Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
It’s not any surprise that I believe in the power of investing in a good coach. I’ve talked about it here, and as a coach myself, I have an obvious bias. I don’t believe that you need to spend a ton of money to get good results. I believe you can make progress without spending a dime. I also believe that you can spend thousands of dollars on coaching and not make real progress. Just as Warren Buffett said in the quote above, it’s not about what you pay, but about the value you receive.
How much do you value your progress? And what are you willing to pay for it?
Weightlifting has seen a huge uptick in interest and athletes in the past decade. And as economic patterns go, with demand comes supply. Weightlifting coaches and gyms are easier to find than ever, and it only takes a few clicks to sign up for a program or team. Options and costs vary, ranging from standalone programs that cost $15-50 to full-service coaching that ranges from $50 to $250, or higher (and that sometimes doesn’t even include a gym membership!).
As an athlete myself, and someone with student loans, a mortgage payment and all the other financial trappings of being an adult, I understand why a $150 price tag for coaching can seem high. And as a business owner and coach, who spends over thirty hours a week watching and analyzing lifts, I can see why that price tag might even be too low. Rent, equipment, utilities, insurance, marketing and amenities can climb costs quickly, and that doesn’t even factor in the time spent planning program cycles, coaching at meets, seeking continuing education, and communicating with athletes throughout the day. There’s a lot more to being a good coach and running a solid program than just the spreadsheet you see or the coaching cues you get.
There are some great programs out there that are under-priced. If you’re lucky enough to find someone NOT charging what they’re worth, you might snag some good coaching for a low price. Eventually though, your coach will burn out and/or quit. The financial stress of running an unprofitable business, or just the time away from family, their own fitness goals, and other dreams isn’t worth it. So then you’re either receiving a watered-down service from a grumpy coach, or you’re left with no coach at all.
On the flip side, maybe you’ve seen some awesome progress from lifters on instagram, and you looked up their program. You find out it’s $125 a month and you get cold feet on pulling the trigger. While I get that seeing that dollar amount might sometimes cause sticker shock, keep in mind that most CrossFit or yoga memberships start there and go up, sometimes up to or over $200/month. While it might seem high, weightlifting coaching prices have actually made big strides in getting closer to market rates. This means that your coach is making a living wage, can invest in his or her own education, and create a sustainable and organized program — all things that benefit YOU the athlete.
If you want low-cost, be prepared for slow progress or choppy results. Know that it’s a strong possibility that the coaching you’re receiving, if any, might not be of the same caliber down the line as your coach gets tired or bogged down servicing a higher quantity of athletes.
If you are investing in a coaching program, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Take the time to find a coach you mesh with, and don’t get too caught up with the shiny things, like how much they lift or how many athletes they have making international teams. Instead, make sure you are able to communicate with them as often as you need to, that they continually deliver your program or feedback in a timely, consistent manner, and that their athletes (not just the elite ones) see steady progress.
The hallmarks of a good program and coach isn’t the price tag. But a higher price often indicates quality, knowledge and safety.
So what’s your progress worth to you?