How To Be a Great Online Fitness Coach

This article is a blueprint for trainers trying to be successful online. Communication is key to being a successful online fitness coach. You need to be able to listen to your clients needs, nail your consultation call, explain your offers, and check in regularly with your clients – all of which are aspects of clear and thoughtful communication. This article also touches on the business of online coaching; how to attract customers, how to utilize your reach, and how to collect payment.


How We Started Our Online Fitness Business 

People don’t get into the fitness industry to make money, but that doesn’t mean the money isn’t there if you stick with it and learn from your mistakes.


Barpath Fitness originally started as a blog, giving free information online. We decided to move to Colorado from Chicago and a lot of our clients wanted to keep training with us. So we started online training in 2019. Fast forward to COVID, everything changed, and we already had a system set up for online coaching, and we needed to continue to make ends meet, so we invested a lot into Barpath. Barpath continued to grow, and we are still continuing to grow. 


Fitness Industry Saturation 

As an aftermath of COVID and insta-famous fitness trainers, the online fitness industry is completely saturated. Online coaching is now a new norm for many reasons. Online coaching is cheaper than in-person coaching, so most people are investing in online coaches. The good news is, however, online coaches can see more clients online than in-person. 


Our Training Strategy

To set ourselves apart from other online fitness services, we specialize in strength training and solid programming around it. We offer one-time purchase programs, but most importantly, we offer individualized 1:1 coaching. This has allowed us to use our Stronger Than Your Boyfriend Podcast to give great nutrition advice for free, so someone can get solid results if they listen to our podcast nutrition advice and become a 1:1 client.


Nail Consultation Calls 

When you nail your consultation call, you book the client. It’s that simple. But there is a lot that you need to be aware of to get to that point. Think of your intake call as building a relationship with a potential client. Put yourself out there so they want to choose YOU.


Listen To The Client 

Actually listen to what your potential client is saying, don’t interrupt as they are talking, and reiterate their goals back to them. 


Explain How Online Fitness Works

Explain how online fitness coaching works, because chances are, working with an online personal trainer is new to them.


Explain What You Offer 

Talk about your programming. Walk them through every step of what the process of what working with you looks like. Explain your packages. Be detailed and thorough. 


Answer Questions

Allow time for your potential client to ask questions, because they will most likely have a lot.


How To Be A Great Online Fitness Coach 


Check In On The Client 

You need to explain to your client that they are a priority, and follow that through in action. You have to make sure they know and trust that you will be there for them as their fitness coach no matter what.


Once you have a client booked, you need to do assessments by watching videos of them performing foundational movements. Analyze their technique from their videos as a way to help structure their programming. We use the TrueCoach app for this. 


Be on top of your feedback to clients as they complete their workouts, and make sure you’re checking your apps multiple times a day. When you’re in frequent communication with your clients, you create a feeling of “us working together” to achieve their fitness goals, which is what they signed up for. 


Check-in calls are also extremely important. Some clients will be very consistent and some clients will be sporadic. Take the opportunity to check-in with sporadic clients more often, and as needed with the consistent ones. It is important to talk to your clients regularly, so you can address any concerns, injuries, goal changes, etc. that come up along the way. Don’t get overly emotional or defensive when a client is upset with their results or your coaching. Listen to their concerns. For injuries, you need to be able to program for clients specific to their particular injury. Most clients will want to pause training, but get them on a call and explain the importance of continuing training, and how you’re changing their program to help them heal. Clients will also want you to program for travel, which will require some on the fly programming with limited equipment.


How To Attract Customers

First and foremost, you need some sort of lead generation, meaning something that captivates an audience that eventually leads to selling them your offering. Try creating a lead gen magnet, which is a freebie that captures someone’s email in exchange for the freebee. 


Get Leads Through Newsletters 

Once you have someone’s email, you can subscribe that person to your newsletter, which is where you continue to give free value and sprinkle some of your offerings in. Newsletters are a great way to nurture your audience and give potential clients an opportunity to work with you.


Start A Podcast 

It’s also important to have diversified means of attracting new clients and getting your brand out there. For example, Barpath has a newsletter, thriving Facebook group, a podcast, affiliate links, blogs, etc. that each have their hand in either creating “know, like, trust” and getting people in the door. For example, engagement with our podcast leads to people joining our Facebook group, which leads to them receiving our newsletter – and then we have 3 avenues to build “know, like, trust” organically.


Our podcast has a low conversion rate, but it builds a rapport with people and our brand, and allows them the opportunity to take the next step by joining our Facebook group. 


Utilize Social Media

Social media is a great way to put out content and nurture your audience. Word to the wise, do not rely on social media to convert people into clients, because most people use social media for entertainment. But, by dropping some solid free content on Instagram, you are building your relationship with your audience through one of hopefully a few avenues. 


If you want to buy ads on social media, make sure your ads are giving away something free or sending people to your podcast etc. Ads are successful in bringing people into your fold, and you’re in charge of nurturing them from there.


We have the Stronger Than Your Boyfriend Facebook Group, where we engage in conversations, have free trainings, host challenges, and have built a thriving community. And, we do see conversions from that Facebook group. However, with all of that said, the majority of our clients still come from referrals because our retention rates are high. 


How To Receive Payments With Online Fitness Coaching 

Explain to your clients that they will sign a contract with you for however many months you agree on, and that you’ll receive monthly payments from them. This will create consistent income for you. And, having your clients sign a contract ensures you’re getting paid for the agreed upon period of time, even if the client fails to continue training. It’s important that you have a lawyer write your contract, so you’re covered in case anything happens. 


Final Thoughts On How To Be A Great Online Fitness Coach

Be authentic and be open to learning – you don’t have to know it all. In fact, it’s guaranteed that you won’t know it all. It’s also important to remember that you won’t be a good fit for everyone. Don’t take it personally. And, no matter what, always be professional and personable. 


There is never a perfect time to start your business, to scale up, or do anything in your business for that matter. Stop waiting. You might do things too late or wrong, but that’s how you learn. When you learn, change, and finally get it right, the results will start showing. 

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