Skip to main content

Show Me the Money!

By August 4, 2010December 22nd, 2010Training Philosophy

I was talking to a fellow strength coach the other day who relayed a good story to me. Years back he emailed one of his mentors requesting a letter of recommendation. His mentor replied with the following:

I’m sorry but I’m unable to write you a letter of recommendation because I’ve never seen you train or coach.” I commend this mentor for having tremendous integrity.

In the “Internet Age” people can reach “expert-status” in the eyes of the public by simply writing articles and blogs. I’m very reluctant to completely trust any strength coach who doesn’t have a Youtube account or allow his or her fans to watch videos of him or her (or their clients) training. Shouldn’t that be the bare minimum that we expect?

Here are some questions/thoughts that come to mind when thinking about most “experts” who have no videos to view:

1. I see that you use modern technology (blogs, websites) to make yourself popular, which is fine.
2. Why use some web technology (blogs, websites) but not use other web technology (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.)? You’ve demonstrated the ability to learn how to use the internet so I know it’s not because you’re unfamiliar with Youtube.
3. Is it because you have something to hide?
4. Are you really coaching/training clients and athletes or are you just pretending?
5. Are you afraid that other experts will pick your client/athletes’ form apart?
6. Are you afraid that you’ll be exposed for being “not all that?”
7. Do you have a crappy rapport with your clients/athletes and are therefore afraid to ask them if you can film them?
8. Do you not know how to coach the big lifts?
9. Cool! You just showed me a video of you performing a 135 lb squat (or a 135 lb deadlift)! How does your form look when you go heavy? Are you afraid to film your technique when the weight gets heavy?
10. Are you the coach who has his athletes dance around doing warm-ups all day or do you get your athletes strong?
11. Show me the money!

It’s easy to sit around and discuss popular and trendy topics but if you can’t get yourself or your clients/athletes strong then I’m sorry, but you don’t know what in the hell you’re doing.

My advice:

Be leery of a coach who offers advice but has no videos to view of him or her (or their clients) lifting heavy. It’s easy to use robotic form when going light, but going heavy is a completely different story.

In this industry, we often speak highly of other trainers and coaches and it’s usually well-deserved. Are there individuals who you praise who could be “posers?” How do you know? Have you seen them train? Have you seen their videos? Isn’t that a problem? What if your favorite guru is this guy?

Personally I like filming videos because they provide opportunities for feedback. I’ve improved upon certain technical aspects of my coaching based upon feedback I received from other coaches regarding my videos. So now I’m a better trainer and coach simply because I’m not afraid to put myself out there.


  • WTF is that video of? Thats going to give me nightmares or a new client… whichever comes first.

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Are you alluding to the video of Rip doing crappy squats?

  • Len says:

    About time! Thanks Bret for saying what is on our minds but not being able to say it.

    I would add in the following:

    Stop showing your same photo or youtube PR. Ok you can this much. What about the rest of your athletes/clients?

    Show the entire team for 1 hour. Not just the top recruit. Show the Walk-ons turn into monsters!

    If you talk about smart things on blogs you better be doing them in training.

    Show a variety of stuff your clients are doing instead of a few exercises.

    Don’t show before and after photos or videos if the results are not typical. We all have a pet athlete that will do something special.

    Thanks for keeping us in check Bret.

    Keep it real dog.

  • Smitty says:

    I say that in every interview. These “coaches” have fancy blogs and talk a big game but you NEVER see any videos of them on the net. Where’s their YouTube? Where’s their squat video? Show me them working hard.

    I go to tons of NSCA seminars and other conferences and all the strength coach and trainers have their getup on; the navy blue polo shirt with khaki shorts. You shake their hands and it feels like a dead fish.

    Don’t write an article on how to squat if you can’t squat. It is easy to recite fancy quotes out of a book but you have to do the work.

  • Amen bruddah!

    Same goes for so called “fat loss gurus”!

    Some of these dudes make me SICK!

    I think we all know there’s a few out there (quite popular and very RICH) that are actually fat pigs themselves but at the same time, they preach on how to lose all this weight and blah blah blah!

    Bottom line – GET UNDER THE BAR!!!

    If you’re going to be a fat loss guru, you better have ripped up shredded abs!!!

    Just like if your a strength coach, you better be able to throw around some weights!

    GREAT post!

  • Bret, I’m new to PT, but videos sound like a great idea. Since I do less common(to most folks) exercises like pistols and suspension training they would help potential clients understand what they’re in for, and give me credibility by showing I can do them too.

    Getting clients taped might be harder for me. I don’t have my own gym so I’d have to work around other people. Also I’d have to get a client willing to be shown on YouTube. Do you find that to be difficult, and is there an approach that works well?

    • Hey Steven, no I don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever asked a client to do something for me and had them refuse. They always seem to want to help me out. Maybe I’m just lucky?

  • David Ratcliffe says:

    It’s a shame the personal training industry is so unregulated. Trainers think they’re Michelangelo; but they don’t even have any paint! Great stuff, Bret!

  • Good stuff Bret.

    The whole expert status is all relative. As most know, I am not a fan of any “guru” and that term drives me nuts.

    There are those that are average and like all professions, that is most–the wide portion of the bell curve

    There are those that suck and then those that are amazing—much harder to find at the ends of the bell curve.

    Since “fitness” is such a new field, it cracks me up to see people as “experts” after a few years experience and barely 23 years old in some cases. That does not mean they are not intelligent and doing a good job, but to be a true expert takes YEARS of work and dedication.

    Even then expert status is normally specific and being an expert on everything from nutrition, warm ups, stretching, strenght work, Oly coach, kettlebells, bosu balls, etc is not going to happen overnight.

    Good reminder as I am behind on a few videos I need to get up on youtube too.

    rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

    • Mike, I agree! No expert is an expert on everything. We specialize in a certain area. Some know a lot about multiple areas. I like to consider myself a well-rounded son-of-a-bitch but I try to never get too cocky because I know damn well where I stand. Most experts aren’t smart enough to realize how little they do in fact know. -Bret

    • Zach Cooper says:

      haha expert status on bosu balls? now ive heard everything

  • BN says:

    Besides from videos I like to see credentials (ie.. Degree, training cert, etc…) now that doesn’t mean poeple without a degree in a specific area or without a cert don’t know their stuff. In fact I think a lot of times guys that have been in the trenches know just as much if not more. But if you’re a guy that’s been in the trenches and know your stuff then passing a test to be certified should be easy.

  • James says:

    Stumbled on this blog after reading and love it. No BS and no wimpy stuff.

    If you can’t do -blog about it without youtube.

    Show me the #$%#$ money Bret! Again posting videos of bodyweight exercises is easy. Show me someone building an army of beasts! It’s all talk and no bar.

    James Woodard

  • True dat.

    I know some stuff now and feel I have some stuff figured out more so than a few years ago.

    However, I have more questions than ever before.

    The key is to ask GREAT questions for better answers and then figure out a way to test it.

    Most times it is not more information, it is more action and testing on my part that helps the most.

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

Leave a Reply


and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!