A Quick Guide To Online Personal Training
This week, the conversation is about Online Personal Training. For those of you following on Periscope, you would have seen the chats about how online training works and getting the most of of it. For those of you who haven't been following, The Integrated Insider members will have the complete wrap-up along, exclusive content and first opportunity to submit questions on Thursday.
Topics covered this week:
- The basics of online coaching.
- Maximising your experience with online coaching.
- Common mistakes and myths.
- Q+A - what do you need to know?
What is online personal training?
Online personal training has seen a boom over the past few years. Ten years ago, the training and nutrition expertise you had access to was limited to trainers and experienced lifters that were located nearby. Now, you can access the best coaches in the world via online coaching, utilising video calls, email check ins and many other online tools.
Online coaching involves a client working with a trainer/coach exclusively without any face-to-face contact. Generally, the client and coach will communicate primarily via emails and video/phone call. This allows the client to work with coaches from anywhere in the world and likewise allows the coach to build a new business to deliver their skills and knowledge.
Who is it for?
Online coaching is best-suited for intermediate level trainees, due to the style of coaching currently available with current technology. Online coaching leans towards strategy and programming services, making it a great place to get training program built or consult with a coach about your progress, goals or strategy.
This is not to say that beginner trainees can still benefit from the strategy component, but they may need to hire a face-to-face trainer to help with technique. Beginner trainees may not need to hire expert coaches initially for strategy, as they often make rapid progress from any training program. However, some people want to work with the best from the outset!
The unprecedented access to coaches all across the world is very exciting. You can find the right expert for YOU, even if they are based overseas. You can work with strength and conditioning experts in the US, Nutritionists in the UK or body composition coaches from across town.
Online coaching can also be cost-effective, particularly for those requiring programming or strategy based services. There are less overhead costs for the coaches and trainer, which means they can pass this on the client. With that being said, many of the best coaches are highly sought after and attract a higher price point accordingly.
Like any online industry, there is a huge variation in the quality of service you will get from online coaches. Be wary of unqualified coaches or 'wellness experts' (what does that even mean?) with deals that sounds too good to be true. You need to research potential coaches and make contact prior to handing over an credit card details!
There are many online coaches looking to monetise a large social media following, often selling generic training programs to their followers. If you want to look like someone on Instagram, don't hire them to get you there, hire their coach (or use their photoshop software)!
Due to the lack of regulation in online coaching, the impetus lies with the client to find the right coach. Take the time to research your coach and ensure they are right for you.
The online space is changing the game for training and nutrition coaches. You can now work with the best in the world to achieve the goals you want. Be careful when selecting a coach and ensure you do your research.
Research your coach
It sounds simple, but make sure you look into the coaches background (more than just their Instagram page). Look for a website, LinkedIn profile and any reviews they have online. If they haven't got these set up, you should question how seriously they take online coaching. As outlined later in the article, many people masquerading as trainers are simply trying to monetise their social media following. If their email ends with @hotmail.com - look elsewhere.
A good rule is if you wouldn't hire them in real life, don't hire them online!
Is online coaching for you?
Answer this honestly. Online coaching requires a solid level of accountability and dedication. If you struggle to get yourself to the gym, you might be better of considering a face-to-face training option.
It is cool to be working with the best coaches from across the world, but if you aren't at the stage where you can put their recommendations into place, you are wasting your money. You would be much better hiring a face-to-face trainer to get started, then you can work with the online coach you like.
Find an expert
Now that you have access to coaches all across the world, you can find a true expert in your field. Look at aspects such as experience, qualifications and results they have attained with their clients (or reviews).
The best online coach-client results come when the client already know about the coach, then decides they want to hire them to get a certain goal. You might have seen that at a seminar/expo, know someone who worked with them previously, or seen them quoted in a magazine then followed their work. You take a few months to understand how they operate, before decided they are the right coach for you.
Conversely, if you just Google 'online personal training' you will just see the services that have the best search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. The first option will always be my preference for attracting new clients.
Optimising online coaching revolves around you taking the time to assess whether online coaching is for you. A coach will assume you have already done this (or they might not care) when you sign up. Don't rush finding a coach, take your time to understand how they approach training/nutrition/change and see if this strikes a chord with you.
Social media monetisation
One of the biggest issues with online coaching is the poor quality service being offered by many 'experts'. With the rise of Instagram, there has been an influx of 'coaches' selling training and nutrition programs online, in an attempt to monetise their social media following.
Often these people are selling generic programs whereby the only customised aspect is your name (if that). These programs can be a good place to start, but be aware that you aren't getting personalised recommendations or consultation from this coach. But hey, you wouldn't want that anyway, if they aren't qualified!
This online industry is nearly impossible to regulate and this won't change anytime soon. If you follow the recommendations for finding a coach (outlined above) you can avoid these C-grade coaches.
Timing can be everything
If you are working with an international coach, make sure to know when you will be checking in with them and account for the time difference. If they check in with online clients between 5pm-7pm their time, but that turns out to be 3am your time, you will have some issues. Ask in advance to avoid any late night (or missed) check ins. This does happen.
Not being honest
It's very easy to skew your progress, whether that be training performance, body weight or food intake. Since there is no face-to-face check in, you can make things up and get away with it. This defeats the purpose of hiring a coach in the first place, but people don't like getting it trouble. Be honest with yourself and your coach to get the most out of your results.
On Friday, I will be answering your questions about online personal training. Leave a comment below or on social media to get your question seen. Priority will be given to questions from The Integrated Insider members who respond via their exclusive email updates. Sign up below to have your question answered.