COVID-19 has fast-tracked Personal Trainers creating an online training system for their clients.  

We are facing some difficult times at the moment, with many lives lost and everyone around the world experiencing life being stuck at home.  

With the UK government announcing the closure of gyms and now being on lockdown for at least 3 weeks, we are all adapting to new routines and ways of life – For 99% of people, it is a case of adapting and damage limitation, caring for others and fighting this together.  

We’ve created a post on the @ptcollective Instagram account with a temporary fix that can help in-person Personal Trainers with their current clients and even help people that are looking to stay active, healthy, and have something to do when on lockdown at home.  

Check out that post below

View this post on Instagram

Online Group Coaching Via Zoom Swipe left << to read how to set it up, how to market and how to deliver your group online coaching Corona Virus has forced trainers around the World to adapt to not being able to train clients out of their normal gym It has forced many countries to be on lockdown, it has negatively impacted businesses and especially those self-employed PTs It is a case of adaptation to the current situation and looking for a temporary fix that works for both you and your clients With uncertainty of how long this will last and finances being tighter, I’ve created a post of how online group coaching could be used for your current clients who can’t afford a reduced one to one online coaching fee and with this model you could retain clients and even get new clients from it We are facing tough times ahead and you can either accept that and do nothing or try to do something about it At the PTC we are here to help Save this post and get actioning

A post shared by Personal Trainer Collective (@ptcollective) on

Zoom sessions are not Online Coaching

Without doubt, in-person self-employed Personal Trainers have been hit the hardest in the Fitness Industry and you can see them downloading Zoom and doing their best at training clients via video calls.  
If you have followed my work for a while now, you will know that true online coaching without the in-person video is far more suitable to advanced trainees.   

The whole point of going to online coaching is to not have to be at a specific location at a specific time to serve your clients. Doing a Zoom session where you speak to your client and watch them workout at home is a substitute and you should be using this time to build out your other systems to ensure your current clients get a better service online. You want to ensure that when we come out of the end of this you have your actual online coaching service available.

Online Personal Trainers serve their clients better than in-person trainers (for the most part)

This is going to hurt a lot of peoples’ feelings and normally when that is the case that is because it is true.

Disclaimer: there are very good in-person trainers that do what good online trainers do. There will always be good and bad in any industry.

In my experience, online coaches provide better onboarding, programming, communication, community, and check-ins with their clients.

Now I’m going to quote myself from 2015:

Online Personal Training Definition

“Health, Fitness & Lifestyle Coaching 24/7, WITHOUT the in-person contact”

In-person Personal Training Definition

“Health, Fitness & Lifestyle Coaching 24/7, WITH the in-person contact”

As you can see from my definition there should be no difference apart from the in-person contact.

Personal Trainers that go through the PTC are taught to deliver what is needed for the client. Let’s be honest – a lot of in-person trainers will serve them for that 1-hour session per week or for however many sessions they can afford per week.

If a client can only afford one in-person PT session per week, then you should programme their training for the remainder of that week. They should have weekly check-ins (online) they should have nutrition support, they should have a community to be part of – both in-person and online.

So what is online coaching?

Below is a short video where I go through four online coaching models and who I feel are best suited for each model. Make sure you give that a watch.

Making the fitness industry proud

I applaud all of you trainers for adapting. When things go back to normal, you will be in higher demand than ever before. Plus, you will now have ventured into the online world and have added an additional revenue stream to your business.  

This can only help you and your clients out. Diversifying your revenue streams and having online coaching has so many benefits to you and your clients.

How are online coaches impacted due to COVID-19?

I reached out to a few friends that are exclusive online coaches to see how COVID-19 has affected them.  

Here are some quotes from them:

“Coronavirus, amid the chaos it’s causing, has surprisingly benefited my coaching and business. Now more than ever is a time where adherence is vital, more and more people are reaching out asking for nutrition and training guidance. For those that don’t want to invest in coaching, I’m providing a home workout exercise library for my member site.” 

TM Cycles

“It’s impacted my business very minimally (I had two clients cancel due to their partners losing their job). Other than that, it’s been business as usual.  

I actually ran a 1:1 launch just as the virus took off and I was still able to fill up all coaching spots.”  

Aadam Ali of Physiqonomics

Obviously when Covid-19 hit it was a worrying time for all of us, everything was turned upside down for the country. 
People’s finances disrupted, people’s accessibility to train as gyms closed and it is no doubt a worrying time for people in our industry. 
However, luckily, we had all the processes set up in place having been established Online Coaches for 4 years now. All our clients are online and require no 1-2-1 contact. The value we provide goes further than taking someone through a training session and rep counting. 
Providing challenging training programming with goals set, nutrition set up around their preferences, that make it easier to stay on track, weekly accountability check ins, support via WhatsApp and just being there for people in the time where they need more support has been invaluable. 
We haven’t really even seen a dip in business, aside from having to make a few new compromises in terms of service to lower tariff for the people struggling financially. 

However this has been offset with a few sign ups. 
Your worth as an online coach is much more than a session planner. You’re a councillor, motivator, support network, and leader. People will still need this regardless of what happens with freak happenings in nature. 
Set your business up to be a business and not a job, provide worth beyond that of a 1-2-1 PT and you will be valuable asset always. 

Mike and Dan of Biceps and Banter

How to convert in-person clients to Online Personal Training Clients

Before COVID-19 hit I wrote an article on my LinkedIn on how to convert in-person clients to online

You can now read that on our website by clicking here


Blog Author

Luke Johnson

Luke started educating Personal Trainers out of a desire to improve the quality of the fitness industry. 5 years, two children and 1000 students later, he’s not lost that relentless determination to empower fitness professionals.

Personal Trainers forced to go online due to COVID-19