Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 13, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Episode #50 – Tyler Austin relays his experience learning about Starting Strength and working with SSC Jayson Ball through Starting Strength Online Coaching.
From the Coaches
  • Andy Baker outlines the start of an intermediate plan for 2018.

In the Trenches

derek ddegges locks out his work set deadlift
Derek Degges locks out his work set deadlift during the Starting Strength Seminar held last weekend in Chicago at Kratos Strength Systems. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
michael wolf teaches hip drive
Starting Strength Coach Michael Wolf teaches hip drive during the weekend's squat platform session. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Getting clients prior to having SSC
Matthew Phoenix Pennisi

I am curious about what methods the coaches used to get clients prior to having their SSC Certification. I am trying to accumulate coaching experience, and have been able to get a hefty chunk of my friends and family interested in training. The problem I found is that though my friends accompanied me to the gym to train, they really did so as a friendly courtesy and didn’t have any intentions of sticking to the program long term. I also train a handful of my friends online and spend a couple hours on the form check forums every day, but I am trying to get more in-person experience. I am now trying to find random people to train, but avenues like posting ads on Craigslist have not been very fruitful so far in gaining attention.

Does anyone have effective strategies that attracted clients prior to having the certification?

Tom Campitelli

This is not a trivial question and I don't have a ready-made answer for you. I can say that initially, you will have to be your own billboard. Make improvements, get stronger, and people may start asking you for advice. You live in LA, so you are surrounded by lots of people and lots of gyms. I am not sure what the best way to do this is, but there have to be some peeps nearby that would be interested in learning to lift for free or for a reduced cost.

Andy Baker

The best way to get new business is to present yourself as an actual business person and not just a guy who wants to coach some people to get experience. I don't suggest that you ever train people for free if you are trying to get people to stick with you for several months at a time. They need to have some skin in the game. You also need to learn to coach people that you don't already know and that don't know you. That's part of being a good coach. It's not just coaching form, it's also getting people to feel comfortable with you, earning their trust, and holding them accountable for their training. You need to be able to do this with people who aren't just family and friends.

Set up a Facebook page and a website for your business. "Your Name Strength Training" is fine as a business name. Make sure your FB page directs traffic to your website and your website gives some basic info about you/your philosophy and clearly directs them to contact you via email to set up an initial consult or training session. Start with daily FB posts that give away helpful information to your ideal client and boost those posts, targeted to the zip codes you want to target.

Don't waste time on Craigslist.

Matthew Phoenix Pennisi

My best set of 5 on the squat is 295 and my best set of 5 on the deadlift is 395. These are definitely not high enough to be garnering attention and be my own walking billboard, as Tom mentioned. I work with Paul Horn in LA and we are working on it, but I didn't want the weight of my lifts to hold me back while I accumulated coaching experience.

@Andy – this is solid advice and I'm going to give it a whirl. I learned that charging people would be necessary, but I only realized that AFTER I trained most of my friends/family. I live in LA, which is a big market, but I was having trouble figuring out how to break into it and get myself out there. I'm going to play around with this advice and keep working on getting my lifts up with Paul in the meantime.

Andy Baker

You're strong enough to start working with novice members of the general public. You aren't going to make any money training "elite lifters" anyways. You have to get comfortable "hard selling" yourself, but no need to use hyperbole or promise things you cannot deliver on. You are basically selling an improved quality of life via strength training, not a promise to rewrite the record books or land on the cover of Muscle & Fitness. Selling yourself is hard at first because in the back of the mind you are filled with all kinds of self-doubt and you are painfully aware of all your own shortcomings, etc. But if you want to start coaching people seriously it's hard to just kinda put your toe in the water. You sort of have to jump in with both feet and be all in. You'll make plenty of mistakes; you'll lose clients, etc. But just stay after it and you'll get better, your client base will get more stable, and eventually you'll make more money.

Leah Lutz

When I was coaching in prep for my SSC, I just offered to train anyone and everyone who stopped to talk to me about lifting. So if anyone made a comment about wanting to learn, or getting a better DL, or was slightly interested in the idea of lifting, I just said "Hey, I can teach you!" I did that because I wanted to get a wide variety of people to coach in a fairly short time. Some people stuck with it for a couple of months, many were just interested in being helped once or twice, but I learned a lot about the models, different people, and coaching in a pretty short time.

Best of the Forum

Old Guy Aches & Pains

Rip, you're an old guy*, I have a question.

You're about my Dad's age and whereas you made lifting weights your hobby (and ultimately your career), Dad got really good at tennis and still plays 3 nights per week.

My question is, what effect do you think heavy weight training over decades has had on your body (besides simply making you stronger)? You and he have obviously pursued different fitness-related endeavors – yours the more taxing physically. My Dad has what he calls "old guy" aches and pains – creaky knees and shoulders, arthritis-style achy hands...stuff like that. It's not because of tennis but it affects his tennis.

Do you have these? If so, are they better or worse than they might have been had you not gotten strong?

*No disrespect intended; quite the opposite.

Mark Rippetoe

I'm the creakiest old guy on the board. But this is because of many injuries I've had outside the gym. Many accidents, the consequence of doing stupid shit for fun. As you age, you are going to accumulate injuries if you push very hard. The pushing is determined by your ideas about how things should be done while you're alive. The question is: do you want to be creaky and weak, or creaky and strong?


I am an old geezer with similar aches and pains but once I began to seriously train for strength, all those aches and pains have slowly melted away. In nature, and this applies to post-puberty humans as well...there is only growth or decay...there is no holding pattern, or homeostasis or in between. If you are not growing, you are decaying, so take your pick. Decay is constant and always lurking in the background, like the tide waiting to wash you up on the rocks for the gulls to pick your bones. It shows itself through inflammation i.e. arthritis, and a host of other maladies. The SS method is perfect because the process of tearing down your muscles through training forces them to grow and get stronger. Once you hit 50, training is no longer optional. I choose growth and to hell with decay.

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