ACE recently hosted a live panel discussion entitled “Take Your Coaching & Training Business Online” (more on this below). The first topic our three expert panelists covered was whether quickly moving an in-person training or coaching business online was really a viable option for health coaches and exercise professionals during these unprecedented times. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
People around the world are learning to cope with the ever-changing reality posed by COVID-19, and those of us in the fitness industry are no different. As fitness facilities temporarily close their doors, health coaches and exercise professionals are trying to determine how to continue serving their clients or class participants and maintain the relationships they worked so hard to build in the first place.
One silver lining for the fitness industry is that virtual coaching and training procedures and platforms are already in place, making it easy for professionals who have focused on working with clients in person to make the transition to working online. Adding this to your skill set may even help expand your business once the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.
The first step is to reach out to your existing clients and open that line of communication. Use open-ended questions to ask how you can best continue to serve them. Remind clients that physical activity yields a broad spectrum of physical, emotional and psychological benefits and can be an important part of coping with the stress and anxiety that we’re all feeling, not to mention the added sedentary time that likely comes with more hours spent at home.
Don’t be surprised if you receive a wide variety of responses. Some clients may want to learn how to adapt their existing programs to their home, others may be home with their spouse and children and ask if you can help keep the whole family active through creative play and exercise. And other clients may simply want brief motivational coaching sessions to help them remain active on their own.
The possibilities are endless, so be sure to tailor your offerings to your clients’ needs and desires.
How to Get Started
The only tool you and your clients will need to get started with virtual coaching is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Clients will also need a clean, hazard-free area that is big enough to move around in and stretch while on the floor (maybe 8 feet by 8 feet, or 2.4 meters by 2.4 meters), as well as any equipment that will be needed during the session.
There are several free video platforms you can use for virtual coaching, including Zoom, Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp. There are also platforms built specifically for the fitness industry. To learn more about those options, we encourage you to view the 45-minute live panel, which featured the following experts:
- Ben Camara of Remote Coach (www.remotecoach.fit), an iPhone app that allows for live interactive sessions with health data monitoring and live progress tracking
- My Le Goel of Flight Live (www.flightlivefitness.com), an app available on iPhone and Android that offers 2-way live-streaming video that counts ease and simplicity as its hallmarks
- Anna Woods of She Strength (www.shestrength.com), a true one-woman show where Anna trains and coaches her clients using an online personal training platform called Trainerize, which you can find in the App Store
Both Ben and My Le’s apps allow your clients to link to you directly when they download the app, which means you can get started with sessions right away. You and your clients determine the pricing—the apps themselves are free.
A Word about Insurance
All ACE Certified Professionals need to secure professional liability insurance that is specifically designed to cover activities related to their business. If you will be virtual coaching for the first time, it is essential that you reach out to your insurance provider to ensure that your policy covers this type of training. Visit the ACE liability insurance page to learn more or to take advantage of discounted rates for ACE Certified Professionals.
The emergence of COVID-19 has placed us all in uncharted waters. Virtual coaching may allow you to stay afloat, and help your clients do the same. The only limits on virtual coaching are your creativity and ingenuity, so reach out to your clients, find out what they need and empower them to stay active and healthy during these trying times.
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