The Problems With Personal Training

Editor’s Note: It’s a little known fact that since I left my “full time” job as a magazine editor (I now write and edit for many publications instead of just one), I spend a lot of my time consulting with large companies, small business, and entrepreneurs. Many of those who fall into the “self-employed” category are in the fitness field, specifically in personal training. And if there’s one question I’m constantly asked it’s, “How do I make more money?” While there are several ways to accomplish this, one of the easiest is to adjust with technology. Most trainers believe they can only run their business in the gym, and this is not only a fallacy but also a mistake. Online training is part of the present and an integral component of the future. I’d be biased if I said anything otherwise, as I’ve been training people online for more than 5 years, which has allowed me to keep working with people after I stopped doing so in gym. And many of the most successful programs, like Precision Nutrition, exist only on the internet. Denying that online training can work is like saying the internet is just a fad.

Now listen carefully: This does not mean you can just open up online without ever working with clients and experience success. Good trainers need experience first, mentors, and a willingness to constantly learn from others and becoming better by working with real clients. That said, the online world solves many of the problems that exist with traditional training, while still allowing you to become better at your craft. In this guest post, Jon Goodman, an expert in building online training models, addresses some of the current issues and shares his tips for success and how you can make more money in personal training.

The Problems With Personal Training

By Jon Goodman

I’ll be blunt, personal training only works for a small percentage of the population.

It’s expensive, location dependent, a scheduling nightmare and often obtrusive. Spending an hour one-on-one with somebody multiple times a week is an intimidating and uncomfortable experience for many and that alone might stop or delay somebody from starting an exercise program.

Before I continue, it’s important to note that I love the fitness and personal training industries. I was a trainer for 8 years, wrote a popular book on it and still operate the largest collaborative blog for trainers on the net.

I think that personal training works for some people but like everything else, it has its limitations. One size doesn’t fit all and blindly hiring a trainer in a neighborhood gym is not necessarily the best way to get fit for a variety of reasons ranging from cost, lack of accountability systems in place and extreme variability in qualifications.

Today I want to offer a different solution. A solution that solves every major issue that personal training suffers from for clients, trainers, and gym owners.

Everybody wins with online training.

Instead of writing a long-winded explanation, I’ve created 3 lists of the benefits to each party. Have a look before continuing.

Why online training is better for the client

  • It’s more cost effective.
  • Scheduling becomes a non-factor. Have to show up at 6:12pm? No problem. The number of popular times to workout in each trainers schedule is no longer limited. When you work with somebody online, this is no longer an issue.
  • With a bit of research, you can work with a top trainer who specializes in exactly what you need instead of getting placed with a trainer at the gym (who is usually the new guy/girl).

Why online training is better for gym owners

  • Instead of losing clients when they move away, you can keep them as an online client plugging a major leak in income.
  • Clients can refer you everybody they know because location isn’t a factor.
  • Offering a trainer the ability to design programs for online clients in his or her down time and splitting the revenue is a huge value add for trainers and will lead to better retention. (And we all know that retaining good trainers is the key to a successful fitness business.)

Why online training is better for you (the trainer)

  • Time is your most precious resource and the only limiting factor that you have. Training clients online allows you to scale your time.
  • You must be able to make money when you’re not in the gym if you’re going to be able to support a family or live a healthy lifestyle in this industry.
  • Business shouldn’t dictate fitness. Sessions should not all be 1hrs or 30 minutes on the dot. Online training allows you to give clients what they need.
  • You can finally take on friends and family members of current clients that live far away. Referrals become much easier to obtain when location isn’t a factor.
  • You can charge less per client and make more exponentially increasing your income.

Working one-on-one with a trainer in a gym is great for some people. Getting a workout program from a magazine and diligently following it is great for a different subset of the population.

Yet, with all of this information readily available obesity rates are still rising and the adherence rate to workouts is abysmal. Something is missing.

I don’t believe that the solution is more information but instead information in different mediums presented different ways. Online training is another option and one that will become much more popular in the coming years.

Self-efficacy increases adherence to a program. If somebody believes that a relevant expert in the subject made a program specifically for him or her, there’s a better chance that they’ll do it.

Walking into a gym and getting placed with a trainer doesn’t necessarily give a new client confidence that this trainer is right for them. If, however, a client goes online and finds a trainer that they resonate with and become confidant that the trainer is “the one” for them, the chance of adherence goes up.

There is no one “best way” to get the required workout direction, support and accountability. Everybody is different and needs different types of support and online training solves a lot of common problems that frustrate trainers and thwarts client results.

The Next Steps

For trainers and gym owners, online training represents a massive opportunity for substantial revenue generation in a small amount of time. It also represents an opportunity to increase your reach and have an impact on more people. But delving into the online world is overwhelming. Analysis paralysis is common.

That’s why I developed the 1K Extra Course. My first goal was to offset analysis paralysis with the Jumpstart module. Here I show how, in a matter of hours with no software other than an email account, any fitness professional can start making at least $1,000 extra a month while helping more people.

To start you don’t need to be a marketer or understand anything technologically based. In fact, I don’t even get into advanced marketing funnels in the advanced module because I don’t think that it’s needed.

The real secret is to just start. Test out the model. See how your programs can still work in an online space so that you can better serve your clients (and in a more affordable way), improve as a trainer, and see your bottom line increase. It’s a solution that works for everyone.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jon Goodman and I like writing bios in the first person. After training clients for 8 years I wrote a book about personal training and started a collaborative blog. Soon after I grudgingly stopped working in a gym to grow the site and help more trainers do a great job. It’s been a fun ride. If you want to hang out, I’d love to get to know you on Facebook or Twitter.


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