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Creating Effective Online Personal Training Programs: Tips and Best Practices

May 5, 2023
tim saye

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Becoming fit and healthy is a goal for many, but life gets in the way too often. And while in an ideal world, we'd all have the time to get to the gym four times a week. Unfortunately, it's just not realistic for everyone. Family, work, and general life admin tend to get in the way, and exercise gets put on the back burner.

As a personal trainer, you must innovate and get in front of your clients in new ways. As more industries transition to digital, utilizing the potentially infinite database of clients looking to achieve their fitness goals has never been so important.

That is where online personal training comes in. Adding an online fitness program to your services gives you access to more potential clients. You can offer it as an addition to your in-person services as an opt-in feature for hybrid training or as a standalone service. Some trainers transition entirely because it can be cheaper than renting space at a gym.

If you want to create online personal training programs, we've compiled a guide with tips and best practices to get you off to a strong start.

Tip #1. Choose Your Niche

First, define your niche to create the most effective online personal training programs for your clients. Think about the sort of people you can help to the best of your abilities, enjoy working with, and have the experience and skills to get them the desired results.

Do you want to specialize in special populations or particular fitness goals or target a specific demographic with unique needs? For example, can you better help bodybuilders prepare for competition or those wishing to get fit and lose weight?

Whomever your buyer persona is, to have the most significant impact and design the most effective program, we recommend you be as specific as possible. Start by identifying your parent market, whether this be a focus on general health, fat loss, or sports, before further narrowing down your specialisms within this.

For example, will you create a weight loss program if you opt for the general population? Or a workout plan to help with improving functional strength and fitness? Consider your professional skills and experience, deciding what you're good at and what you also enjoy teaching. Defining your niche will also help to set you apart from others in the market and give you an edge against your competition.

Tip #2. Create Workout Plan Templates

Before onboarding clients, you want to have some goal-specific workout templates ready so you don't need to program exercises from scratch. The main goal of the templates is that once a client signs up, you can deliver their workout plan almost instantly that you can tweak to their unique needs as they progress with their workouts.

While your clients will differ, most people can fit into specific categories. In addition, certain details, such as the number of reps or the length of time to do a particular part of the workout, won't change drastically from person to person.

Create workout templates that you can tweak depending on whom you're coaching. If you prepare as much as you can ahead of time, this will make it much easier in the long run and help you to grow and expand as an online personal trainer.

Tip #3. Create an Exercise Video Library

As an online trainer, offering an exercise video library is essential to providing clients with a high-quality workout experience. Visual aids are excellent tools for building a loyal client base, as they help to communicate proper form, technique, and safety precautions to your clients.

With the explosion of online fitness, your clients have access to a wealth of information. Therefore, it's vital to differentiate yourself by offering your clients an exclusive exercise video library that features your unique style, expertise, and personality.

Your exercise video library should consist of various exercises, including bodyweight workouts, resistance training, and stretching or warm-up drills, to cater to clients with varying fitness goals. Provide clear instructions and guidance to ensure your clients can perform each exercise safely and effectively.

An exercise video library allows you to provide continuous support to your clients even outside of scheduled training sessions. Clients can access your library on-demand, increasing motivation and keeping them engaged in their fitness journey.

Creating an exercise video library can be time-consuming, but it's worth the investment if you have the time. A well-crafted library will give you a competitive advantage in the online fitness industry, improve client retention, and increase revenue for your business.

Here are a few tips to ensure the videos will achieve their purpose:


  • Ensure they are shot in a professional setting.


  • Use good lighting and a high-resolution camera so users can easily see the movements they should be doing.


  • Keep a consistent style from video to video and include your brand. Not only will this make you more recognizable, but it will also make it easier to follow.


  • Ensure there's no distracting background noise.


  • Add subtitles for those that don't want to use audio.


  • Keep the video concise and to the point. You want clients to stay energized, but you also want them to be able to follow the instructions.


  • Make sure your videos range in difficulty.


  • Include different options for those at different levels in their training.

However, suppose you're busy training clients while working on putting together your online training services and trying to keep up with friends and family commitments. In that case, you might have been delaying recording those videos. That's precisely why PT Distinction has over 1000 videos ready for you.

At the same time, you can add your videos or integrate them from Youtube or Vimeo if you need to add an exercise not in the PTD library. This way, you have a system ready to accept your clients, and you can add your videos slowly as and when time allows.

Tip #4. Design Customised Workout Plans

Designing customized workout plans ensures your clients achieve their fitness goals safely and effectively. When creating a workout plan, it's essential to consider your client's fitness levels, experience, objectives, and any limitations or injuries they may have.

To design an effective workout plan, it's essential to gather information about your client's fitness level through a comprehensive assessment. This assessment can include a medical history review, physical fitness tests, and a functional movement analysis. This information allows you to create a customized program for your client's needs.

All of the above is quickly done in PT Distinction. Once you have the answers to the onboarding questionnaires and assessment results, you can tweak the template most suited to each client and assign it to them. For example, if you offer a group coaching service, you can add a workout plan to the whole group and tweak it for each client if needed.

Tip #5. Include Strength and Cardio Training

When designing a comprehensive workout program with fitness and strength goals for the general public, it is critical to not focus solely on either strength training or cardiovascular exercise but to include both.

Strength training is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, which can help increase metabolism, improve overall physical function, and prevent injury. Resistance training can be done with bodyweight exercises, free weights, or resistance bands, depending on the client's preferences and available equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise is critical for improving cardiovascular health, increasing endurance, and burning calories. Activities like running, cycling, swimming, or HIIT workouts can be incorporated into a workout program to target cardiovascular fitness.

When designing a workout program, it is essential to consider the client's fitness level, goals, and preferences. A well-rounded program should include a balance of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise, with appropriate variations in intensity and volume based on the client's needs.

You can include both strength and cardiovascular training by alternating between the two types of exercise throughout the week. For example, one day could be dedicated to strength training, while the next could be focused on cardiovascular activity. Alternatively, both types of training could be combined into a single workout using circuit training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) formats.

Online personal trainers can help clients achieve a well-rounded fitness routine that maximizes health, performance, and body composition goals by including strength and cardiovascular training.

Tip #6. Create Warm-Up and Cool-Down Routines

When you want your online personal training clients to get the desired results, you must appreciate the importance of injury prevention. Ensuring you provide them with a warm-up and recovery routine will support them in adhering to their workouts.

Create a general library of routines they can perform before and after their main workout, focusing on the main muscle groups and ensuring they do what they can to avoid any injury and minimize risks of DOMS. Be bold and tweak these as and when they need and switch them up now and again so they don't become boring. Stress the importance of warming up and cooling down to your clients, as it's a step people sometimes skip!

Tip #7. Incorporate Progressive Overload

A personal trainer needs to consider progressive overload when designing an online training plan to ensure client's progress towards their fitness goals. Here are some ways to incorporate progressive overload into an online training plan:

Increase Resistance: One way to incorporate progressive overload is gradually increasing the resistance/load. For example, you can prescribe heavier weights or resistance bands or progress their bodyweight exercises towards more challenging ones.

Change Repetitions and Sets: Changing the number of repetitions and sets can also lead to progressive overload.

Manipulate Tempo: Varying the tempo of an exercise can make it more challenging and stimulate muscle growth. Incorporating slower tempos, pauses, or eccentric contractions can encourage muscle adaptation and development.

Introduce New Exercises: Introducing new exercises that target the same muscle groups can help clients to challenge their muscles in different ways. It also helps to prevent boredom and keeps the training program fresh and exciting.

Tip #8. Allow Flexibility

Online personal training clients need flexibility in their workout programs because life is unpredictable. There is a reason they choose to sign up for an online program. Clients may have unexpected work obligations, family responsibilities, or health issues that arise, making it challenging to stick to a set workout schedule. By providing a flexible workout program, clients can adapt their exercise routine to their changing lives, which helps them stay on track.

Additionally, many clients prefer the convenience of working out from home or while traveling. A flexible workout program that can be done anywhere allows clients to maintain their exercise routine no matter where they are, which is particularly important for clients who travel frequently for work or pleasure.

Here's what you can do to make it flexible:

Consider the client's schedule. - Plan for unexpected events as well.

Design workouts that can be done anywhere. - The whole workout plan doesn't have to be bodyweight only, but adding a few BW workouts will give them the choice of exercising while traveling or exercising at home

Provide options for each exercise. - Explain regressions and progressions and how a specific exercise can be performed with different equipment.

Use technology to your advantage. - You can offer LIVE video workouts, on-demand exercises, and workout videos.

Tip #9. Monitor Progress and Adjust As Necessary

Monitoring progress and making necessary adjustments are crucial to designing effective online personal training programs. As a trainer, you must closely monitor your clients' progress and change their workout routine and nutrition plan whenever required. This can involve monitoring their weight, body composition, and performance metrics regularly and tweaking their program to help them achieve their goals.

A flexible program that can be adjusted based on the client's progress and feedback ensures that the clients stay motivated and on track to achieve their desired results. Regular communication with the client can also help you get feedback and identify areas of improvement to make the necessary changes to their online personal training program.

Tip #10. Find a Suitable Platform for Service Delivery

Once you have figured out all the above, you can decide what platform to use. You need one with all the features to help you create a seamless user experience from onboarding through assessments, workout delivery, and client check-ins. Another important aspect is that it's easy to use for you and your clients and takes the stress out of running a personal training business by saving you the time you can spend elsewhere.

Our aim with PT Distinction is to provide you with a comprehensive platform that will suit your and your client's needs, support their journey from the moment they come across your offers and make life easier with the smartphone app. We started as personal trainers, so we know what's essential to a personal training business and keep upgrading the platform based on our client's feedback, trainers like you.

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