I remember when I passed my exam and I was officially a certified strength coach, over twenty years ago; this moment was one the happiest days of my life. I was dreaming about how I was going to train all these pro athletes and have my own gym. I had it all planned out, it was going to be a piece of cake.

Then reality set in – pro athletes just don’t drop into your lap, especially in Canada, and they don’t come running in droves to your front door.

I had to deal with the reality of my situation and change my strategy.

I had bills to pay and I had no athletes interested in paying for my services, so I had to set myself up as a Personal Trainer to pay the bills.

Then I had to take on athletes for free – yes, free.

Pierre Roy with AAS

I soon realized the process that you have to get results in order for your name to start getting out there. You see, I’m not in anyone’s “inner circle”, no one knew who Clance Laylor was or was invested in my success.

I was not connected or affiliated with any hockey organization or sport organization that was feeding me athletes. I knew no agents, no coaches. I was out of the sporting world for years before I became a Strength Coach and on top of that my world had been track and football.

But I set out to change all that. I interned with the best, and I learned from anyone who I thought would help me get closer to my goal.

I live, breath and consume strength and conditioning every day, I’m obsessed, I admit it.

I am completely dedicated to my craft.

I have strained relationships over this obsession. I didn’t spend as much time with my children as I should have because I was working seven days a week. Not making a penny from the athletes I trained in the beginning. I don’t socialize for business or go to networking parties.

I want athletes to train with me not because they like me but because they feel and know they will get results. If you like me, that’s just a bonus.

PK Subban on AAS

I just put in work and am committed to my athletes’ success. If they succeed, I do, if they fail, I fail. That’s how personally I take it. If my athlete is not performing the way I think they should, I have sleepless nights and that is no exaggeration.

Their success is my success, my livelihood depends on it, my honour and the promise I made to each athlete when they committed to work with me depends on it.


After twenty years I’ve come to understand the difference between a trainer and a strength coach. A coach does not just coach reps, sets, and loads, a strength coach will impact their athletes’ lives tremendously, hopefully in a positive way.

A strength coach has to get to know each athlete; they have to tap into the psyche of each athlete to get the best out of them.

A strength coach will have to stop everything they are doing to listen to the athlete’s home issues and personal matters.

A strength coach will help the athlete manage negative situations at home or on a team and help turn them into positive elements.

One of the mantras I teach my athletes is, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”, which means no matter what obstacle gets in their way, they must overcome. My athletes Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop driving forward and reaching for their dreams.

Mark Bui Back Squat - AAS

To me, strength coaches or coaches generally in Canada are not held in high regard. That is a shame because we do so much to help kids, young women and young men grow into productive, hard-working citizens.

The reason I say that is because my program is a tough program – its 90% mental and 10% physical.

Everyone wants to quit – quitting these days is the easy way out. A few do end up quitting, but the retention rate for my program is high, assuming you can afford to train with me either in-person or on your own with my programming.

PK Subban using Athlete Activation System

So after years of honing my craft and building my business I’m making money now. No more freebies! A big part of this success is because I have a strong and passionate belief in my system of training and I try to communicate that to each athlete.

Over the years of training and studying and working with others I developed a system of training that produces results for team sport athletes in record time.

Hilary Lloyd AAS

Let me be clear – I did not invent anything, I just use what I have found to be most effective, trust what has been proven to work, and coach with total confidence in my system and with a passion for my role.

This system is called the Athlete Activation System, and it is built on sound scientific principles that have been tested over time. I believe in this system so much that I actually created a certification so others can learn it.

Why? Because I am tired of the bullshit training and gimmicks so many athletes are being fed in my profession! When I die I want to know I made a contribution to the craft I love. I just don’t know how some of these Trainers (I am not going to give them the dignified title of Coach) look themselves in the mirror when many of their training methods are clearly inferior and ineffective (or worse).

This certification set out to change that and contribute to elite athletic performance. The essence of being a true strength coach is doing your best to maximize the performance of your athletes.

“It is not about what is easiest, or most convenient, or most lucrative for you, it’s about the success of your athletes!”

Stay strong,
Clance Laylor