What does the life of a real life professional coach look like? There is more than one way to skin the cat

Meet coach Tom Sarosi (@Coachtom_yvr)

Tom’s a professional coach at Madlab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C.

What do we mean by professional? 

Simple: He consistently earns a professional wage as a coach in the fitness industry (professional wage being a minimum of $75,000-plus, but the ultimate goal is over $100,000), and he intends to do this as his lifelong career. 

Today, I wanted to paint a picture of what his life looks like, including the various different ways he services his 85 clients, all of whom have different wants, needs and goals. 

A brief history: Tom has been at Madlab School of Fitness for 6.5 years. He went through the apprenticeship program his first year and then started moving up the ranks growing his personal book of clients. It took him three years to hit “professional” status, and he has continued to climb well beyond that each year since then.

How Tom gets paid: He earns a percentage of revenue (between 40 and 50 percent) off of his clients each month. He also run a competitor’s program that earns him 60 percent of the revenue it generates, and 70-80 percent from any individual program design and remote programming clients. Depending on the services his clients want, they pay between CA$225 and $500 a month.

Tom’s at a place now where he’s essentially not taking on any more clients unless he loses one, which doesn’t happen very often as his client retention rates are second to none.

Tom has been hugely successful because of the array of services he provides, depending on the client’s wants and needs—his philosophy being there are many ways to skin the cat.

HOWEVER, regardless of the service offered, the crux of his success comes down to this: His clients receive a personal coach for life and one-on-one attention to meet their individualized needs. 

Let’s take a look at the life cycle Tom’s clients follow:

Step 1: 3-pt Assessment: This is non-negotiable. After a preliminary consultation session to see if the client is a good fit for Tom and Tom for them, each new client begins with a 3-personal training session assessment, where they’re assessed physically, and to a certain degree emotionally (i.e. what service will help them thrive?)

Step 2: Fundamentals: Personal training. After the initial 3-pt assessment, a plan is put in place to get the client the results they want. From there, it becomes a bit of a choose your own adventure for the client, the options being: 

A). Hybrid gym membership: This is what the majority of clients choose. Once they have been properly prepared to be successful (they’re self-sufficient enough) in a group environment, they then begin doing a combination of group classes and personal training. Most of Tom’s clients choose to meet him for a one-on-one session once every six weeks, as it corresponds with the strength cycles in the group programming. This allows them to reassess each cycle and help prepare the client for what’s coming up. The most important thing here is to help the client understand how they will get the most out of the next programming block based on their individual prescriptions. 

B). Personal Training: Some clients choose to remain in personal training after the fundamentals phase and opt out of the hybrid gym membership. This is less common, but for those looking for more one-on-one coaching, and who need an appointment to follow through with their commitment, this is a great option. 

C). Individual Program Design: Again, this is less common than the hybrid gym membership, but Tom has a handful of clients who are a good fit for an individual program design. These clients follow individual programs designed for their personal needs—often clients who have some sort of ongoing physical limitation, who can afford this more individualized service, or who have a specific sport/event they’re training for and need to be prepared in a more specific way.

Tom and his client Shana

D). Remote Programming: A handful of Tom’s clients have moved away (Vancouver is way too expensive for most) but continue to want to work with him. Instead of losing them as clients, Tom has managed to save them and continues to work with them remotely via an individual program and bi-weekly check-ins. When they’re in town, they usually come in for a personal training session to make sure everything is on point.

E). High Performance Clients: This generally happens later in the client’s journey. They realize they want to spend a little more time on their fitness, so they pay a premium ($300-plus a month) for access to the three high performance sessions each week, as well as their own programming. These high performance sessions are done in a group, but there’s a lot of individualized prescriptions going on as well, as these clients are experienced and self-sufficient.

What does all this mean for Tom?

The breakdown of his weeks are as follows:

3 pt assessments/fundamentals clients: 6 coaching hours per week, although these days less, as Tom rarely takes on a new prospect as his dance card is full, so to speak (a good problem to have).

Group classes: 8 classes per week

High Performance clients: 6-8 hours per week (including coaching and programming)

Personal Training clients: 6-8 hours per week

Hybrid membership clients: 8 coaching hours per week

Remote clients: 1-3 programming and coaching hours per week

• Individual Program design: 6-8 programming hours per week

Yeah, Tom works his ass off—another key to his success—but his job satisfaction is about as high as it gets because he’s actually making a difference in his clients’ lives, and he gets to buy all the new pairs of shoes he wants (Tom like shoes) because of the whole professional wage (professional wage plus in his case) thing. And despite his workaholic tendency, he has the ability and has finally started taking 3 to 5 short vacations a year.


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment