Tricks of the Trade
Do you provide any of your training services on the Internet? How is this working for you?
As a stay-at-home mother of two, I offer only online training at this time. I find it fits well with my schedule and still allows me to work in the fitness industry, which I love. I offer both personalized training plans and a virtual boot camp open to a larger group of participants. In my personalized plans, each client receives workouts geared directly to his or her goals, needs, available equipment/time, medical history and current fitness level. Clients also receive open access to me at all times via email for support and questions. And I provide regular, formal check-ins for accountability as well.
My boot camp features one workout plan with a variety of modifications so members can easily customize it to their level and training needs. Participants have access to a private Facebook group to motivate and support one another. They can also get cash prizes as incentives for staying on track!
My experience is that online training works well for people who are mostly self-motivated but are looking for some guidance in putting together a workout routine or who need someone to hold them accountable through regular check-ins. Online training certainly isn’t for everyone, and it is not something I would recommend for a person with more extensive training needs. However, for the general population it can be an economical and flexible fit for training.
Online training has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and become my full-time business.
Best Body Fitness
I offer online training services through my website. My own specialties are online personal training, martial arts and golf fitness. Trainers on my website also provide several types of activities, including yoga, Pilates and Zumba®.
Online training has grown in popularity year after year. When I first started it more than 7 years ago, I trained online only a few sessions per month. Now my online sessions are almost on a par with my in-person sessions—I train about 30 hours per week in person and close to that online.
Online training adds another dimension and demographic to my business. I can work with more people, with less travel time, from the comfort of my home. One of my favorite things about training online is that I am lucky enough to work with clients from around the world. South Africa and London are two popular client locations.
Clients like online training because they can get a custom workout whenever and wherever they want for a price that is much less than my in-person fee.
ACE-Certified Personal Trainer
Delray Beach, Florida
This past summer I ventured into offering virtual training to my clients, and I could not be happier with this decision. Aside from allowing me to expand my reach beyond my physical location, it has given me the opportunity to work with clients who can’t afford weekly in-person training but still want the benefit of having a trainer. These virtual training clients, who are looking for guidance, fresh workout ideas and someone to hold them accountable for their goals, currently make up about 15% of my overall business.
My first step when working with new virtual clients is a fitness assessment. Preferably conducted via Skype, this initial consultation allows me to gather the information I need to build a training program customized to their needs. Why Skype? I find that with Skype I can better assess range of motion and flexibility and determine if there are any postural deviations that need correcting. However, if new clients don’t have immediate access to Skype, I will consult with them over the phone to assess their fitness levels.
Each virtual client receives one workout per month, which I post in Google Drive—giving the client edit rights—so he or she can track progress. I offer weekly follow-up calls and unlimited email support. During the 15-minute follow-up calls, the client is free to ask questions and voice concerns, while I have an opportunity to progress or regress the workout as needed.
In my experience so far, virtual training is a great tool for clients who are motivated and have the discipline to stick to a prescribed exercise program. They are the ones who see the most results. Out of all my virtual clients, only one has had trouble following through on a plan. But again, for my clients who are truly dedicated to improving their health and are putting action behind that dedication, the investment they are making in themselves—physically, mentally and financially—is paying off in the results they are experiencing.
It’s generally expected that clients who sign up for in-person training receive the best results. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Initially, this was a concern for potential virtual clients; many questioned whether it was even worth spending money on this kind of Internet-based training. As a result, I created a hybrid solution. Instead of simply consulting and demonstrating, I’ve been conducting 1-hour training sessions via Skype. This strategy has worked especially well with clients who prefer the privacy and convenience of working out in their own homes. Not only am I able to lead them through a good workout, but also I am there encouraging them and correcting their form for the duration of the session.
Although I have been offering online training for only a few months, I can see it has great potential for the growth and development of my business. In this economy, I’ve discovered that to be a successful trainer you have to be creative and make your services reliable, affordable and results-driven for clients to value what you offer. With the addition of virtual training, I find I’m able to reach more clients in a way that works for them without being limited to my physical location. And as we all know, more happy clients leads to more referrals, which leads to more happy clients.
As an added bonus, this Internet-based training allows me to reach people all over the country, positioning myself as a fitness expert, which is the key to surviving in the industry. We have the technology at our fingers; why not use it?
Manager/Part Owner, Corpbasics
Fitness & Training Club
Owner, Be Fit With Kristen
I sold my boot camp facility to my top trainer in the spring of 2012 so I could focus fully on my new start-up business. We provide streaming follow-along workout videos available on any device that has Internet access. My business is essentially an online platform that allows me to provide high-energy metabolic boot camp workouts (the same ones I taught at my old gym) to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
New customers are driven to my online business from my appearance as the lead on DeltaFit: Speed Shred, the DVD series from Men’s Health. (Although DVDs are a shrinking market, and everything is moving toward streaming services, there is still a lot of demand for follow-along workout DVDs.)
At this point, the only in-person/on-site training I do is for promotional events for Men’s Health and various public speaking gigs as a fitness expert and entrepreneur. However, my previous 7 years of working with men and women of all ages, from all walks of life and at all fitness levels was the key to setting me up for this online phase of my career. I will be forever grateful to my former clients and boot campers for allowing me to learn the best way to get people fitter faster than ever before.
BJ Gaddour, CSCS
Creator of Men’s Health DeltaFit:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin n