Being able to connect with your ideal coach, who just happens to be thousands of kilometres away, is a great reflection of the unlimited potential and interconnectedness of the big www (worldwide web). And remote coaching, or online coaching/online personal training has gained a lot of traction with apps that make it easier to access online services.
It offers flexibility, in some cases more affordability, and immense choice. But is it right for you, and how do you know if your prospective trainer is the right fit?
This is the easiest place to start. Check out who your prospective coach has been certified by and what kind of formal training they’ve taken, if any. However, there’s a lot to be said for on-the-job training, and other methods of knowledge acquisition outside a formal school environment. What education can show, though, is a commitment to furthering knowledge in a field. And it shows what your prospective coach can bring to the table when training you.
Experience and testimonials
Tread lightly here, as anyone can look good online. That being said, experience is a big factor. It doesn’t necessarily mean how long someone has been working, but rather, what variety of clients have they worked with, and in what different environments? This can help with determining how flexible and easy to work with your prospective trainer may be. Check out their testimonials, too. While they may be weeding out any bad ones, it never hurts to get a sense of what other people are saying about them.
Philosophy and style
This is the most important consideration in my humble opinion. What does your prospective coach value? They may look good on their Instagram feed, doing that one handed pull-up, but will that make them the right trainer for you. If they value bodybuilding and you just want to lose a few pounds, you probably haven’t picked the right person. You’re choosing someone who you’re going to ask to motivate you, to chat with you, to give you feedback, to share your feelings, to share high points and low points. Beyond experience and education, philosophical and personal fit will help to build and grow a great trainer-client relationship that will certainly see you to success.
Things to consider
Know your motivation level. An online trainer isn’t the same as meeting your trainer at the gym. You’ll need to have some of your own initiative to do the workouts they give you. No one can be your 24/7 cheerleader but you, so be honest about which training option will net you the most success.
Are you a complete beginner? It’s not to say that online coaches can’t work with any level of client, but complete beginners can greatly benefit from hands-on training and feedback. Perhaps a few in-person sessions before you transition to remote coaching are necessary.
Do you have significant injuries or limitations? Again, remote coaches can deal with them the same as in-person coaches, but sometimes with significant injuries it helps to have a trainer right there to help you with form, modifications and safety, in real time.
There are significant plusses to remote coaching. But, not only should you make sure you find a coach who fits with your style, philosophy and goals, you should also ensure that once you have your ideal trainer, you can motivate yourself to get to the gym and work on those goals.
Do what you can with what you have where you are, and always prioritize the positive.
Melissa Sloos is a certified group fitness instructor, spin instructor and co-owner at Coast Fitness.