In my opinion overall, I think in-person training will always be the highest quality, because the highest quality training will require a more hands-on approach to help the client with proper form, and engagement. Having said that, I think realistically speaking, both are important tools. In today’s society, if you want to be a successful trainer, you are going to have to incorporate both if you want to maximize your chances of success.
How Being Online Opens the Doors
As a trainer, I’d say the best part of being able to go virtual, is it completely opens up your scalability. You used to be limited to the hours in your day, and the physical amount of clients you could work with. Now that you have the option to be online, you can make programs that hundreds, if not thousands, of clients follow. You can now have clients all over the world, and get your brand and name out there in a way that was unheard of.
Being online also allows for a huge amount of flexibility both for the trainer and the client. Some clients want the convenience of staying home. They now have the option of choosing high quality trainers that can zoom in, or provide YouTube videos to follow. For trainers, it can also provide more frequent check-ins with their clients. You could even host online group classes to more people than ever before.
What has increasingly gotten better over the years is the quality of FREE content. It used to just be marketing hucksters trying to build a following. Now, some of the best coaches out there put tons of free content on YouTube, and their own websites. I’ve learned more from following my favorite coaches online than my entire four years in college earning my Kinesiology degree.
It lowers the barrier of entry for those trying to get into fitness. Some people may find going to a gym too intimidating. This gives them more options and can help make the process more enjoyable. We all lead busy lives, so anything that can help us hit our daily movement goals is always a plus.
What about In-Person?
I think there will always be a huge value to in-person training. Particularly for injury and form assessments. These need a very tactical approach, especially when people have huge imbalances. I also think there are things I have had to learn both good and bad from my years as a personal trainer that you just don’t learn solely by being online. It varied from learning to be more individualized, to the ability to work with many personalities in real-time. I’ve met trainers who started and exclusively only worked with clients online, and there is just a certain lack of experience they don’t have when it comes to programming for their clients.
Have The Ability to do Both
Ultimately it comes down to having the ability to do both. If you are in person, continue to train people. Use the internet as a way to expand your business. Instagram can be great for posting client success stories, transformations, or free fitness tips. This will allow people to see your level of expertise, and that you can in fact get the results they hope for. Use being virtual as a way to offer classes, and sessions so clients can see what it is like to work with you. Build programs and create content on Youtube that allow you to provide high value information to clients. If done right, what this will do is show people that hiring you is not a smart choice, but takes all the guesswork out of achieving the goals they have.
For more help, check out my article on the Best Resources for Personal Trainers to Improve Their Skills and Finding the Best Personal Trainer for YOU.