From Fanboy to Coach

Before I started the Academy, my personal lifting was all over the place. I was jumping from template to template. My weights were stalled, and some of my lifts just felt plain bad (they were actually bad). When it came to coaching others, I couldn’t even address basic form issues with people at the gym. To top that all off, my attitude was not great. I basically just kept to myself with my earbuds in and judged everyone squatting high-bar.

From Podcast Fanboy to Coach in Training

By: Derek Saenz

“Bye Babe!” I tell my wife before giving her a quick peck. I hear my 3-year-old daughter chime in, “Bye Daddy-Babe!” Of course, I go give her a hug and kiss her head (I’m sure to keep her sticky hands off of my work shirt). I grab my lunch bag, my protein shaker, and my fanny pack (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it). Out the door and off to my road-weary Toyota. It’s time for work. Time for a jaunt down a couple of Southern California freeways and also time for a wonderful tradition I have developed on these commutes—podcast time!

Sure, Joe Rogan is there for you, keeping it real. I can learn how common sense isn’t so common with Dave Ramsey. I can even get hard core pumped for a day of “getting after it” with Uncle Jocko. These podcasts are great, but what is the podcast that I try and refresh with a swipe on my phone? Barbell Logic of course!

Like many of you reading this, I had found barbell lifting before discovering Barbell Logic. I started a novice program and, through progressively less-crappy reps, slowly increased the weight on the bar. I also turned to the internet to find out more about barbell training in general. Through my many internet searches, I found Barbell Logic. “These guys are still married to their first wife and have kids,” I thought. “Also, their content isn’t aimed at wannabe professional Olympic lifters or Crossfit nuts.” I was hooked.

Listening to the podcast helped my lifting slowly improve, but I was all over the place with my programming and my lifts were stalling. For whatever reason, I resisted actually hiring a coach. Instead, a dream started forming, “What if I could learn how to be a barbell coach?” I put this dream out of my mind, “I don’t have the time or the money,” I thought. I leveled with myself, “My time for dreams was 10 years ago before I steered myself into crippling student debt for a Master’s Degree that I don’t use. No, you’re stuck. Also, your squat kind of sucks.”

Many podcasts (and commutes) later I turned to the internet again. I searched, “How to become a barbell coach.”  The dream hadn’t been completely crushed yet. Of course, my internet search yielded some results that would continue the crushing that I had begun. Words to the effect of, “Figure it out and test when you’re ready” were what I found initially. What was I to do? I mean I had been lifting steadily for about 2 years, but work and family responsibilities made the idea of flying to a seminar, learning, and testing just to be told, “you’re no good,” a bad idea. My interning days were long behind me in a career that my twenties had claimed as “adulting tax.” I continued to search and then, like magic, the Barbell Logic Online Coaching Academy appeared.

I signed up immediately.

You may read my experience and identify with all, some, or none of it. However, if you are someone who shares any of the following: busy, working full-time, married with kids, non-science background, wants to pursue a passion to help others get strong, and maybe even be a professional barbell coach, then I hope I can answer your questions and assure you that yes—it really is an option for you.

Is the Barbell Logic (BL) Coaching Academy for you?

I can confidently say that the Academy was the first, best step on my path to becoming an excellent barbell coach. It offered an effective learning environment and seriously improved my coaching ability!

The BL Coaching Academy is an Effective Learning Environment

The Coaching Academy offered an extremely effective learning environment: It allowed me to fully adopt the role of the student, offered the flexibility of an online delivery system, and most importantly, the other people in the program were absolutely wonderful to interact with.

In the Academy, I could fully take on the role of a student. I was allowed and expected to ask all the questions I had. I was exposed to fantastic material in many different ways: verbally, in writing, and talking with live people on the platform. And included were readings on the best articles and seminars on strength training.

The Academy is online, which provided amazing value. I communicated asynchronously with other students and instructors. There were awesome thought-experiment posts, gear talk, and ultra-valuable information from seasoned coaches. It was exactly like Reddit—except, unlike Reddit, everyone in the Academy was cool and the moderators are expert strength coaches. Of course, your “classroom” time takes place over live video chat, so it’s not just all forum posts.

The other people in the Academy were some of the best people I could meet. They were all in the program for the same reason I was—to grow as strength coaches. My interactions with classmates were always thought-provoking, respectful, and even fun! And beyond my classmates, my instructor was a passionate, knowledgeable, and an approachable expert that was driven to help improve my coaching ability.

The BL Coaching Academy  Will Improve your Coaching Ability… and your Life!

At this point you may be saying to yourself, “Learning is great, but what tangible, practical benefits are there from the program? Do you even coach now that you’ve completed the program?” The short answer is, “yes,” but allow me to elaborate.

Before I started the Academy, my personal lifting was all over the place. I was jumping from template to template. My weights were stalled, and some of my lifts just felt plain bad (they were actually bad). When it came to coaching others, I couldn’t even address basic form issues with people at the gym. To top that all off, my attitude was not great. I basically just kept to myself with my earbuds in and judged everyone squatting high-bar. “Don’t these people know that a high-bar squat is as effective for strength training as, like, gardening?!”

Things in the gym started to change once the Academy had started and I embraced my new role as a student. In my personal lifting, I was excited to train and address my own form issues. In the Academy, you will video and review your own lifts (along with your classmates). This was an amazing experience. Having that many eyes on your lifts rapidly improved my form issues and bad habits. In terms of coaching others, I actually didn’t have too much to say. I was so humbled by how much I didn’t even know that I didn’t know about lifting that I kept my mouth shut. In terms of my attitude in the gym, I actually took my earbuds out and made friends! One of the amazing effects of taking on the role of the student is that you don’t have to know everything, “I am learning, it’s a lot right now. I hope to just improve this year.”

Now that I have completed the Academy there have been tangible, powerful outcomes. I am PR-ing my press and my deadlift week to week; these were stuck in concrete before utilizing the knowledge I gained in the Academy. In terms of coaching others I can now confidently address new lifters and teach them the Big Four. I even have two paying clients! Of course, my attitude at the gym is 180˚ different compared to where I started. My buddies at the gym ask me, “How does my squat look? Is it cool that I squat Ass-to-Grass?” Previously I would be dogmatic in my response, “No! Not okay! Waste of time! Why are you even in the gym?” Now, I can have a rational, relaxed, and informed conversation.

The BL Coaching Academy was the first, best step on my path to becoming an excellent barbell coach. If you join, hit me up on Slack. I’ll be there to welcome you into a community that will make you better at making people stronger and just plain make you better.


Derek is a man in his mid-30s with a wife, two kids, a cubicle job, and a plan to become a great strength coach. If you are taking your very first steps toward becoming a great strength coach and have questions, send him an email at Dsaenz118@gmail.com.

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