- Good online personal trainers check all the boxes of ACCE
- Online personal training is great if you are a busy parent with a constantly shifting schedule
- Not so great if you are unmotivated
This might seem like a completely biased self serving article…and I’d agree with you to some extent.
But online personal training is a relatively new concept to some people which means there is a lot of confusion holding people back from some truly life changing results.
And I’m sure you’ve heard a few people get screwed by online personal trainers which further makes you nervous.
I wrote this article to help you figure out if online personal training is for you, what to expect, and how to pick a good online personal trainer FOR YOU.
As you might guess I believe in this, partly because I’ve devoted 6 years of my life to it but because I have hired online personal trainers in the past and gotten really good results from it when I prepped for my photoshoot last year.
The Four Pillars Of Good Online Personal Training
Each episode, I deconstruct world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. ~ Tim Ferriss talking about his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.
As I’ve learned from the show, high performers regardless of the field they are in are more similar than they are different. Good online personal trainers are no different.
When it comes to a good online personal trainer, you want to make sure they are hitting the Four Pillars of good coaching.
Those pillars are: Accountability, Communication, Customization, and Education (ACCE).
The all important piece to online personal training. This is the hidden gem, secret sauce if you will, that will be the difference between wasting 3 months or getting good results in 3 months. From learning guitar to changing your body, having someone to hold you accountable to the plan is crucial.
Think about the last time you tried a diet and stopped after a few days because life got busy. There’s no consequences to you quitting when going at it alone. With accountability it adds a little more fire under your ass to keep you going despite what life throws at you.
I don’t like walking with my eyes closed. Call me crazy (call me maybe) but I like to know what is coming up so I can plan for it. The same goes for changing your body.
It’s always helpful to know what is coming so you can be ready. This is where communication comes in. Good communication is CRUCIAL in any relationship and online personal training is no different.
An open line of communication is critical to make sure 1) you understand completely what is expected of you 2) your goals and what you are doing are aligned and 3) all your questions are answered.
Generic plans give you generic results. What works for me, might not work for you and any plan that doesn’t take that into consideration is failing you.
Whether it’s past injuries, food preferences or responsibilities, everything needs to be taken into consideration and your plan should work around that, rather than take over your life.
A plan only works if it works FOR YOU.
While I’m sure every online personal trainer alive would love you to pay them forever, the truth is at some point you want to go your separate way. And when you do, you should be able to do everything on your own. This is where education on what you are doing, why you are doing it, and when and how to switch things are all things you should know.
You prob won’t be able to take your own clients but you should have been given the knowledge to know what works for you so you don’t go on the roller coaster of yo-yo dieting and not getting results in the gym.
Each of these pillars should be addressed by your trainer and if they don’t, get another personal trainer.
Benefits Of Online Personal Trainers
Have you heard the analogy of drinking from a firehose?
That’s what getting usable information on changing your body is like on the internet.
Everyone and their mother is trying to jam their supplement, diet, exercise equipment and program down your throat like an overly eager male porn star.
With an online personal trainer you have one source of information that has a proven track record (assuming they have had successful clients in the past). This streamlining of info allows you to better execute because you aren’t getting pulled 40 different ways and constantly switching plans.
Proven System –
Online personal trainers usually have a system or at least a framework to get you results.
Personally, my system is getting really good with the basics then leveling up. I’m also a huge proponent of counting calories.
Some online personal trainers are big on certain diets and skip the calorie counting portion which is cool if it works for them and you. Regardless, each online personal trainer has a way to get you the results you want. No more piece-mealing it and wasting time and effort.
Busy day at work and you need to push off a workout until tomorrow? Can’t do that with an in-person personal trainer. With online personal training you can schedule your workouts when it works for you, not someone else.
Who Online Personal Training Isn’t For
While I’d love to sit here and say online personal training will work for everyone, I just can’t.
There are certain groups of people I’ve found that it just doesn’t work for:
If you are unmotivated you just aren’t going to do the work needed. No matter how good your online personal trainer is or how they hold you accountable these people still won’t do the work.
Some online personal trainers like working with beginners…I don’t.
When someone is first getting into working out I find it VERY helpful, borderline mandatory, to hire an in-person personal trainer.
In the workout, they can tweak your form on the fly which is immensely helpful when you are starting off. I normally ask for form videos but it’s a post game analysis which a more experienced lifter can easily incorporate in future workouts.
Taking the Leap
The unknown can deter some people from taking the leap; I know it’s done for me before I started online personal training myself.
So I wanted to give you a roadmap of what to expect from the Aesthetic Physiques Coaching Program. From the online personal trainers I’ve worked with, the high level flow is pretty similar.
After you setup a time to talk that works for you, the initial call is all about your workout and diet history, past and current injuries, goals, and life restrictions.
This action packed call lasts roughly 15-30 mins depending on the conversation we strike up. Gotta be honest here, a lot of my calls are 20% the stuff I mentioned above and 80% us shooting the shit and getting to know each other which is fantastic.
If we both decide to work together then I’ll send you an email outlining all the basic intro stuff. Things like how to pay, getting you into my workout app, your movement assessment, and getting you into MyFitnessPal.
Starting To Work Together-
Once I get all that info back, I’ll start building your workout and nutrition plan. This usually takes 1-2 days depending on what day of the week I get all the information.
I also send over your Tracker and a video on how to fill it out.
This tracker is quite possibly the most important part of the program. This is all the metrics live which helps to hold you accountable throughout the time we work together. With this I can see how your body is reacting to the workouts and nutrition plan and make adjustments when needed.
This tracker is also killer for ensuring consistency. (Did I really just say killer? FML) Rather than having consistency left to feeling, we have hard data to show if you’ve been consistent or not.
Your workout will be given to you through the app and it looks something like this:
There are videos of all the exercise, reps and sets, and coaching cues to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. So once you get to the gym, all you have to do is open the app and execute.
If you have questions at any time, the app has a messaging feature so feel free to shoot me a message at any time. (Any good online personal trainer should have a means of open communication.)
Your nutrition plan at first is going to be a calorie and protein target at first. If you’re more advanced I’ll add in fat and carb targets.
I don’t want to bog you down with tons of new shit to do and have you hate the process after 2 days. We start slow and ramp up intensity as you feel comfortable. I outlined my entire nutritional leveling up process in this article if you are interested.
Once you get all the info from me, moving forward is all about refining the basics so it becomes second nature to you.
Once it’s second nature and you have the confidence and ability to handle any situation life throws at you is where the REAL fun starts because you can change your body almost at will with just a few tweaks.
We’ll also have weekly check-ins. Every Sunday I’ll send you a form to fill out. I ask questions like how stress was, how was sleep, any wins for the week etc. This along with your tracker gives me a really good handle on how life is for you, how your body is responding and what we need to do next.
In my response I’ll detail out what was good, what needs work, any adjustments (workout or nutrition), and any strategies/tips to make things you might be struggling with or would level up your workout/nutrition to get better results. In my response, I’ll also give you the why we are doing this this way and what to expect next.
It’s always helpful to know what is coming down the road instead of being blindsided by it.
This constant feedback is crucial to your success. It would suck if you only received feedback every month or not at all and wasted all that time doing something wrong.
How To Pick The Right Online Personal Trainer For You
As a consumer, YOU have all the power. There’s thousands, if not millions of different online personal trainers out there each with their own tweak on the same shit.
Nothing is magical, nothing is a secret that only they know. It’s just marketing spin on helping you reduce calories for fat loss and progressively overloading you in the gym.
So with that out of the way, here’s how I recommend you find the right online personal trainer for you.
First and foremost, you want someone you get along with. When you like the person, or they seem like someone you would like in real life, it makes the whole process a whole lot more enjoyable.
Second, they should hit all the pillars of ACCE. Check out their content for this. Articles, social media posts, emails should hit most of these and at very least the education portion.
If you feel dumber or confused after reading their content, they are either poor communicators or not big on the education portion.
Third, if their approach to achieve your goal sounds like hell, they prob aren’t a good fit. There’s lots of different ways to program workouts to build muscle and diet to burn fat.
The trainer’s approach should be something you feel comfortable with, palatable, and that makes sense to you.
For example, if you are a parent that has a 10-12 hour work day, going with an online personal trainer that wants you to workout 5 days per week and eat only broccoli and chicken breast might not be the best option. Likewise, if they are full into Keto but you love carbs, prob not a good fit for you long term.
I also wouldn’t get caught up in the shiny tools they offer as “extra value” to their online personal training packages. I could give you a broken Rolex but it would be useless to you for telling time.
That’s kinda how shiny tools are. It sounds great at first (wow I’m getting a Rolex!) but if it isn’t tailored to your situation and needs it’s useless.
Some of the best online personal trainers I know started off using Google Sheet to give their workouts, some still do. It’s nice and convenient to have an app deliver workouts but it’s what is in the workout that matters, not the delivery system.
Wrap It Up B
I hope this helped demystify the whole online personal training world for you. It can be confusing and there’s a lot of good markers in the fitness space all trying to get your attention, which puts you in power.
I really believe in the online personal training world, hell I spent the last 6 years of my life living in it. Having been on both sides of it, I love the convenience, confidence and the results without having to be stuck with the potential lack of talent of in-person personal trainers in my area. I can hire world class online personal trainers for roughly the same price.
Can’t beat that value.
As long as you can find someone you think you’d like in real life and hit all the pillars of ACCE you’ll be well on your way to building the body of your dreams.