuff you can dive into his and that led me to the fit cast now.
Andrew Coates: I don’t think Kevin Larrabee does the fit cast anymore, but there’s a hell of a lot of episodes like 500 of them. And again, the who’s who the fitness industry. As for active stuff, Danny Lennon sigma nutrition radio is a really big one, especially on the nutrition side evidence base.
Steve Washuta: He’s been a guest on the truth a podcast actually, and a friend I like Daniella.
Andrew Coates: Not a shock at all, I’ve got to get Danny on my dad. He’s amazing. And my two favorites, the ones that I because I don’t have a lot of time for podcasts and stainmore I just crush audiobooks. I always try to get Luca to host over his vigor life podcast, I really like Luca and the stuff he does, he has great guests, great energy, very charismatic. And, and I like the how to be a successful personal trainer. I might be getting the name slightly wrong. But it’s Jordan’s site and Mike piccante sting. And it’s definitely a, you know, a lead into their mentorship. But I find that there’s tons of practical stuff, especially if you’re looking at social media brand building and the online side of stuff. And it’s just good quality, integrity-based information.
Andrew Coates: So those are the two that I tend to focus on. I’ve got a ton of friends who have podcasts, like all over the internet, and I feel bad, not throwing them all out there. But we get lost in the entirety of it. So here’s the other thing I would say if you are looking to grow, you know.
When you ask me about success earlier, and if you’re looking to grow brand and reach and reputation within the greater industry, because you’ve got bigger aspirations, look at the coaches around you on the same journey you’re on.
Andrew Coates: Don’t necessarily try to create favor and gain the attention of the quote industry elite, your air crises of the world. They’re not paying attention, they’re busy. But if you can look at the person podcast, plug into what they’re doing, because next thing you know, they figure out what you’re doing, you end up as a guest on their podcast or, you know.
If you’re deciding to start one of your own, don’t again, don’t reach out to Eric Cressey and, you know, you’re not doing him any favors by putting him in his busy life on an hour on your podcast, but the coaches that you’re surrounded with, again on the same journey, you know, you can grow together.
Andrew Coates: Now books, too many to list, I think there’s a handful of things that are worth doing. There are some great books like essentialism by Greg McKeon, linchpin, Seth Godin, so good, they can’t ignore you by Cal Newport, which will be great for your underlying philosophy for how to approach your career.
If you’re looking for, you know, a book about the discipline of getting work done, the practice by Seth Godin, pretty much anything Seth Godin, I love Ryan holidays, philosophy stuff, it’s just good reading for you to dive into a couple of good marketing books to learn about social media marketing, that not directly about social media marketing, the underlying fundamentals.
Andrew Coates: I think you can’t go wrong when it comes to brown, a brown, and a lot of the stuff that she writes when it comes to actually having relationships and tough, tough conversations with clients. And God, I mean, there’s probably 30 or 40 more bucks, if you want to become a writer, read on writing well by William Zinsser. That’s an important read. And if you want technical training stuff, I love Mike Boyles advances in functional training, unbelievable book, you get a lot out of it. If you want to get a little more technical and hardcore when it comes to the strength and conditioning stuff. The science and practice of strength training are good ones.
Andrew Coates: You can get a lot out of something like Brett Contreras’s glute lab. That is an awesome textbook when it comes to being a better personal trainer. And a book I’m really a big fan of and it’s about coaching and the way the language of coaching by Nick Winckelmann. It gets pretty technically neuroscience-heavy early on, but it’s a really good way to understand cueing and coaching.
Andrew Coates: So I know that is a big mouthful. I’ll give you guys one more, just because I think we’re talking about trainer success in music, Jonathan Goodman is part of the wealthy fit pros guide, I’m actually he has like 1415 of us contribute sections. This book, I’m actually one of the people, I have a nine-page section in it that I think is really good.
Like, that’s one of the most practical books that you’re going to get for trainers. I keep thinking of stuff, I’m gonna throw two more that are gonna be helpful. Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, and never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman. Those two are essential reads for trainers.
Steve Washuta: Well, it looks like we have at least a few years of reading on our hands. Sorry about that. No, no, listen, the more the merrier. And I, you know, Seth Godin, and you know, a lot of those that I have on my bookshelf.
But there’s a lot of the actual personal training ones which I, which I did, and especially the glute lab, I assume that was, I think it’s marketed wrong by the name, I didn’t know that was a coaching book.
Andrew Coates: It means, it’s a breakdown, a technical breakdown of a lot of like, certainly the lower half of the body movement stuff. There’s also a lot of training philosophy in there. That’s really good. There’s a lot of technical movement stuff in there. But if you if I had to pick five books to say, this is gonna make you a better personal trainer, I could choose only five, it is one of the five it is a lot of good info in there.
Steve Washuta: Good to know. And it’ll, he’ll be at my door. By tomorrow. I’m sure I’m going to go right on Amazon and get it I I’ve been coming across a lot of trainers recently who have been talking about burnout. And you know, to be successful, like we’ve been talking about as sort of a thesis here in the industry, you have to typically be malleable, you’re going to change over time. And you also need longevity, right? You’re not going to be successful overnight. You have to kind of weather the storm here. But what recommendations or advice would you give to trainers who are going through what they call burnout,
Andrew Coates: I got a couple of thoughts I want to throw in about burnout. I think a lot of trainers, especially the younger generation are worried about burnout. This is a quote from a client friend of mine, he’s in Realty, don’t worry about burnout worry about not starving.
Okay, you’re worried about the wrong ship. For starters, it’s really hard to achieve burnout in your career. Now, if you genuinely are experiencing burnout, that’s different. And let’s be sensitive to that.
Andrew Coates: A second point, before I come back to burnout, is it’s really hard to be burnt out emotionally doing something you’re very fulfilled by that you love. So I think it’s really important to say, Are you doing your career? Are you actually love it? And are you passionate about fitness? And are you doing it in such a way that is fulfilling to where you know, you’re able to manage burnout.
In our industry, there’s no such thing as a nine to five, it is right? It’s a career you’re fully immersed in, there’s no work-life balance.
Andrew Coates: So you have to find a reasonable compromise with that. Especially if you have a young family. Now, with the actual burnout, it becomes taking a good look at what you’re doing in your career, what essential activities are you putting time into, that are going to help you with your long-term mission?
And where are demands of your time being made that you’re too afraid to say no to that take you off course and take you away from family and the things that are important to you that the behaviors that you need to recharge? Are you getting enough sleep? You know, are? Is your nutrition? Good? Are you actually living the life as an example, that you’re asking of your clients? I think I don’t like the conversation.
Andrew Coates: You know, who should a trainer be in shape, I fight against another one of those low-hanging fruit things that someone will post on social media just to get kind of people wound up. Yeah. But at the same time, I think if you are struggling, and if you are not, quote visibly in shape, then one of the best things you can do to improve your career is to work on the shape that you’re in, right, put that effort into it.
Because we lose a little bit of credibility to ask, you know, single moms and, you know, single working professionals and all this, all that real-life stuff that goes on new parents, and you were telling them, hey, you need to, you know, make the sacrifice, you need to do this stuff. Like, well, you’re not doing it.
Andrew Coates: So where’s your credibility to say that, if you’re a trainer who, you know, is on a journey, you know, and you’re getting leaner and leaner and you want to help other people, and maybe you don’t look like a fitness model yet, not that that’s the be all end all.
But then highlight the journey, it becomes a really good marketing tool. But yeah, look at what’s burning you out. And there may be places where you can say I don’t need to do this. So this is not helping.
Or maybe you’re just afraid to raise your rates to where you’re compensated fairly enough that you can earn a comfortable livelihood set greater boundaries around your schedule.
Andrew Coates: I mentioned the book Book Yourself Solid. If you’re burnt out or experiencing burnout, go read that book first. do the exercises. Don’t do it on audio, read the physical book, write the exercises out and it’s going to take Through identifying the clients that you love working with, and the qualities and behaviors that you want around you, and it’ll help you let go of the clients that caused you the most stress that asked the most do the ones are always asking for discounts. Or, I’m sorry, but the biggest pain in your ass.
Andrew Coates: And one of the most important things that I think any successful coach figures out along the way is, which kind of clients you want to work with and which ones you don’t. And when you get the confidence to politely and professionally like, I hate it, when trainers brag about firing clients that look terrible on social media don’t do that.
Andrew Coates: But professionally let people go and say, Hey, listen, I don’t think this is going to be a really great fit, you’re going to find someone else for you. It’s scary, because you think, Oh, I need that money.
If that person is distracting you and burning you out, and interfering with the quality of the work with the other clients and your other clients aren’t being stable, and you need the pain in the ass clients even more.
Andrew Coates: It’s a vicious cycle in a bad way. Cut the client to cause the most stress. And it’ll free up your emotional energy. And yeah, sure, you may be worried about how busy you are. But watch how your interactions improve with everybody else. Watch how it radiates and how everybody sees this.
And with time, more positive relationships are drawn you It sounds like the books like the secret of the alchemist, and they’re bullshit. And I wouldn’t waste my time on these books. I do genuinely think that this is fluffy nonsense.
Andrew Coates: But there is something about what you project out into the world that tends to attract similar energy from people back to you. And you aggregate that over enough interactions, and good things start happening. That’s the concept behind these books.
So if you go read this book, if you’re feeling burned out and take the exercises seriously, I think you’ll come out the other side with a much clearer idea of who you want to work with. And it takes a leap of faith, I’ve been there, and also was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Steve Washuta: That’s fantastic information. And to piggyback off the recharge portion of what you said, you know, in sort of a Tim Ferriss esque way, it’s okay to take a week or two off your if you’re good at what you do, your clients are going to come back to you and set your clients up, talk to other trainers, that’s the normal thing to do and say, Hey, I’m leaving my clients still wants to work out.
Maybe they don’t want to work out without you obviously ask them first. And they will be there when you get back right with open arms most likely if you care for your clients, and you do the things you’re supposed to do.
And you know not to get too woo-woo. but to also piggyback off something you said, you’re going to grow as a person, whether you take the let’s say some trip to Vietnam, and you come back and it’s a new conversation piece you have with clients that might travel right.
Or you learn something along the way that you didn’t know that, again, it’s a new conversation piece, because part of building your business is having more things to discuss with your clients. It’s not just about the personal training side, but it’s about building relationships.
And in order to build relationships, sometimes you have to grow yourself. So I think it’s important from that side. And then also to, again, to piggyback off the great point you made to charge more, I think people forget about what I call private group training.
And or just like duet training, if you have two young moms who were 27 years old, and there happened to be friends, you train one at 9 am and one at 10 am.
Well, maybe you should be training them both at 9 am. And charging them 70% instead of 100%. Meaning now you get 140% for that hour. So there are things to do with burnout.
And I think that like you said it’s it should be a secondary thing you’re looking at unless I think the term burnout. Everybody has a bad week, everybody works 55 hours a week and says, holy shit, I need a break. There’s a difference between that and a true definition of burnout.
Andrew Coates: I think there’s a couple of things that you made me think of two. One is, are you actually using your downtime to recharge? Are you scrolling on social media? Are you doing things that are negative effects I ship ultra for a better way status? All the stress in our lives is cumulative.
Andrew Coates: We know that the physiological stress from training in the gym, the emotional stress, like stress, work, stress, relationship, stress, whatever. We have a very polarized world. You know, I mean, I won’t talk about politics, I stay off it on my social media, or refuse to go there contentious, complicated social issues.
Andrew Coates: We all have people on our social media, and some of them are friends, family obligation follows, who peddle in arrangement, and identify who these people are. They want you angry, and they’ll often get really testy with you if you don’t jump on their narrative, share posts, or adopt their belief system and you’re chuckling cuz you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I’m not saying don’t have a social conscience, and I’m not saying you know, just fuck all this complicated stuff and don’t try to make the world a better place. I think that’s an important thing, but You’d have more leverage to make the world a better place if you earn a comfortable livelihood.
Andrew Coates: You can turn around and donate time and money to things that are going to make a difference. posting on social media and then patting yourself on the back for a job well done, which is what a lot of these people do, contributes nothing.
And if you’re exposing yourself to it constantly, or watching, honestly, the news and other things that leave you in a state of elevated anxiety, Sis, what does it sorry, sympathetic nervous system, maybe your burnout is just being too plugged into all the shift, that’s really stressful.
Maybe you do have to mute or unfollow the accounts that whine you up because it gets you mad because the stuff is twisted to make you angry, it’s twisted to make you upset.
Andrew Coates: Social media enhances the shareability and the reach of these types of posts in these types of accounts, you have to take control of your use of social media, what you’re exposing yourself to, and I have a feeling that a lot of the stress and burnout is coming from a sense of, you’re not in control of all these terrible things that are happening all over the world.
Andrew Coates: And you know, the world seems like it’s the worst place ever, especially for the year and a half of you know, a pandemic and all the scaremongering that’s been going on about that. And I’m not diminishing the real problems that happened this year. But it’s putting into perspective, think about the last year and a half. Okay, a lot of bad shit happens a lot of crazy stuff. If you lived on the edge of social media and the media for updates several times a day.
Andrew Coates: Does that really change anything over getting, you know, a 30-minute update weekly? to see what’s going on? Did you really benefit from being on the bleeding edge? You’re gonna find out anyway through either through talking with people that you know, are going to evidence-based sources? And I bet the answer is no, of course not.
You spent all that time and emotional energy getting swept up in this stuff that could have been applied to resting, recharging, putting into education, things that will put into your hands a greater sense of control over your outcome.
Andrew Coates: Are you a trainer who was worried about your ability to earn your livelihood this year, because of what was going on? Well, there are a lot of things that we have been able to do to control our outcome and generate revenue sources, be it online virtual training, or God only knows what else I built, I created a home gym.
And I took care of my clients that have my own gym. And that saved my ass this year. So I didn’t set myself in front of the TV and just go, Oh, this is unfair. I’m pissed off. I what’s happening, I got no control over what happened there. So I took control of what I could. And it improved my outcome.
Andrew Coates: And I found the earliest part of this, you know, last year very stressful. But as it went on, well, I did my best I focus on what I could control and it goes for anything. It’s like, we got to focus on what we can control. And we have to turn off the engagement and recognize that media and social media news is designed to inflame our fears and our anger,
Steve Washuta: Less time, liking or disliking and Sally’s engagement, inciting clickbait posts more time reading and listening to the 47 books that Andrew gave us that we could, that we can brush up on to help ourselves as personal trainers.
Andrew Coates: I really believe you’ll have a greater impact and influence on the world. I mean, why are we all in this business to influence who votes for what? Or to help people who want to lose weight and get stronger and be healthier? Learn the habits of a better lifestyle?
How do we make a greater impact on the world to argue with people about medical facts that were unqualified to talk about? Or to get people healthier? I mean, I think the answer is obvious.
And yet I think a lot of personal trainers and coaches get swept up in things that frustrate them because we see things we’re mad about.
Andrew Coates: So therefore we yell on social media, to tell other people how they’re supposed to think and how they’re supposed to make decisions. And we all know how that goes, well.
Why don’t we focus on the things we’re really good at where we can make the biggest difference in the people around our lives, our own career success, and our ability to reach more people in the long run. We’re gonna make the world a better place by doing it that way.
Steve Washuta: I echo those thoughts. Andrew, why don’t you tell the audience where they can find your podcast and find you directly on Instagram or any other medium in which you have
Andrew Coates: All roads go through Instagram. So that’s the hub to find me at AndrewCoatesfitness. C o a t e s. If you have any questions for me, please respond to everything. So just ask me to shoot me a message. I’ll find it. My podcast is the lift-free and diet hard podcast. You can find it on any podcasting platform.
Again, I’ll link it on my social media. And I’m pretty good about every week. I probably won’t have one this week as I’m traveling. And then you know anything else I write for a major publication I will share it through on my website www.undercoatesFitness.com. It’s currently Being revamped, it should be ready by the time this is live. But all roads through Instagram find me there. I appreciate you having me here so much. Thank you.
Steve Washuta: Awesome man. Thanks a lot.
Andrew Coates: My pleasure.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe rate and review on your listening platform. And feel free to email us we’d love to hear from you.