Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Is Online Coaching the Right Option for You?

There are a lot of trainers and coaches out there that are currently utilizing some form of online platform with their clients, but owing to the number doing so there are also broad definitions of what constitutes "online coaching". This variance creates a little bit of confusion and can  make it difficult to decide if finding an online coach is a good choice – though in the end success will ultimately depend on the coach and the client being the right match, as well as you (the client) having the right amount of intrinsic motivation and self-discipline.

In terms of how it specifically works, my own online system breaks down into one of three formats:
  1. A client pays a monthly fee for access to a specific type of program and the use of the online training platform (I use “Trainerize”, but there are many others available – and though they all have pros and cons, I’ve found Trainerize to be the most complete). This type of programming is not tailored to the individual – it’s based purely off their goals. It is similar to if you came to me and told me you were running a marathon, and I told you what book at Chapters to buy; though in this case, the program has the advantage of changing every 4-6 weeks, videos of each exercise attached, and its own log to track your progress.
  2. A client pays a monthly fee for a program that is modified and tailored to them (injuries, goals, etc), and have access to up to an hour of coaching (phone, Skype or Facetime). They also have ongoing support throughout the month via email and the newsletter (additional online coaching can be booked in 15min increments).
  3. A client pays both the monthly fee for all of the options in #2, plus an additional fee to replace the online coaching with in person coaching – either 1 private session or 2 semi-private sessions.

So which one, if any, would be the right one for you?

While the first option is the most cost-effective, its limitations mean that it is best for people with a long history of experience. You’ll be required to not only recognize your limitations (both daily and weekly), but you’ll also need to have a good idea about how to modify the session to fit your current status. Further, since there is no one to check your form on exercises (unless you happen to have a friend that is a properly certified coach, specifically with the movements involved in the program), you have no way of knowing if you’re performing them in a way that allows for a  maximized return on effort.

The second option is probably the ideal one for most people, striking the balance of individualized programming/coaching with the both cost and accessibility. You will still need experience with the gym – the amount of coaching available simply isn’t enough to learn a new skill properly – but assuming the sessions are focused on improving a learned fundamental rather than starting from scratch this is a great choice.

Finally, if you are local and can’t commit either the time or the cost (or both) to a weekly or bi-weekly training session, then the third option will be your best bet. You can use the 1-2 in-person sessions to check and refine form, which may allow for faster progress since the immediacy allows for hands-on and real-time coaching.

If you think any of the above options would work for you, please feel free to contact me directly ( and we can explore the options in greater detail.


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