Online personal training is primed to bring about a major shift in the personal training industry. It's a game-changer as it has the potential to attract new segments of the population who are either currently not served at all or have been poorly served historically by traditional personal training businesses.
What's more, these segments are massive with high demand and low competition. That means that if your business can offer services to meet the demand of these segments, then it can attract many new clients quickly and grow rapidly.
In this guide about online personal training, we'll cover:
- What it is
- The secret sauce
- Big opportunities you can unlock with it
- How to get your first 10 clients
- How to scale your online business
- How to price it
- How to perform client assessments
As opposed to meeting clients in-person, online personal training delivers fitness training through software, such as TrainerFu. While you mostly bypass face-to-face interaction in this model, you do gain other benefits of training that are essential to help your clients get faster results.
In particular, modern personal training software allows you to provide unparalleled accountability, support, education, and nutrition and habit coaching to your clients like never before. For example, the software enables you to:
Deliver workouts directly to your client's personal training app. Clients can see their workout plan, along with detailed instructions and helpful exercise videos, right in their app.
Hold your clients accountable and monitor their progress. For instance, did they complete their workouts? Are they eating right (nutrition tracking)? Are they sticking to their habits? Did they track their weight today?
Keep your clients engaged. Build a strong, supportive community through the private social network that is built right into the app. Plus, educate your clients about important topics with in-app courses or nudge them in the right direction with automated messages.
Be available when your clients need you with the in-app chat feature. Likewise, provide feedback and positive reinforcement by commenting on their activities in the news feed.
Modern personal training software allows you to deliver amazing training experiences to your clients – no matter where they are.
Specifically, there are two characteristics of online personal training that make it unique and different from traditional, in-person training:
It requires much less time per client.
In a traditional model, a personal trainer has two or three in-person training sessions per week with each client. Add on the administrative work, and you're up to 8 to 12 hours per month per client. This is a huge time investment. And, while it might be justified for some beginner clients, it's overkill for most intermediate or experienced clients.
Conversely, online personal training drastically reduces the time it takes to train a client because the majority of the training is delivered through personal training software. While most online personal trainers do include one video call each week to touch base with individual clients, that's about the extent of the live interaction. As a result, the time required to train a client is drastically reduced; online personal training takes about one-third of the time of traditional personal training.
It's not tied to a physical location.
Because online personal training is delivered through personal training software, you can train clients anywhere in the world. Therefore, you're not limited to clients who live or work within five miles of your business.
Moreover, because it requires fewer hours to train a client and isn't dependent upon a physical location, online personal training opens the door to expand your personal training services to new segments of the population.
Here are some of the types of clients that a savvy personal training business can capture by offering online personal training:
Consumers on a Budget
The average price of a one-hour personal training session in the U.S. is about $65. So, a client who has two personal training sessions per week spends $520 per month on fitness. That's expensive for most people.
On the other hand, the average gym membership costs around $65 for the entire month. This leaves a big pricing gap between gym membership and one-on-one personal training. And, currently, not many fitness products are compelling enough to catch the attention of this mid-priced segment of the general population.
For example, someone who has $250 a month to invest in fitness will end up getting a gym membership for $65 and pocketing the remaining $185. Unfortunately, this is a lose-lose situation for both the fitness industry and the customer; the customer is unable to maximize their value and the fitness business loses potential revenue.
In reality, prospects who can't afford one-on-one personal training – but who are also looking for something better than a gym membership – are left with few choices.
However, online personal training (along with hybrid personal training) can fill this major gap in the fitness market. That's because you can offer online personal training at a much more affordable price because it takes you less time to deliver it to each client.
But, offering affordable packages doesn't mean you're less profitable. On the contrary; a well-designed online training package should actually increase your hourly rate because you'll deliver a lot more value per hour of your time.
Perhaps you have specialized expertise that is in demand, but only by a select group of people – maybe 10,000 to 100,000 individuals around the world – such as personal training for figure competitors. Online personal training allows you to reach these small, yet very profitable, market segments.
People Who Can't Train In-Person
A significant number of people travel frequently, live in a remote location, have a tight schedule or prefer to work out at home. For these people, in-person training is not an option. Once again, online personal training addresses the needs of this segment by providing them flexibility in both their exercise schedule and location.
In addition to unlocking new opportunities, online personal training is also easy to get started. All you need is modern personal training software that fits your needs. The tricky part is getting new clients for your online personal training business. In the next few sections, we'll cover just that.
The best way to find your first few online personal training clients is to reach out to the people who already know, like and trust you, such as:
Past clients: It's possible that some of your past clients left because of financial issues or because they moved away. In either case, reach out to them to offer online personal training, which addresses both budget and physical location concerns.
Graduating clients: These are your clients who have met their goals and are thinking about going on their own. Online personal training might be just the right fit for them to maintain their results and to keep themselves accountable during this transition.
Prospects looking for affordable training. If you meet someone who can't join because of the expense associated with in-person training, suggest online personal training as an inexpensive alternative to face-to-face personal training.
Clients who are moving away. Because online personal training isn't tied to a physical location, it presents an opportunity for clients to keep training with you even when they move away.
Keep in mind that online personal training is very new and, as such, not widely understood. While you can try to explain the benefits, the best way to win over prospects is by giving them a short (5- to 10-day) free trial. During this time, you can also take them through an automated fitness challenge that delivers a small value and demonstrates how online personal training can work for them.
Tapping into your network will get you your first set of online clients, but it will only take you so far. To keep growing your fitness business faster, you need a system that can reach cold prospects on social media and convert them into hot leads and, ultimately, paying clients. Such a system is called a sales funnel.
We have written a comprehensive guide that goes in every detail on how to build a high-converting sales funnel in no time using TrainerFu. I highly recommend you read it next.
When it comes to pricing and packaging, it's best to keep it simple; you don't want your prospects to be in a state of analysis paralysis. Specifically, we recommend no more than two packages.
- Base Package: In this package, include the minimum that a client needs to achieve their goals.
- Premium Package: Increase your level of support (such as weekly or biweekly Skype calls) and add services on top of the base package.
Once you've designed your packages, determine the monthly prices for each package. To do that:
- List everything included in the package.
- Calculate the number of hours per month it would take you to deliver everything you listed in step 1.
- Use the following formula to calculate the monthly price:
Number of hours x Your hourly rate x Online training value factor* = Monthly price
* The "online training value factor" should be 10% to 15% premium on your hourly rate. This is because your pricing should be based on the value you deliver to your clients – rather than just the number of hours you work. So, because online training packs in more value per hour of your services, you can charge a higher price for it.
Additionally, when you register a new client, encourage them to sign up for recurring billing. Doing so will streamline your process and prevent you from having to chase down clients every month for payment.
It's definitely possible to provide valuable assessments to your online clients. First, as with any type of assessment, give them clear instructions ahead of time. Below is a list of most commonly used assessment for online training:
This is the easiest of all the assessments your clients can do. However, that also means that it's the one that is most often mistaken and overused. As such, instruct your clients to weigh themselves only once every few weeks.
Progress photos are not only great for your clients to visualize their progress, but also helpful for your business to collect much-needed social proof. So, set up a reminder in TrainerFu to encourage them to take and upload their progress photos at regular intervals.
Tape measurements should be easy for all types of clients; they just need a tape measure and simple instructions to do it correctly.
Body Fat Percentage
Calculate body fat percentage from the tape measurement that your client recorded or give them the formula to calculate it on their own.
Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
There are two ways you can do an FMS:
- Via a live Skype or Zoom call
- Through recorded video
If the client is a beginner or new to FMS, set up a video conferencing call first. Then, once they have some experience with it, ask them to record their movement and send it to you. In both cases, include detailed instructions to your client beforehand so you don't waste time during a live video call.
There are a variety of ways to test endurance, so choose something that will work for your clients. For example:
- Run for a set amount of time (such as 9, 10 or 12 minutes) and record the distance you traveled.
- Run for a set distance (such as 1 mile, 1.5 miles or 1,200 meters) and record the time it took you.
Online personal training is tipping off a massive shift in the personal training industry. It's set to open up personal training to a whole new group of people and, as a result, drastically increase the size of the market. The good news is that it's just starting to get traction, and you're on the forefront. Now is your chance to adopt a new business model, build a solid fitness brand and get way ahead of the competition.
If you haven't done so already, sign up for your TrainerFu free trial and get started with online personal training today!