Fitness Coaching in 2020: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Online Business
Online Personal Training
2020 has definitely thrown the world for a loop, and the fitness industry is no exception. As the season changes and we adjust to our “new normal”, many personal trainers and coaches are facing the prospect of ‘getting back to business’ but finding that the business that they knew months ago has changed irrevocably or, perhaps, no longer exists.
If you are a coach or trainer, the prospect of returning to the gym may not appeal to you. Perhaps your current gym or studio is failing to implement appropriate health and safety protocols. Or maybe, due to your gym’s limited hours and capacity, you can no longer find a time that works for you and your clients. Perhaps your studio has closed its doors for good, or your clients are too busy taking care of their kids at home, or they just aren’t comfortable at all risking their health to meet with you in public. And you’re left wondering: What do I do now?
If the idea of online training strikes fear into your heart (or, at the very least, deep reluctance), you are not alone! But worry not; managing an online fitness service can be straightforward, rewarding, and fun for both you and your clients. Many trainers have already made the move to online training and are thriving in their new business. Many even prefer it to in-person training!
If you want to know how you too can maximize the online training market (and some of the cool advantages to being an online trainer), read on! We have compiled the best advice from fitness professionals working online around Canada.
Take advantage of all the platform options
One huge benefit of training online is that you as the trainer can be flexible with how you and your client communicate. Online coaching is a relatively new venture, and as such, there is a lot of freedom to experiment with all the platforms available (most of which are free!). Some clients prefer phone calls for check-ins, some like video calls, some like emails or texting. Josh, an Edmonton-based trainer who coaches his clients primarily online, notes that another advantage to the privacy afforded by these platforms is that clients are given “the opportunity to share things with you they may not be otherwise comfortable sharing in a gym environment”, and which can give you a better understanding of your client’s physical and emotional state.
When it comes to the actual sessions, Josh points out that one challenge that online personal training can present is “ensuring your clients are doing their exercises with correct form and with the intensity that you’re aiming for”. So, pick a video platform approved by both you and your client (there are lots of articles online comparing different platforms and ), and make sure your client sets up in such a way that you can see–and hear!–how they are performing their exercises. Cathie, one of Infofit’s long-standing personal trainers, also recommends, if possible, to “hook your computer up to a modem so you aren’t working off of wifi”, which will help to avoid dropped calls and lags.
Be creative with your programming
One challenge with online training is often the equipment–or lack thereof–available to your client. As a fitness enthusiast, you are likely aware of the prohibitive cost of exercise equipment. Your client may not thrill at the prospect of shelling out a couple hundred or even thousands of dollars to outfit their home gym on top of the cost of hiring you as their personal trainer (you, of course, are worth every penny). This could be viewed as an insurmountable challenge by some coaches, but many online trainers enjoy the opportunity to exercise their creativity and problem-solving abilities. “I like having to come up with new interesting exercises or new ways to modify old ones,” says Cathie. So, research carefully and play around with different elements, such as tempo, time under tension, elevation, balance, etc, to maintain and increase intensity for your clients. Be thoughtful when it comes to recommending equipment to your clients; pick pieces that are versatile, easily available, and appropriate for your client’s goals.
Look for clients outside of your geographical location
Maybe the greatest advantage to training online is that you are not limited by proximity when building your clientele. Cathie enjoys being able to train her clients no matter her location; “I have clients who have remained training with me even when they have moved away”, she says. Plus, working online means that you as the trainer are not limited by gym contracts and rental fees, which will in turn often mean a smaller fee for your clients.
Not being limited by geography also allows you to focus on a specific demographic. If, for example, your specialty is working with youth track-and-field athletes, working online means that you are able to attract clients from all over the world who will benefit from your particular skill set. While word-of-mouth may be the most powerful tool for growing your business, having a strong social media presence will help you to reach potential clients at a greater distance.
Respect your time–and make sure your client does too.
One significant challenge that coaches encounter when starting to work online is how best to protect their time and adhere to a schedule with clients. It is tempting when working online for both the trainer and clients to take a more ‘relaxed’ approach to session start times. Because why rush if it’s just a click away? But when being five minutes late turns into ten turns into twenty, both the trainer and client can be left feeling frustrated and disorganized. “You have to have strong boundaries,” says Josh. Try to stick to regular, routine session times as much as possible, or find your own personal comfort level when it comes to scheduling clients and stick with it. Let your client know that an online session is still a commitment, and that, same as in-person training, there may be penalties for tardiness or no-shows.
Don’t forget to connect with your clients
One essential element to becoming an established and successful trainer or coach is the building of trust and rapport with your clients. This is true whether you are training online or
in-person but communicating primarily through a computer or phone can oftentimes lead to a growing emotional disconnect–and this can happen even if you are texting your client every day. Make sure to check in on a client’s well-being both within and outside of the scope of your sessions. If a client is stressed or struggling at home or at work, it may not be so readily apparent through a text conversation or email exchange. You don’t have to inquire after every minuscule detail of their lives but ensuring your clients’ well-being will lead to greater satisfaction for both the client and trainer!
We hope our advice helped! If you’re a fitness professional who is just breaking into the online market, or if you’ve been training online for a long time, leave us a comment at the bottom and tell us what you think.
Or, if you are a person interested in hiring a personal trainer, Infofit’s experts offer online coaching to help you achieve your fitness goals! You can contact us at [email protected] with any inquiries, or check out our website here: https://www.infofit.ca/i-need-a-personal-trainer/
Wishing you all the best on your journey to optimum health!
Cathie Glennon is one of Infofit’s long-time personal trainers, as well as an experienced instructor and pharmaceutical technician. She has many focuses in her training, from acute rehabilitation cases to elite athletes. She has been described by her clients as being incredibly caring, motivational, and innovative in her programming. She is currently working to complete her Clinical Exercise Specialist designation. You can reach Cathie at [email protected].
Josh Kelly is a personal trainer and online fitness coach based out of Edmonton, AB. He focuses on strength training and breaking down his clients’ mental and physical barriers to help them to embrace and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for the rest of their lives. You can find Josh at puregrittraining.ca or on Instagram @puregrittraining.
Written by Theresa Faulder, Master’s in English, Certified Personal Trainer, and Infofit fitness blog writer.