Online Coaching vs Personal Training: Which Is Best?

With online coaching becoming increasingly popular, it begs the question of how 1-to-1 personal training compares.

What are the pros and cons of personal training vs online coaching? Should I move my business to an “Online Only” model? Can I afford to ​just​ work from my laptop? Will my clients like the change?

All very valid questions and, in this short article, we’ll aim to provide a few answers for you.

Personal Training Industry Going Digital

First of all, it’s not just the Personal Training industry that’s experiencing this shift into a more online or digital form of existence.

We’re seeing this happen all over the place. A prime example would be the “High Street Crisis”, where approximately 16,000 UK high street retailers closed in just the 12 months of 2019. The reason for this is the change in shoppers’ behaviour, where we opt for convenience and instant gratification. Physical stores can’t fulfill these in-built psychological preferences in the same way that the internet can.

That’s why Amazon is currently the world’s most valuable company. Anyway, what does this mean for your Personal Training business?

Well… as we (consumers, buyers, humans) become more and more accustomed to convenience and instant gratification, you’ll likely see surprisingly good returns from offering a more convenient and instant version of your service. A.K.A, online coaching!

Pros of Online Coaching

Online coaching is great because it can be conducted from your phone, tablet and/or laptop.
As an online coach, you can work with a higher volume of clients without compromising the quality of your service. You’re also no longer tied down to working from a fixed location.

*Insert image of you on the beach, sipping a margarita, whilst checking in with your clients here. #LaptopLifestyle

As an online coaching client, it’s also great, because it means that you can benefit from a quality coaching service, even when you’re not in the gym. This takes the focus away from that day’s session and leaves more room for more guidance in other areas of your health & fitness, too.

You can access your meal plan from an app on your phone, track your workouts and see your progress from an app on your phone, message your coach from the app on your phone and an awful lot more!

Cropped shot of a young male fitness instructor using a laptop while working in a gym

Online Coaching VS Personal Training

“So does this mean that Online Coaching is better than Personal Training?”

In lots of ways – yes. But not in every way. Keep reading…

We think that every Personal Trainer/Coach should consider an online version of their service, and see how they can best ride the wave of convenience for their clients. From a business point of view, you will likely find that you can work with more clients from more locations with less effort and (maybe) not even need to change out of your dressing gown in the morning. (We said maybe… don’t take our word for it)

That doesn’t mean that you should completely eliminate your one-to-one training from your menu, though. You might decide you want to, and that’s fine; it’s entirely a decision you’ll make for you, your business and your clients.

Pros of 1:1 Personal Training

In fact, we’re willing to bet that as time goes on, and online coaching becomes more popular, the “old school” in-person personal training will actually increase in value and that consumers (your clients) will be willing to spend more money and invest more time into you and an even more personal level of service.

Offering both of these services at once would typically be called a “hybrid” model of Personal Training.

If you’re already a My PT Hub user, then you have all the tools you need to start offering an Online version of your service right away, whilst continuing to offer your existing in-person training as well.

Finding What Offer Is Best for Your Fitness Clients

You may also want to consider how your in-person training and your online coaching compare to one another in terms of price, level of service, popularity and so on. What do your clients prefer? Have you noticed this change over the last 12 months? What do you feel most comfortable offering? Does online coaching make sense for your particular clients? Is your in-person training already a more exclusive option for those willing to spend more?

Man using smartphone during workout at home. Online personal trainer or on mobile phone. Internet fitness class or video course.

There are no right or wrong answers here; they’re purely observational. We think it’s an interesting topic and we hope that this short article has helped start a progressive train of thought for you internally.

If you have any questions or additional thoughts you’d like to share with us, then please don’t hesitate to reach out!

You can find us on @fitmediaco​ everywhere.

Also, if you’d like greater insight into how you can use the latest version of My PT Hub (V3.0) to offer an Online, In-Person or Hybrid service, then you may be interested in watching the free 42 minutes webinar we filmed with My PT Hub below!

Over ‘n’ out! ✌

Jonah Cockshaw
FitMedia Co.