I have done it and I think a key to it is to constantly connect and communicate with your clients. Use phone, email and also software to stay connected. Software was actually one of the things that helped me most with my clients because you can both look at the progress and workouts and better manage it all on one site. Like others have said in-person is much better but online training is better than no training. One Idea is to supplement the online training with a few in person sessions per month. Not always possible but it really would be helpful.
Edit: Since some have asked about the tools I used, http://www.fitsw.com/ was the specific software I used the most. There are many other options as well but this one was free and worked well. This type of software really helped improved my success and client retention. My client’s loved being able to track their weights and exercises online with me. The tool provided a suite of online tools like workout tracking & organizing, goal/body measurement progress tracking (in very nice easy to read graphs), diet plan creation, allowed me to provide demo videos for my clients and included a scheduling system.
I’m in the process of setting up a website where yoga teachers can upload audios of their yoga classes for free. Each time someone clicks on one of your audios you will make money.
It’s a great way of creating “passive income streams” simply by connecting a ┬ú45 lavilier microphone to a smartphone and clicking the record button.
It can quickly morph into a pretty nifty “online training program” for your students. For example, if one of your students is struggling with sleeping and you’ve recorded a class called: “15 minute nighttime yoga routine to help you sleep like a baby”, you could simply let the student know how to access it online.
Here’s another example…
If one of your students approaches you with an issue (e.g. lower back pain), when you get home you could whip out your phone, insert the lavilier microphone, record yourself doing a 15 minute “yoga for lower back routine”, upload it to the website and then send an email to your student letting them know its available online. This way you not only created a raving fan (who will start sending you lots of lovely referrals), you’ve also created a passive income stream (people all over the world will be able to download or stream the audio).
BWY Yoga Teacher
Free yoga lesson planning tips & tools | http://GeorgeWatts.org
I have been against this from the start. Here is answers I recently gave to a question on a new trainer starting an online business. She stated that she did not have a place to bring clients to and train them.
…I do not want to discourage you from growing professionally. But…
Your clients will be exercising some where. I recommend that you go to that place and train them. Online personal training is not personal training. You are not there in “person”. If you are connecting via video like skype, you cannot see the client in all planes of motion. And as you are new to training, I would recommend against this even more strongly. Even some of the best and brightest cannot provide this service properly, effectively, and in my opinion ethically.
The boom in online businesses such as personal training is very disturbing to me. Next there will be online haircuts giving instruction on how to cut your own hair without the need to go to a stylist/barber. This is personal training, in person. You can use the internet to help support your clients’ efforts to stay motiviated and track activity. But I am against actually directing exercise sessions when you, the instructor, are not present.
Even for professionals who are experienced, online education (CECs) is often a challenge. How could anyone possible feel that inexperienced exercisers should be trying to follow instructions solely from a video or pictoral format. These types of “businesses” are really just profit sources. If they truly were only trying to help people improve, they would recommend finding an instructor in their community. To keep their fitness dollars in their community where it can benefit their community. Not “send your fitness dollars to me and good luck with doing the exercises correctly on your own”. ….
Can you tell that I am strongly against the prepackaged program marketing? Maybe just a little.
While I think that it is great that you are able to work with those who don’t have access to a personal trainer, just realize the limitations. As has been suggested, you can’t do an assessment and you won’t be able to supervise each exercise. So just work within those limitations.
Good luck, Daniel
The other option for clients interested in help who live outside my training radius is to turn to magazines, online info, etc. I have online clients who live in rural places where there is a lack of quality trainers and gyms. I think in this scenario it is better to offer a service that is clearly defined as being different than in house personal training, but still beneficial.