I’m a Prep Coach, Not a Salesman

TAGS: intensemuscle.com, Just Sayin', contest prep, Skip Hill

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The very first thing that I will say about this article is that it is going to sound arrogant. However, that is not my intent. My intent or motivation for writing this article is more therapeutic in nature than anything else – to vent, I suppose you could say.

I was invited to a bodybuilding group on Facebook the other day and though I get a lot of these types of invitations and usually dismiss them, I decided to click on this particular one because the discussion being showcased was asking who in the group was a nutrition or prep coach. I skimmed the responses just to get an idea of the experience of the members and quickly was reassured that most people responding had spent only about seven to ten years coaching. If you know anything about “Internet years” in the prep-coach field, they are kind of like dog years; coaches make the amount of time seem much longer than the amount of years they have actually been doing it. Basically, most of the members had about five or maybe seven years of experience. Of course, not one name did I recognize. Neither you nor myself is surprised by this, I don’t think.

I quickly dismissed the invite but continued to mull over a few things in my head.

team skip

Almost 20 years ago (ACTUAL years – not embellished or inflated for effect), I was making a name for myself in the bodybuilding industry. I can’t say that everyone knew who I was but if you were on the message boards, it was unlikely that you had not heard my name in relation to contest prep. I was on several of the most popular message boards and I also owned and operated IntenseMuscle.com that started in 2004 and though it is still fully active to this day, traffic has died to mostly cobwebs and tumbleweeds. It was THE place to be for several years. I keep it active today because I train all of my online clients from a private forum on my website and there is so much information archived on IntenseMuscle.com from some of the biggest names today in the bodybuilding industry – long before anyone knew who they were and sometimes even before they had started competing. John Meadows, Dante Trudel of DC Training, Shelby Starnes and Dusty Henshaw – to name a few – all posted almost daily for years.


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With the advent of social media and the Insta-trainers that would follow, I admit that my ego struggles with the fact that a lot of the younger generation has no idea who I am. This brings me back to my point of dismissing the invite to join the conversation, stating my credentials. Honestly, I don’t want to list my credentials. Yes, this might not seem like a very good business move and I almost always make decisions about business based on how it will impact my business (duh?). This is different, though, and it is ego-driven; I am not going to “sell” myself to people who do not know who I am. It is the same reason that I struggle to post before and after pictures of clients and why I still, to this day, abhor posting training pictures of myself. I feel like a complete douche while filming anything in the gym, even though the people in my gym know who I am and understand that it is business. I doubt I will ever get completely comfortable with this process.

I have put out a ton of information for free for the last 20 years and I continue to do a lot of the same things that I did 20 years ago, to this day, related to business. I have watched people go from no one knowing who they are to them building a very well-known and well-respected training business and a lot of them give me credit, publicly, for learning from me – in some capacity – over the years. I would much rather that someone approach me to work with me based on them knowing who I am than to have to state my credentials and “sway them” in my direction. It’s just not who I am.

team skip

I had a very well-known person in the industry tell me 15-or-so years ago, “Don’t plan on doing this (training people online) when you’re 50. No one wants to hire an old man.” That stuck with me for years because when I started doing what I do, there were not very many people doing it and those who did do it, were certainly not making a very good living at it. It was more a side hustle before the term “side hustle” was even a thing. I turn 50 in March and though I hate the fact that I’m turning 50, a small part of me is glad that I have arrived so that I can say that the guy who told me this was dead wrong. I am still making a very good living and have done very well for myself for the last 20 years. I am not as popular with the younger crowd and that makes complete sense. When I was 22, I likely would not have gone looking for a 50-year old to train me, either. However, because there’s a lot of us older guys still training our asses off these days, my demographic has changed as I continue to do what I have loved doing for the last 20 years.

The younger crowd doesn’t know me. Yes, it bothers me.

However, the younger generation doesn’t have the money to pay my fees so I’m not sure I should be as bothered by this as I am. Plus, the younger generation can sometimes be whiny, entitled and impatient, and those are traits that I simply do not have and don’t want to deal with in a client, either. There is also client retention and the older crowd tends to stick around longer because they aren’t chasing a “secret” that isn’t there. They tend to understand that hard work, consistency, and time are what will provide the best results if they simply execute the plan.

If you contact me because you know who I am, I will be happy to discuss working with you. If you contact me because you saw a cool picture on my IG account and ask me to tell you why you should work with me, the answer will be, “you shouldn’t.” I’m not going to try to convince you to give me money; I’m not going to sell you on how good I am; I’m not going to sway you to work with me over someone else. I did this in my early years and it’s exhausting. Make up your own mind. Do your homework. If more people did that, there would be far less trainers out there “selling” people and delivering not much in return. Just Sayin’.

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