The Power of Hustle: 5 Things All Coaches Need to Know and Embrace

Today's guest post comes from a friend of mine Jim Ferris.  Besides having the best hair in the fitness industry, Jim is someone I look up to as a coach and a person because of his passion, hustle, and desire to excel at his craft.  There are a lot of good lessons to be learned in this article, so read up and enjoy! want to be a strength coach, performance coach, and/or personal trainer.

Seeing as you're here reading this article, I'm going to assume you don't just want to be "another coach."  You probably want to be "the coach"--the guy or girl people come to for help because they know you can deliver.

As awesome as it would be to wake up every morning and just piss excellence, it doesn't happen that way.  The journey to becoming a great coach takes years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice on your part.

Before we get into how you can become a better coach, I'd like to tell you a little about myself.

I've been working in the fitness industry now for over 14 years.

Over that time I've been based throughout Philadelphia, and worked for both a private company and myself.

Along the way, I've had the opportunity to wear many different hats.  Including:

NBA strength consultant with the Philadelphia 76ers

Assistant strength coach with Saint Joeʼs University athletics with majority of my time being spent assisting men's and womenʼs basketball.

And In 2009 I decided to take an opportunity to work for myself and build my own brand.

As I continue to train and develop trainers over the years, I'm always throwing quotes at them to inspire them and make them think.

I'm big into the motivation, hustle, and pride that comes with being a great coach because we as coaches have a chance to impact lives.

For that reason, how we show up and present ourselves to whomever we are working with is a big deal, and something we should all take seriously.

Furthermore, never take anything for granted in this field. It is a blessing to do this for a career, and you have to show up every day ready to be your best.

To help you along your coaching journey, here are 5 quotes that I've used with myself, interns, and other coaches with great success.

“Your 5pm session does not care that you had a 5am session. Show Up. No excuses. "

You are providing a service.

The service should be the same high quality service no matter what hour of the day it is.

When you walk into the gym, leave your personal problems at the door, and give that client the best session you can give them.

The client is paying you the same as everyone else. If you cant handle it, then give them a refund or refer them to a coach that can give them what they're paying for.

“You are supposed to be an expert. Act like one.”

Believe it or not, clients look at you to be an expert. Actually they pay you as well, so I think it's important to know what you're talking about.

Sometimes clients can stump you with a question. It has happened to all of us. It is OK!!!

Just don't lie to them or make something up. It drives me nuts when I overhear a coach just bs-ing someone with absolute garbage.

Clients believe what you are telling them!!! If you don't know the answer, simply tell them you will email them an answer, or better yet, an article you have on the topic.

Here's the bottom line:  get them the right answer no matter what.

“Train as if you are in front of a live studio audience”

Lets face it. Everybody turns it up a notch when the spotlight is on.  As a trainer/coach, however, we're not always in the spotlight, and it can become easy to get in a funk.

For example, a trainer that's sitting down (in a lazy lounging position) during their 6am session staring at his or her cell phone as clients just go through the motions should never happen.

A trainer and the word lazy should never, ever go together!

If so, fire yourself and move onto something else.

Pay attention to the habits you develop as you coach and get rid of the bad ones.

This is where having another quality coach around plays a big role.  He or she can be there to call you out, give you a heads up, and/or provide you with feedback on how you could have made that session better.

Moral of the story:  be accountable for your actions.

“Be bulletproof in all that you do”

From the program design to how the session was run:

Can you defend it? Is it bulletproof?

I love the “W” questions. I play this game a lot with coaches because I believe it keeps you sharp and prevents cookie cutter tendencies.

Why are we doing this vs that?

When do we do this?

What is this doing exactly?

Several others can be added to this as well, so give it a try.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best”

This is one of my mom-momʼs (grandmom) all-time favorite quotes, and it personally keeps me on my toes.  I actually have it written in my continuing education notebook to serve as a daily reminder to seek out ways to get better because I'm a firm believer that coaches should always be reading, practicing, and finding ways to sharpen their skill set.

Never settle. Always find a way to progress and become a better coach.

about the author


Jim Ferris is a Philadelphia based trainer whose clientele includes professional athletes, local teams, everyday fitness enthusiasts, and maybe a celebrity or two depending on who is in town.  Jim is known for his work in the basketball community from training with the Philadelphia 76ers for many years and training several NBA players that live their offseason in the Philadelphia area. Jim’s expertise in the training field, along with his dynamic and creative training style keeps players, coaches and clients coming back year after year.

You can connect with him on his website, facebook, twitter, and/or instagram.

8 Lessons Learned From Training With People Stronger Than Me

I’m pumped to have my buddy Tim Geromini on today for a guest post.  I think he chose an awesome topic and knocked it out of the park.  Enjoy: Working at a top tier strength and conditioning facility has a lot of perks, one of them being that I get to train with people much stronger than I am.

Every day before our athletes and clients make their way into the gym our staff comes in early to get a lift in (what kind of coaches would we be if we didn’t train?) It’s no secret to anybody in the room that I am the weakest of the group (although I think everybody is jealous that I can grow an epic beard and they can’t).


Some would look at this as an intimidating situation, after all it’s not uncommon for me to look over and see a co-worker pulling a 500 pound deadlift like it was a piece of paper off the floor. Meanwhile I am just getting back to deadlifting and do cartwheels when I can pull 275X5 and not have my spine shoot out from behind me and splatter all over the wall.

The way I see it, this is an opportunity to learn from them. You better believe I am taking full advantage of it; I have gained 20 pounds back in four months.

Go into most commercial gyms and you’ll always find those guys by the squat racks and benches who are pushing considerable amounts of weight. I saw it daily when I worked at a commercial gym. The only problem was that nobody went over and talked to them except me.

Intimidation is part of it; nobody wants to sit on the bench next to them and struggle to move a bar with 50 pounds on it. I fully understand. But why not try to learn from them? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked these guys about when they started lifting and they respond by saying how it was from somebody stronger who helped them. See where I’m going here?

With that in mind I put together a list of my observations from training with people stronger than I am. These are in no particular order:


Training isn’t just something to get through for an hour so they can say “got my exercise in for the day, now I can go eat that bag of chips I’ve been starring at all weekend”! For them training is about getting stronger, better than yesterday. Each lift has a focus and determination like their life depends on it. In between sets you’ll see them pumping themselves up for the next one.

They write it down

Walk into our facility and you will see a workout sheet in everybody’s hand. How do you know if you are moving more weight this week if you didn’t write down last week’s? Want to get stronger? Challenge yourself and move up 10 pounds from last week (assuming form and technique is spot on).

They all do the big 3 lifts

You know the ones I am talking about: squat, bench press, deadlift. Assuming you have no injury restrictions, these are a must if you want to gain strength and move better.

They EAT!

You won’t find a strong individual who eats once a day and feasts on salad greens. You have to eat a lot. I’ve been guilty in the past of the typical comment “dude I already eat a lot”. My response when I hear that now from some clients is this “well that may be true, you may eat a lot. But don’t confuse eating a lot with eating enough”. If the weight on the bar is not moving up and the weight on the scale is not moving up, then you are not eating enough. Period.

They are positive

Imagine getting under the bar for a bench press and your only thought is hoping it doesn’t fall on your chest. Not them, when they get under the bar the only thought is domination. That bar is most certainly going back up and with some force.

They don’t do endless cardio

No comments needed here.

They educate themselves

You are on the right track if you visit this site often. Find ways to educate yourself on lifting, nutrition, and recovery. There are endless amounts of resources online or through books from elite trainers. Find a method that works for you and experiment.

They are consistent

Dedicated lifters don’t miss lifts. If it’s Monday (known as National Bench Press Day in many places) you better bet they are showing up. You won’t find them hitting the snooze button for an extra 10 minutes of sleep. They are up and after it.

There you have it, my observations from training with people stronger than I am. Next time you go to the gym and see somebody stronger than you, ask questions and observe (just make sure you aren’t stalking them and copying everything they do). If the goal is to get stronger then follow those who are already there. Make sure you return the favor to somebody else down the road.

About the Author

Tim Geromini is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Fortunate enough to work with athletes from high school all the way to the professional ranks, every day is a chance to become a better coach.  Currently, Tim is an intern at Cressey Performance.