Before diving too deep into the history & roles of remote coaches or even if it is a good fit for your situation i'd like to describe what a remote coach is.
Remote Coaching: A personalized, progressive fitness program, applied in an online setting where there is a one-to-one relationship between the coach and client.
In essence remote coaching is a traditional in-person fitness coach without the client and coach being in the same location.
Now just because a remote coach is similar to a traditional in-person one doesn't mean they can be used interchangeably or that they are for everyone. Both in-person and remote coaches have a place within the fitness coaching continuum but they fulfill different niches and are enjoyed by different types of people. As such you need to make an informed decision before choosing what type of coach you are looking for. Now let's dive into the article to figure out the history of how remote coaching came to be and when it is appropriate over traditional personal training for your situation.
Personal trainers and coaches are in an ever present battle trying to make their businesses more efficient while maintaining the results. But there are only so many hours in a day that they can work with clients. The first big enhancement in efficiency was doing small class individual coaching, with anywhere between 2-15 clients. This was highly effective but was still time sensitive as you needed to coordinate everyone that was going to be attending and if people were late it could throw off the entire program. They still needed to find something more efficient.
Since then people have dabbled in things like workout videos, books, or pamphlets but this caused significant decreases in efficiency of training because there was no individual design training. It was all cookie cutter programming, and didn’t take into account the goals, imbalances, or even the starting point of the client.
But since the advent of mainstreaming the internet this battle became significantly easier. They achieved this through online or remote coaching, this is the practice of utilizing software to streamline workouts at the convenience of the client. It began with emailing word and excel documents to their clients on a daily basis and they would email you back videos to correct form. This increased their efficiency exponentially! Rather than 50 clients in a week they could work with 100 clients every day and the clients would see better results over time. Since those days software has been developed that makes it more convenient for both client and coach to converse and consume their program.
Remote Coaches Place In The Fitness Space
Today remote coaches have a massively versatile role in the fitness space, able to work with beginners and high level performance athletes alike. Many people utilize remote coaches to find the right coach to program for their needs and goals without having the restriction of location. The cost per session of these coaches are also significantly less making it much more economical. I'll be going into all the benefits in a later post but for now I want to focus on the next section.
How To See If A Remote Coach Is Right For You
The key in understanding if a remote coach is right for you primarily lies with your location, goals, financial capabilities, technique level, time, and preferences. Ill give a very basic rundown of these 6 factors.
The first biggest determining factor is location; great coaches tend to be centralized around large population centers this gives them the versatility of having a large client population as well as working within their niche clients. But as you get to more remote locations the number of quality coaches and trainers go down significantly. As such a remote coach can benefit you immensely in this situation. You can find the world's top coaches that want to work in your specific niche and you don't need to be anywhere near them to benefit from their immense wealth of knowledge. If you are in a major population center then this shouldn't be an issue especially if you are looking for in person work.
Another big factor is your goals; because each individual has unique goals; your coach needs to have an intimate knowledge of your goals and how to effectively achieve them. If your goals revolve around general fitness you can go to basically any certified coach and develop yourself in a safe healthy manner, but if you have specific goals with performance and efficiency in mind you need to be highly selective.
The fact is the majority of personal trainers are not knowledgeable enough to program for a variety of clients, with many generic personal trainers only being competent enough to program for general weight loss and wellness. This isn't to hate on them just a fact that most education programs are designed for the general population rather than a niche of lets say MMA fighters, or in my case tactical athletes. Personally I think the work they do is a god sent for many people trying to better themselves but facts are facts.
I'll give a personal example, during the beginning of my fitness journey I had experienced a wide variety of trainers while I was preparing for the military. Each one had a particular way of training but almost none were intimately knowledgeable on the requirements of tactical athletes. Some of these coaches had only prescribed me to do workouts on weight lifting machines, some had only trained me to do HIIT, and some had a variety of high repetition weight lifting and short runs.
During that time I had trained at least 4 days a week for 2 years but I barely had any strength progression, my cardio stayed stagnant, & I actually gained body fat. After learning more about my niche and completing multiple performance based physical fitness education courses I learned that all of these programs were bad for my goals and the nutrition advice I received was horrendous.
Do some research to know your niche and grill any potential coach on the baseline requirements of these athletes. It will save you time, money, and effort over time.
Some questions I would ask include:
-Are these athletes aerobic, anaerobic, phosgenic
-Do they require large power outputs, large relative strength, large absolute strength
-Ask about how your coach knows how to program for these specific athletes
Cost is a big determining factor when finding a coach, their time is valuable and the better they are generally the more they cost. For most in person coaches you are looking at a price range of $30-300 per hour for individual training, as such most performance level coaches sit in the $50-130 per hour price range. This means for effective daily individual coaching for a 2 hour workout program you can look to spend up to $10 000 per month which is just not feasible for most of the population.
But due to the increased time efficiency of online coaching this price is significantly reduced with personalized programs costing anywhere from $50-5000 per month, with most performance coaches sitting in the $100-400 per month price range. This makes these coaches much more affordable especially when seeking quality coaches. For my services I charge about 14 times less for a month of remote coaching than I would for the same training in person.
Your Technique Level
Technique is likely the most important factor when deciding between an in-person coach vs a remote coach. If you struggle heavily with lifting technique an in person coach is well worth the money to not risk a serious and debilitating injury. A remote coaches can fix form over video effectively, but it does takes time and effort. An in-person coach has the benefit of fix it immediately and supervise all lifts to ensure maximum safety.
The main thing is recognizing the quality of the form you have, and finding a solution to what you require. Now there is no official ranking system of a lift but if we were to use a 1-10 rating I say anyone who has an average lifting form above a 6/10 is appropriate for an online coach while anything less will require in person intervention or a mixed program.
Time can be a big determining factor with any in person coach, if they are in high demand you need to be free when they are. With many top level coaches they are booked solid from dusk to dawn because their clients see the value in their knowledge and want as much training with them as possible. Meaning unless you get lucky, you won't be able to effectively find training time with them. This can be especially difficult if you work odd or long hours.
For myself over most of my formative training I had worked nights which made it prohibitive to find any great fitness coach for my goals. When I finally found a decent one I would work a 8-12 hour night shift, have to sleep for 3 hours then wake up go to the gym to train with him then back to sleep. This messed up my hormone regulation and hurt my long term health for many years. Looking back at it this was not a smart choice for myself.
The benefit of remote coaching is the ability for clients to interact when it is convenient for them. Clients can workout at 7 am and their coach can check their workout whenever after that time, making it less time prohibitive for both yourself and your coach.
Finally there is your personal preference, some people just love having a knowledgeable companion to workout with. Other people just like to workout alone with music. It doesn't matter which you prefer or why you prefer it. Its your fitness journey and you should enjoy it to the fullest!
Both in-person and remote coaches have immense value to anyone looking for fitness and nutrition coaching but you as the client need to find what will suit you best! I find that about 90% of my clients are more than suitable to work with a remote coach but the individual client needs to see if a remote coach is what they want. Look around, do your research, find different coaches, programs, and look into the software they use and if you would be okay using it at all. They all have a factor in how receptive to the training you will be and over time finding the right fit will make you as successful throughout your journey as possible.
Are you still unsure which coaching service is right for you? Feel free to connect with our team over email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Service Page to determine a proper coaching program for you