the fitness journal
What is online personal training?
I wanted to give you an in-depth review of what online personal training is all about, how it works and whether or not it will work for you.
But first, here's a quick intro into how, when and why I got into world of online coaching.
I have been a personal trainer for over a decade. When I first started personal training, I was working 50+ personal training sessions a week.
As I transitioned to working on film sets with actors, that number fell to just one session a day. Working on some of the biggest film productions has been a great experience but I got into personal training to help people get in shape. Stuck in a film trailer at the unit base on a rainy day in Atlanta, I felt I had more to offer the world than watching hours of Netflix.
For that reason, back in 2012, I decided to get into online personal training. My aim has always been to try and help as many people as I can, not just help one person at a time. However, I have never wanted to compromise on the quality of the service I provide.
My early attempts got amazing results for people with fairly crude tools. Basic documents, limited and simple recipes and manual tracking but with the details just right the results were excellent.
With developments in technology and also my huge investment in innovating my services it's truly amazing how far things have moved on. I can now provide my services to more people than ever before thanks to online personal training.
So, what is online personal training?
Online personal training is hiring the services of a coach to help you achieve your fitness goals, but without actually meeting face to face.
This coach will hopefully be a qualified "real life" trainer, with years of experience training clients, but unfortunately this is not always the case.
The details of what you receive when you sign up to online coaching vary a lot depending on who you are working with and what you are spending.
A lot of online personal training is customised, meaning the training and nutrition are designed and calculated exactly for you. But there are many trainers not customising training and nutrition and providing cookie cutter plans.
Who is online personal training for?
Anyone can benefit from online personal training. It's often cheaper than face to face training, but you still benefit from a personalised training plan created for you by an experienced instructor. It can also be more flexible, allowing you to do your workouts at a time best suited to you, rather than the timetable of the fitness instructor.
However, as in any form of training, if you want to make progress towards your goals you need a certain level of dedication and motivation, be it online, one on one or group training. This is especially true for online training, as without face to face contact, there is more onus on you to commit yourself fully to the plan.
For now, I want to show you the procedure my online coaching follows. I can't speak for other coaches, but I can show you what I do.
Step 1 - Questionnaire
After you sign up there is a detailed and in-depth questionnaire and review. This allows me to find out exactly what I need to know to build your plans.
It covers everything in detail: your goals, training history, ability, nutritional requirements, available time, biggest challenges, injuries, your physical details and body type.
Step 2 – Build the first block
My training and nutrition are delivered in 4-week blocks. This allows me to adapt the plans as you make progress towards your goals, and make changes each month to ensure goals are met consistently.
Once I receive the questionnaire I get to work building the training plan and creating the meal plan in your account page.
The training is designed from the ground up, to ensure you receive exactly what you need and what you can manage. Training typically consists of a mixture of resistance training and cardio training; however, all of the training design is goal dependent.
You receive a detailed but easy to follow daily schedule that takes you through exactly what you need to do step by step. There are exercise videos to ensure you know what you should be doing as well as the facility for you to send me "form check" videos, so I can help critique your movements and ensure you are training safely and effectively.
You also receive a detailed meal plan with hundreds of meal options, every single one of them calorie calculated to your needs, and macro optimised to your goals and body type.
The food system is delivered online and allows you to pick the meals best suited to you, from taste preference to how much time you want to spend cooking (if any). I utilise a mixture of recipes styles to make it easy to use whilst still providing delicious food.
Step 3 - Review of first training and nutrition block
After you review what you receive we then discuss any adaptations that are needed to get you started. Once you are happy, you start following the plan.
Step 4 – Support, reviews and adaptation
Support is one of the most important things I can provide as a coach and it's something you should certainly be looking for.
As part of the support to my plans I provide in detail
● Customer weekly check-ins: these allow me to track progress and overcome any problems
● Progress reviews adaptation: plans cannot remain static. This goes for nutrition and training. In order to make continuous progress you need to adapt the plan.
● One-month full review: this full month review comes after the previous block is completed. From here we can shift goals, adjust training and make any changes needed to maximise results.
Step 5 – Build next training and nutrition block
Based on progress and all of the weekly feedback and reviews I can design the next 4-week training block. Exercise routines may be adapted, different movements, different reps, sets, rest periods, splits, etc.
At this point, based on your feedback and progress, I have a much greater understanding of what is going to work for you long term. With this knowledge, I can create a much more personalised and effective training block for your next 4 weeks.
Your nutrition is also adapted to ensure you have exactly what you need to make progress through the next training block. I also add new recipes on a weekly basis so you always have new and delicious food to choose from.
Repeat steps 4 and 5
That's the basic overview of how my coaching works. As I mentioned before, different coaches will work in different ways. However, here are some guidelines of what you should expect from an online coach:
● Customisation of training to meet goals and current physical condition
● Understanding of injuries
● Personalised calorie and macro meal plan
● Explanation to back up suggestions
● Adaptation of training and nutrition over time
Over the last few years the knowledge of the general public on exercise and nutrition has increased dramatically, often to a point where they may know more about food than the trainers who are looking after them.
However, with this wave of information, the amount of incorrect or misleading information has also increased dramatically.
With so much being written about nutrition, health and fitness on the internet, is can be difficult to cut through it all and work out the basics of exactly what you need to achieve your goals.
Often people take extreme measures to try and get in shape without getting the basics right.
You don't need extreme calorie restriction to lose weight. You don't need to cut out entire food groups or train intensely for hours a day to get in shape. But you 100% have to get the basics right:
● Clear goals
● Training designed to achieve these goals
● Activity levels and personal details determined to calculate calorie needs
● An eating method that ensures you get correct calories and macros in a sustainable and enjoyable way
● Dedication, consistency and bit of hard graft
If your coaching doesn't seem to provide these basics, your hard work may not be rewarded.
Avoid extreme or unsustainable diets, cookie cutter training and food plans. Also be wary of under-qualified or inexperienced trainers who talk the game but don't have the knowledge or skills to allow you to reach your goals safely and effectively.