The 2010 Apprenticeship Program

In 1998, after finishing University, I  started my education.

With a degree under my belt, I was still young enough to believe I knew everything – or that I could figure it out, at least.  Twelve years later, I realize I’m still just starting.  I scramble, every day, desperate for answers.  Each new piece of research raises more ‘why?’s than “a-HA!”s.

There exists a gap between a student’s formal education and the readiness to apply practical knowledge.  In more industrial fields, Apprenticeship programs bridge the distance. Sadly, in the fitness community, fresh-from-the-oven recruits are typically thrown into leadership roles with as little as a weekend of instruction.  Ready?  Fire!  Aim!

Even with a four-year degree, I recognize now that I was in no way prepared to train people at an acceptable level; I thank my earliest clients for the start of my real education. I was blessed with a collective of very inquisitive teens (most of whom are now pursuing education in kinesiology-related fields) who quizzed me on every detail of their training.

Looking back further, had it not been for the hands-on immersion of high school co-op education, I’d be miserably fixing computers today, carrying even worse posture, nearing my first heart attack and shying away from carrying ‘heavy’ monitors.  That gratitude toward employers willing to take on risk for no discernible benefit prompted us to accept 4 co-op students this semester, and it’s been very rewarding.

One of the best things about the Catalyst Coaching Team: diversity.  We’re united by a common pursuit of excellence, but our backgrounds are very different.  Exposure to each coach, in turn, will give a much broader perspective into excellence than any coach alone.

This summer, we’re offering the type of program we wish we’d had during our formal education: hands-on, in-depth, and challenging.  We’ll be accepting five students to study with each coach on the Catalyst roster; assist in coaching groups; get their feet wet with individual programming; experience the endurance required to be a great coach; read and write research; coach and referee at events; and perform better, themselves, at individual skills.

We’re asking each student for a small enrollment fee.  The value of this program – including participation in Catalyst groups for free, a free membership, and some paid work time – exponentially exceeds the cost.  That said, we don’t want everybody.  Students will be assigned a letter grade at the end of their residency.  Not all students who pass through our Apprenticeship program will eventually be hired to work at Catalyst (in fact, most won’t) but new Catalyst staff will come from this group.

Over the summer, students will:

  • Participate in coaching at both Sault Ste. Marie facilities;
  • Be enrolled in every Catalyst group offered at no additional cost;
  • Learn to operate the Park gym, in pairs and solo;
  • Write, read, and study more intensely than any University program;
  • Assist in coaching CrossFit groups;
  • Assist in coaching sport-specific groups
  • Assist in coaching for special populations
  • Assist in coaching teams
  • Become trained in the CAT Testing system;
  • Receive group training on professionalism, coaching, and client adherence strategy
  • Participate in coach-only meetings and clinics
  • Actually do the stuff that makes us great.


  • Enrollment in a College- or University-level exercise-science program
  • Confidence
  • Outstanding verbal and written skills (this sounds like a filler.  It’s not.  If you can’t write without correcting mistakes, save yourself the time.)
  • Experience in a wide variety of exercise philosophies, not just techniques
  • Ditto nutritional strategies
  • Ability to laugh at yourself
  • NOT be a perfectionist
  • “Beginner’s Mind”
  • Familiarity with the CAT Testing system
  • Happy and smiley at 6am and 9pm – ideally, on the same day
  • You’ve got to care.  “Liking the job” is not enough: if it wakes you up at night, you have the potential to be one of us.

Interested?  Email for the Student Residency Package. If your email is your first contact with us, please tell us your story.
Download Catalyst 2010 Residency Package