When you start a new sport, the coach is responsible to get you up to speed so that you can compete.

If you are part of a team, you have a responsibility to your team-mates as much as yourself to get good as fast as possible. With individual sports, your continued involvement in it will probably come down to what you get back out of it; either way it makes sense for the coach to assist you. Whether the coach needs you to contribute to the team, or is just diligently providing you with the ability to get something out of your initial involvement, you will get coached. Or not: I’m sure you’d agree that you should be getting coached, least you not bother coming back for the next season.





Shire Speed and Strength is a little bit like starting a new sport. You don’t get a key ring and water bottle when you join, there isn’t a resident Personal Trainer to sell you their services. The coach is here so that you can train. The skills and programming are part of being a member, the more frequently a member trains the more value they gain. That value might be something simple like getting an unrack just the way you like it on the bench, to spending a great deal of time installing a completely new skill or assisting you rehab from a sprained ankle from soccer on the weekend; quite valuable compared to going to the GP who will advise, “just rest it and take some NSAIDS“.


Only smart people wear glasses, so I borrowed a pair to appear as smart as Scott is.


I wrote down a single day diary of what a typical day at the gym in November looks like.


* An ex-crossfitter who is returning to lifting after a long layoff is into his 3rd week and needs 15-20min of attention each training day at the moment to really tidy up their warm ups. The initial programming is relatively simple in structure but mobility is a daily issue in order to hit key static positions. This will go on for a while.

* Worked with 1 Exercise Physiologist and 2 Physiotherapists quite closely on their lifting skills as they are in the first 3-4 weeks of a new training block. They are also installing some new skills as well. Health care professionals who have decided to add skills are pleasing to work with because they can often be engaged on levels of understanding greater than the general population. It also gives us hope in recruiting more allies in the fight against low skill/high expense exercise zeitgeist.

* Provided new programs for 4 members, spent 20-30min on each person finalizing their next blocks of training. 1 of them is employed as a Personal Trainer. Already knew what they needed and where each of them was with their lifting over the last few months so it was relatively easy. 1 had made some significant changes with lifestyle recently so they needed quite a bit more help.



* Spent 50min with a member on the second day of learning to snatch. This goes with the hour spent the previous day. They have been a member for several months, and now adding this new skill.

* Taught a new lifter who called only 90min prior how to Squat, and then started installing the Snatch skill as a part of a taxiway program. It looks like they will be our newest member of the gym. Spent just over an hour with them. The first day was free. I think they were surprised when informed that they will continue to get coached and that the programming is part of being a member. We both agreed that it was silly to just roam around the gym without having the skills to be efficient and that it wasn’t very difficult for either of us to change that.

* A few lifters are drawing towards the heavier end of their training block and needed some attention to detail with some PR attempts, assistance with unracking the bar and spotting them. We filmed a few reps on their phone so they could review it later, and let’s face it, people are proud of their achievements and want to show others.

* A lifter was instructed on how to wear a belt for the first time.

* 2 members asked advice on soreness in their back from things that happened to them at work and in training for their sport outside the gym. A 3rd member who had a similar issue last week was fortunately in the gym at the same time and was able to explain the benefits of some of the mobility work they did last week and also how they didn’t go to the physiotherapist about it like they otherwise would. They feel fine a few days later and ready to train hard again and have learned a valueable way to take care of themselves.

* 2 other members asked for advice on some mobility problems and soreness they were having. Spent about 20 minutes with each of them in the lead up to their training that day, making sure they got through the exercises that they thought were going to give them trouble. Now, here are 2 more members who have strategies on how to take care of themselves in repeat circumstances.


Not everyone will proceed this far in their athletic career, but if you don’t, it won’t be because SSS is unable to help or too expensive. (pic courtesy of Jim Black) *My attempt at the rare ‘quadruple negative’



* A young member is in the first few days of installing the C&J skill. They learned how to Behind the Neck jerk for the first time and also found a good starting weight for a linear progression on front squatting. Previously they were only backsquatting. Another young member needed to be filmed on the deadlift as it was starting to break down.

* Cooked some food for 2 members. They have trained consistently for a very long time so it makes a lot of sense to provide this to them when needed to make sure they’re getting enough and they’re maximizing their training time and recovery around their laborious day jobs.

All of these things happen daily and are part of being a member of the gym. Doing some rough math, and calculating the costs of what most Personal Trainers charge $60 for 45minutes, as well as charging people for programming, a minimum of $15 per week, I’d say members at Shire Speed and Strength got just under $500 worth of service as a part of being members of the gym on this single day.

The other important detail for them was that they got this help in real time. Whether they were at the gym at 6am, or at 8pm a problem that arose was treated, helped with and fixed straight away without any extra cost. With the exception of the day one new lifter, nobody had to book in a time or worry about what class they were showing up to.

Clearly, this is a much better model for the members than needing to hire a trainer, coach or therapist, or trawl through the internet for an answer when needing help.

Think about it.