Four short years ago, it seemed nobody was coaching powerlifting full-time
I was 20 at the time, and I told my dad about my plan to become a powerlifting coach. He said, “I don’t know anyone in that industry.”
“I do,” I told him.
“How are you going to make money?”
“I’ll figure it out.”
At the time, “figuring it out” wasn’t even a matter of researching it on the internet. Nobody knew how profitable it would be to get involved with powerlifting as a career. It was only barely taking off with social media, and being a coach wasn’t exactly a hard-and-fast career path.
I was scared out of my mind, but I just knew I didn’t want to do anything else.
But as the industry grew, so did coaching opportunities
At first, the only folks making a real living through powerlifting were Mark Bell and Dave Tate, both legends in the sport. Still, neither of them did it through coaching. They earned their money through products, namely Mark Bell’s Slingshot and Dave Tate’s EliteFTS line of equipment. For a while, that was the only avenue towards being profitable.
But as Powerlifting’s popularity started to snowball on social media, demand for coaches grew too. Long-time fitfluencers were quick to hop on the bandwagon and offer hack-job “online coaching,” diluting the perceived value of powerlifting coaching. Luckily, they didn’t stick around long, and quality coaches have become easy to pick out from the crowd.
How to Earn a Living as a Powerlifting Coach Today
The Powerlifting Coaching market has become a highly competitive niche in the fitness world. Consumers have quite a few, high-quality options to choose from all over the U.S.
In other words, yes. It is possible to make a living powerlifting coaching. But the key to doing it successfully is differentiating yourself from other strength training coaches in a positive way. What makes you stand out?
Differentiating yourself from the competition (in a good way) is absolutely vital. I’ve found success by following 3 principles:
1. Show you’re experienced
Nobody wants to hire a coach who’s barely competed themselves. Put some time into the barbell and get a feel for what it’s like to struggle with technique. Show up on the days you don’t feel like it. Walk the path you’re going to ask your clients to walk. You need to be able to connect with your clients’ struggles and be prepared to help them.
Notice, though, that I didn’t mention being incredibly strong as a prerequisite. It’s true that you need some level of above-average strength to prove you’ve invested the time and effort required to make progress in the sport, but no client expects you to rank in the top 10 every time.
2. Be humble and professional
If you’re interested in coaching because it reinforces your ego, find another career path. Coaching is always, always, always about the client, not you. Your reputation as a coach will come from how well you serve your clients.
Understand that their goals may be different from what you had in mind for them and that’s ok. You are there to serve them in a beforehand agreed fashion. If you agree to have constant communication with them, keep it. Be willing to adjust the plan as needed depending on the client’s situation… don’t let your ego get in the way of what’s best for your client.
3. Always be willing to learn
Every client can teach you something if you are willing to learn from them. At the end of the day, there is no handbook on powerlifting coaching. You will learn a ton just by coaching clients and trying different training methodologies, accessories, technique cues to see what works best with their own unique personalities.
Be willing to experiment in a controlled fashion as the client’s situations force you into unknown territory. I’m not saying go crazy, but the only way to know if something will work is to do it.
4. Learn how to promote yourself on social media
Unless you work for a powerlifting gym (AKA Socal Powerlifting), you will need to promote yourself. That’s what social media is all about as a coach.
You can do this through client highlights, educational clips and/or by showcasing your own training. Regardless of your approach, though, be ready to strap down and spend a ton of time getting very few results as you accumulate a following. As long as you are consistent with all these qualities, though, your business will grow (AKA your Social Media following). You just need to put in the time.