MON: What I Learned Coaching at P360
Today’s entry is by former coach, current and long-time member, Matt Eubank.
I walked into P360 in November 2011 for my free WEEK trial! Besides some basics, barbells and kettlebells were foreign to me. Growing up, I tried my hand in a lot of sports and always liked the challenge of learning new things and finding new sports or activities that were challenging that I could sink my teeth into and in that process, I always loved to help and share what I had learned with people that were where I was months or years earlier. It happened to me in high school with golf, in college it was breakdancing and weightlifting was the next challenge. I loved the competitive yet inclusive nature of the gym. It provided an environment where everyone could push each other in a constructive way. I was missing that competition and having something to strive for.
Once I was hooked on P360, I knew I wanted to be more involved. I saw the need for Pritz and Dave to take a step back and not coach from 6am to 8pm, five days a week but I knew I needed to learn as much as I could if I was going to be able to help with coaching classes. I always paid close attention during walkthroughs, watched training videos, read all the blogs that Dave put out and was at open gym every weekend working on technique and asking as many questions as possible. I started to notice that I was getting comfortable with helping members during classes and giving them cues and suggestions that seemed to work so I thought “maybe I’m starting to understand this stuff more than I thought.” Soon after that, I reached out to Dave and Pritz to ask if they were planning on bringing on additional coaches at some point to lessen the burden on them and that it was something I was interested in. It turns out they were in the process of training and bringing on two new coaches but they suggested to keep doing what I was doing and they would let me know the next time they were going to open up a coaching spot. I was excited for them as that is a big step to systemize the onboarding of new coaching. This meant they could focus on the gym’s growth and they could expand their reach to more people.
I continued to educate myself and focus on my own technique for the next year or so until Pritz reached out and asked if I was still interested in coaching since they were expanding to the Crown Point location. I JUMPED at the opportunity and couldn’t have said yes faster! I felt like it was a great opportunity because they knew my work commitments were heavy but were still happy to bring me on in a limited capacity. So I jumped into the education and prepared for the written and practical test. I was impressed with the process, attention to detail and the effort that went into the onboarding process to make sure I was fully prepared to run classes on my own and be an extension of what they have already created to create the same quality experience regardless of the coach. It’s crazy to think that this was almost 4 years ago and how much have improved for the coaches when it comes to ongoing education, access to subsidized fitness workshops and the rollout of the OFFICIAL FCC training! For a training weekend that is worth every penny for outsiders to take, was something I was lucky enough to get for free!!
Making it through the onboarding process was only the beginning because the amount of continuing education and team development provided for us to grow was immense! Your work as a coach and fitness instructor is never done and we were provided with all the tools and resources to feel confident leading classes at P360. I really enjoyed the constant challenge to grow as a coach in order to be the best coach possible and honestly, if you are going to coach in this industry, you have to stay up to date on all the education that is out there.
One of the main ways we provided regular education was our monthly “Breakfast Club” meetings which consisted of kicking things off with some innocent ridicule for other coaches meal choices then transitioned into well thought out topics and education to make sure all of us were using the same language and everything was consistent. I think that can get overlooked and minimized until you experience 2 coaches telling you 2 different things. Some of the topics we would cover would be on member experience improvement ideas, team building activities, technical movement coaching and other ongoing education. One of the best aspects of this was how inclusive it was for the team. It was not Dave dictating everything and just giving us directives to follow, but the decisions that are made are collaborative and everyone felt like they were a part of the gym’s success.
When it came to movement specific training, Dave would default to coaches that have specific expertise or backgrounds to teach us. We have had high level collegiate athletes, nationally recognized powerlifters, and others with years and years of experience in the fitness world that he felt were better equipped to train on specific topics. This creates such a collaborative atmosphere where everyone is engaged and participating because we know if Dave is defaulting to one of the coaches to educate us, it is because he trusts them and they know their shit! We also had an opportunity to read a book that Dave specifically selected for each of us to give a quick presentation to the team on what we learned from the book and some takeaways that can improve our members experience. It was a unique experience to put our heads together to feed our brains with a variety of coaching perspectives! Since we technically never “work” together (just taking each other’s classes) these monthly get togethers were super important as well as it was great to have the occasional team trip, boat day on the bay, participating together in an escape room or simply having a great dinner together eating anything and everything until each of us were wearing an all natural weight vest for the next week!
Over the course of the 3+ years of coaching, I would get a lot of questions surrounding what my job outside of P360 was and why I would coach a 6 am class when I have a full time job right after that. I have a pretty demanding job managing a customer support team for FortuneBuilders and at times, it was a challenge with some of the projects I had going on but I always enjoyed the change of pace and getting into class with a group of great people that work real hard! Although I was paid by class, this was something I would never do for the pay. I never asked nor cared when I started. You have to be passionate about coaching and helping people grow because if you aren’t a morning person, waking up at 5:30am once a week for a few bucks isn’t gonna last very long. I can’t say that I was always excited to coach when I woke up in the morning or rushing to coach an afternoon block due to the strain of my day to day but once I got in there and started working with our members, I forgot all about everything else and was able to dig in and do my best to run a great class. I frequently said as I was starting the clock for a workout, “Off in 10, let’s have some fun” and that was for both the members but also a reminder for myself that within those walls, we are all there to work hard but have a lot of fun while we are doing it!
I told myself about 2 years ago when work responsibilities increased with creating a new team at FortuneBuilders, that I wanted to continue to coach as long as it wasn’t taking away from that priority. In addition to that, coaching had to still be fun and I wanted to continue to meet the high standards that Dave, Pritz and Julianne expected from me. I think so highly of all three of them and the rest of the staff, I would never want to feel like I was letting them down or falling short of their expectations. This is a team of people I have had to privilege to watch grow and have so much respect for them that I never would want to be seen in a negative light by any of them. Having that in mind for a while, I started to feel the strain to balance everything in my life over the last year. The demands of coaching were becoming more and more with continuing education and class preparation. Coming from a company that puts high expectations on a manager to deliver a great experience for its customers, I can respect the expectations that are put on the coaching staff. As a member, I think it is incredible to know how much time and energy our coaches put in to make sure everyone as an experience that is unmatched in this industry. As a coach, I had to take a personal inventory if I still lived up to not only my own but also their expectations. I was feeling like the time I had to dedicate to coaching was less and I was falling behind the other coaches and if I wanted to keep up, it was going to take away from my primary focus with my job.
After wrestling with the decisions, I had to make the tough decision at the end of the year to step away from coaching. I had a lot of anxiety about it and my separate conversations with Dave, Pritz and Julianne were nothing but supportive. We all knew that my long term goals were not to become a full time coach or be a gym owner down the road. If that was a goal of mine, there is no better place to prepare you for a career in this industry or to use P360 as a model to one day open a gym elsewhere.
At this point, I miss my mornings with the hard working 6AMers but I am happy and content with my decision. It has allowed me the time and energy to focus on some other priorities in my life. I will forever love this gym! It will always be a part of my identity and has forever changed my life not only physically but this gym has introduced me to some of my closest friends and due to the contacts I made through the gym, have a career that I love! I look forward to watching the growth from the outside looking in and obviously, I can’t wait to continue to sweat with all of the great members on a regular basis. I hope you are ok with me offering suggestions or cues going forward because I can’t just turn it off! Let’s have a some fun!
First. For Strength.
Power Snatch + Snatch
Power Snatch + Snatch
5/s KB RDL Hand Offs
Every 4’ For 20’ (x5)
Then, For Conditioning.
8 Kickstand Swings
8 Around the Worlds
8 Cal Assault Bike
8 DB Snatch
8 Russian Twists
100m Run (80%)