It seems that I frequently get set to write my coaching log and I get bad news.
Today was no different.

Death interrupts life. I don’t know if I coined this phrase, but I haven’t heard it elsewhere.

I say it a lot.
This morning I got the news that my dear friend Joe Fitzpatrick, Fitzy, passed yesterday after a lengthy war with cancer.
This has affected my mind and my ability to focus on my work for the day.

Death interrupts life.

Fitzy has been at war with cancer for a few years.
In life, he was a warrior.
Facing death, he was one of the greatest warriors I have ever seen. Fitzy would not give in to cancer.
He fought harder than anyone I have ever seen to stick around and live as much life as he could.
Fitzy was a beast of a human in his prime. He was also one of the toughest people I ever met and was one of the people that you could count on in any situation at any time to have your back.


  • He was the definition of a friend.
  • The definition of a good person.
  • The definition of a man.

At the end, he was a beast of a man in spirit, but not in stature.

The cancer ravaged his body down to about 160 pounds from his normal behemoth size.
It did not ravage his spirit, at least as far as anyone knew. He always put forth a positive image and never complained.
We should all strive to be more like Fitzy, even a little. If we all do, the world will be a better place.
Fitzy was also one of the funniest bastards I ever knew.
I’ll share just one story with you and then get to the coaching part of this log.
I have about 5000 funny stories from my antics with him, but this one sticks out the most.
Last year I was talking to him and he seemed pretty down, which was unlike him. I offered to get an extra ticket to see the Dropkick Murphy’s on St. Paddy’s Day and bring him.

(Thanks Grizz and Ken DKM, you have no idea what this meant to me, my son and Fitzy.)
The conversation went as follows:
Me: You wanna come see the Dropkicks with me and Bubba you fat pussy?
Fitzy: I don’t know. The doctor doesn’t want me to go out because it could make me sick, and I don’t want to be a burden.
Me: Stop being a pussy. Burden? Really? Just come.
Fitzy: Thanks, but I think it’s better if I stay home. The doctor really doesn’t want me to go out.
Me: OK. Let me know if you change your mind.
The next day I get a call from him.
Me: What’s up Fitz?
Fitzy: You know what? I’m going.
Me: Good.
Fitzy: The doctor thinks it’s a bad idea, but I’m fucking dying anyway. Might as well have some fun.
Me: There’s the Fitz I know.
And the rest was history. We went, we saw the show, and my son now has a great memory of a great man.


Death Interrupts Life And How to Fire Your Coach

Fitzy and Bubba at the Dropkicks.

Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam.

Now onto the Coaching Log part of the story, and sorry to bum you out.

How to Fire Your Coach:


Death Interrupts Life And How to Fire Your Coach
I remember reading Bill Starr’s old columns in Ironman as a kid and thinking “does he make this up as a topic or do these things really happen?”
Well, after almost 30 years in this business, I am pretty sure he just picked a conversation that he had and wrote about it.
I do the same now.

Many questions I get from members at TPS and the lifters are perfect topics for a Coaching Log.

Today is no different.
I was coaching one of my lifters the other day and a member, let’s call him Joe came over and asked me a question:

Hey Murph, any advice on how to fire my coach, I think I need to?”
This prompted a slightly longer break for Sabra in her bench training session, but as “Joe” is a good guy, it was worth it.
I turned this into more of an interview with Joe to get him to think.

Here’s the jist:
I asked why do you want to fire your coach?
I didn’t ask who it was. (He told me anyway-he’d make a terrible witness on the stand).
NOTE: His coach is a pretty well-known online coach.
Joe couldn’t put an exact reason on it, rather a few that he downplayed.
• Not making the progress he expects
• Stalled out in lifts
• Not recovering
• Getting generic feedback
• Thinks he is on a canned, cookie cutter program
• Feels like the volume is too high for the chronic high intensity
• Feels like there is far too much work at 90%+ intensities
• And a few more reasons
Look, it might seem like I am writing this to jump on the bandwagon of bashing online coaches, but this happened, and I had been planning on writing more on this subject. So, let’s look at what I told him.

I said (and I am paraphrasing) that from looking at what he does in the gym, I would agree.

I am not a fan of the current crop of the younger coaches use of super high intensity/high volume/frequency.
(I have noticed that a lot of the younger lifters who use this coach and a few other very similar ones make HUGE progress FAST, and then stall out, burn out and get hurt.
It’s a pattern.
And most of them are dead loyal to the coach. Even though they are suffering from it.)

I see what Joe does and wonder when he will break. This could be mentally or physically.
It seems that he is realizing this. The mental breakdown is about to occur.
I didn’t tell Joe to fire his coach, or say that he should. I told him it seemed like he knew what needed to be done and that only he can make this decision.
I explained that when you enter into any business arrangement, and getting a coach is a business arrangement because you are buying a service, that both parties in the arrangement need to live up to their end.
I asked if he felt his coach was living up to his end.

The answer I got was no, but with a defense of the coach. I told Joe that there is no need to defend the coach to me.
What I got from Joe was that he wanted to fire him, but didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
This is the absolute worst reason to stay in a business arrangement with anyone.
Both parties should get what they need from the arrangement.
The coach gets money and a satisfied client.
The client gets results.
Simple as that.
Feelings are not a part of it.
If you are not getting the results that you need/expect from your coach, or any business arrangement do the following:


  • Be self-aware: are you doing your part?
  • Are you being realistic about your expectations?
  • Evaluate the service: is the other person doing their part?
  • Are they giving you a solid program that is tailored for you and your ability/skill level?
  • Are they giving you proper feedback and not just saying “Great job” when you post a lifting video on Instagram?
  • Are they making changes/adjustments to the program as it is called for?

So, I told Joe that he needed to make a decision, and when he did, if he opted to fire the coach, the best thing to do is not to burn it down. Just tell him something like “It’s been a pleasure working with you, but I need go in a different direction now”, and thank them for their services.
Sabra chimed in here and agreed with the same advice.
I think Joe got it.
This would have been a perfect time for me to try and upsell him to our services but that’s not my style.
I also could have bashed his coach as many people seem to do these days.
Also, not my style.
The bottom line here:
If you have a coach and are considering switching to a new one, evaluate all aspects of the relationship.


  • Are living up to your end and giving 100% to the program?
  • Are you expecting too much? Remember, you can’t go from a 225 squat to a 405 squat in 6 months.
  • Are recovering?
  • Are you performing at meets or are your lifts stuck?
  • Are you injured all the time?
  • Is the program designed for you (if you are paying for a personalized program)?
  • Does the coach give you quality feedback and form corrections?
  • Is your program delivered in a timely manner?

If the answers to these questions aren’t adding up it’s probably time to make a switch.
When you do, be classy.
End the relationship with a simple conversation and don’t be a dick.
Don’t burn bridges when it isn’t necessary.
Don’t stay in the relationship because you don’t want to hurt feelings.
When you do end the relationship, look for a coach who is proven and will give you what you need.
Don’t just use the same guy as everyone else.

This is a huge issue I see, and a lot of the lifters I see are facing the same issues as Joe.
Find one that you can work with that will listen and respond to your needs to make you a better lifter.
Simple right?

Pee Podcast

Bostons Strongcast by Total Performance Sports

I said Pee.

Episode 4 of Boston’s Strongcast is no live on iTunes, my website, Soundcloud and Pocketcasts.

This episode deals with the issue of female incontinence while lifting and how to fix it.
TPS Coach and IPF World Champion Dr. Sophia Veiras (Dr. Strong as I call her) discusses all you need to know with my head coach Kevin Cann.
Give it a listen and if you feel it is worthy, a 5 star review on iTunes.
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSMalden



Vincere vel mori