How to get the most from remote personal training

January 15, 2011

Have you ever considered working with a Personal Trainer or sport-specific coach in an online or email capacity? Perhaps with the New Year upon us, and the start of the race season a few months away, you’re looking for some accountability, structure and expert guidance. A professional trainer or coach is a fantastic investment, but sometimes there’s no-one local who quite does it for you.

That’s where a “remote” coach or PT comes in. By that I mean someone who offers coaching, training plans, perhaps nutrition guidance and emotional support, but by email (and usually telephone and Skype, too).

I worked with a remote PT at the end of last year during my 8-week gym challenge. Kat offers regular one-on-one PT and small group PT. I knew of her from reading her blog, and had a hunch that she’d be the perfect PT for me, but I don’t live in London, so I had to work with her over email.

I found the process to be very helpful. So helpful, in fact, that Kat and I are now firm friends as well as PT/client. Here’s a pic of us having, like, the most fun eva,….cooking veg last weekend on Saturday night. It’s a good illustration of how important it is to find a PT who has the same sense of humour and outlook as you!

When we weren’t cooking, talking or training, I interviewed her about remote/email PT and how she feels a client can get the most out of this kind of training.

Whether you’ve just signed up to work with an online coach or are considering it for the future, I hope you’ll find this Q&A helpful.

The Fit Writer: In what circumstances might a client find remote personal training useful?
Kat Millar: If someone can’t find the type of coach or PT they need in their local area, or at their regular gym, they can work with anyone they want. They don’t even need to be in the same country. Remote PT offers great value for money, too. The instantaneous support is really helpful: a client can be sitting at work, feeling tempted by the biscuit barrel, and quickly fire off an email or a text to me and I’ll reply with a few motivating words. Just having that accountability helps. Clients know they have someone’s eyes on what they’re doing. Most people have to be in some system of accountability to have success with fitness or fat loss goals, and a remote PT offers just that.

TFW: Are some clients better suited to remote coaching than others?
KM: Well, it helps to have the ability and willingness to be completely honest with their PT. It has to be real; there’s no point just telling me the good bits or the things they think I want to hear. Clients shouldn’t feel bad about reporting less-than-perfect meals or training sessions. If they tell me everything – good and bad – we can see why they’re getting the results (or not) and take it from there. Honesty is key.

TFW: How can clients help the remote PT process work for them?
KM: It helps if they come to me with a really specific goal. And then, even though they’ve asked me to help, they have to take a lot of responsibility for the process. They need to be honest with me and with themselves and stay “on it” between our calls and emails. I like clients to ask me really direct, specific questions and encourage them to do so. Tell me clearly what they’ve done or not done, give me feedback on the training and nutrition plans I put together for them, and use me for the resource I am! No client should battle on in silence if something about the process isn’t working. Tell me and I can fix it. All personal trainers want to give their clients what they need to succeed. Oh, and progress photos are great!

TFW: What’s good about working this way?
KM: I like the fact that working on email with someone enables me to react to things as they come up. I can offer support, answer questions and give motivation whenever it’s needed, rather than waiting for an alloted hour every week. Very often, email clients end up telling me a lot about their lives and personal challenges, so the relationship becomes very special and we have heart-to-heart chats. The bottom line is that, by working with an coach via email, clients don’t have to take some random training plan off the internet or out of a magazine. They’ll get a personalised plan. Working this way with someone often gets them to use a PT when otherwise they wouldn’t have considered it. And I think everyone should have access to professional support and guidance when it comes to their health and fitness.

Thanks Kat! 🙂

Email personal training definitely works for me. Do you have a “remote” coach, PT or mentor? Does the process work for you?

How to get the most from your remote personal training is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

%d bloggers like this: