Every industry is taking business online to digital platforms, and with the onset of COVID-19 closing gyms this year, it became evident that personal trainers should also jump on the trend. Even exclusively in-person trainers can gain from supplementing their one-on-one relationships with digital coaching services.
Digital coaching provides incredible value to clients, offering structure, accountability, and motivation, even if you are just meeting once a week in person. It will help your clients see results and achieve their goals. It can also provide you stability year round, or in times of crisis.
Patryk Piekarczyk, MS, CSCS, ACSM-CPT, a personal trainer and nutrition coach at Integrit Performance, shares 5 major ways digital coaching can help you keep your clients healthy and on track.
1. Increase Client Accountability
We have all had the client that says they’re going to work out almost every day, but after the first week, they fall off the face of the earth.
This comes down to accountability.
Traditionally, in order to increase accountability, you have to actively message clients to make sure they are doing their workouts. And during your training sessions, the only data point you have is their check-in history.
Instead of playing detective to figure out what your client did since the last session, using a digital platform like Everfit lets you see what, when, and how they did all their workouts. This keeps your clients in check because they know you’re checking their workouts. And if they forget, they will receive automated reminders every day they have a workout.
Oftentimes what people really pay a trainer for is accountability, and they will appreciate the trainer that reminds them when they’ve been off their game.
2. Set a Consistent Schedule
Setting an achievable schedule goes hand in hand with accountability. If you notice your client is constantly missing that Saturday morning workout, they may be overwhelmed. With your client’s workout data at your fingertips, you can now review and modify their program easily.
Sit down with your clients, find out what days they want to train, for how long, and have them agree to the training plan you are setting up for them.
This helps them buy into the process and gives them a consistent schedule that fits their lifestyle.
Having a regular schedule can have a lot of positive downstream effects for your client’s health as well. With a set training schedule (for example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday), your client can plan the rest of their week accordingly. This means they can now schedule in time to meal prep, focus on recovery, and maybe even hit the hay a bit earlier.
Of course, it’s also important to leave flexibility in their schedules because — life happens! Many of your clients will be busy with their families and jobs, and that’s okay. Through your coaching and support, they will build structure in their lives to workout regularly and stay healthy.
3. Set Long-term Goals
Clients often may not understand that training is a long term process. They want results immediately, but are they ready for consistent dedication?
By offering digital coaching, you are showing your clients that you’re invested in them long term. You want to follow along and see them grow. Showing your commitment also avoids any unrealistic expectations, such as getting abs in 30 days (sorry, not gonna happen). Long term goal setting allows your clients to see where their journey is taking them and have a future to be excited about. This shifts their mind to focus more on the process in the short term, rather than the lack of immediate achievement, which is a huge psychological benefit.
“By offering digital coaching you’re showing your clients that you’re invested in them long term.”
The art of long-term goal setting for clients is often overlooked in personal training. Many clients still only ask coaches to write them a workout to make them sweat. In explaining to your clients that the program you provide is continuous and progressive, you bring the relationship with your clients to the next level. You will see a boost in retention and establish a strong reputation with future clients.
4. Keep Track of Metrics on Digital Coaching Platforms
Very few clients carry a notebook to track their progress. And none of the commercial gyms I’ve worked at or have been in offers this to clients either. It is the trainer’s responsibility to keep records for clients, but you are not training with them all the time. So after training for a few months, when wins don’t come as easily and progress stalls, clients often lose focus.
Keeping track of everything will help your clients celebrate even small wins and keep them motivated.
Common misconception: But I didn’t lose weight!
We all know fitness is not just defined by weight. But when a client doesn’t lose weight, they often do not feel positive about it. So teaching them about strength and other metrics, you can help them be proud of their achievements, even when their weight has not lowered. Having other wins to celebrate allows them to stay positive, knowing they’re headed in the right direction.
Here are useful metrics other than weight and body fat that you can teach clients to track:
- Waist, arm, hip, chest, neck circumferences
- Lifting rep max records
- Lifting volume records
- Assessments (endurance, strength, flexibility)
- Hours of sleep per week
- Step count
So why not a notebook? Of course, you could track with pen and paper, but by using an online digital platform like Everfit, you allow both you and your client to contribute to record keeping. This enables seamless communication and visualization of their data and lets your clients know you truly care about their progress. Talk about being their favorite coach.
5. Optimize your Coaching, Digitally
Sometimes it can be difficult to narrow down what works for certain clients. Older clients, for example, might have trouble with recovery. Others might have personal stress that affects training. And at the same time, some clients may seek extra training.
By using a digital platform to keep track of training, your clients can provide valuable feedback on RPE, fatigue, or soreness. This allows you as a trainer to understand each client more deeply and learn from their results what works best. With good record keeping, you will be able to fine-tune training that most effectively suits the unique needs of your clients.
Last, but not least: Stay connected
Besides boosting client results, digital coaching can also help you boost sales. Rather than wait until the next gym shutdown, set your clients up with digital coaching a few days a week, in addition to their in-person lessons. This will allow you to stay connected always, so even if gyms were to shut down again, you will be prepared to keep your clients training healthy and strong.