The difference between personal training and online coaching

We often hear the same thing from personal trainers who work with clients face-to-face:

Clients will see their personal training session as a “magic hour” for their coach to solve all of their health and fitness problems.

They know that a personal trainer will add more volume and work to their gym session than if they’d been left to their own devices.

And they’ll often throw a lot of money at the problem, expecting higher fees to equal better results.

But if the client slips back into unhealthy habits when they’re on their own, it can be very frustrating for the personal trainer.

Especially if they’re blamed by the client for not reaching their fitness goals.

The limitations of face-to-face personal training

A photo of a weight lifting session
Personal trainers working an eight-hour shift at the gym will struggle to fit in follow-up support for their clients

Working with someone in-person as their personal trainer means that you’re incentivised to deliver a really good session in the hour you have with them, and get them to renew.

But the problems arise in the other 23 hours of the day when you’re not with them.

80% of the adherence issues clients have tends to be around nutrition, because there are so many important decisions you make throughout the week. Every time you eat a meal, there’s a chance you’ll get the nutrition wrong.

And if you’re a personal trainer working an eight-hour shift at the gym, where’s the time to fit in follow-up support for the client outside of your session?

You’re also limited to training clients who happen to live in your local area and use your gym.

This is where online coaching can be far more satisfying. Working online, you could work with anyone, and you’ve got a big-picture dashboard to help clients track their progress and maintain healthy habits.

Two very different types of client

You also tend to attract a different type of client online compared to at the gym.

Clients who go to the gym will usually pay for a personal trainer because they know it will motivate them to push themselves more than they would at home.

But online clients want something a bit different from what a traditional coach might offer.

Most people you coach online are already going to the gym, so they’re already motivated clients.

And they’re usually happy to put in the hard work over a period of months or years, because they know that they won’t get results overnight.

Choose pricing that will attract long-term clients

We’ve spoken before about why we recommend that online fitness coaches go for mid-ticket pricing (around £50-150 a month for a group coaching programme).

Choosing pricing that clients can comfortably pay for long-term means that you’re more likely to get people people who are already training at the gym and thinking about good nutrition.

Because they know that fitness is a long-term commitment.

It’s a priority for them to find someone to help them get better results, not quick results.

The numbers reflect this.

Our analytics show that the people who are on the mid-ticket programmes are the highest lifetime value and get the best results.

High-ticket pricing doesn’t work well for anyone.

Even if you’re amazing at marketing, you’re not likely to get repeat clients through high-ticket pricing.

You’re also likely to attract clients who see a fitness programme as a quick way to get results.

On the other hand, if you build a programme that’s going to make someone want to stay for two years, there’s a lot of emphasis on what the programme and systems looks like.

And it’s always best to be honest with clients about what you can help them achieve, and how long it will take.

Thinking about moving your coaching business online?

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You can access our free online training to find out more about how to build and deliver a profitable online programme to your clients.

We’re also happy to put in some time for a chat if you’d like to speak to us about business mentoring. You can book a call with us here.

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