While the role of a personal trainer hasn’t changed, the delivery systems and methods by which a PT reaches his clients and helps them to achieve their goals certainly has. Working out of a gym or a dedicated studio is still the preferred choice of most client and PTs, but there is a movement to more online programming and coaching.
The model is ideal for those clients who can’t make sessions, prefer to train in their own gym or have training experience but just need someone to design a new programme for them.
For a PT it makes sense, no juggling of clients, no need to try and squeeze an extra hour out of a day. Simply have a consultation (online) build a programme around set goals and then keep tabs. But how do you go about setting up your online business, what are the ins and outs of successfully building an online empire?
How Does Online Personal Training Work?
Many personal trainers share the same sceptics: How can I help people exercise if I’m not in the gym with them?
The truth is, you’re selling yourself short if you think that your most valuable role to a client is being with them in the gym, demonstrating exercises, counting reps, and correcting form. Yes, those services are valuable, but you have something more valuable to offer: Results.
Think of your most successful clients. What did you provide that helped them make such great life changes?
There are 3 things a truly great personal trainer offers and you likely do these without even realizing it: You build confidence. You develop consistency. You show care.
Those are the 3 Cs that are necessary for successful coaching and you can deliver these as an online personal trainer every bit as easily (perhaps even more so) as you can working with clients face-to-face.
1. Confidence - An online personal trainer helps clients believe they can succeed and delivers a path for them to follow. When a client is confident that she can transform her body, the likelihood of her taking action to achieve her goals skyrockets. Setting goals, tracking results, and celebrating milestones help build that confidence.
2. Consistency – An online personal trainer helps clients manage their schedules and stay accountable so that agreed upon healthy actions happen. This could take form in accountability calls, reminder messages, or habit-tracking apps that help build consistent actions needed for results to show.
3. Care – An online personal trainer ensures that clients feel like they have someone walking the journey with them. The client is not alone. Building supportive coach-client relationships is easy with all of the social tools available online nowadays. It’s amazing how a well-timed motivational text message or video can be a difference-maker in a client’s day.
When you deliver the 3 Cs, whether in-person or as an online coach, your clients’ lives will be changed.
Do Clients Really Want to Work with an Online Personal Trainer?
Think back 10 years ago. Imagine someone suggesting that instead of hailing a taxi to get you where you need to go, you instead hop into a complete stranger’s personal car to catch a ride.
Today it’s commonplace to grab a ride using Uber, but at one time that concept would have been hard to imagine.
The fact is, as the pace of life continues to speed up, people are looking for convenient, time-saving services more than ever before. That’s why many of us get our taxes prepared by online accountants; we get prescriptions written in virtual doctor’s visits; and it’s why more people are turning to online fitness coaching than ever before.
Clients love the flexibility that online coaching provides. They have a personalized fitness plan to follow, but how they fit that plan into their weekly routine is up to them.
They never have to jockey for prime time personal training slots in a schedule, and it allows them to work with the PT, a coach they trust, even if you don’t live in the same city.
If personal trainers don’t adapt to the evolving needs of consumers, it’s certain that new apps, technologies, and services will enter the market to fill the void. It’s up to you to stay ahead of the curve by exploring new ways that you can serve your clients today and in the future
How Can You Become an Online Personal Trainer?
Getting started as an online personal trainer is easier than you might expect. Here are the 4 recommended steps:
1. Get Experience – As an online personal trainer, it is very helpful to first gain experience coaching clients in-person. Understanding how to cue exercises, how to troubleshoot common obstacles, and how to keep clients motivated are the types of skills you will develop quickly when working with clients face-to-face. Once you have those skills, translating them into the role of an online coach is fairly simple.
2. Check Your Insurance – Since online personal training is still in its relative infancy, some insurance providers aren’t sure how to provide coverage. Double-check to make sure your insurance will cover your online services before you begin.
3. Start Slowly – The easiest way to add online coaching to the list of services you offer is to transition clients slowly. For example, if you have been working with a client 3 times per week in the gym, you might offer to see him twice per week instead, with the third session being assigned as homework that you will deliver online. See what works best for you and your clients.
4. Build Your Systems – Online training can actually take up more of your time than working with client’s in-person if you don’t have the right systems in place. Fortunately, there are apps and online services that can automate much of your work. For example, you can deliver video workout programs with a few clicks on your computer and then set automated follow-up messages to keep your clients on track. The better systems you have, the better service you’ll provide and the less work you’ll actually be doing.
Above all else, remember why you became a personal trainer in the first place. Probably because you wanted to help as many people as possible get healthy and fit. Online training is simply another way to achieve that goal, so at least consider if it might be the right step for you.