Technology has exploded the online fitness coaching world; estimates now say about a quarter of the 250,000 personal trainers in the United States offer remote services. Convenience and affordability can make working with someone in this way enticing. But with thousands of potential trainers to choose from, how can you tell who’s legit and who’s not? How can you tell if remote training can work for you?
Remote coaching can work for anyone from beginners to elite athletes, but it helps if you have had some experience training in the gym. If you are a total newbie, try out a few sessions with a hands-on trainer before diving into the world of online trainers.
And remember that working with a remote trainer isn’t like signing up at the gym where someone on staff will check your trainers credentials and work experience. Be prepared to do your own vetting before shelling out any payment.
Do a Google search or take inspiration from Instagram. Read bios and blog posts your prospective trainer has written. Get a referral from a friend or a trainer you know and trust.
Check their creds.
See if they are accredited as a certified personal trainer by organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Look for certifications in your area of fitness. For example, you may want someone who’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist if you’re training for strength.
But don’t stop there. Have they put in the time training clients at a local gym and can they show they’ve got experience? A quick look at their LinkedIn account, website or Instagram will tell you. You want someone who’s not only put in the time studying but can also show they have successfully trained clients.
Contact their references.
Consider glowing testimonials on the trainer’s webpage as a place to start your evaluation but don’t be afraid to dig deeper. There’s no way to fact check what the trainer puts online without consulting references directly. Ask the trainer for references and their contact information and follow up.
Just how personal is your training?
Most coaches will want to make sure they are a good fit for you, so expect an introductory call. That’s a great time to ask any questions and form a judgment about whether you will work well together. Be wary If you’re paying for a personalized program but the trainer doesn’t ask specifics such as your current fitness level or the goals you’re trying to reach.
Find a coach who will tailor a program that’s 100 percent personalized for you. There’s a place for templates that would fit anyone, but you’re likely paying sizable bucks for remote coaching. Your coach should provide a plan that’s tailored to your goals. Your coach should be ready to adjust the plan to your strengths, weaknesses and goals as you progress.
Is your coach accessible?
Would you accept anything less than face time from a personal trainer at your local gym? You should be able to consult your online trainer either on the phone or through a video call just as easily. Technology makes practically anyone anywhere in the world accessible these days.