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inspiring change

Tips For Being a Successful Virtual Trainer

Do you struggle with training your clients online, or you would like to but aren't sure where to start? Read on for how I took my clients online, and kept them happy.

Let's just say that personal training online just a few years ago was foreign to me. Actually that's a lie. It didn't make any sense. Online trainers on YouTube and Instagram exploded during the past 10 years. And those of us who had been in the business since forever? We rolled our eyes and laughed. Go ahead, sell your online programs. Wear your scantily clad outfits and call yourself a trainer.

While some of this is still relevant, online training has evolved, and it's here to stay. During Covid, I trained virtually for the first time EVER. It was a bit clunky at first, but I began to apply what made me a great in person trainer to my FaceTime and Zoom sessions, and something clicked. Below is what I learned in the process to help you in your next steps as a virtual trainer.

Full disclaimer: I train strictly 1:1 to clients and small groups (less than 5 people). I do not do online programs or meal plans at this time. My goal was never to have 500 clients in training. My goals for my health coaching business are geared a bit more towards larger small groups and creating monthly programs for individuals to assist in their health and wellness goals, but I don't plan on ever creating personal training programs for the masses.

Learning Lesson #1: Assess Your Clients

When I first began virtual training in March of 2020, it was sort of a trial run with the clients I currently had in person. We decided to give the college try (I should say half of them did; the other half said no way, I'll see you when this whole Covid thing "blows over"; we will come back to those clients). We first created a game plan in regards to their current status. Was this client viable to train virtually? Would they get hurt? Did they have the space and proper equipment to train? And what did they prefer FaceTime or Zoom? We wanted to make it as seamless as possible. Once we decided on those factors, and we both felt it could work, we did a trial session.

Learning Lesson #2: It's All About the Training

This probably sounds a bit obscure to some of you. I relate it to how things felt when I first went private with my training back in 2016. My clients that came with me to the studio I rented space at were literally there just for me. They didn't get to chat with the front desk, enjoy a luxurious locker room or huge fitness floor like they did when I was at a big box. It was stripped down to just me and them. So your "coffee talk" clients probably won't make it online because they probably won't see the "value".

I was already prepared for this one, since my clients were all business and enjoyed working with me because I kept them on task, gave them homework, and essentially I handled all parts of their program with them just having to "show up and do the work". But I bring up this point to tell you that going virtual will test the viability of your business and what type of relationship you have with your clients, as well as future training clients.

Learning Lesson #3: Clear Communication

Let me be clear (ha!), this is SUPER important! And I mean on so many levels. First and foremost, you literally need to be able to hear each other. Meaning can they hear you through the virtual channel you are using? If not, have your client use ear buds. This works especially well for your clients who may be a bit hard of hearing.

The second area of this is being clear with what you are saying to them. Because I have been a Pilates Trainer for as long as I’ve been a Personal Trainer, my cueing is ON POINT! We are taught that everything is auditory since we are not trained to demonstrate because Joseph’s (Pilates) main goal was to have you training in groups and circuits, so the person needed to understand you through your words. Being clear and concise on what you want your client to do will be crucial in ensuring their experience and workout is ideal for both of you.

Learning Lesson #4: Get Creative!

The last big lesson I learned was that I needed to get creative in how I approached the workouts with my clients. If I wanted to teach them something new and wasn’t sure how they would “get it”, I would create a video and send to them ahead of time so that they could become familiar.

I also found that because they were used to only seeing me virtually, it was much easier to communicate more often via text and email on other areas, such as their health and wellness goals, and homework. I literally became their personal training “bot” in a way.

It also increased their creativity in that they were more open to training ANYWHERE. I now have the majority of my clients on regular schedules without interruption because they know that as long as they have their phone or tablet, they can train wherever their go and take me with them. This has allowed my business to become more stable than ever, because I never worry about them missing unless of course they are sick or out of cell service. This also means I train most holidays (which I don’t mind at all; I love that my clients are so consistent). If you struggle with creativity, check out my article on it here to get a jumpstart.

Final Thoughts

Becoming an online Personal Trainer has taught me so much. It has allowed me to evolve my business and work from anywhere. But more importantly, it’s created a new opportunity to get more buy-in from my clients and gives them more autonomy with how they work out. As the fitness industry continues to evolve, there will more new lessons learned of course. I hope this article taught you a few things on where to start if you are interested in taking your business online!

For those of my readers who are curious about what a virtual session is like, feel free to contact me here to take advantage of a complimentary session to see if this type of training is right for you!

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