Online Personal Training: Caveat Emptor

online trainingI wrote a post last year about online personal training. (I even used this same image. Efficiency!) In a nutshell, I'm not convinced it can work well without at least some in-person sessions.

However, it's still a big thing on the internet, largely because it can be easy and profitable for trainers to implement. Still, I was a bit disturbed to see this article directed at personal trainers on the topic of online training. Some of it is fine, but this part in particular bugs me:

You can easily put all clients onto an email auto-response sequence using a service liked [sic] Aweber. In this sequence you can pre-write follow-ups to send to clients to check in at pre-determined times during their training.

For example, and you can organize this however you like:

Day 5 after they sign up a message goes out asking them how they’re finding their training.
Day 12 sends a “gift” or a recipe book.
Day 17 checks in, congratulates them on their progress so far.
Day 22 asks them how they’re [sic] mood, sleep, and soreness are doing.
Day 30 congratulates them for finishing the month and reminds them to renew.

All of this is automated and all starts the day that a new client signs up.

You set it up once and never touch it and use it for all of your clients regardless of their training goal.

online training profits(Emphasis mine.) Automated systems are great for profit-seeking trainers but this isn't "personal" training! The premise is for the trainer to create a personalized training program for the client lasting 1-3 months and to answer any questions from the client, usually via email. It's more like "online impersonal training"! "Congratulates them on their progress"? What if they haven't made any?

Sending an automated message every week or so is beyond lazy. Expecting clients to ask for help when they need it is, at best, wishful thinking. (There are likely some trainers who hope for--or count on--few such requests.) I've seen first-hand that the people who need help the most are often least likely to ask for it, either due to reluctance (shyness, embarrassment, unsure what to ask, etc.) or overconfidence (people often overestimate their ability and/or their technique).

online-video-chatWhile I'm still skeptical about 100% online training (i.e., with no in-person sessions for initial screens, exercise instruction, and form checks), online training can be an effective system for many people...when it's done well and in conjunction with at least some in-person sessions. (Naturally, that's what StrongFast Fitness offers via our Blended Fitness program.)

If you're looking for some fitness coaching via online personal training, keep this in mind when exploring options. Caveat Emptor!

Be seeing you.


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