This idea requires very strong sports coaching and nutrition skills but can potentially be very rewarding. Let’s take a look with a professional coach…
If you’re addicted to the dopamine shots that’s injected into your hypothalamus every time you complete a long series of pumps, as well as the very characteristic sweat scents of sports halls, this means that you already have one of the qualities required to become a sport coach. Of course, there are others, and this is certainly not the most important. Sports coaching requires some solid and specific knowledge, so before you get carried away, let’s take a look at the different points to consider.
Well, suffering from a chronic allergy to any physical effort other than climbing the steps of the stairs leading to my apartment (yes, I exaggerate a little) and knowing nothing about this vast subject, I have asked my friend Manu, who has years of practice in sports coaching and has a good command of the subject, to help me answer the various questions that anyone could consider starting this path.
The first thing to know is that this profession is regulated in many countries, so check first. But even if it’s not the case with you, it is imperative that you become aware that being entrusted with someone’s body is a very big responsibility. If you are a bad writer, for example, at worst you will not sell books, but if you are a poor coach, it is much more serious because your bad advice can cause your customers serious injury or deterioration of their health! Do not consider this factor lightly. By trusting you, your customers expect more from you than simply helping them firm their gluteal muscles or erase the bulges that appeared in their lap belts.
They revolve essentially on two inseparable and complementary axes:
- Functioning of the human body: This seems to be obviously the basis. Knowing how to identify the different muscles, joints, and bones of the body (Anatomy), to learn how the organs and the nervous system function (Biology), or to understand the mechanical properties of the body (biomechanics) are some of the main knowledge required. This knowledge will be valuable to you to optimise the exercises in order to reach the objectives desired by your customers, to choose which muscles to solicit to obtain such results, and especially to avoid such risks of wounds, to understand the articular or muscular pains, and to act appropriately when you will be faced with it, etc.
- Nutrition: Diet is inseparable from physical exercise. As our body draws its energy primarily from everything that enters our oral cavity (food and drink), it is easy to understand how to be able to provide sound nutritional advice to its customers is crucial. Your recommendations will have to adapt on a case-by-case basis, taking into account different parameters such as age, sex, height, weight, any allergies or intolerances of your customers but also the objective pursued.
Can one train oneself as an autodidact?
It’s difficult and even risky. First of all, for the obvious reasons that are mentioned above, but also because nothing replaces the structured teaching of a teacher and the condensed essential knowledge that it brings you.
Manu: “I myself started self-taught and thought I knew a lot about it, but later on when I started training, I saw how serious I was in certain areas, crucial. The other danger of learning by oneself is that one is confronted with all kinds of information (on the Web, on TV, and sometimes even in books) concerning for example the different types of diets, dietary supplements, different types of exercises, how to perform them, etc., and that these are sometimes contradictory. How then to differentiate what is true from what is not when our knowledge on the subject is not strong enough?”
On the other hand, it is essential to go to the gym yourself, so if you have not already, start there. You will be able to familiarise yourself with this environment, practise the different types of exercises, interact with other members, ask advice and ask your questions to coaches, etc. In addition, this experience will be invaluable later on when you start working with your first clients.
Find a Training
It obviously depends on the country where you live, the level of knowledge you want to reach, the budget and the time you can spend, etc. In short, this is a lot of parameters, so the best is to launch a Google search by choosing the right keywords. Here is already a list of the main federations present in the world:
- FISAF (Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness)
- ASFA (American Sports and Fitness Association)
- IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness)
- WFF (World Fitness Federation)
- Being passionate about sports and practising regularly: Here is another point that seems to be crystal clear, but it still seemed useful to mention it. Who would like to hire a coach whose silhouette is more reminiscent of a pumpkin than an hourglass? Well, you do not have to be a muscle beast either, but try to set an example because your body is a showcase for what you sell.
- Being attentive: Listening is an essential quality, so if you do not have it, then develop it. This is essential if you want to understand the needs of your customers and help them make real progress.
- To be pedagogical: Know how to teach and to be able to adapt this teaching according to each individual.
- Be patient and be diplomatic: You will be confronted sometimes with difficult customers, even irascible. Keeping control of yourself and being able to adapt to their changing moods will be of great value to you.
- Love social contact: If you do not like people, think of becoming a lighthouse keeper.
- Evolve: Knowledge and techniques are constantly evolving in this area, and the good practices of yesterday can suddenly become proscribed. Keep your mind critical, stay curious, keep up-to-date on everything new, and above all, do not be afraid to question yourself.
- Other qualities: I give you here in bulk the other qualities inherent to this job: to have the enthusiasm and the dynamism necessary to succeed in motivating the troops, the rigor, the honesty (do not promise anything that is not feasible) and a good dose of self-confidence.
How to find your first customers?
Once all this knowledge is acquired, you can finally embark on this new adventure. But how to find your first customers? Without experience or reference, it seems difficult. You have to start by showing what you are worth as a coach, so start by offering your first lessons for free. Take a tour of the gyms, create a network of passionate friends like you, activate word of mouth, post ads, make short videos you share on social networks, participate in discussions about forums, approach friendly athletes in green areas or the beach, and in short, make your promo wherever possible and seems relevant.
Absolutely, yes. There has always been a clientele for sports coaching at home, and this trend is not going to stop. The reasons why some people prefer (or do not have the choice of) to use a coach at home rather than going to the gym are many: Children at home and no one to keep them, time is too tight to move, the desire to play sports at home but not alone, the lack of gym nearby, agoraphobia, a handicap, a convalescence with exit ban, etc., and I imagine there are still plenty of others.
Which material to use?
No need to have a large gym filled with heavy equipment and stuffed with electronics to be able to train effectively at home.
Manu: “People sometimes ignore it, but just by using body weight and gravity, we can do all sorts of exercises and effectively solicit our different muscles. We can take as an example the cases of the pumps: Did you know that there are more than 30 variants!?”
Of course, it is easier to work on gear or accessories, but we can very well equip properly for a very reasonable budget. Here is a small list of the minimum necessary equipment:
- A reclining bench
- Two shorts alter with some weights to be able to vary the loads
- A bar with two candles and the weight series that go with
- Elastic/straps to fit on the door
- A sports mat
It is certain that if you start from scratch, that you still have no experience in the field of sports coaching, the road will be long before you can live off it. But it is a challenge worthy of note, especially if sport is for you a real “way of life”.
According to my research on Google, the sports coaching market seems to be constantly growing. Several factors could explain this, but the first thing that comes to mind is the Instagram & Co. celebrity boom. Have Beyoncé’s buttocks, Cristiano CR7 tablets, Emma Watson’s silhouette, or Dwayne Johnson’s biceps… In my opinion, many are those who are willing to devote time and especially money to look like these modern icons. Trends are the opportunities.
Another phenomenon that is not new, but whose success has not declined over the years is the “Wellness” or culture of well-being. With a message such as “feeling good in body and mind”, it’s no wonder it’s gathering more and more followers. Moreover with the epidemic of obesity that rages in many countries around the globe…
In short, with all this, you may have work to do for a long time to come!
Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.
These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.
- Nutrition is a crucial element when practicing a sport in a moderate or intensive way. If your body eliminates toxins during exercise, it would be a shame to feed it in a counterproductive way. This is why you should favour a healthy diet, but above all organic, local and seasonal.
- A rewarding job because it is linked to well-being.
- The satisfaction of bringing something to people and following their evolution.
- Human Contacts.
- Varied profession and far from an office.
- Potentially high earnings.
- Liability in the event of an accident (hence the importance of knowing well this job).
- Sometimes we can find difficult customers.
- Location: At your customers place but it could also be done at yours.
- Investment: Not much, since it is the customer who must equip himself with all the necessary material.
- Earnings perspective: More than a good salary if you manage to create a regular and significant clientele.
- Risk level: Low, unless you really suck at coaching.
- Implementation time: Very fast if you are already trained. It may take some time otherwise (even a few years).