The Coronavirus pandemic has done more to accelerate online training growth than anything that's ever come before it. In all its forms, remote coaching has been normalised for all but the most determinedly resistant clients.
What began as something to temporarily fill the void that gym closures left behind has fast become a genuinely valuable alternative for many coaches and clients, with many personal trainers and clients intending to remain online even when the gyms reopen. They see online training as a superior method of making progress than face to face.
What Is Online Training?Online training is still relatively in its infancy. So there's a lot of discrepancy from trainer to trainer on exactly how the coaching is delivered. For some coaches, it's merely a pre-written plan and a structure on how to stay accountable. For other, more premium packages with a specific personal trainer niche, it's a complete support system, comprising of strategies for long term change, habit-forming, and health consultancy which includes specialisms like rehabilitation for injuries, nutrition or specific preparation for high level sports performance.
The main element which unites all of the online training coaches is that the trainer and the client are not in the same room. That could mean they're together at the same time conducting follow-along remote training on Zoom in real-time, or it could mean they're following a course around a specific problem. Here are three ways that online training is superior to in-person coaching.
#1. You Can Help More People With Online TrainingIt's why personal trainers become personal trainers in the first place. You know the huge value to be had from physical fitness and want to help others feel those benefits and transform their health.
When you start working with clients online, you're no longer marketing your services to a relatively small number of people who come to your gym. Instead, you're able to connect with a broad audience on the internet, wherever they live in the world - provided you can communicate with them.
This means two main things. First, you're able to positively impact vastly more people by being online than you would face to face.
Secondly, when you work online, you get to be incredibly specific about who you help and what problem you solve.
When you train face to face clients, you might specialise to an extent. Still, you're always operating within the limits of who lives in your area.
Online, you can develop a highly specialised set of skills which will allow you to provide incredibly high-level support to a narrow group of people. That means that you're operating on solving their problem at a depth they likely haven't come across before, and that will get them outstanding, genuinely transformational results.
#2. Designing A Business Around You Is Much Easier OnlineMost trainers who dream of owning a fitness business don't want to work around the clock, missing social events and time with loved ones. The entire point of owning a business is that you've got flexibility and time freedom.
When you work the gym floor doing face-to-face personal training, the hours are long and very anti-social, often starting at 5am and not finishing until 9pm. There's usually free time during the middle of the day, but that leads to working split shifts or eating your lunch out of Tupperware in the breakroom. It's a recipe for resentment, loss of motivation - and burnout.
When you work online, you can design your fitness business so that you aren't set up around face to face time with clients. This is a trap that some personal trainers fall into when they move their businesses online; they keep booking appointments with their clients for live training sessions or even check-ins.
When you deliberately design your business so that it works for you, there is no need to stick to a rigid timetable if you don't want to. The time spent in the business can be flexible around other commitments if you want it to be.
#3. More Freedom To Scale Your Business OnlineWhen you have an online business, you will probably start by doing every service element and company task yourself. But over time, as your business grows, you will have more capacity to outsource those parts of the job that you don't enjoy or take up too much of your time. This is all but impossible in a face to face gym where personal trainers don't have teams of apprentice trainers working with them.
That means with face to face, once you're fully booked, you don't have a great deal of capacity to take on more clients. That limits your earning ability, your growth and the number of people you can help (see point #1).
Online, it's far easier to hire a team to take on those aspects of your business. Think of accounting, admin, sending and answering emails, managing clients and organising anything around the business. When you get there, you will have far more freedom to grow and scale the business than you would if you were training face to face.
ConclusionTraining online is no longer the option that people take when they work away or when their circumstances stop them from making it to sessions with a trainer at the gym. It is a viable, and often preferable, way of working for both clients looking for life-changing results and ambitious trainers who want to impact more people's health and fitness positively.
Working with a specialist trainer online should be a positive experience, not the "poor cousin" of face to face. As online training grows, it will likely continue to overtake face to face training experiences in terms of results, income and enjoyment for both client and trainer.